It might not be flashy on paper and on film, but the Indianapolis Colts' tight end duo of Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox is one of the better duos in all the NFL.
Pro Football Focus's Ben Linsley seems to have a similar stance on the Colts' duo, ranking the two veterans inside his top 32 tight ends ranking Wednesday.
Though Doyle and Alie-Cox are both near the bottom of the rankings, it's worth noting that they're both inside the top 32, considering just five other clubs had at least two tight ends inside the top 32. Tampa Bay's trio of Rob Gronkowski, OJ Howard, and Cameron Brate were the lone trio of tight ends from the same team in the rankings.
For the Colts, it was a bit surprising to see Alie-Cox first in the rankings out of the two Indy tight ends, cracking the rankings at No. 22 overall, just ahead of Tampa Bay's Howard at No. 23.
Here's what Linsley had to say about Alie-Cox and his ranking:
Alie-Cox did enough last season as part of the Colts tight end rotation to want to see him in a larger role in 2021. His 80.9 PFF grade was a top-five mark at the position on just over 500 snaps on the year. Alie-Cox contributed as both a receiver (2.07 yards per route run) and blocker (79th percentile in positively graded run blocks). He just needs to show similar play in a bigger role again in 2021 to move up the list.
This feels as though Linsley is counting on Alie-Cox becoming the true No. 1 tight end in Indianapolis this season. While that's certainly not out of the question whatsoever, I think it's a bit premature to think that could happen this season, especially with Carson Wentz in the mix.
However, should Alie-Cox continue to develop as a receiving option and take his blocking to another level, we could see the former basketball star at VCU step into a starring role in Indianapolis.
Two spots behind Alie-Cox, Doyle cracked the list at No. 24, slotting just ahead of division foes Anthony Firkser of Tennessee (No. 28) and Houston's Jordan Akins (No. 29).
Here's what Linsley had to say about Doyle:
Doyle led the Colts’ three-headed attack at tight end in snaps (596) last season, edging out Alie-Cox and Trey Burton. He falls into the bucket of steady yet unexciting players at the position. Doyle has graded between 69.2 and 75.1 in each of the past seven seasons for Indianapolis. He, along with Alie-Cox, give first-year quarterback Carson Wentz another nice one-two punch at tight end, even if it isn’t quite on par with Ertz and Goedert.
Doyle is coming off of a below-average 2020, in which he hauled in just 23 passes and three touchdowns, struggling to fully carve out a role with Philip Rivers under center.
That shouldn't be the case in 2021 with Wentz in the fold. Though Doyle is not on pair with Wentz's previous tight ends in Philadelphia, he's a savvy route runner that finds the soft spot in the defense and has reliable hands.
I think Doyle is in for a big bounce-back season and should climb this TE rankings list significantly ahead of the 2022 season.
Have thoughts on the placement of Alie-Cox and Doyle in PFF's tight end rankings? Drop a line in the comments section below!