Colts sign rookie guard Braden Smith; one more draft pick to go
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Then there was one.
The Indianapolis Colts whittled their list of unsigned draft picks to one after signing guard Braden Smith to his rookie contract Wednesday. Terms were not immediately available, but the second-round pick – 37th overall – was in line for a four-year deal worth approximately $7,193,688 that included a $3.3 million signing bonus under the NFL’s rookie wage scale.
With Smith under contract, the only remaining unsigned draft pick is linebacker Darius Leonard, one of the team’s four-second-round selections.
There was no real urgency to come to terms with Smith or Leonard. The team ended its offseason work June 14 and players report July 25 for the start of training camp at Grand Park in Westfield.
Smith is expected to offer immediate competition, perhaps as the right-side starter. That was the role he held during offseason workouts, including the mandatory minicamp.
He’s also a key component as general manager Chris Ballard used the offseason to greatly upgrade what has been a suspect offensive line. The 6-6, 315-pounder started 41 of 53 games at Auburn.
Three of the projected starters were not with the team a year ago: left guard Quenton Nelson, the sixth-over pick in the draft; right guard Matt Slauson (or Smith) and right tackle Austin Howard.
The Colts anticipate Nelson and Smith providing an interior foundation for the foreseeable future. Each had a solid offseason.
“Quenton, his size and power – even in practice without pads – you can see it,’’ coach Frank Reich said. “Braden, same way. Two big men up front there at the guard position.’’