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INDIANAPOLIS – As if adding 3 veteran depth pieces on the offensive line in free agency—with a combined 95 starts among them—wasn’t enough, the Colts dipped back into that position group in the draft for some more potential depth.

Will Fries came to the Colts in Round 7 with quite the Big Ten resume.

In his four seasons at Penn State, Fries made 42 career starts.

That included starts at every position besides center. You had 26 starts at right tackle. Another 7 at left tackle. There were 6 at right guard. And 1 at left guard.

If that translates to the NFL, the Colts could have another Joe Reitz or Joe Haeg in a versatile backup ready to be called upon if/when game day chaos occurs.

“I think it’s going to help me a ton,” Fries said of his versatility. “Being a guy who can play multiple positions and play at a high level at those positions, I think that’s one of my biggest assets.”

Fries’ initial home in the NFL is likely to be in the interior, at guard.

Even though a 6-6 frame fits nicely out at tackle, guard was always the more likely projection for a player like Fries.

Frequently playing at many spots on the O-line makes Fries more attractive, but it’s certainly not an easy task.

“I wouldn’t say it comes natural,” the Penn State product says. “It’s something you have to work at. It’s like writing with your other hand. It’s something you have to practice day in and day out and just be used to it.

“This whole offseason process, I’ve been working both sides. Come practice time, I’m ready to do both.”

While Fries enters a room with some experienced competition competing for roster spots, he does have a leg up on the rest of the group.

Playing on a rookie contract, which would have Fries under team control through the 2024 season, is something the Colts would obviously love, compared to the 1-year moves for the vets listed above.

But, first, Fries, must prove that he can beat out some proven guys and show the versatility that he achieved at an upper echelon Big Ten school

“He has a lot of versatility,” Ballard says of Fries. “He can play guard and tackle, which is important.”