Colts New Offensive Tackle Austin Howard Could Be 2018 Starting Right Tackle
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INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Ballard regrets the lack of attention he gave the offensive line during the 2017 offseason.
He’s certainly not doing that again in 2018.
Ballard’s latest move to try and improve the poor offensive line came on Wednesday with the Colts signing veteran offensive tackles Austin Howard to a one-year deal.
In Howard, the Colts are getting an 8-year vet who has 88 career starts (92 career games played). Howard was Baltimore’s starting right tackle for all 16 games last season.
Howard, who is 6-7 and 330 pounds, has bounced around 4 NFL teams since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2010.
While Howard also has experience at right guard and left tackle, the right tackle position is where he has played the vast majority of his snaps.
And right tackle is also the biggest position of need for the Colts’ current line situation.
With drafting Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith, the Colts appear to have found their two starters at guard for 2018, and beyond.
Given Howard’s experience, he’s probably the early favorite to start at right tackle for the Colts this season. At 31 years old, Howard can't be viewed as a long-term fix at right tackle.
Last year, the Colts had 2 different starters at right tackle (Joe Haeg and Denzelle Good). Those 2, along with Le’Raven Clark (3 career starts at right tackle), are other right tackle options as the Colts continue with their offseason program.
Given the resumes of the projected starting 5 up front and the trench depth of the Colts in 2018, this is shaping up to be arguably the ‘best’ unit Andrew Luck has played behind in his career.
Signing Howard comes after the big tackle was released by the Ravens in March. Baltimore had originally inked Howard to a 3-year deal in August of 2017. According to Pro Football Focus, Howard was the 36th ranked tackle last season.
Howard does have experience with Colts offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo. The two were together with the Jets in 2012.