Chris Ballard: Left tackle’s a need, but it didn’t match up at that point in the draft

NFL: FEB 25 Scouting Combine
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When Anthony Castonzo elected to retire following the 2020 season, it made left tackle an immediate position of need for the Colts.

They were widely expected to address it during the draft. But aside from bringing in Penn State’s Will Fries in the seventh round, Indianapolis didn’t select any offensive linemen. Its first two picks were on the defensive line in Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo.

In wrapping up the draft on Saturday, General Manager Chris Ballard made it seem like the club just didn’t see value at the spot whenever they were on the clock.

“Look, any time you have a player like Anthony Castonzo retire, it’s a need,” Ballard said, via Bob Kravitz of “Having said that, it just didn’t match up at that point in the draft. I’ll be honest, how many true left tackles were there in this draft? … Prototypically, maybe some of these guys are going to play left tackle; let’s see if they stay there their whole careers. But if you’re going to draft a guy that high, and you’re drafting him to play left tackle, you’ve got to know he’s going to be able to do it his whole career.”

Christian Darrisaw was on the board when the Colts selected Paye at No. 21 overall. The Vikings picked him at No. 23, ostensibly to replace left tackle Riley Reiff. So Ballard’s comments at least reflect what he and the Colts believe about Darrisaw’s potential.

Indianapolis signed former Chargers left tackle Sam Tevi in free agency, and the job appears to be his for now. But with another wave of free agency coming coming soon, the Colts could still address the position with a veteran to help protect Carson Wentz.