The Indianapolis Colts lost a cornerstone of their franchise for the last decade this offseason. Replacing him won't be easy.
Anthony Castonzo's retirement left a hole at left tackle, one that could have been filled in last year's tackle-rich draft, and could also be addressed next week if the Colts were able to swing a deal to move up and take one of the top two tackles. Such a move would require a ton of capital, though, so before Indianapolis pushes its chips into the center just to draft a replacement at the position, it might be wise to first look down its own roster.
There isn't a clear-cut replacement at tackle, with Sam Tevi and Julie'n Davenport currently listed as their top two options. There might be a better answer, though, at the position next door.
Quenton Nelson is a three-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler who came to Indianapolis as a result of the Colts' struggles back in 2017. His selection quickly proved to be wise, providing the Colts with a rock-solid blocker for what projects to be the next decade. There's no sleep lost over Indianapolis' situation at left guard.
But could Nelson end up kicking out to left tackle to fill an even more important position?
On the surface, yes, certainly. Colts owner Jim Irsay told 107.5 The Fan moving Nelson to left tackle remains a possibility, but "ideally" Nelson stays at guard and Indianapolis brings in a different replacement, per FOX59’s Mike Chappell.
Just because it's April, let's ponder: Is moving Nelson to tackle a smart move?
The reasoning is fairly simple: Nelson is an elite guard who can do everything -- long pulls, zone blocks, trap, double team and chip to the second level, get out in front of screens, and pick up stunts and blitzes with strength and power -- asked of him. He is a weapon in the fact he gives your offense a greater potential of playcalling possibilities.
There's no use in solving the tackle question by moving an elite guard outside, where he might just be a good tackle. Ask any former All-Pro lineman and he'll likely tell you the same.
Indianapolis has likely already done its scouting work on this draft's tackles. It's not as strong at the top as it was a year ago, but there's still value to be had. And a rookie left tackle is likelier to succeed as part of an offensive line that was already solid without him than the opposite scenario.
So the wise move is likely the right move: Draft a tackle and develop him alongside a premier guard. It sounds as if the Colts already realize that's their best course of action.