INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts have given Shane Steichen a unique ingredient to work with in Isaiah McKenzie.
And that ingredient is one with speed and versatility history, which has helped him maintain a presence in the NFL, despite battling inconsistencies.
At 5-8 and 173, McKenzie makes up for his lack of size with elite quickness, in both the vertical and lateral areas.
He’s been used in a variety of NFL roles since being chosen in the 5th Round of the 2017 Draft
McKenzie has 141 career catches for 1,345 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s carried the ball 47 times in his career, and has return history both in the punt (26 returns) and kick (75) games.
If reliability in securing the ball is there, McKenzie can offer the Colts something they’ve lacked.
That’s a speed presence the defense must account for, with McKenzie having the ability to touch the ball in multiple ways, lining up all over the offense.
Such a piece to the offense is something Steichen has to like, in the hopes of creating some plays post catch/touch.
McKenzie was cut by the Bills last week, saving Buffalo a little more than $2 million. The Bills opted to go younger at that “gadget-y” role by signing Deonte Harry, who is also two years younger than McKenzie.
This signing by the Colts shouldn’t be viewed as an exact replacement for Parris Campbell’s departure, although they have some similarities in skillsets.
And McKenzie can definitely offer some slot role time, to go along with Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce.
The receiver position in Indy still needs more attention this offseason, which would help keep McKenzie in that specific package role, and not expect him to play No. 3 wide receiver snaps.
Plus, with Nyheim Hines in Buffalo now, the Colts need to find a new permanent punt returner, so McKenzie could factor there, too.
Again, dependability has been a question in McKenzie’s career.
He had fumble problems as a rookie in Denver.
And, as of late, drops have been an issue. McKenzie has 12 drops in 91 targets over the last two years. His drop percentage of 9.2 last season was the 9th highest among NFL wideouts. Had McKenize had enough caches in 2021 (20 catches), his 11.2 drop percentage that year would have been the highest of any NFL wideout.
That’s why his role in Indy can’t have a ton on his plate.
But that quickness attribute is not something the Colts have had enough for at the receiver/playmaking spots, so that’s where giving him an opportunity makes sense.
Originally, McKenzie was drafted by the Broncos in 2017. He’s been with the Bills since the 2018 season.
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