When we talk about the center position in the NFL, Colts fans immediately think of longtime Colts center Jeff Saturday. He and Peyton Manning went hand in hand in the Colts offensive success during the Manning era. Their history was so evident that during the 2012 Pro Bowl, Saturday took a snap with the AFC (he was with the Packers then), and his final snap would be to Manning.
One could say, “Well, Jeff Saturday is easily the greatest center the Colts have ever had.” This may be true, however that is not the case in terms of being drafted in the NFL.
Why you ask?
Because Jeff Saturday went undrafted!
Beyond that, I have tallied up the short list of centers the Colts have drafted during their history and came up with the top 3 centers the Colts have drafted.
3. Carl Mauck
Mauck was drafted in the 13th round by the Colts in the 1969 draft. He would go on to become a starter with the Chargers and the Oilers to round out his career. He didn’t play much for the Colts in his rookie season yet would be a consistent center later on. The Colts missed out on a player that may not have been a Pro Bowler, but a healthy option in the trenches.
2. Dick Szymanski
Better known as the center for Johnny Unitas, Szymanski would have a stellar career with the Colts after being drafted in the 2nd round. He would go to three Pro Bowls and appear in three NFL Championships. He would also do double duty and play Middle Linebacker in the beginning of his NFL career as a Colt. Talk about an iron man on the field.
1. Ray Donaldson
Also selected in the second round, Donaldson would be a mainstay for the Colts at the center position for the better part of a decade. He is also considered the first African American to play the center in the NFL. He would go to six Pro Bowls as well as becoming a Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys in 1995.
The Colts center options the last two years have been abysmal with Samson Satele criminally underperforming and Khaled Holmes still not ready for the role. With the second largest cap space in the NFL for free agency, the Colts may very well set a long term deal for a center to help protect the franchise, Andrew Luck.