Colts offensive line surprisingly receives praise ahead of the 2023 season

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos
Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

As the Indianapolis Colts prepare for the 2023 season, the offensive line is receiving some praise that no one saw coming.

Last season, the offensive line for the Indianapolis Colts was abysmal. The line struggled to consistently run block, and it was even worse in pass protection, giving up 60 sacks, the second most in the NFL in 2022. Even though Indianapolis entered the year with questions about the offensive line, no one expected them to play as bad as they did.

That's why the recent praise that Indianapolis’ offensive line received is so shocking. In a PFF ranking of the top 32 offensive tackles by Gordon McGuinness, both Colts tackles, Branden Smith and Bernhard Raimann, were listed. Smith was ranked at No. 15 and Raimann was ranked at No. 28, making them one of the nine tackle duos represented on the list.

Colts have top offensive tackle duo in the NFL

For Smith’s ranking, McGuinness explained, “In five seasons with the Colts, Smith has produced PFF pass-blocking grades of 68.0 or better every season, while his PFF run-blocking grade hasn’t dipped below 75.0 in each of the past four seasons.” As for Raimann, who came in at 28 after just one season in the NFL, McGuinness acknowledged the slow start to Raimann’s career but highlighted that “From Week 10 onward, he had just one game with a PFF pass-blocking grade below 70.0.”

Bernhard Raimann certainly improved with the more experience he got, and his future is expected to be bright moving forward. Additionally, Braden Smith has been an underrated tackle throughout his time in the NFL. However, last season wasn’t necessarily the best year for Smith, Raimann, or the Colts offensive line as a whole.

It’s hard to have watched Indianapolis last season and say they have one of the top offensive tackle duos in the league. That just simply wasn’t the case in the 2022 season. Hopefully, it will be in 2023, and Smith and Raimann can produce play that is more deserving of these rankings. For as bad as the Colts offensive line was, almost all of the starters are returning, so they need to step it up.