While Nick Sirianni leaving his offensive coordinator position for the Philadelphia Eagles HC job and Philip Rivers deciding to retire will undoubtedly leave a huge hole in the foundation of the Indianapolis Colts, losing left tackle Anthony Castonzo after he hung up his cleats might throw the entire draft strategy for Chris Ballard out of the window as he tries to find a replacement.
While Oregon’s Penei Sewell will be a lock for the top five, and Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater will likely not be available by the time Indianapolis makes their selection, their prayers for a franchise left tackle could be answered if they take Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw, who looks like a Day 1 starter in this league.
Potential Colts target Christian Darrisaw is both an extremely smart player and a plus athlete in the open field.
Darrisaw’s best trait is his athletic ability, as he can easily get to the second level while paving the way for big runs. His ability to sustain contact and get horizontal to create gaps in the line should help Jonathan Taylor break off a few more big gains in his second season. Darrisaw has improved as a pass protector, as he can now withstand both speedy edge-rushers and more refined ends that use a variety of pass rush moves beyond a straight-up bullrush, and that development should get Ballard excited.
While Darrisaw’s biggest issue is a lack of play strength, likely due to a suspect lower half, that could land him in hot water early in his pro career, he’s made some major strides in that area. In an offense that likes to utilize a lot of zone and off-tackle stretch runs, Darrisaw and Quenton Nelson could form one of the best left sides of an offensive line in the game.
The Colts might have a strong offensive line without Castonzo, but there is no substitute for a franchise left tackle, and Darrisaw could potentially plug up that hole for the next decade if he ends up in Indianapolis.