As we continue to look at the rookies from this past season, we look at perhaps the most underrated member of the rookie class.
The Colts had a lot of draft picks in April, and they did a great job with them. They used two of their first three picks on offensive lineman to protect Andrew Luck. One of those draft picks was a guard out of Auburn, Braden Smith. Even though Smith is a guard, he played tackle this year.
Smith was thrusted into the starting lineup early after there were some injuries along the offensive line. He was drafted as a guard but played right tackle all year. And he did so brilliantly. He solidified that side of the line incredibly well for being a rookie playing out of position.
His play was especially needed after Matt Slauson got hurt. They were throwing someone else new in there, Mark Glowinski, and it threatened to screw up the whole line. But Smith played well enough on the right side of the line to make sure there wasn’t any drop off in play.
Even though he was supposed to be a guard, the Colts might have found their right tackle of the future. He showed enough promise to be a future Pro Bowler. As long as he can stay healthy, he can be be a foundational piece along the offensive line for years to come.
Because of his solid play up front, the Colts have no solidified their offensive line for the future. With Smith, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Anthony Castonzo, and either Matt Slauson or Mark Glowinksi at right guard. That is an extremely solid offensive line.
The Colts should be happy that they found Smith when they did. He is only going to get better at that tackle position too.