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McClendon could crack Colts' starting O-line

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

Things could change quickly once the Colts' OTAs get going, but the way we hear it, the only rookie with a real shot at becoming a starter right away is fourth-round draft pick Jacques McClendon, who is expected to get an opportunity to compete for one of the starting OG jobs. Colts team president Bill Polian has emphasized the need for bigger, stronger offensive linemen since the Colts' ground game came up painfully short in short-yardage situations in the Super Bowl. McClendon, it just so happens, might have been one of the stronger players available in the draft, as evidenced by his 645-pound bench press while at Tennessee.

The Colts' OLG slot is wide open following the release earlier this offseason of 2009 starter Ryan Lilja, who we're told might have had injury issues that led to his exit. Gritty Kyle DeVan returns as the starting right guard, but at 6-2, 306, he is a below-average-sized interior lineman compared to McClendon, who is an inch taller than DeVan and nearly 20 pounds heavier.

"The Colts have had terrific success with mid-round offensive linemen like (starting ORT) Ryan Diem, Rick DeMulling and Jake Scott, and McClendon seems to fill that bill," said one team insider. "He looks like a real smart, thoughtful kid, and he is expected to get every opportunity to start."


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