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Colts Positional Review: Tight Ends

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Another spot with everyone under contract for next year. Clark is coming off a breakthrough season, earning not just his first Pro Bowl, but an All-Pro nod as well. Behind Clark everyone is under contract, but remain question marks. Gijon Robinson still had a role in the offense, but the 2 TE set seems less effective than ever. Tom Santi again showed flashes before landing on IR, and Jacob Tamme has been locked into a special teams/backup Clark role.

Dallas Clark

Clark was on pace at midseason for the most productive TE season ever. His pace slipped in the 2nd half to end with a mere 100 catches, 1,106 yards and 10 TDs. With 18 receptions for 180 yards this postseason Clark broke the NFL records for career receptions and yards for a TE in the postseason with 64 for 847 in 12 games (Clark averages more yards per game in the playoffs than in any year of his career and has only 1 season better than his postseason averages in yards per reception and receptions per game. Where's his media rubdown?). Clark turned 30 before the season, but went on to have his most productive year ever and play in all 16 games for the first time in his career. Dallas is signed long term and seems to be reaching his peak, rather than beginning decline, at 30.

Gijon Robinson

Robinson was a non-factor in the receiving game with more starts (10) than receptions (9). He played nearly 300 snaps in 13 games, primarily as a blocker, where he didn't exactly excel. PFF rated Gijon's blocking performance significantly below average. The play that sticks out most in my mind from Gijon this past season was an attempted short yardage run behind Robinson's side that ended with Gijon on his back 2-3 yards behind the line of scrimmage as the run was stopped short. Robinson needs to block much better to hang around as a player without great receiving skills.

Tom Santi

Santi played a fraction of the time that Gijon did (70 snaps to Gijon's 293), but was far more involved in the passing game when he was in, with 50 more receiving yards on one less catch. PFF wasn't at all a fan of his blocking. From my memory (pretty much limited to the Ravens game) he was very inconsistent blocking, with some great run blocks, but a big error in pass pro. Santi appeared in just 3 games last year having started the year on the practice squad, joining the roster in November and going to IR at the start of Janurary. Santi shows promise when he sees the field, but he needs to unseat Gijon and stay healthy before he can be considered an answer for the 2nd TE hole.

Jacob Tamme

Like last year Tamme had a productive preseason then was never heard from again. With the depth at WR Tamme will have a tough time seeing the field while Clark is healthy. Tamme has been limited to special teams duty most of the last two years, with just 6 regular season receptions. Tamme appears to be too much of a duplicate of Clark to play in other roles, and not enough of duplicate of Clark to force the team to put him on the field.

Likelyhood of addition: Moderate

An in-line TE is a definite possibility. The Colts 2 TE set wasn't good enough this year to force teams out of the nickel and dime. A good in-line TE will help the running and passing game, by discouraging teams from playing extra DBs and exploiting them when they do anyway.

Prospects of Interest: Jermaine Gresham, Rob Gronkowski, Anthony McCoy, Tony Moeaki, Garrett Graham, Michael Hoomanawanui, Nate Byham, Jeron Mastrud.