The State of the Colts: Offensive Tackles

Jerry Langton continues his series where he focuses on the current state of the Colts by position ... and shares his thoughts on how they'll address their needs through the draft in April.

Current status
The Colts have two excellent starting tackles under contract in Tarik Glenn and Ryan Diem as well as a pretty good backup in Makoa Freitas, who's a tendered restricted free agent. But the Colts need to start looking for Glenn's eventual replacement who is only under contract through 2007. And with Glenn due to make a base salary of $4.5 million next year, his return next season isn't guaranteed.

Diem is returning from an injury that sidelined him for part of last season while Freitas missed the entire 2005 season with a serious foot injury. Put those three scenarios together and there are more question marks at this position than you may have thought.

What they'll do
While the Colts could go for a tackle early in the draft, it's more likely they would select a raw and athletic prospect, perhaps from a small school, who could serve as a swing reserve until he's ready to take over for Glenn in 2007 or 2008. As long as Manning's on the team, pass-blocking will be held in high esteem.

How about...
Weber State's Paul McQuistan has all the tools, but hasn't had the coaching or faced the competition necessary to push him to NFL standards. He won't be able to step in as a first-year starter, but he could develop into a solid, even exceptional starter in time.

There are other tackles available in the middle or late rounds with enough natural talent that Colts offensive-line coach Howard Mudd could mold into players. Many like Boise State's Daryn Colledge, but he's likely to be overdrafted because of his personality and rep.

Washington's Joe Toledo has great natural skills, but is injury prone and even more raw than some of the small-school guys.

One less-hyped guy who could be even better than those two is Kansas State's Jeromey Clary, a real student of the game who is an outstanding position blocker and has great upside potential.

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