INDIANAPOLIS — While depth remains an issue along the offensive line as a whole, the Indianapolis Colts appear to be well stocked at guard.
The position group is led by a two-time all-pro many consider to be the best guard in the NFL, and there are high hopes for the lone offensive lineman selected in the draft. Throw in another returning starter who has played better than his recent reputation might suggest and an intriguing candidate from the 2019 practice squad, and the group could be strong enough to make for some difficult decisions at the end of the summer.
CNHI Sports Indiana’s Roster Review continues with the offensive guards:
Quenton Nelson has taken on almost legendary status.
The hulking left guard has been named a first-team all-pro in each of his first two seasons and somehow has lived up to the incredible hype that accompanied him as the sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft.
Former Colts offensive lineman and current NFL analyst Brian Baldinger fawns over Nelson during weekly tape breakdowns throughout the regular season, and peers routinely point out the former Notre Dame star as one of the league’s most complete and consistent players.
Nelson also has developed into a locker-room leader, seeking out rookies’ contact information shortly after they’ve been drafted and helping to indoctrinate them into the Indianapolis system.
“I mean, he is the best in the business,” fifth-round pick Danny Pinter said. “I mean, I think that is known across the league. He is the best in the game at the position, so to have the chance to learn from him is something that I’m really looking forward to.”
Right guard Mark Glowinski has faced growing criticism for his on-field performance and is widely viewed as the one starting lineman with a remote chance to be supplanted. But he is extremely well-respected within the organization as a bully in the run game and a leader on and off the field.
After being cut by the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, Glowinski has made 25 starts over two seasons with the Colts and has two years remaining on a three-year, $18 million extension he signed in January 2019.
The Colts tried unsuccessfully to trade up in the draft to select Pinter and were relieved he still was available with the 149th overall pick.
A former tight end at Ball State and South Bend Adams, his athleticism and versatility drew Indianapolis’ attention. A standout performance at the NFLPA All-Star game furthered the Colts’ interest, and the rookie has a chance to assume Joe Haeg’s old reserve utility role.
Pinter played right tackle for his final two seasons in Muncie and could factor into the depth chart on the outside. But Indianapolis believes his future is on the interior.
“I mean, do I think he can play some tackle? Yes, but center/guard is where I think he’s going to make his hay in the league,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said. “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.”
Jake Eldrenkamp is a name that should not be overlooked. The 26-year-old has experience at both guard and center and remained on the practice squad for most of the 2019 season before being called up to the main roster in December.
Eldrenkamp has a history with Indianapolis offensive line coach Chris Strausser from their days together at the University of Washington, and his versatility could help him earn a spot on the 53-man roster even with Pinter and tackle Le’Raven Clark likely to take two of the backup spots.
The final guard listed on the roster is Chaz Green, a third-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2015. The 28-year-old has appeared in 22 games with seven starts for the Cowboys and Oakland Raiders.