So, why am I referencing projectile vomiting and Star Wars in a Who the hell will the draft 2008 write-up? Because Maryland's Joey Haynos is a Ben Utecht clone, folks. And I fully believe Bill Polian let Utecht go to Cincy because he intends to draft Haynos late in the draft.
Unlike Draft Tek, I do not think the Colts will draft a TE early. Guys like John Carlson and Dustin Keller are intriguing, but I would seriously lose my sh*t if Polian passed up Matt Forte or Chris Johnson for a TE, especially with a guy like Haynos available in later rounds. When looking for a #2 TE, the Colts are very particular. They are looking for a blocking TE. We've done profiles of Carlson and Kentucky TE Jacob Tamme, but neither of them are excellent blockers (especially Tamme). Haynos is an outstanding position blocker able to overpower lineman and linebackers.
A former walk-on, Haynos decided not to take basketball scholarships and focus solely on playing football. He started out as a lanky, 215 pound guy and after 4 years of college (and numerous hours in the renowned Maryland training facility) Haynos weighs in at 260 pounds, and very little of it is fat. At 6'7, he reminds virtually everyone of Ben Utecht. In fact, NFL.com's Combine analysis compares him directly to Utecht:
Smart, instinctive route-runner who runs crisp patterns, showing the body control to time his moves in the open...Very alert of the sideline and has enough acceleration to separate from the second-level defenders after the catch...Quick breaking off his routes when the quarterback is flushed out of the pocket.
But it is not necessarily Haynos' receiving skills that the Colts are interested in. It is Haynos' blocking that will provide the compliment to Dallas Clark that the Colts need when they go to their base 2 TE package. Dallas Clark is a fine blocker, and in some cases a dominant blocker. But Dallas' skills make a difference in the passing game. We can debate who is better, but it is clear that is that Dallas Clark, Jason Witten, and Antonio Gates are the three best TEs in football right now. However, unlike SD and Dallas, the Colts like to run a base 2 TE package. Sometimes, they switch to a 3 WRs package with Dallas Clark in the slot receiver position rather than down on the line, but most of the time the 2 TE is the base offensive package.
In the 2 TE, an important key is having a good blocking TE. For years, Ken Dilger filled this role until he retired in 2002. After Dilger, the Colts experimented with guys like Joe Dean Davenport until they finally settled on Ben Utecht, who manned the #2 TE spot for four years. The #2 TE is key because the Colts like to run the stretch run play (and other running plays) towards the stronger blocking TE. Since the Colts do not use a fullback (unless neat the goal line or short yardage), the #2 TE is responsible for blasting linemen and LBers off the line and sealing blocks to allow the RBs to get past the front line and into the second level. Haynos excels at doing exactly this:
He struggles some to gain leverage blocking in-line due to his size, but compensates with a strong hand punch and good hand placement.