Colts Rookie Lineman 'Number One' in Analyst Rankings

The Indianapolis Colts have a highly athletic and versatile rookie lineman on their roster.
Mar 3, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Wisconsin offensive lineman Tanor Bortolini (OL09) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 3, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Wisconsin offensive lineman Tanor Bortolini (OL09) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

The Indianapolis Colts are heading into 2024 with an offensive line they can have faith in yet again. Coming off a strong and resurgent 2023, Bernhard Raimann, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Will Fries, and Braden Smith will strive to continue that trend. While these five players are the most notable protectors on the Indy roster, recent fourth-round draft pick Tanor Bortolini has fantastic potential and athleticism for both center and guard positions.

In an interview on The Ross Tucker Podcast, Emory Hunt of Football Gameplan gave the highest praise to Bortolini and further explained his reasoning.

Hunt said on The Ross Tucker Podcast:

"Bortolini was my number one center in the (2024) class, so I'm very high on him. And it looks like the Colts are gonna work him in at guard."

Hunt further detailed Bortolini's fit with the Colts:

"So already off the bat, they've got a top three receiver and my number one center, so I'm already loving what the Colts have done."

What happens next for the Colts? Don't miss out on any news and analysis! Take a second and sign up for our free newsletter and get breaking Colts news delivered to your inbox daily!

Bortolini is an athletic monster who possesses fast feet and hands that Indianapolis will treasure in pass protection. During his 2023 with Wisconsin, Bortolini notched a Pro Football Focus pass-protection mark of 80.3 on 497 passing downs. He also only allowed one sack and 11 pressures in a tough Big Ten conference while playing consistently well for the Badgers.

While pass protection was Bortolini's specialty, run blocking wasn't as highly graded (61.1). However, Bortolini is a mere 21 years old and has plenty of time to improve that asset of his game. While he's talented and already up to par in pass protection, he'll still need to improve his run blocking given Indy's offense will funnel through Anthony Richardson and Jonathan Taylor. Both of whom are devastating runners.

Bortolini played center all of 2023 and still can as a backup in his rookie campaign with the Colts. But Indianapolis likely wants him steady at guard behind Fries while fellow 2024 draftee, Matt Goncalves, serves as another swing tackle with Blake Freeland. Bortolini's versatility is another positive to bringing him to Indianapolis to add to Shane Steichen's offense.

Bortolini's ridiculous athleticism and ceiling as a guard is something that offensive line coach Tony Sparano Jr. is happy to have. Immediately Bortolini can be a solid depth piece as a rookie with the chance to grow into a starter at right guard should Indianapolis choose to part ways with Fries in 2025 when he's a free agent.


Want more Colts content? Check out the latest episode of the Horseshoe Huddle Podcast!

Follow Horseshoe Huddle on Facebook and X; subscribe on YouTube for multiple Colts live-stream podcasts per week.


Published
Drake Wally

DRAKE WALLY

Drake Wally covers the Indianapolis Colts at Horseshoe Huddle and co-hosts the Horseshoe Huddle Podcast.