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Colts end long wait by taking Mewhort in NFL draft

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts selected Ohio State offensive lineman Jack Mewhort with their first pick in the NFL draft, taking the 6-foot-6, 309-pounder at No. 59 overall Friday night.

Indianapolis was quiet Thursday after trading its first-round pick to Cleveland in September for running back Trent Richardson. The Colts then had to wait almost two more hours after the draft reconvened before they finally had a chance to choose a player.

General manager Ryan Grigson quickly tried to fill one of his team’s voids along the offensive line.

Mewhort played both guard spots and at left tackle with the Buckeyes and he started at all five positions along the offensive line in high school.

Indianapolis went into the draft looking to improve three primary spots – safety, center and receiver.

Perennial Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne and newly signed Hakeem Nicks are both trying to come back from injuries. Third-year player T.Y. Hilton has played well, and youngsters LaVon Brazill and Da’Rick Rogers both made contributions late last season. But with Wayne in the final year of his contract and trying to come back from ACL surgery at age 35, the Colts could have gone after his eventual successor.

Instead, Grigson, an ex-lineman, decided protecting his biggest investment – Andrew Luck – was the top priority.

Mewhort could fit anywhere. Considered one of the best recruits in the nation at center, he played both guard spots at Ohio State before moving to left tackle in 2012 – and even continued to take snaps in case there was an emergency at center.

The Ohio native insists he can play anywhere the Colts want him.

“I played left tackle at Ohio State, I went to the Senior Bowl at right tackle and guard, so I’m confident I can go in and be competitive at any place,” he told reporters on a conference call.

Indianapolis had one more pick left Friday, No. 90 overall in the third round, and three more picks Saturday.

Team owner Jim Irsay is back in the mix after his March arrest near his suburban Indianapolis home on preliminary charges of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. Irsay began posting messages on Twitter on Thursday night and an NFL Network camera in the Colts’ draft war room showed Irsay in the middle of the picture.