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Could the Colts draft a tight end in the first round?

The most common outcome predicted for the Colts #26 pick is either a defensive lineman or a receiver, but there is a different route.

Wisconsin v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Iowa tight ends T.J Hockenson and Noah Fant are among the best tight end prospects in recent memory. Hockenson is a complete player who can make a huge impact on offense right away. He can run, catch, and block, and he even has some room to improve.

Fant is his more athletic counterpart. While his technique, route-running and blocking skills are not nearly as refined, Fant offers the higher ceiling due to his insane athleticism.

Where do the Colts, seemingly set at tight end with Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle, fit here? Well, the team could shake things up a bit and go a bit unconventional. This might seem like a big reach, but perhaps the Colts should consider the possibility of moving Eric Ebron to wide receiver and drafting Hockenson or Fant.

Now, this a draft scenario where everything goes wrong for the Colts: The cluster of 8 players Ballard mentioned is gone, and one of the two top tight ends slides right into the Colts at #26. Ballard could consider trading down, but the market for a late first rounder is not particularly hot, and the return could easily not be worth it. A player the caliber of Hockenson or Fant, however, would transform the offense.

In order for this wild scenario to happen, either Hockenson or Fant would have to slide down to #26, which is a real possibility, considering how undervalued the tight end position is, and the general unpredictability of the draft. Additionally, the Colts would have to feel comfortable sliding Eric Ebron over to wide receiver.

Ebron has the ability to play slot receiver, and could also make it as an outside receiver. He is a polished route-runner with incredible speed and route-running ability, and his hands have only improved with a quarterback like Andrew Luck throwing the ball to him. Ebron’s main area of struggle as a tight end has always been his blocking ability. Moving him to wide receiver would reduce the need to depend on him for blocking.

If the Colts feel confident in Ebron successfully converting into a solid receiver, then that paves the way for Hockenson or Fant to become the starting tight end for the Colts, and with Jack Doyle returning from injury, the Colts would have plenty of weapons on offense. The risk with drafting either Fant or Hockenson is much smaller than that of drafting a receiver like Marquise Brown, Kelvin Harmon, or N’Keal Harry, and the results could be much better.

Hockenson would give the Colts the perfect modern day tight end. He would instantly be the most complete weapon Luck ever had at his disposal, and would also help the Colts open up lanes in the running game. His versatility would also open up a lot of possibilities for the offense.

Noah Fant would give the Colts a big vertical threat with explosive athleticism and the ability to take the top off defenses. He would instantly be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, and also serve as the Colts best redzone threat.

Overall, drafting a tight end in the first round can seem literally insane, but the draft is always chaos, and the Colts might surprise everyone and go with the unexpected pick.


If Hockenson and Fant fall to #26, who would you prefer?

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