New Colts head coach Frank Reich has a history of using multiple tight ends in his offenses, and Indianapolis’ roster is suited to play with more than one tight end on the field this season. General manager Chris Ballard picked up Eric Ebron in free agency to go along with the talented group of tight ends the Colts already had.
The tight end depth chart opens up behind Ebron and Jack Doyle, who own the top two spots. Ross Travis is hoping to be the third tight end in Reich’s offense, a role Brent Celek excelled in while Reich was with the Eagles.
Travis is an extremely raw athlete as his rookie year in the NFL was his first season playing football since his freshman year of high school. Travis was a standout basketball player at Penn State, which encouraged the Chiefs to pick him up as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Chris Ballard was a member of that Kansas City front office when they signed Travis, so Ballard probably buys into Travis’ potential more than just about anyone else.
The Colts picked Travis up after he was waived by the Chiefs in late November last season, and he caught two passes for 33 yards during his five-game run in Indianapolis.
Travis will compete with two other former college basketball players (Erik Swoope and Mo Alie-Cox) for that third spot on the tight end depth chart. Swoope is coming off of a season-long knee injury and Alie-Cox is even more raw than Travis is.
Travis will likely need to win that third tight end job to be guaranteed a spot on the 53-man roster this year. If he does, I could see Chris Ballard being awed by his potential and offering him a contract extension following the season.