Indianapolis Colts: Devastating Injury Creates Opportunity for Intriguing Rookie

The Indianapolis Colts have a new quarterback in Matt Ryan, and the big question is, who will his primary weapons be in 2022? We know about Jonathan Taylor in the backfield and Michael Pittman Jr., and second-round pick Alec Pierce at wide receiver. The tight end spot is still up in the air, though. Undrafted rookie Drew Ogletree looked like he could win the job, but after his devastating injury, third-round pick Jelani Woods now has a big opportunity.

Jelani Woods could now be the Indianapolis Colts starting tight end

Indianapolis Colts tight end Jelani Woods runs through a drill during the Indianapolis Colts OTA offseason workouts.
Jelani Woods | Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The star of Indianapolis Colts training camp was Drew Ogletree. The undrafted TE out of Youngstown State was tearing up Colts training camp and quickly making a name for himself in his first season of pro football.

Unfortunately for Ogletree and the Colts, the young pass-catcher tore his ACL in practice and is now on IR for the 2022 season.

Jelani Woods is a 6-foot-7, 253-pound tight end from Virginia. He was a top-25 quarterback prospect coming out of high school in Georgia but moved to TE after signing with Oklahoma State, per NFL.com. Woods was a Big 12 all-conference honorable mention in his first year playing the position but eventually transferred to UVA.

As a Cavalier, Woods became a first-team All-ACC player in 2021 with 44 passes for 598 yards and eight touchdowns.

At the NFL Combine, the big man ran a 4.6 40-yard dash and put up 24 bench press reps. That was the most of any player at his position. This led to the Colts taking him No. 73 overall.

With Ogletree going down, Woods is now competing with incumbent veteran Mo Alie-Cox to be Matt Ryan’s primary TE. Alie-Cox is a four-year veteran. However, he’s never had more than 31 catches, four touchdowns, or over 391 yards in a season.

While not quite as impressive as Ogletree, Woods has also turned heads. His play has drawn praise from head coach Frank Reich, and Woods caught a TD against the Buffalo Bills in the first preseason game.

If Woods continues to learn the playbook and improves his blocking enough to help Jonathan Taylor dominate again this year, the Indianapolis Colts may have an incredibly exciting young tight end.

And if that’s the case, when Ogletree gets back in 2023, the franchise could have two.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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