INDIANAPOLIS – The biggest need never got attention.
And the unit itself didn’t receive help until Day 3.
But the Colts did sprinkle a few picks to the offensive side of the ball, including a few very interesting prospects.
Here’s a capsule look at the Colts picks on offense in 2021:
–2020 Stats: 10 games played (10 starts). Had 35 receptions for 536 yards and 5 touchdowns.
-Career Stats: 41 games played (30 starts). Had 129 receptions, for 1,879 yards (14.6 average) and 16 touchdowns.
–Interesting Fact: Holds the SMU school record for receiving touchdowns (14) by a tight end.
–Granson’s Quote to Note: “I feel like I try to be diverse in what I can do. I feel like I use my hands well. Being a bigger guy, people expect me to be physical and strong. So I have that but I can also do all the stuff that all the smaller guys can like the quick feet and route running.”
–Chris Ballard’s Thoughts: “When we got into the fourth round and we took Kylen Granson, who we really like. He was at the Senior Bowl. He’s an athletic ‘F’ that can play some fullback. He adds a speed element in the room that I think is really going to help us offensively, especially on third down.”
–Outlook: Saying ‘tight end was a need’ for the Colts in 2021 wasn’t enough. They needed to find a tight end whose strength was as a receiver, bringing more athletic pop to the group. And that’s where Granson’s strength lies. He’s not some imposing blocker. But he was a big play tight end in college and put up very strong testing numbers in the quickness/explosion areas. Granson, who entered college as a wideout, should complement Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox well. Even if Granson’s role is 20-30 percent of offensive snaps, Frank Reich won’t be afraid to play him, particularly if the rookie shows off his strength at this level.
-2020 Stats: 10 games played (10 starts). Completed 194-of-322 (60.2 percent) passes for 2,566 yards, 26 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Rushed 113 times for 377 yards and 8 touchdowns.
-Career Stats: 46 games played (43 starts). Completed 923-of-1,476 (62.5 percent) passes for 11,436 yards, 94 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. Rushed 554 times for 1,907 yards and 33 touchdowns.
-Interesting Fact: Only the 7th two-time captain in Texas Longhorns history and his 27 wins are the fourth most for a QB in school history.
–Ehlinger’s Quote to Note: “I think adversity creates endurance, endurance creates character and character creates hope. That’s something that I’ve built myself on. Whatever that adversity may be, I’m ready for it and I think my mentality going into is, just try to make the team better, whatever that looks like. I know it might not be a starting position right away, but I understand that this is going to be my job now and I’m ready to complete my job to the utmost ability and helping the team in whatever way possible to win. That’s the ultimate goal at the end of the day. This isn’t an individual sport. This is a team sport and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win.”
–Ballard’s Quote to Note: “Sam will get a chance to compete to make the roster and he’ll compete with our two other young quarterbacks that we have. The one thing I will tell you about Sam, the guy just – whatever ‘it’ is he has it. He has been highly productive at Texas and he’s won a lot of games as the starting quarterback. He’s been a heck of a college football player and we think he has a good chance to be a good pro player.”
–Outlook: The Colts love the makeup of Ehlinger. They gushed about that aspect to his game, singing a much different tune compared to their Jacob Eason thoughts last draft. Still, Eason has to be the favorite to be Carson Wentz’s backup. In an ideal world, Eason would make strides and secure that No. 2 QB position. Then Ehlinger would be in that No. 3 QB role on the practice squad. Ehlinger is a much different skillset than Eason. He’s more of an escaper and creator off script, but doesn’t bring the rare arm talent of an Eason. Some thought the Ehlinger pick was a waste, but teams need 3 quarterbacks, especially when your No. 1 guy has a few questions about his recent play.
-2019 Stats (2020 season was postponed): 11 games played (11 starts). Recorded 78 catches for 1,319 yards and 19 touchdowns.
-Career Stats: 29 career games played (22 starts). Recorded 127 catches for 2,332 yards and 27 touchdowns.
-Interesting Fact: Set the Charleston school record in the 400 meters (47.59).
-Strachan’s Quote to Note: “I’m just an overall playmaker. I’m going to come in and be coachable. I’m going to give championship effort. I feel like I’m that special player that the Colts need. I just feel like I can come in and with the tools I have adding up to what we already have, that we could really be in the run for a Super Bowl. That’s really what I want to get to is a Super Bowl and I feel like we can definitely do that especially with the tools that we have right now.”
-Ballard’s Quote to Note: “Mike is a big target who needs some developmental work, but he has a really unique skillset at wideout.”
–Outlook: This is such a Day 3 pick. You go out and find a lower-level prospect, who put up big numbers while having unteachable physical traits. Strachan is a developmental selection, who needs a year on the practice squad. At the Division II level, Strachan didn’t play top-flight competition (for that level) so he’s making a serious jump in competition. The Colts staff needs to be diligent with Strachan’s route running as he makes the transition to a level where raw traits won’t win constantly. Do not expect rookie Year One impact from Strachan, although he calls himself the ‘steal’ of the draft.
–2020 Stats: 9 games played (9 starts). Started 3 games at right tackle before finishing the year with 6 straight starts at right guard.
-Career Stats: 48 games (42 career starts). Started 26 games at right tackle, 9 at left tackle, 6 at right guard, 1 at left guard.
-Interesting Fact: Penn State’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Winner in 2020.
-Fries’ Quote to Note: “I think (my versatility’s) going to help me a ton. Being a guy who can play multiple positions and play at a high level at those positions, I think that’s one of my biggest assets. I think that’s going to help me out a lot going forward.”
-Ballard’s Quote to Note: “Will started 40 games at Penn State. He has a lot of versatility. He can play guard and tackle, which is important.”
–Outlook: Unlike last year, Fries enters an offensive line room that has much more proven depth. Still, Fries is attractive to the Colts thanks to his 40-plus starts in the Big Ten, lining up at four different spots on the line. It will not be easy for Fries to make the 53-man roster. But if he shows some Joe Haeg type ability and flexibility, that’s going to be attractive to the Colts filling out those final few offensive line spots. Fries is thought to be more of a guard prospect at the next level.