ESPN picks right guard as Colts biggest remaining roster hole

With the NFL draft in the rearview mirror, Aaron Schatz of ESPN named right guard as the biggest remaining roster hole for the Indianapolis Colts.

Schatz does mention that at this stage of the offseason, a roster hole doesn’t mean a position without a clear starter but rather where “depth is sketchy,” as he put it.

Here is what Schatz had to say about the Colts’ right guard situation:

“The Colts have an interesting roster in which a lack of holes is balanced by a lack of stars. There are a lot of players here who rate as B-minus starters, rather than clear holes that need to be upgraded. The weakest position might be right guard with Will Fries, but Fries was only slightly below average in ESPN’s pass block win rate last season (91%) and was average among guards in run block win rate (70.3%). If Indianapolis wants to go with something new at the position, it has fourth-round rookie Tanor Bortolini, who started games at all three interior line spots at Wisconsin.”

Even in Schatz’s explanation, right guard isn’t a major hole for the Colts by any means. Fries, a 2021 seventh-round pick, surrendered four sacks and 20 pressures in 2023. By pass-blocking efficiency and PFF’s run-blocking grade, Fries ranked in the top half of the NFL among eligible guards in both those categories.

The Colts drafting Tanor Bortolini, as well as Matt Goncalves, who they believe can play inside, bolsters the depth and competition for the 2024 season, but I still fully expect Fries to be the Week 1 starter.

Also in the mix for roster spots along the interior offensive line will be Josh Sills and Danny Pinter.

With that said, where things do come into question for Fries is next offseason when he is a free agent. At that point, Bortolini or Goncalves could be the starting right guard.

Lastly, I do have to say that I was a bit surprised to see right guard chosen and not cornerback or safety. This was a young Colts’ secondary last season that gave up too many big plays and didn’t make enough plays on the ball.

Re-signing Kenny Moore and Julian Blackmon certainly helps, but the two boundary spots and the free safety role are up for grabs, and right now, the Colts are banking on their young players at those two positions to take a big step forward.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire