INDIANAPOLIS – Along with quarterback, there’s no other position in the NFL that needs more premium draft capital than left tackle.
When you look at the NFL’s 32 starting left tackles, the overwhelming majority comes from 1st round picks, followed by a few 2nd and 3rd rounders.
This is where things are complicated for the Colts.
Eric Fisher, playing 10 months after tearing his Achilles, struggled as the Colts left tackle in 2021. His medical situation, now at the age of 31, is a huge element in believing the free agent should be re-signed and get another look at left tackle this coming season.
No matter what the Colts decide on Fisher, they know the answer at left tackle extends past this immediate offseason.
“We short-termed fixed it (last offseason),” Ballard says of left tackle. “We still have to be looking for a long-term solution.
“If we have to short-term fix it again because the long-term solution doesn’t show up, that’s what we will do.”
Fisher would appear to be that short-term answer again, with the Colts thinking he still has good football left, despite the significant Achilles injury he suffered in January 2020.
If the Colts re-sign Matt Pryor, his resume of just 1 career start at left tackle shouldn’t lend to them putting all their belief behind that risk at LT.
Also, for those still thinking Quenton Nelson is a possibility at left tackle, Ballard strongly shot down such an idea back in January.
Free agent options are there in Terron Armstead (Saints) and Cam Robinson (Jaguars), but those price tags are going to be steep, especially for a Colts team that has multiple off-season needs to address.
In the draft, the first selection for the Colts doesn’t come until No. 47 overall, so that isn’t a guarantee to solve left tackle, particularly in the immediate sense.
While in an ideal world, the Colts would be able to cross off every need list, that’s not reality.
So, maybe it is bringing Fisher back on another one-year deal, and then looking towards the future with a drafted left tackle in Round 3 or Round 4, as the plan that makes the most sense.
Again, perfectly taking care of all the needs in the next two months is a fairytale.
Sacrifices must be made in some areas, and that’s true here at a position where the Colts have mistakenly ignored in the draft.
But if the Colts go that route they must believe in Fisher being better in pass protection.
“That’s the great thing about this league, there’s always a solution,” Ballard says. “It’s our job to problem solve and find the solution. It might not be the perfect solution. It might not be perfect. It might not be the long-term solution, but there’s a solution every year.
“There’s a little timing and luck of sometimes getting the long-term solutions to certain positions but there’s a solution for that year coming up. But that’s what we have to work towards.”