Indianapolis Colts Offseason Spotlight: Will Mallory

Indianapolis Colts tight end Will Mallory flashed late in his rookie year. Could he be a starter heading into year two?
Sep 17, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Indianapolis Colts tight end Will Mallory (86) catches a pass during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Indianapolis Colts tight end Will Mallory (86) catches a pass during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports / Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
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The Indianapolis Colts selected tight end Will Mallory in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Mallory, 24, put together a strong rookie campaign despite competing for snaps all season long at the tight end positon.

A former four star recruit out of high school, Mallory was labeled as a pure receiving threat at the tight end position coming out of Miami. He totaled 1,544 yards receiving in five seasons with the Hurricanes, and his testing numbers at the NFL Combine were among the best at his position group.

The Colts selected Mallory to compete at a relatively deep tight end position heading into last offseason. Ahead of Mallory on the depth chart were promising young players like Kylen Granson, Jelani Woods, and Drew Ogletree along with veteran option Mo Alie-Cox. An offseason injury to Woods, along with Mallory's reliable play in camp, led to the rookie seeing 159 snaps on offense in 2023.

Mallory flashed as a pass catcher in year one, but what does the young tight end need to do to take that next step for the team?

Promising Flashes

The Colts' tight end room was fairly underwhelming a season ago, as the group totaled fewer than 1,000 yards receiving as a whole. The team struggled to find one player to emerge as a consistent starter, and the result was a lackluster rotation that didn't produce results.

Mallory may have had the best flashes among the group last season, however. The rookie hauled in 18 of 20 (90%) catchable targets on the season and converted multiple chances on third down for first downs. He finished the year as one of the team's more reliable targets in the passing game.

Shane Steichen loves to isolate his tight ends on quick hitters to set the pace and get ahead of the sticks. He uses the position on a variety of routes, from quick hitches to option routes to deeper curls. Mallory excelled on these routes, oftentimes finding the open space in the zone coverage and making tough catches over the middle of the field.

Mallory emerged as a truly reliable option over the middle of the field late in the season.

Mallory also began to see reps in the RPO game late in the season. He needs to improve his ability after the catch, but he was always as reliable as it gets in terms of securing passes and falling forward for extra yards.

The young tight end plays like a 10+ year pro on the field. He understands where he needs to be and almost always comes down with the ball when he is targeted.

The Next Step

The key for Mallory to earn more playing time in year two is to continue rounding out his complete game. He showcased his ability as a possession tight end in the passing game in year one, the next step is showing that he can be more than just a possession target.

Mallory is blessed with fantastic athletic traits, but those traits didn't translate as well into the open field. He forced just one missed tackle after the catch last season and he wasn't the most consistent in creating yards after the catch. He needs to get stronger after the catch heading into year two.

The other main point of emphasis for the young tight end is blocking. Players like Ogletree and Alie-Cox will always be ahead of him on the depth chart if they are better blockers than him. Mallory needs to bring value to the offense through run blocking if he ever hopes to supplant those two as the starter/main backup for the offense.

The Bottom Line

Will Mallory emerged as a reliable player for the Colts' offense in 2023, the next step for this young playmaker is to simply round out his game. He has a high floor as it is in the passing game, he just needs to continue to add to his skillset to become a more complete player for the team.

As it stands right now though, Mallory is a solid player for this Colts' team. He will have a role in 2024, and I fully expect this young player to be a factor for the Colts going forward.

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Zach Hicks


Zach Hicks is the Lead Analyst for Zach has been on the NFL beat since 2017. His works have appeared on, the Locked On Podcast Network,,, &