Indianapolis Colts Training Camp does not start until July 26th. So, there will not be much news about the team until then. As a result, it is time to preview the Colts’ players who will play key roles in 2016. It is Ryan Kelly’s turn today.
Ryan Kelly was the Colts’ first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Colts targeted him early in the draft process and believe he will help improve the team’s traditionally mediocre offensive line.
Kelly started 35 games in three seasons for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He finished his college career as the 2015 Rimington Trophy winner, which is awarded to the top center in college football.
More from Ink on Indy
- Still Searching for Their Groove, Pacers Take on Struggling Magic Thursday Night
- Pacers Travel to the Nation’s Capital to Begin Four Game Road Trip
- Update on Pacers’ Oladipo’s Serious Leg Injury
- Has Romeo Langford Been a Disappointment for the Hoosiers?
- The Indianapolis Colts Have a Brutal Road Schedule in 2019
Kelly will enter the 2016 season as the undisputed starter at center. The Colts released starting center Khaled Holmes a few days after drafting Kelly and then, moved backup center Jonotthan Harrison to offensive guard. These moves made it easy for Kelly to take the starting center role.
As a result, Kelly will have a lot of responsibilities to deal with this season. He will control all of the offensive line calls and will be responsible for getting the line into the right run or pass blocking scheme.
Also, not many rookies will enter the season with more pressure to perform well early than Ryan Kelly. Kelly needs to make sure the Colts’ offensive line protects the team’s No. 1 investment: Andrew Luck.
As mentioned before, Kelly enters the 2016 season with a big spotlight pointed at him. Fortunately, it sounds like Kelly is doing everything he can be prepared for the upcoming season.
He devoted a lot of time to understanding the playbook and developing a relationship with Andrew Luck. Both of these things should help Kelly play really well in 2016.
It is hard to use stats to help judge an offensive lineman’s effectiveness, which makes it hard to give Kelly expectations. Kelly’s contributions will be seen on the field as opposed to the box score.
If Andrew Luck is hit less often than in the previous couple of seasons, Kelly will be a part of the reason why. Meanwhile, Kelly will also affect the Colts’ run game because he has to identify opponents’ defensive formations and make the right corresponding line adjustments.
The Colts’ offensive success is dependent on Andrew Luck, but Luck’s success is dependent on the Colts’ offensive line. Ideally, the Colts believe Kelly will help keep Luck off the ground. Meanwhile, his success should also help push running back Frank Gore over the 1,000-yard rushing mark.
Among all the Indianapolis Colts’ position groups, the offensive line enters the 2016 season under the most scrutiny. For a long time, it has been the weak link of the team. The Colts hope Kelly can be one of the key reasons that trend stops in 2016.