Indianapolis Colts team needs: Fixing the offensive line

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts surprised many with a trip to the playoffs in 2012, but they are only one year removed from a massive rebuild.

Just one season after finishing with the NFL's worst record, the Indianapolis Colts surprised many with an 11-5 season in 2012, led by rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. The first overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, Luck finished the season with the most yardage ever for a rookie passer, accumulating 4,374 passing yards and 23 touchdowns.

One year after a huge rebuild during the 2012 offseason, the future looks bright for the Colts with Luck at the helm, but there is certainly still building to be done and holes to fill.

Biggest need: Offensive line

Thanks to the services of Luck, the Colts rebounded from the third-fewest yards gained in 2011 to Top 10 in the category in 2012. However, Luck was sacked 41 times, and the Colts running game ranked No. 26 in the NFL in yards per rushing attempt.

While Anthony Castonzo emerged as a strong left tackle for the team, right tackle Winston Justice was just okay and is set to reach free agency if the Colts don't re-sign him soon. Where the Colts were especially bad, though, was along the interior offensive line where the guards really struggled.

Brad Wells of SB Nation's Colts blog, Stampede Blue, agrees that it's a position that must be addressed:

The interior of the line was garbage in '12, and if Hamilton is wanting to utilize the power-running that was so successful for him at Stanford, Ryan Grigson must get him bigger, better interior guards.

Other needs: Outside linebacker, cornerback, defensive line

Just one season after finishing with one of the worst defenses in the NFL and a 2-14 record, the Colts made plenty of defensive changes, including a switch to a 3-4 scheme. Several free agents were brought in to fill the gaps in the defense, and they helped the team finish with a better defense than in the season prior. However, there is plenty of work to be done on a Colts defense that finished on the wrong side of the league average.

Dwight Freeney was released back in February, leaving a hole in the pass rush. His cap hit at the age of 33 was too large for the Colts to take on going forward. They attempted to make the switch by moving each of their undersized 4-3 defensive ends, Freeney and Robert Mathis, to outside linebacker. Mathis is aging as well. Indianapolis needs a rejuvenation in this area.

That's not the only position where the Colts could use help, as most of the defense could use upgrades, but the defensive line and cornerback positions are two that would make the most sense in the offseason.

NFL Draft outlook: Colts will pick near the end of each round

After a surprisingly successful, 11-5 season, the Colts are near the end of the draft order and will have the No. 24 pick in the first round.

In the latest mock draft SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn, the Colts are projected to address their need at safety by taking FIU's Jonathan Cyprien:

The Colts need to bolster the secondary in the 2013 NFL Draft. The team has plenty of young talent on the offensive side of the ball but has a tough time preventing big plays in the passing game. Jonathan Cyprien fits the value at this spot and fills a need.

Salary cap situation: Colts have plenty of cap room.

The Colts have more than $43 million in cap space, according to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN, after they cleared out several huge contracts by releasing several marquee players during the 2012 offseason. With more than $40 million in space during the 2013 offseason, the Colts will have plenty of options.

With such a large amount of space, the Colts likely won't have to worry about the large cap hits that will come from the contracts of veterans like Robert Mathis and Reggie Wayne.

More in the NFL:

NFL Mock Draft: New names rising in first round

Uffsides: Von Miller talks with SB Nation

Ranking the NFL's top offensive free agents

Joe Flacco and the history of $100 million contracts

The NFL's disappearing middle class

NFL news roundup: Roger Goodell terrified, Shawne Merriman retires and the latest on free agency

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.