2017 Positional Preview: Center

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24: Center Ryan Kelly
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24: Center Ryan Kelly /

The Colts were pleased with the level of performance they saw out of their rookie center in 2017, but can Ryan Kelly avoid a sophomore slump and cement himself as the anchor of this offensive line?

A common theme of the offensive tackle and offensive guard positional previews has been prioritizing the protection of Andrew Luck, who has suffered multiple severe injuries in his brief NFL career.

One of former general manager Ryan Grigson‘s best moves was drafting Ryan Kelly with the 18th overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft.

The great Colts teams of the 2000’s were built around one of the NFL’s best center-quarterback combos in Jeff Saturday and Peyton Manning. Andrew Luck and Ryan Kelly are beginning to form a connection that could rival that of Saturday and Manning.

NASHVILLE, TN – OCTOBER 23: Ryan Kelly /

Kelly had a very solid rookie year at a position that can be extremely hard for a rookie to learn. Center is the most cerebral position on the offensive line, and another offseason to learn the system should help Kelly immensely heading into year two.

Brian Schwenke joined the Colts this offseason after spending four seasons in Tennessee where he made 28 career starts. Schwenke has some versatility as he played both center and left guard for the Titans, but his main role for the Colts will be backing up Ryan Kelly.

Having a solid backup is always comforting, but Colts fans hope that Kelly will be available to start all 16 games like he did in his rookie season.

The Colts have been trying to build a solid offensive line to protect Andrew Luck for a while now, and it looks like they’ve locked in their center for years to come in Ryan Kelly.

In case you missed it, here are the other articles in our positional preview series:


Wide Receiver

Tight End

Offensive Tackle
Offensive Guard