What five offensive linemen could the Indianapolis Colts target in the 2020 NFL Draft?
The early NFL free agency period is behind us, and the Indianapolis Colts made some major moves to put themselves in contention for the 2020 season. While the Colts made some big gains, they also lost a key player. Tackle Joe Haeg was always a nice depth piece on the roster, but now he’s on to Tampa Bay.
That leaves Indy with limited depth behind one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. General manager Chris Ballard brought back Le’Raven Clark, but he hasn’t shown a lot of development in the league so far.
This leaves the 2020 NFL Draft, an area where the Colts thrive when drafting linemen. Finding a tackle or an interior player makes sense for Indy, and it’s about getting good value. The tackle class has great talent at the top, while the interior line class has good names on day two.
Let’s highlight five players the Colts should consider come draft time.
1. Jonah Jackson, Ohio State
Ohio State guard Jonah Jackson should be tops on the list, mostly because drafting him will likely require the most capital. Jackson has enjoyed a rise among draft analysts in recent weeks. After a strong Senior Bowl week, it was time to get back to the tape.
Jackson has a lot of great tools that translate to the next level. When it comes to pass protection, Jackson has great anchor ability to recover against stronger rushers. He also has great balance when engaged with defenders, and shows enough athleticism to get to the second level and pull. Jackson is a plug-and-play starter who would be an amazing depth piece in Indianapolis, but there’s a chance he could be a top 75 pick and out of range.
2. Ben Bredeson, Michigan
If the Colts are looking for value later in the draft, Michigan’s Ben Bredeson could be available when they pick in the fourth round. Bredeson might be one of the more well-rounded guards in the draft.
He has enough athleticism to quickly get off and get down blocks, along with climbing to the second level. Bredeson is a mauler at the point of attack, showing great lower body strength and finishing ability. He needs to work a little on his initial strike, but as far as most traits go, Bredeson has the ability to be a good starter by year two in the league.
3. Ben Bartch, St. John’s
If tackle is the direction that the Colts want to go, Ben Bartch can be the guy to target. There was a lot of buzz surrounding Bartch heading into Senior Bowl week, because everyone wanted to see how he’d handle top competition. Bartch passed with flying colors.
It’s so fun to watch Bartch when going back through some game tape along with Senior Bowl tape. He’s so patient when getting into his pass sets, and shows excellent balance and footwork as well. Bartch may need to add on a little weight at the next level, but the tools are there to develop into a starter, and could take Anthony Castonzo’s place in two seasons.
4. Damien Lewis, LSU
Speaking of more risers in recent weeks, Damien Lewis is another prospect for the Indianapolis Colts to consider. Like a couple guys above, Lewis was another who gained attention down in Mobile. He held his own in one-on-ones, but really shined in the game and 11-on-11 drills.
Lewis may not be at the level of teammate Lloyd Cushenberry III, but he brings plenty of traits to the table as a depth piece (and even a starter). Lewis is a natural reaching the second level, and shows great athleticism, especially in space, to pick up blocks. He will fit best in zone schemes, but has enough raw power to be successful almost anywhere he goes.
5. Shane Lemieux, Oregon
Last on the list is Oregon’s Shane Lemieux. Lemieux played on one of the best offensive lines in the country in 2019, and while he was next to likely 2021 top pick Penei Sewell, Lemieux showed plenty as a draft prospect.
What’s evident immediately is his power at the point of attack and how he handles rushers in pass protection. He keeps a wide base and shows good anchor ability, enough for him to be considered a mid-round pick. While his movement skills aren’t great, he has shown the ability to pull and get into position in the run game. Giving him time to develop would be great, and the Colts have the luxury to do just that.
It would be great if Ballard and company could secure one of these guys to be their depth piece on the offensive line, and it won’t require a lot of draft capital to do so.