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Colts' 2022 NFL Draft Primer: Tight End

The Colts' NFL Draft Primer series continues with the next position group of focus. Which tight ends in this class fit the Indianapolis Colts?

As much as it pains me to say, the Indianapolis Colts are officially in draft season. The 2021 season is in the books and it is time to start looking at prospects in this upcoming class.

Last week, I wrote all about the wide receivers that could fit this team in every shape and size. Today, I am jumping to the next positional group on the docket; tight end.

Tight end is an interesting position of need this offseason. With veteran Jack Doyle contemplating retirement and longtime backup Mo Alie-Cox hitting free agency, the Colts could be very slim at a position that is prevalent in their offense.

Personally, I think it is unlikely that both players are back for the 2022 season. With that in mind, the Colts are going to need to add at least two new players to this position group prior to next season.

In today's draft primer, I look at a few different tight end molds that could interest the Colts in the 2022 NFL Draft class.

Receiving Tight End

Grant Calcaterra, SMU (6'5" 247 pounds)

One of the best redemption stories in all of college football this past year was Grant Calcaterra. He started his career at Oklahoma, where he garnered a good bit of NFL hype in his three years at the school. He decided to ultimately retire from football during the 2019 season due to concussions.

He announced his return, however, late in 2020 and decided to finish his career at SMU. He totaled 38 receptions for 465 yards and four touchdowns in his return to football. Calcaterra is a perfect move tight end in today's game and will have an opportunity to stand out at the Senior Bowl in a few weeks.

Charlie Kolar, Iowa State (6'6" 260 pounds)

Kolar enters this year's draft class as one of the most productive tight ends in college football over the past three years. He has been a consistent threat for the Iowa State Cyclones for years, and capped it off with 62 receptions for 756 yards and six touchdowns in his final season.

Kolar isn't overly fast or explosive, but he is a smooth route runner that knows how to get open. He won't be a number one tight end in the league, but could be the perfect sub player to have on a pass heavy offense.

Cole Turner, Nevada (6'6" 240 pounds)

Despite playing at Nevada, Turner has gained quite a bit of traction in this draft process. He finished his senior season with 62 receptions for 677 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 19 touchdowns over his final two years were a major boost to his team's success.

Turner, like Kolar, isn't the most explosive tight end, but he offers great size for the position. He excels in contested catch situations and is an incredible asset to have in the redzone. He would be perfect for how the Colts use their tight ends, especially if he continues to improve at finding open space against zone coverage.

Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M (6'5" 255 pounds)

Arguably the top tight end in the class, Wydermyer has just about everything that is needed to play tight end in the NFL. He was productive in every single season of his college career, and finished it off with an impressive 40 catches for 515 yards and four touchdowns in his final season.

Wydermyer can definitely stand to improve on his blocking, but he has it all as a pass catcher. He is a smooth player that can go up and make plays in contested situations. He is also a very good athlete that should test well. I fully expect him to be the top tight end taken in this class.

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Blocking Tight End

Cade Otton, Washington (6'5" 250 pounds)

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While the two names in this section of the list may not be super flashy, the Colts could use a new blocking tight end if Jack Doyle does retire. Otton is likely the best this class has to offer in this category.

He has excellent size, and his willingness to block is always on display. He has the Doyle-way about him where he always has great leverage and technique when kicking out bigger defenders. He may not add much in the pass game, but Otton would be a great TE3 for the Colts.

Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin (6'5" 244 pounds)

If the Colts are looking for a direct Doyle replacement, stylistically, that would have to be Jake Ferguson. He is an excellent blocker that has great hands in traffic. He also wears the same number as Doyle!

If the Colts were to take Ferguson, he would likely be able to slot right into Doyle's role on day one. He is excellent at attacking underneath zones and is a powerful runner after the catch.

Do-It-All Tight End

Chase Allen, Iowa State (6'7" 250 pounds)

While he is a bit of an older tight end in this class, Allen can fill multiple roles on an offense. As the running mate for Kolar above, he wasn't able to be as productive in his college career. He finished this past season with 26 receptions for 284 yards and two touchdowns.

The appeal of Allen is that he's a great blocker that has shown enough flashes as a pass catcher to project it to the NFL. He was overshadowed in college, but he should be able to produce at a higher clip in the NFL with more opportunities.

Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State (6'5" 250 pounds)

One of the top tight ends in this draft, Ruckertt put together an impressive college career. He finished this past year with 26 receptions for 309 yards and three receptions as Ohio State's fourth option in the passing game.

Ruckert literally did everything for the Buckeyes. He lined up all over the formation and was a major part of the team's rushing attack. In the passing game, he was a silky smooth underneath option that produced when targeted. He is another player that should have a much better NFL career than college career.

Trey McBride, Colorado State (6'4" 260 pounds)

The breakout star of the tight end class is Trey McBride. His 1,017 yards receiving in 2021 nearly eclipsed his career total up to that point. He became the number one receiver for the Rams, and opposing defenses still couldn't stop him.

McBride is probably the best overall pass catcher among all tight ends in this class. He is quick and decisive out of his breaks and can go up and make plays if need be. As a blocker, he gives excellent effort to be a plus player in this regard. In a solid tight end class, McBride has a chance to establish himself as the top guy at the Senior Bowl later this month.

Final Thoughts

The Colts' offense lives and dies by the tight end position. It is an extremely vital position in the run game and the main underneath option in the passing attack. With it being so important, potentially having two holes at this spot is not ideal.

If the Colts have to replace Jack Doyle and/or Mo Alie-Cox this offseason, they can attack that spot in multiple ways. I can definitely see the team signing a veteran free agent (Zach Ertz?) and grabbing another player in the draft.

Whatever the Colts do at this spot, we at least know for certain that the team will be adding a tight end in some capacity this offseason.


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