Key Moves: Drafted Jelani Woods with the #73 overall pick and Andrew Ogletree with the #192 pick. Longtime starter Jack Doyle retired.
Depth Chart: Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, Jelani Woods (R), (Andrew Ogletree (R))
Even before Jack Doyle decided to retire (kudos to you Jack. Itwas one hell of a career and you were one of my favourite players this decade), the Colts clearly needed some better weapons at the tight end position. Doyle had failed to surpass 30 catches in 3 of his last 4 years, and was just not a consistent, viable option in the passing game. His ability as a run blocker was also starting to fade.
After him is Mo Alie-Cox, a player that at one point had plenty of potential, and looked like he was ready to take the next step and cement himself as the new Colts’ starting tight end. After catching 13 passes for 177 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first 7 games of the year, MAC faded back into obscurity, catching 11 passes for 139 yards and no scores in the final 10 games. Similar to what was the case with the wide receivers, having Carson Wentz at quarterback certainly did not help their numbers. But the fact that MAC failed to make any sort of impact after what was a promising 2020 season worries me, and with the moves the Colts made at the position, he will have to show major improvements to see meaningful playing time next year.
Kylen Granson looked somewhat solid on what little playing time he got, but nothing is certain with him. He just did not play enough to get a good look at what he can bring right now.
Tight end is one of the hardest positions to learn in the NFL, and the Colts like to run some very complex concepts with the position, which is why I am certainly a bit concerned with the lack of experience and proven production Indy is going with next season.
Rookie Jelani Woods brings a physical element to the position I just cannot recall seeing from a Colts’ tight end. Standing at 6’7’’ while running a 4.61 40-yard dash, and posting some amazing athletic numbers, getting a 10.00 RAS. Woods also brings some excellent blocking to the table, something the Colts greatly value at the position.
Ogletree is an unkown to me. From what I gathered, he did not get a ton of playing time or chances at the position, and the Colts must have valued his upside enough to warrant spending a 6th round pick on him. Ogletree making the roster is a longshot right now, but I have seen stranger things happening.
Overall, this is the Colts’ position group where we have the most uncertainty. We have no idea how well Woods is going to do, and right now it looks like he will most likely be the day one starter. You just never know with rookies. I like the traits, I like the game film, and Frank Reich is really good at getting his tight ends in space, so everything is there for Woods to become a viable receiving option on this team. Banking on MAC to finally take the leap and be productive consistently seems like a long shot, but the addition of Matt Ryan might be enough to at least warrant a spike in production.
Granson will surely see more playing time this season, and Reich certainly likes his small, athletic tight ends to generate mismatches. There is a really high ceiling with this group, if Woods pans out, MAC takes a step forward, and Granson produces some quality touches when he sees the field. But there is also a really low floor, if Woods takes long to adapt to the NFL, MAC continues disappearing for long parts of the season, and Granson just can’t improve over a rookie season where we got just glimpses of what he can do.