The State of the Colts: Guards and Centers

Jerry Langton continues his "State of the Colts" analysis with a look at the interior offensive line. He'll project what they're likely to do and will point out some viable options in the upcoming draft.

Current status: The Colts generally consider center and guard basically the same position — exchanging them freely to get their best three interior linemen on the field -- and even arranging them to take advantage of matchups, as happened in the 2004 playoffs.

The best of the group is center Jeff Saturday, an undersized dynamo and student of the game who blocks for the pass and the run with equal aplomb. Neither of last year's starters at guard — Jake Scott and Ryan Lilja — excelled, but both are considered works in progress.

Behind them are 2005 rookies Dylan Gandy and Cody Campbell. Gandy impressed the coaching staff so much last summer that he won a starting spot from Lilja, but lost it when he was injured. And Lilja fought him off after he healed.

Campbell is a similar player who played alongside Gandy at Texas Tech. He spent the year on injured reserve after an unfortunate shoulder injury that occurred prior to the preseason. Both are big and strong and play with surprising discipline. They are both capable of pushing Scott and Lilja for their starter spots this year.

What they'll do: It's hard to say what the Colts will do with their interior linemen. Depending on how highly they regard Scott, Lilja, Gandy and Campbell, they could be looking for a Day 1 starter or could avoid the position altogether.

How about: Well, Ohio State's Nick Mangold or Oklahoma's Davin Joseph could easily step in and improve the Colts offense, but either would cost a premium draft pick and the Colts have other pressing needs.

More likely, the team will stick with Saturday and the quartet of young guards, hoping that two will emerge as quality starters. If they do draft an interior lineman, look for athletic types who could develop with good coaching. Guys like Boston College's Pat Ross and North Dakota's Chris Kuper fit that description.

Colts Blitz Top Stories