Indianapolis Colts: Why drafting an offensive guard is biggest need

Andrew_Luck_2013To make sure quarterback Andrew Luck is able to have a long and healthy career with the Indianapolis Colts, they will need to find a way to protect him.

Now protecting Luck could include running the ball, running quick screens, or even drawing up plays where Luck is able to release the ball quickly. While these are formulas for a healthy quarterback, the solution is around the offensive line, especially the interior lineman such as the guards and center.

But with the signing of veteran center and former Dallas Cowboy Phil Costa, the Colts look to have their focus more on the filling the void at guard.

With their first selection coming late in the second round at 59th overall, the Colts will have a while to wait and think before they are able to make a decision. When they do though, they will have a couple of players that could fit in perfect.

The first player the Colts would have to really consider drafting is guard Gabe Jackson out of Mississippi State. According to CBS Sports, Jackson is the 4th ranked overall offensive guard in this year’s draft. It will be a blessing to the Colts if he is able to fall into their hands late in the second round, but anything is possible.

At 6-foot-3 and weighing 336 pounds, Jackson will provide a lot of beef to an offensive live where the projected starters average out at 312 pounds.

Not only will his size be needed, but his pass protection skills as well. Jackson is an excellent pass blocker who has all the physical tools to be successful at the next level. The experience in coming out of the SEC will only benefit Jackson in dealing with some of the best players in the game. All these tools make Jackson to be a solid pick if he is around for the Colts to select him.

Now if the Colts don’t go with an offensive lineman with their first selection, they can easily find a good prospect in later rounds.

The Colts next selection would come at pick 90 in the third round and offensive guard David Yankey out of Stanford would be a great selection if the Colts decide to go that route. Yankey is 6-foot-6 and weighs in at 315 pounds and would be a great fit with an offense he would already be familiar with. Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was Yankey’s coordinator when both Hamilton and Yankey were at Stanford. And their quarterback at Stanford was Andrew Luck, talk about being in a recognizable setting for Yankey.

Yankey’s biggest strength is his run blocking, something the Colts could use to get running back Trent Richardson going for an explosive 2014. Yankey has tremendous footwork and great lateral movement that comes in handy when it comes to pulling on run plays. With Yankey being the 7th ranked offensive guard according to CBS Sports, getting him late in the third round would only be good for the Colts.

Building an offensive line through the draft will not only protect Luck for the future, but will provide stability for future years to come. After all, the game is won in the trenches.