Shifting Quenton Nelson to LT could help Colts use first-round pick on quarterback

Quenton Nelson #56 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Quenton Nelson #56 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Anthony Castonzo’s future with the Colts is murky at the moment. Is Quenton Nelson the answer?

We talked about potential prospects at left tackle the Indianapolis Colts could take with their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but perhaps general manager Chris Ballard is thinking big picture. Now, the team is faced with retirement concerns surrounding Anthony Castonzo and Philip Rivers. That’s a lot to deal with.

If we’re looking at worst-case scenario in which the Colts lose both of those veterans, the front office and coaching staff could do some shuffling. Indy already had to cope with Castonzo missing time in 2020 and managed to make it work, but it’s clear the offense needs a steadfast, long-term solution to protect the quarterback’s blindspot.

Another important thing to note is that the Colts will be picking No. 21 overall in the upcoming draft, which gives them a good chance to snag a promising quarterback prospect if Rivers goes (or if the franchise wants to get the ball rolling with a new signal caller).

So how about moving Quenton Nelson to left tackle full time, allowing the team to save its first-round pick to get their hands on Justin Field (likely a trade-up scenario), Trey Lance, Mac Jones or Kyle Trask?

"“If AC (Anthony Castonzo) chooses to hang it up, I think discussing Quenton (Nelson) as an option out there is certainly a realistic option that – Chris (Ballard) and I have already had that conversation obviously when AC got hurt. It was like, ‘Hey, well let’s take a look at Quenton, maybe that’s a real option,” Reich told reporters on Sunday. “I’ll let Chris go into more of the detail on that when he gets with you guys on Thursday. But yeah, that would certainly be an option but like every other decision, you have to look at all options and consider all factors.”"

Nelson took some reps at left tackle during the regular season, and it appears the coaching staff liked what it saw. This would go a long way in avoiding a massive offensive line conflict, because then Indy could slot Danny Pinter into one of the interior spots. While Pinter is no Nelson, he showed some promise during his rookie year.

Then the quarterback question at least becomes more clear.

Then again, Castonzo and Rivers could both be back. We just have no idea what’s going to happen with the season ending three days ago. It just so happens the two most important positions on the team are in limbo right now.

The silver lining? This backup plan feels fairly stable, and we’d trust Ballard to make the right decision.