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Colts TE Drew Ogletree Ascending Rapidly in Colts Camp

The sixth-round rookie has impressed the first couple of weeks of training camp and is looking to carve out a role sooner than many thought.

When looking at the tight end group of the Indianapolis Colts, one word comes to mind: Size.

Veteran Mo Alie-Cox stands at 6’5”, 267 pounds with 11.75-inch hands, tied for the biggest on the team with defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. Rookie third-round pick Jelani Woods is even bigger at 6’7” and 253 pounds with the speed to run a 4.61 40-yard dash. The smallest tight end on the Colts’ roster is Kylen Granson, and even he is 6’2” and 241 pounds.

The size that the tight end group has creates obvious mismatches down the field. Linebackers and safeties have a tough time trying to guard players of that size, especially when they possess the athletic traits this group has.

Now combine that size with a player who has experience playing wide receiver, and you are looking at a true offensive threat. Meet Drew Ogletree, the 6’5”, 260-pound rookie tight end who spent his first four years of college playing wide receiver.

“It’s really only my second year playing tight end,” Ogletree admitted after practice on Thursday.

It certainly does not look like it. Coming into camp, it was thought from the outside that Ogletree would have a shot to make the team, but he would have to prove that he belonged as a sixth-round pick. He was not a guarantee to make the roster.

But as the practices tick off and the intensity ramps up during camp, Ogletree is playing his way into a lock to make the Colts’ 53-man roster. Ogletree has been impressive throughout the first two weeks of training camp, both in the passing game and when asked to block in the running game.

“(Ogletree) is moving up (the depth chart),” offensive coordinator Marcus Brady admitted. “I mean you can see he’s making play after play.”

Drew Ogletree (85) runs drills with team mates during the Indianapolis Colts mandatory mini training camp on Wednesday, May 8, 2022, at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in Indianapolis.

Ogletree’s athleticism stands out on the field. Not only does he have the size to be a mismatch, but his skills as a receiver allow him to be savvier and more fluid down the field. His skills as a receiver have not diminished as he has bulked up to play tight end.

“Switching from receiver to tight end, I was always a big receiver,” Ogletree said. “I weighed about 225-230. I was always bigger than the DBs, and now that I way 260-plus, it’s a real advantage for me and a disadvantage for them because I’ve got the size, I say I’ve got some speed and I can jump. I mean, put them all together, you have a pretty good player.”

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The rookie does not lack confidence in himself. It does not matter that he is a sixth-round pick from a small school in Youngstown State. Ogletree believes in his ability, and the flashes he has made in camp only continue to boost his confidence.

“Just coming in day in and day out, doing my job. If you make a play, you make a play, but just trying to work on your fundamentals and technique throughout everything. That’s what it’s all about here.”

Ogletree had the play of training camp so far on Thursday. In 7-on-7 work, Ogletree was in with the starters when quarterback Matt Ryan rifled a pass over the middle of the field in the rookie’s direction. Ogletree twisted in mid-air and snagged the pass one-handed, holding onto the ball as he hit the ground for the touchdown. The crowd at Grand Park went wild as his teammates swarmed him after the circus catch.

“I kind of saw the linebackers split, and once I saw that, I knew I was going to get the ball,” Ogletree explained. “I knew Matt was going to put it up high. I didn’t know what side he was going to throw it on. I just threw my hand up and made a play.”

Internally, the Colts really like what Ogletree can bring to this team. His size and athleticism, combined with his receiving ability, can be a weapon for the offense. The only question was how the rookie would handle the transition from a small school to the NFL. So far, they have been very happy with the progress he has made.

“A lot of it is mental,” he said. “Staying in the film room, learning from the vets, especially from Mo. He’s going on his fifth or sixth year now. I am grateful I have a veteran like that and also to have a fellow rookie (Woods) that was drafted with me, so nice competition.”

Much of the hype surrounding the tight end position this spring and summer has been directed towards Woods and what he could bring to this Colts team. While Woods has had his moments where he’s shined in camp, it has been Ogletree who has stolen the show more often than not.

As camp continues, Ogletree is a name to watch moving forward. For a guy that was thought to be on the fringe of making the roster, we may be looking at Ogletree having a solid role in the Colts’ offense when the games begin to matter.

Do you think Ogletree can have an impact on the Colts' offense as a rookie? Let us know in the comments below!


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