Jim Irsay says Colts hope to find starting LT and leave Quenton Nelson at LG
Quenton Nelson became one of the top offensive guards in the league the day he played his first game in 2018. The Colts left guard has earned All-Pro honors every year of his career.
The Colts, though, have an opening at left tackle after Anthony Castonzo retired.
Castonzo himself mentioned Nelson as his possible replacement, and the Colts have said moving Nelson is one of the options. Joe Thomas and Kevin Mawae have weighed in on the Nelson-to-left-tackle talk, throwing up a caution sign.
On Wednesday, Colts owner Jim Irsay offered his two cents, which is worth more than two cents since he owns the team.
“The general feeling is that if you can leave Quenton at guard, that would be the ideal thing,” Irsay said on 1070 The Fan’s The JMV Show, via Luke Schultheis of SBNation. “But there’s no question that he can play left tackle in my mind and would play left tackle in my mind if it helps the franchise win more games and be a better football team. I think that’s the way Frank Reich looks at it, and that’s the way Quenton looks at it. ‘I’ll do anything you need if it can help the team be better’. And he’s a selfless guy, and that’s the reason he’s such a great leader and a great person and a great football player.
“But again, ideally, his power, his bend, his explosion inside, his ability to move people in a short space, is so, so rare. Probably only matched by John Hannah and I’ll include Chris Hinton in there. . . . He’s such a rare football player.”
The Colts have Sam Tevi and Julién Davenport on the roster as possible options. Right tackle Braden Smith also could make a move to the other side potentially. The Colts hold the 21st overall selection in next week’s draft, so maybe they get a starting left tackle there or later in the draft.
The bottom line is the Colts would prefer to leave Nelson at left guard, where he is the best in the NFL, rather than moving him to left tackle.
“My gut feeling is that we’ll find a tackle and Quenton will stay put, but it’s really nice to know that you have that option because there’s no doubt in my mind that he can play that [left tackle] position unquestionably,” Irsay said. “But I think at guard, he’s one of the top-five offensive linemen in the history of the game, and at tackle, he would be great but not quite to that level because guard just suits his play so well.”