Fox 59

Colts have free-agent options for left tackle

Offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers listens to the national anthem before a game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS – At a time when post-NFL Draft grades are prevalent and, let’s be honest, ridiculous, it still might be appropriate to affix a grade to the Indianapolis Colts’ offseason work.

And that would be: Incomplete.

Or that’s the impression that could be taken away from the two movers and shakers with the franchise.

And that would be owner Jim Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard.

Since walking off the field at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. with a 27-24 first-round playoff loss, the Colts have had to reload at quarterback (from a retiring Philip Rivers to a beleaguered Carson Wentz) and at defensive end (from Denico Autry and Justin Houston to Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo).

They’ve limited defections by re-signing wideouts T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal, cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and T.J. Carrie and running back Marlon Mack.

They’ve addressed their offensive line by giving one-year contracts to tackles Sam Tevi and Julién Davenport and guard Chris Reed.

But have they really settled on a suitable successor for retired left tackle Anthony Castonzo?

That didn’t happen in the draft.

“Anytime you have a player like Anthony Castonzo retire, it’s a need and we signed some guys who we think are pretty good football players,’’ Ballard said. “But saying that, it just didn’t match up at that point in the draft.’’

He also indicated there weren’t as many prototypical left tackles in the draft as some perceived.

“If you’re going to draft a guy that high and you’re going to draft him to play left tackle, you’d like to know that he’s going to be able to do it for his whole career,’’ Ballard said.

There were 25 offensive tackles selected over the weekend, including four in round 1 and six more in round 2. The Colts opted for No. 25: Penn State’s Will Fries. He’s a depth prospect.

They preferred Paye and Odeyingbo early and apparently options later disappeared.

Unable to grab a suitable left tackle prospect in the draft, the Colts have two remaining options: open training camp with Tevi, or look for someone better on the open market.

It certainly sounded as if Door No. 2 is a realistic possibility.

First, Irsay said “We feel that Tevi can do a very solid job there.’’

But then added, “There’s other options that could come about that we could look at. We’re just going to see where we go from there and what other opportunities present themselves.’’

And this from Ballard: “We’ve signed some offensive linemen with Tevi who have played a lot of games in this league and we’ll continue to scour the market.

“We knew it was going to be hard (with) all the things that we needed to fill. I mean those were big shoes that needed to be filled (with Castonzo retirement), and we’re happy with the work we’ve done up to this point. But we still have a long way to go before the season.’’

If the Colts look outside the building, here are available options:







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You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.