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Pre-Draft Colts Positional Outlook: Offensive Tackle

The gaping hole opened up by the retirement of Anthony Castonzo still has not been adequately filled ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. Chris Ballard and the Colts did a nice job adding depth, but there's no clear-cut starter at left tackle ahead of Thursday's first round.
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Stop me if you've heard this before: the Colts still need to find a replacement for Anthony Castonzo.

Now that the obvious is out of the way, let's dive deeper into the depth chart that is offensive tackle following the departure of Castonzo, who retired in January after 10 seasons as the bookend tackle in Indy.

Chris Ballard and the Colts didn't jump into the deep end of the free agency pool to catch the big fish at left tackle, instead staying in the shallow end, nabbing veteran guys like Sam Tevi and Julie'n Davenport as security blankets at left tackle in case the draft doesn't play out the way Ballard and the Colts hope.

On paper it's still a decent offensive tackle group, but it took a significant blow with the loss of Castonzo, making it a massive need ahead of the start of the 2021 season.

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On the roster: Braden Smith, Will Holden, Sam Tevi, Julie'n Davenport, Casey Tucker, Carter O'Donnell, Jake Benzinger, Elijah Nkansah

Pre-Draft need: High

Braden Smith has quietly worked himself into one of the better right tackles in football with the Colts after sliding out to tackle after coming into the league as a guard out of Auburn.

With Smith entrenched at right tackle, the focus is solely on left tackle in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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Though Tevi has more than 2,000 snaps under his belt, he's more of a swing tackle that provides adequate depth at both tackle spots. Same for Davenport, who has been a project since he came into the league and hasn't quite figured it out on a consistent basis to be a starter.

Will Holden played some decent snaps in 2020 after being pressed into service due to injury. He's not a guy that projects as a starting tackle in the NFL, but he could be a solid No. 3-4 moving forward with the Colts as a developmental piece.

Aside from the four of Smith, Tevi, Davenport, and Holden, guys like Casey Tucker, Carter O'Donnell, Jake Benzinger and Elijah Nkansah project as guys that will battle it out for the one or two practice squad spots available in 2021 for the Colts.

Knowing the Colts need serious help at left tackle, it's reasonable to expect Ballard and the Colts to grab a guy at left tackle in a class that Ballard has decribed as a really good one.

Names such as Liam Eichenberg out of Notre Dame, Alex Leatherwood out of Alabama, and Christian Darrisaw out of Virginia Tech are the names that come to mind as first-round options for Ballard and the Colts.

Left tackle must be a high priority for the Colts, not only with the loss of Castonzo to free agency, but to protect the expensive asset that is Carson Wentz in the pocket.

Have thoughts on the offensive tackle depth chart ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft? Drop a line in the comments section below!

Follow Josh on Twitter @ByJoshCarney.

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