According to Colts.com media reporter Steve Andress, the Indianapolis Colts are among the teams that have an interview scheduled with a pair of offensive lineman in Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin and Stanford offensive guard Joshua Garnett:
Of course, improving the offensive line is a major area of need for the Colts and both Conklin and Garnett are highly touted offensive lineman prospects in this year’s upcoming NFL Draft
The Colts offensive line clearly struggled last season, as the Colts surrendered the 2nd most QB hits with 118 total QB hits, which was only 3 less than the league-leading Cleveland Browns at 121 total QB Hits.
In order to better protect their franchise player Andrew Luck going forward, the Colts need to minimize the amount of exorbitant hits and punishment he takes in the pocket.
Things didn’t fare much better on the ground, as the Colts finished 29th in rushing, averaging 89.9 rush yards per game. Not to mention, the team only had 6 rushing touchdowns on the season which was 28th best in the NFL.
It’s worth noting that despite running hard, starting running back Frank Gore failed to eclipse 1,000 yards for the first time in his career since 2010 and had his lowest yards per carry average at 3.7 ypg of his entire 11-year career.
As such, the Colts kept two of their least impressive franchise streaks going: One, by once again failing to have a 1,000 yard rusher since Joseph Addai did it way back in 2007. Two, by also failing to have a 100 yard rusher in a game which Vick Ballard was the last to accomplish in Week 15 of the 2012 season.
Regarding Conklin, here’s what his NFL.com scouting profile reads:
"SOURCES TELL US“That is a dude, right there. He was busting up Ohio State in the fourth quarter of that game not because he was more talented than those guys but because he just wanted it more. He’s tougher than old beef jerky. He fits in our division.” — NFC North scout"
"NFL COMPARISONJon RunyanBOTTOM LINEPossesses top flight size and strength at the tackle position and has the technique and recovery athleticism to make up for his average foot quickness. Conklin went from solid in 2014 to very good in 2015 and teams must now decide whether or not they want to give him a chance at left tackle or plug him in on the right side where he should be able to step in right away and become a quality starter. Conklin has some physical limitations, but he’s got solid technique and exactly the field demeanor that offensive line coaches will be looking for."
"NFL COMPARISONGabe Jackson"
"BOTTOM LINEThick, powerful guard who can gain an early advantage in the rep and finish with authority. Garnett looks to establish a new line of scrimmage on every running play and is a great fit for a team looking to impose their will between the tackles. While he’s a plus run blocker, his pass protection issues should not be taken lightly and will have to be vetted with offensive line coaches to make sure they are correctable issues. Garnett should be an early round pick who can come in and start right away."
Both offensive lineman are expected to be taken in the early rounds of the draft. Conklin is projected to be a first round pick, whereas Garnett shouldn’t last any later than the 3rd round by early indications.
Each prospect could help considerably in shoring up the Colts offensive line.