INDIANAPOLIS – As the Colts made their way through Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft, Shane Steichen felt the need to get Chris Ballard’s attention during the middle of Round 5.
With the Colts on their way of drafting 12 players in 2023, Steichen got a bit antsy about a certain prospect.
“We knew it was a good tight end draft,” Ballard explained back in late April. “We even talked about a couple guys earlier. We said who is the one that could end up turning out to be something? Then all of a sudden you look up and Mallory is there in the fifth round. Shane looked at me and said, ‘Chris, this guys is really good.’ You never just want to pass up a good player.
“The kid’s got length, he can run. He’s been productive in college. He’s a really good fit for what we want. It’s just going to create real competition at the position. That’s OK. That’s a good thing. That makes you better.”
On paper, competition is certainly there at tight end.
You could make a strong argument for any of 6 tight ends to make the 53-man roster, which typically houses 3 or 4 tight ends.
Unfortunately for Mallory, a foot injury sidelined him this spring, so he missed some valuable chances to make an early impression.
Mallory caught 115 balls for 1,544 yards and 14 touchdowns in 40 career starts at Miami. What also caught the Colts eye was Mallory’s tight end-best 4.54 40-yard dash at the Combine.
It appears Mallory’s ideal fit at the professional level is more as a receiving tight end, versus a blocker.
Although, when you ask Mallory about his game, he sounds like the son of an NFL coach.
“Whatever the team is asking me to do, I’m going to do,” the 5th round pick says. “Whether that’s in the receiving game or the blocking game, run game, whatever. I see myself as a big athletic tight end that can move the chains and make plays happen once I get the ball in my hand. I’ve said that since Day One of this process. Whatever the team asks me to do, that’s what I’m going to do.”
And, yes, Mallory’s father (Mike) has been a 15-year special teams assistant in the NFL. Mallory’s grandfather (Bill) had a successful stint as the head football coach at Indiana University
Given that background, you would think Mallory will be open/willing for some special teams work, which will be important in securing a roster spot.
Of course, Mallory already has a fan in his head coach.
“The speed that he brings,” Steichen says of Mallory’s strength. “He catches some shallow routes, underneath routes, seam balls. You can just see the explosiveness when he catches that ball and then takes off and runs.”
Seeing that in the spring didn’t happen though.
The rookie missed all of the OTAs/minicamp due to a foot injury.
Is that going to hinder any of Mallory’s hopes to make the team?
Mallory will have some eyes on him once camp rolls around, as he finally gets a personal taste of a league his dad has coached in for a decade and a half.
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