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Under-the-Radar Move Tight Ends for the Colts to target in the Draft

How can the Colts add a playmaker at TE in the draft?

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Southern Methodist Tim Flores-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts appear to be heading into the 2021 NFL Draft with quite a few needs on their roster. Along with needing starters at defensive end and left tackle, there are a lot of positions that could use quality depth. One of those positions that needs to be filled in some capacity this offseason is the move tight end spot.

A move tight end is the traditional receiving tight end in an offense like the Colts. While the Colts prefer their tight ends to be impact players in both the run and pass game, they could use an explosive receiving tight end to add that element back to their offense. The last time they had a true move tight end was with Eric Ebron back in 2018, and that worked out pretty well in this offense.

Since Chris Ballard has never been known to draft tight ends, I struggle to see him taking one before day three of the draft. However, I could see him snagging a contributor on day three to fill this role. With that being said, here are a few day three move tight ends that could intrigue the Colts come draft day.

Hunter Long, TE, Boston College

NCAA Football: Boston College at Duke Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Starting with the best prospect on this list, Hunter Long could be a player who doesn’t even last to day three. After a solid first two years with the Golden Eagles, Long broke out in 2020, as he hauled in 57 receptions for 685 yards and 5 touchdowns. For his career season this past year, he was given All-ACC First Team honors and was invited to the Senior Bowl (which we know Chris Ballard loves).

Long is a perfect fit for the Colts’ offense on film. He may not be an elite athlete or a vertical threat, but he wins in so many ways. He is an excellent route runner with the ability to use his quickness or his size to separate against man coverage. He is at his best in the short and intermediate part of the field, which is an area where the Colts rely on their tight ends. He is also a solid blocker with reliable hands in traffic. He may not be a flashy prospect but he is a dependable receiver who knows how to get open. I could see him being a very productive player in the Colts’ offense.

Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Sticking with Senior Bowl tight ends, Ole Miss tight end Kenny Yeboah is vastly different from Hunter Long. After serving as more of a traditional tight end during his first four years at Ole Miss, he was unleashed in 2020 under Lane Kiffin. He finished the year with 27 catches for 524 yards (19.4 yards per catch) and 6 touchdowns. He received All-SEC Third Team honors for his breakout senior season.

Yeboah is far from a finished product but his ceiling is sky high. He may not be as elite of an athlete as his stats suggest, but he has excellent size and length at 6’4” 240 pounds and is a long strider who is deceptively fast for his stature. He isn’t a great separator with his route running but he does a great job of using his frame to box out and overpower defenders in space. He also can create a bit after the catch which is huge in the Colts’ offense. He may have to be schemed open early in his career but I love the baseline abilities he could bring to the Colts’ offense.

Kylen Granson, TE, SMU

NCAA Football: Tulane at Southern Methodist Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

An excellent day three tight end option for the Colts’ style of offense would be Kylen Granson out of SMU. Granson enjoyed a very productive college career after he transferred to SMU, as he totaled 78 catches for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns over his last two seasons. He received First Team All-ACC honors for his senior season and, also, participated in the Senior Bowl this offseason.

Granson is a bit smaller than most tight ends, just 6’1” 235 pounds, but he makes up for that by having excellent athleticism. He is a sudden and quick tight end who tested as an excellent athlete at his Pro Day (6.93 three cone for a tight end is insane). He can run any route asked of him at a high level and gets easy separation in a variety of ways. He may never be a complete tight end due to his size but the Colts could easily use him as a pure move tight end and use his skill set in the receiving game. To me, he is a more explosive and fast Trey Burton, which would be an incredible addition to this offense.

Jacob Harris, WR/TE, UCF

NCAA Football: Boca Raton Bowl-Central Florida at Brigham Young Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

This last one is cheating a little bit, but it does make some sense with context. Dane Brugler of The Athletic released his draft guide today and mentioned that some teams see Jacob Harris as a tight end at the next level. If he does make that conversion, it would be super intriguing given the level of athlete he is. Harris enjoyed a solid career at UCF as a receiver, as he totaled 49 catches for 987 yards and 9 touchdowns in his career.

The real intrigue with Harris this offseason comes from his insane Pro Day, where he came in at 6’5” 219 pounds and ran a 4.43 forty yard dash. On top of that, he had a vertical jump of 40.5 inches, a three cone of 6.51 seconds, and a broad jump of 133 inches. With his size and athleticism, he looks like another Darren Waller on paper. While he does have a ways to go to be that level in the NFL, it makes for an interesting projection. On film, he is explosive down the field and separates with ease due to his athleticism. If the Colts do draft him and transition him to tight end, his potential in this offense could be insanely high.

Other Interesting Options

  • Sammis Reyes, International: Reyes is a college basketball player (who came over to America from Chile) who is making the transition to football. The intrigue with him is at his Pro Day, he tested as a 100th percentile TE in the last 20+ years. So, he’s a freak athlete to potentially work with.
  • Zach Davidson, Central Missouri: One of the more interesting draft stories as Davidson went from punter to the best tight end in Division II football. Has excellent size (6’7” 245 pounds), tested like an elite athlete, and had a great Hula Bowl this offseason.
  • Shaun Beyer, Iowa: Pegged as a blocking TE at run heavy Iowa, Beyer showed soft hands as a receiver and has the athleticism to really develop into something in the NFL.
  • Quintin Morris, Bowling Green: Senior Bowl tight end who had a productive college career. Natural receiver who understand the nuances of how to separate from defenders.
  • Noah Gray, Duke: Underutilized at Duke, Gray always looked like he was capable of more in college. Could excel with an expanded role in the NFL.