Quarterback is already one of the holes the Indianapolis Colts have to fill on their roster this offseason. With Philip Rivers retiring, the team seeks someone who has a “veteran vision” at the quarterback spot. They also have a hole at another essential offensive position, as they need a left tackle.
The Colts were considering moving their All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson to the tackle spot. However, Nelson creates a bigger impact when he is dominating inside. Fortunately for Indianapolis, they could have their answer at left tackle. Now they just have to go get him from an AFC contender.
The Indianapolis Colts have a hole at left tackle
The Indianapolis Colts have suffered some massive blows to their offense early in the season. Philip Rivers retired, leaving the team with a big question mark at quarterback. Offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni left the team to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Perhaps their greatest loss so far was Anthony Castonzo. After this season, he decided to retire, which leaves Indy with a huge hole at left tackle.
When Castonzo was at left tackle, Indy didn’t have to worry about their quarterback’s blindside much. He was a solid tackle, starting in all 144 games he’s played in. Injuries did impact his career, missing four games this past season because of knee and ankle injuries. The Colts are hoping to find someone similar to Castonzo, so they are looking at an internal replacement option for the longtime left tackle.
Quenton Nelson has limited experience playing tackle, doing so for a few plays against the Las Vegas Raiders this past year. He played well there, which has the Colts thinking he could be a quick and solid fix at the left tackle spot. Head coach Frank Reich believes Nelson can handle the responsibility should it be given to him.
“[Nelson] as an option out there is certainly a realistic option that — [GM Chris Ballard], and I have already had that conversation obviously when AC got hurt. It was like, ‘Hey, well, let’s take a look at Quenton, maybe that’s a real option…yeah, that would certainly be an option,” said Reich per ESPN.
The Indianapolis Colts might’ve found their answer at left tackle
Outside of moving Quenton Nelson to left tackle, the Colts have limited options filling in that hole. They could use the No. 21 overall pick to invest in a tackle, which makes the most sense. Multiple rookie tackles made an immediate impact with their squads in 2020. However, they might not have that pick if they use it to trade for a quarterback with a “veteran vision.”
Luckily for Indianapolis, they might’ve found a potential answer to their left tackle problems. Baltimore Ravens tackle Orlando Brown Jr. has requested a trade from the team. Brown has played at right tackle in Baltimore despite being a left tackle his entire life. After Ronnie Stanley got hurt, Brown was moved back to left tackle. His success playing there in 2020 has him wanting to play left tackle exclusively, honoring his late father Orlando Brown Sr.
Brown has been a solid player during his three-year career. He played in 10 games his rookie season, followed by playing all 16 games in 2019. In 2020, he was given a 76.4 grade by Pro Football Focus and only allowed three sacks the entire season. His play protecting Lamar Jackson’s blindside proved to be essential during the team’s late-season run.
With Brown seeking a trade, the Colts should be one of the first teams calling. His youth and skill could give Indy the perfect left tackle to put on an already dominant O-line. With Nelson and Brown on the same side, the Indianapolis Colts should have a brick wall for an offensive line. However, if they want Brown, it won’t be cheap.
What would it cost the Colts to get Orlando Brown?
Brown is young, being just 24-years old. His talents at either tackle spot have been proven, earning two Pro Bowl nods in his first three seasons. Given his youth and tremendous skill, the Ravens expect a haul in return for the talented left tackle.
Teams will likely need to offer up at least one first-round pick for Brown’s services. The Ravens know that this is the perfect time to get a great return on a player at a premium position in the NFL.
For the Colts, giving up a first-rounder could be an issue. If they end up trading for a quarterback, that No. 21 pick will likely be included. That means they’d have to relinquish their 2022 first-round pick. General manager Chris Ballard gave up the team’s first-rounder last year for DeForest Buckner, which paid off in a big way.
The Colts could also offer players to Baltimore for Brown. The Colts have some promising receivers they could deal, as that is one of the Raven’s key needs for the offseason. If the Colts really want to hold on to their first-rounder, they could offer multiple second or third-round picks along with players. They’ll have to compete with others for Brown, as he is drawing interest from multiple teams.
Left tackle is one of the most important positions in the NFL, of not the most important. The Indianapolis Colts need one to protect the blindside of whatever quarterback starts for the team. With a talented player in Orlando Brown requesting a trade, the Colts should do their best to get him.