INDIANAPOLIS – At the time, it was not a major storyline last offseason.
But as the Colts went through the 2020 free agency, and then the draft, without making a notable move at left tackle, that 1-year re-sign of Le’Raven Clark was a message.
The Colts had some definite confidence in Clark (15 career starts) to be the top offensive tackle backup entering the 2020 season.
While there are definitely reasons to criticize the Colts for that thinking, it’s something to keep in mind as Clark hits free agency again this offseason.
Unfortunately for Clark, he enters free agency coming off a major injury, just like Marlon Mack and Malik Hooker. And while those guys tore their Achilles back in the first few weeks of the season, Clark’s torn Achilles came in December.
Clark, 27, was needed for the Colts on four different occasions last season, before suffering that brutal season-ending injury in Week 13.
He started for an injured Anthony Castonzo in Week 5 against Cleveland. He started at right tackle for Braden Smith in Week 11 against the Packers. When Castonzo got hurt early the next week against the Titans, Clark was needed in reserve duty. He was then starting for AC again the following week in Houston before tearing his Achilles after just 5 snaps.
Just like Ryan Grigson, who drafted Clark the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Chris Ballard likes the frame and length that Clark brings to the tackle position.
But Ballard has also mentioned that a mistake he made last offseason was not providing the Colts coaching staff with enough offensive line depth.
Now, the Colts face an actual void at the starting left tackle spot.
In no way can Clark be viewed as a starting candidate. If his injury situation checks out, which is no guarantee in less than 10 months, maybe you bring him back to compete for a roster spot, but not the first backup tackle role.
That’s the ceiling in which the Colts must view Clark.
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