2023 will be the start of a new era for the Indianapolis Colts. Shane Steichen, who was the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles the last two seasons, has taken over as Indianapolis’ head coach.
Steichen will have his work cut out for him to get this offense on track. The team signed Gardner Minshew, who has been with Steichen on the Eagles the last two seasons, but it is widely expected that they will add a rookie to the mix with their first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
If the Colts want whoever is under center this season to succeed, there is still some work left to do on the offensive side of the ball. Another skill position player could be used as the only addition the team made was signing Isaiah McKenzie while Parris Campbell went to the New York Giants.
But, arguably their biggest need offensively, is shoring up the line. After having one of the best offensive line units in the NFL, things have deteriorated over the last two seasons. Part of that is having immobile quarterbacks under center, but the line’s performance fell off.
Finding capable starters in the second and third wave of free agency isn’t always easy, but luckily for the Colts, some remain. One of them is Donovan Smith, who Bill Barnwell of ESPN believes is the best fit for Indianapolis remaining in free agency.
The Colts went with rookie Bernhard Raimann at left tackle out of desperation and the results weren’t great. He was considered more of a project when the team selected him in the third round of the draft, so they did him no favors by throwing him into the fire early on.
Bringing Smith on would give the Colts someone that could push Raimann and hopefully help him develop. If he ends up needing some more time to figure things out, Smith can step into the starting lineup as a capable stopgap option at left tackle.
Sure, there are some underwhelming parts of Smith’s game, as he commits too many penalties, but having a veteran swing tackle is very important. One that can play left tackle, even if it is a low-end option, is still better than what virtually every team has in that spot.
If you were good enough to protect Tom Brady’s blindside for the past three seasons, and have been a starter for the last eight with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you will find yourself a job. For Smith, the Colts could present him with a good opportunity.