Nelson and Buckner reshape Colts’ future in the trenches
With the addition of new Colt defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, Colts Nation will be in for a treat watching Quenton Nelson try to contain him in training camp.
Not even 4 years ago, the Colts were a laughing stock in the trenches. We all know much the bad play of the offensive line played into Andrew Luck‘s injury-ridden career, which eventually led to his early retirement. But even the Colts’ defensive line has been nothing to worry about for opposing offensive coordinators ever since a couple of years prior to Robert Mathis calling it a career.
It has taken Colts general manager Chris Ballard no time to started building a foundation for the Colts up front.
From the very first time he arrived in Indianapolis after being selected 6th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, Quenton Nelson started to transform the entire outlook of the Colts offensive line. His energy and presence alone, while sometimes excessively rough and aggressive (as if there is such a thing in the sport of football), instantly became contagious.
Ryan Kelly became a Pro-Bowler, Braden Smith and Mark Glowinski both played better than the usual Colts fan would expect, and Anthony Castonzo earned a huge contract, and a lot of it arguably is partially a result of Nelson’s contagious play.
The Indianapolis Colts now arguably have the best offensive line in all of football.
But it’s been a long time since the Colts had a really dominant defensive lineman in their prime. Denico Autry has shown small flashes of potential, and Justin Houston had a nice first year in Indy, but the sensation brought by the sacks and pressures from the days of the Mathis-Freeney combo are long gone and extremely missed.
DeForest Buckner has a great chance to bring back that sensation.
As the AFC South continues to worsen around the Colts, the Horseshoe continues to add horsepower by developing a dominant team in the trenches. Chris Ballard’s plan to build an all-around dangerous team defensively all starts with Buckner, who has a chance to bring the same contagious efforts Nelson brought to the O-line in a time of desperate need.
If Buckner brings exactly that, it’s hard to not see the Colts having not only the best offensive line, but the best defensive line in the AFC South. With the removal of Jurrell Casey from the Titans roster, removal of an aging Calais Campbell from the Jaguars roster, and the (slow) declining J.J. Watt with no Jadeveon Clowney on the Texans’ squad, Buckner really has a chance to bring the Colts to the top of the mountain defensively in the division, especially in the trenches.
We can only hope Buckner will bring half the leadership and contagiousness Nelson brought to the locker room, and if he does, it’s extremely difficult not seeing the Colts have one of if not the very best offensive-defensive line combo in the National Football league. Buckle up for the Buckner-Nelson 1v1’s in training camp, and pray they don’t injure each other in the process.
They say it all starts up front, and Chris Ballard seems to be heading in the right direction in that regard.