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INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Ballard is a man of his word in drafting players with elite traits.

With the 73rd overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Colts took Virginia tight end Jelani Woods in Round Three.

Here are 3 takeaways on Woods:


Elite Athlete At Tight End

We dive back into the eye-popping frame and athletic makeup with Woods. At 6-7 and 253 pounds, Woods would look good in an Indiana Pacers uniform, and he did have some Division 1 basketball interest. Woods ran a very strong 4.61 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine. Simply, Woods is one of the more big/athletic tight ends in draft history. Initially a quarterback entering Oklahoma State, Woods transitioned to tight end and finally broke out last year after transferring to Virginia. Woods caught 44 balls for 598 yards and 8 touchdowns in his lone season at Virginia. He led all ACC tight ends in touchdown catches. Fine-tuning his route-running as he continues to settle into tight end will be part of his development.


Jack Doyle Replacement?

Tight end was a need for the Colts entering the draft. But debate was rampant on the type of tight end the Colts should go with. In Woods, the Colts are getting a frame that should be advantageous to filling a run and/or receiving role. That’s important with the loss of Jack Doyle. With how much Frank Reich is using tight ends, Woods could earn a consistent role as a rookie. Colts coaches Marcus Brady (offensive coordinator) and Klayton Adams (tight end) coached Woods at the East/West Shrine Bowl, so the staff got hands-on work with him.


Colts Go With Another Pass Catcher

Two picks. Two pass catching weapons for Matt Ryan. One could make the argument that this need was at the top of the Colts priority list entering the draft. The retirement of Jack Doyle created a big loss for the Colts. Yes, the staff likes Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson. But you still are losing such a reliable and dependable player in Doyle. When Doyle was on the field, the Colts weren’t necessarily tipping their hand of going run or pass. We know the Colts love to use the tight end, so adding another body here was a smart move. From a size standpoint, Woods is a nice complement to Kylen Granson, if the Colts want to explore diversifying their tight end room.

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