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Colts may actually downgrade at center with incumbent starter likely to return

Ryan Kelly was picked by the Colts with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Alabama. As a rookie, the center played 1,018 snaps (92.6 percent) for Indianapolis.

And while he didn't have a spectacular debut season in the NFL — his -1.3 overall Pro Football Focus grade placed him at No. 22 out of 37 qualifiers at his position — the Colts are certainly not ready to give up on their second-year lineman.

Due to injuries this season, Kelly has played 394 snaps en route to a -14.1 grade, the 28th-best grade out of 36 centers. He's allowed 11 quarterback pressures (two hits, nine hurries) on 244 pass-blocking snaps.

Indianapolis may actually be downgrading the play of its center position this Sunday, with Kelly looking likely to return to the field after missing Week 13 with a concussion.

Kelly's replacement, Mike Person, has done stellar work at center in 2017, which culminated against Jacksonville's stout defensive line.

His performance in Week 13 may have been a slight aberration — as his +3.9 overall PFF grade was by far the highest of his career — but on 137 snaps this season, he's received a +2.1 PFF grade. He's surrendered two quarterback pressures (two hurries) on 94 pass-blocking snaps.

Kelly was a full participant in practice Thursday after being labeled as limited on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Person has been shelved with an ankle injury and has yet to practice this week.

If Kelly's on the field against the Bills, PFF's grading system would suggest Buffalo may face a less effective pivot man in Week 14.

(Grades and stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus.)

Colts practicing outside to prepare for Sunday's weather

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