INDIANAPOLIS – If all goes according to plan for the Colts the next two years, the need for Danny Pinter to start might not be there.
Of course, the odds of that happening to the position group that Pinter is part of are slim.
That’s life as an offensive lineman.
Assuming an extension for center Ryan Kelly (currently signed through 2020) is coming, the Colts will have their entire offensive line under contract through the 2021 season.
A benefit of that is it would allow time for Pinter to adjust to a new position, or two, at the next level.
The Colts view Pinter, who stands 6-4 and 304 pounds, as someone who could develop into an upper echelon interior line player in the NFL.
Pinter started at right tackle for Ball State the last two seasons, after he had put on 30 pounds in playing tight end for the start of his collegiate career.
In watching Pinter, you see the athletic background from his tight end days, and clearly the Colts are intrigued about what that will look like in space as a puller.
For 30 minutes on Day 3 of the NFL Draft the Colts were trying to trade for Pinter, before feeling fortunate to take him No. 149 overall (in Round 5), without having to trade up.
“The first exposure (to Pinter) for me was at the NFLPA game,” Ballard said of the All-Star game in which Pinter got his first look at playing guard. “Then coming back he has an unbelievable workout at the combine. We continued to study him.
“Do I think he could play some tackle? Yeah, but center/guard is where I think he’s going to make his hay in the league. And you want to talk about character? Believe me, this guy’s got blue character and he fits our culture. He has the traits we look for in offensive linemen.”
Ball State coaches laud the ‘first in, last out’ mentality that the two-time captain Pinter brought. He was constantly finishing drills and was never late to a meeting.
If Pinter can show some competence early on, he could very well be the team’s top offensive line reserve from Day One.
A few questions have arisen of if Pinter can push Mark Glowinski for the starting right tackle job here in 2020.
That’s going to be tough, with a scaled back offseason, and Pinter making a position switch to a place he’s never played (college or high school). Plus, the Colts have preached the need for starting continuity up front. Would they give that up for a rookie who has never played guard?
But if Pinter can build some strength to play in the interior, and continue to develop as an offensive lineman, a future starting job in Indy is quite possible.
“I view it as a plus,” Pinter said of going to a team where the offensive line returns intact. “There are great players there and I think everyone knows that. So I’m just coming in ready to learn as much as I can.
“Obviously, I am a competitive person so I am going to go out there and compete as much as I can, but at the same time there is a lot to learn from those guys with a lot of experience. So that is what I am really looking forward to, just becoming a better player through them.”
From high school football in South Bend, to college football in Muncie, Pinter isn’t leaving the state of Indiana, but he is going a little bit further south.
That definitely hits home, even for the ‘former’ Bears fan.
“I really can’t even put it into words to be honest,” Pinter says of being drafted by his home state team. “This state means a lot to me. I’ve lived here my whole life, I have played football here my whole life. So to have the opportunity to stay here and stay around a bunch of people who helped me get to this point is, really, I can’t put it into words.
“I am so excited.”
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