Grade: Colts Select Utility Lineman Matt Goncalves Round 3, Pick 79

The Indianapolis Colts trade up to 79th overall to solidify the offensive line.
Nov 19, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Panthers offensive lineman Matt Goncalves
Nov 19, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers offensive lineman Matt Goncalves / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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The Indianapolis Colts wasted no time in getting Pittsburgh Panthers offensive tackle Matt Goncalves by trading up from 82nd overall in the third round of the NFL Draft with the Arizona Cardinals. Goncalves has injury history, but after fighting back and making it to the draft, he finds himself with Indianapolis. 

With the Colts needing more depth on the offensive line, this pick makes sense. Last season, Blake Freeland struggled in relief roles for Braden Smith and Bernhard Raimann. With the addition of Goncalves, it will make things more secure on the line. It will be year two of Anthony Richardson at quarterback, so getting protection to keep the dynamic signal-caller on the field is of the utmost importance.

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Goncalves is intriguing despite an injury setback (toe) in 2023 that held him to three games. While he doesn’t fit the typical athletic profile Indianapolis seeks in an offensive tackle, he makes up for it with great technique, versatility, and potential in the Shane Steichen-led offense he’ll be a part of. 

If Indianapolis felt the need to trade up for Goncalves, there must be a good reason to make it happen. Tony Sparano Jr. showed brilliance with the Indy offensive line in his first season as the position coach, so it will be interesting to watch the development of Goncalves with Sparano at the helm. 

Indianapolis does still need to address cornerback and safety and could have taken care of one of those voids with this pick, but chose to shore up the offensive line instead. There’s also a chance that Goncalves will eventually push current right guard Will Fries for the starting gig. While Fries had a solid 2023, he’s up for a new contract and Indy likely won’t want to pay him starter-level money with how much is invested in Ryan Kelly, Quenton Nelson, and Smith. After a breakout 2023 from Raimann, he’ll be a priority over Fries. 

This is a better pick than some people realize. It’s becoming clear that Indy may believe in Jaylon Jones and Dallis Flowers as starters at cornerback, hence why no cornerbacks have been selected up to this point. So far, the Colts have addressed important areas of the roster and will look to keep up that trend for the remainder of the draft. 

Final Grade: B-

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Jake Arthur


Jake Arthur has covered the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for a decade. He is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) and FantasyPros' expert panel. He has also contributed to multiple NFL Draft guides.