When the Indianapolis Colts took center Ryan Kelly in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jonotthan Harrison knew changes were coming his way.
Once he was drafted, the Indianapolis Colts made it clear to everyone that Kelly was their starting center. As a result, they released center Khaled Holmes and decided to move Harrison from center to right guard.
Harrison has rarely played guard in his football career. He made one appearance at left guard during his freshman year at the University of Florida. Aside from that one appearance at guard, he played his entire college career at center.
His experience at center came in handy for Indianapolis Colts once the team signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2014. In two seasons with the Colts, he has made 19 starts at center for them. Harrison still has a lot of room to grow as an offensive lineman, but he will have to continue his development as a right guard.
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Harrison’s transition from center to guard will not be a smooth one. He admitted that he is having some difficulties adjusting to his new position.
"“Each day I feel myself getting more comfortable with the position and recalling different techniques used to play the position. It’s a little different . . . a little more spacing . . . different rules and everything going on. Playing center, I understand all the rules at all the positions. It’s just going to take practice, film, film study, correcting myself and just working on any weakness that I may have at the position.’’"
Harrison has been practicing with the first team during Colts’ OTA’s. However, no one should read too much into this because Hugh Thornton is sitting out of OTA’s with a minor injury right now.
When Thornton returns to the practice field, he is projected to be the starting right guard. Thornton has started 32 games in three seasons with the Colts. However, the Colts seem much more open to making offensive line changes if it means they can protect Andrew Luck better. For this reason, Thornton’s starting spot at right guard may not be set in stone.
If Harrison effectively switches positions, he has a shot at taking the starting job away from Thornton. Harrison is certainly treating his situation like a position battle.
"“I’m here to compete either way. I’m just here to compete. You never know what’s going to happen, but either way my goal is to have a starting role in this offensive line.’’"
This is a big offseason for the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line. The team drafted four offensive linemen and also signed two more undrafted linemen. As a result, there could be a lot of changes coming to this position group this offseason.
Harrison’s position change is only the first of many offensive line changes for the Indianapolis Colts. Fortunately for them, Harrison is approaching this situation with the right attitude. He determined to prove himself and become the Colts’ starting right guard in 2016.