Colts make another attempt to solve O-line with Zach Banner
The Indianapolis Colts decided to go back to addressing the offensive line by taking USC right tackle Zach Banner with the 137th pick in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
The Colts took a literal wall to add to their offensive line on the third day of the NFL draft. At 6-8 and 353-pounds, USC RT Zach Banner will force defenders to move a few extra yards just to get around him.
In the ground game, Banner excels and can take out multiple defenders when he gets a head of steam. But that size comes with a lack of speed as Banner’s combine numbers showed.
Pro Football Focus’ analysis of the pick:
"Round 4, pick No. 137 overall: Zach Banner, OT, USCBanner endured some tough games in 2016, particularly in his Week 1 matchup against Alabama, but those handful of contests aside, he ranked amongst the best tackles in the class in pass protection. In total, he allowed only 11 QB pressures in the entirety of 2016, ranking ninth in the class in pass-blocking efficiency. — John Breitenbach, @PFF_John"
GM Chris Ballard said early on Saturday that he was happy with his young offensive line, but there was clearly more work to be done. Banner is a project who needs to work on his quickness and will get beat by faster defenders.
If he can get a bit faster, and that means controlling his weight which has been an issue, he can be a solid lineman. He’s probably too slow to be an NFL tackle and might not have the flexibility to be an effective guard. That means he might end up as a career backup.
Banner has said his weight is down to 349, and he’s working hard to keep losing. Even for an athlete that takes a solid level of commitment, we’ve seen plenty of players eat their way out of the league (don’t say his name…). Keeping a balance of losing weight without losing strength is tough. But considering he was all the way up to 385-pounds his junior year, there is reason to believe he can get to a good playing weight.
But none of that means he doesn’t have potential. He’d do well in a power running scheme (something coach Chuck Pagano wants) and has strong abilities in pass protection (just two sacks and a QB hit allowed in 2016).
Banner gives the Colts another piece to fit into the the offensive line puzzle that has been a massive problem dating back before Andrew Luck took over at QB.