One cannot talk about tight end Jelani Woods without mentioning his off-the-charts athleticism. The Relative Athletic Score proves it, he is the most athletic tight end prospect ever. We are talking about a 6’7’’ guy that runs a 4.6 forty, with elite vertical jump, acceleration, and agility. On top of that, Woods showed some solid understanding of routes and sweet spots last year on what limited playing time he got. Jelani finished his rookie season with 25 receptions for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns. 2 of those came against the Chiefs in the Colts’ best game of the season including the eventual game-winner.
JELANI WOODS WITH HIS 2nd TD of his career. (Oh and his 2nd TD today) pic.twitter.com/TubQnVU1mQ— Colts Coverage (@Colts_Coverage) September 25, 2022
The learning curve for tight ends is a rather steep one, as they usually take some time to get adjusted to the nuances of the position in the NFL, so there was not much expectation for Woods’ rookie season, especially once it was evident that the Colts’ offense was not going to be good, but rather among the worst in recent memory. Now with a new head coach that likes to get the tight ends involved, a dynamic playmaker at quarterback, and hopefully an elite running back to force opposing defenses to focus on stopping the running game, I have big expectations for Jelani Woods to have a big leap in production this season. He will be 25 once the season starts so its not like he has a ton of time to make that jump either.
The fundamentals for Jelani Woods’ breakout are first of all based on the jump tight ends tend to make in their sophomore year (T.J. Hockenson, Cole Kmet, Mark Andrews, George Kittle), coupled with a functional offense, stability at the quarterback position, and an offensive minded head coach. My expectations for it are somewhere along the lines of a 60-750-7 line to finish the season, but most important of all I would like to see him take over the starting spot for the entire season and lock up the #1 tight end spot for the future.