With their second selection in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected offensive lineman Braden Smith.
Smith, who primarily played right guard for the Auburn Tigers, is 6’6″ and weighs 315 pounds. He played in 53 games with Auburn, and started in 41 consecutive games with them. Smith was second-team All-SEC in 2015 and was first-team All-SEC in 2016 and 2017. He was the first Auburn player to be selected in this years draft.
Coming into the draft, many analysts considered Smith to be one of the best offensive line prospects in this years draft. While he was not viewed as highly as first round selection Quentin Nelson, he was still considered by many to be a top 15 offensive lineman in this draft.
Smith will join a now suddenly crowded offensive line core that includes Nelson, Anthony Costanzo, Ryan Kelly, Jack Mewhort, and free agent acquisition Matt Slauson. Although Smith primarily played guard at college, he may need to compete with Mewhort and Slauson for playing time at either right guard or right tackle.
It is clear that GM Chris Ballard is prioritizing protecting quarterback Andrew Luck this offseason. The Colts decided to double down and draft a second offensive lineman after selecting Nelson in the first round last night. This means they will have to address some of their other needs with their later picks.
The Colts have finally realized that a franchise quarterback like Luck needs quality offensive lineman to ensure he remains healthy. Hopefully Luck is healthy enough to play this season, and this selection isn’t too little too late.