The Indianapolis Colts had the entire offseason to address their left tackle vacancy after longtime starter Anthony Castonzo announced his retirement.
When the free agency and draft dust settled, however, there was nary a replacement to be found on the roster, which forced the fan base into a collective state of panic.
Luckily for their respective blood pressures, the Colts eventually agreed to terms on a one-year contract with veteran Eric Fisher, who will become the full-time starter once he finishes his Achilles rehab a month or two into next season.
For a while there, it looked as though Indy was considering asking world-beating left guard Quenton Nelson to make the move to left tackle. Given his dominance on the interior, this would’ve been a serious gamble. Nelson has been a three-time All-Pro in his first three NFL seasons at that position. Why make him move?
As it turns out, Nelson actually had a ton of trepidation about moving to the outside, and he opened up about the idea during his latest media session.
Quenton Nelson never fancied the idea of moving to left tackle.
"“I definitely wanted to stay at left guard, but I was going to do whatever the team required me to do.“I was really happy with getting Fish (Eric Fisher). He’s a great guy, just meeting him a couple times before this, then today. He’s smart, he’s a good player. He’s been in a good system with Kansas City. Really excited to get to work with him.”"
The Fisher signing really makes it seem like the Colts’ front office was aware of Nelson’s skepticism about moving to left tackle. Perhaps they were planning on signing the former No. 1 overall pick the whole time and kept it a secret, but surely Nelson not being comfortable with switching positions played a role in their decision.
While Nelson filled in admirably at left tackle in spurts last season, keeping him content at left guard, where he’s throughout dominated over his first three years in the NFL, was undoubtedly the right call by the Colts. For context, Nelson has conceded just three sacks over 1,946 pass-blocking snaps (!) during that span, per Pro Football Focus.
If that insane stat wasn’t enough to convince fans that Nelson should continue at left guard, he actually became the second player in the last 30 yards (Barry Sanders being the other) to be named a First-Team All-Pro in each of his first three seasons.
Given the former No. 6 overall pick’s competitive nature — we highly recommend doing a quick search on his best mic’d up moments — he was always going to put the Colts’ interests above his.
As commendable as that mindset is, we couldn’t be more relieved that Indy went out and bolstered its tackle depth. While Fisher works his way back to full strength, one of Julie’n Davenport or Sam Tevi will hold down the fort at left tackle.
As for Nelson, he’ll continue pummeling opposing rushers into oblivion at his preferred guard position … the way it should be.