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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Kevin Hickey

PFF ranks Colts offensive line among elite units

The Indianapolis Colts offensive line seems to have found its identity as a bullying unit once again, and Pro Football Focus placed them among the elites in their latest ranking.

Finalizing the offensive line rankings from the 2023 season, the Colts came in at No. 3 at the end of the campaign. They slotted in right behind the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions while sitting just ahead of the Atlanta Falcons.


Best lineup:
LT Bernhard Raimann
LG Quenton Nelson
C Ryan Kelly
RG Will Fries
RT Braden Smith

Injuries to center Ryan Kelly and right tackle Braden Smith weakened this unit, but when the Colts played all five of their starting offensive linemen — like in the first half against the Texans in Week 18 — it was one of the best and most improved front fives in the NFL.

The Colts’ offensive line allowed just 15 sacks all season, the third fewest in the NFL.

Best player: Bernhard Raimann
Raimann was one of the breakout players of the 2023 NFL season, ranking fifth among left tackles in PFF overall grade (82.3).

After a few seasons of mediocre to poor play from the offensive line, the unit stepped it up big time during the first season under head coach Shane Steichen and new offensive line coach Tony Sparano Jr.

The latter deserves a lot of credit for turning the unit around from where they were just one year ago, and it helps that Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly found their forms as tone setters on the interior.

Though the starting unit only played a handful of games together due to injuries, they were stellar when they were on the field at the same time.

The breakout campaign from Bernhard Raimann proved the Colts may have a cornerstone piece at left tackle for the next handful of seasons while right tackle Braden Smith was a strong option despite an extensively injured season.

At right guard, Will Fries proved worthy of being a starting option. He may not have blown the doors off the opposition, but he certainly provided the Colts with enough value to be trusted upon at right guard.

Adding depth to the unit is the main priority considering the starting five will return in 2024 so there’s a solid chance they will be able to build upon the foundation they set in 2023.

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