The Indianapolis Colts are in dire need of help in the tight end room heading into the 2022 NFL Draft after the retirement of Jack Doyle and the lack of free-agent additions at the position. The only problem is Chris Ballard and the Colts have a lot of needs while simultaneously lacking a first-round pick thanks to a swing and a miss on Carson Wentz. Fortunately, a few talented options should be available for Indianapolis in the second round or later. One such option is today’s scouting target, Jelani Woods from Virginia.
40 Yard: 4.61
10 Yard: –
Arm Length: 34 1/8″
Hand Size: 9 1/4″
3 Cone: –
Broad Jump: –
Positives in Pass Game: Woods has good hands that he uses to engulf the football and secure receptions. He can create “separation” by using his big frame to box out defenders and keep that out of the play. Woods is also skilled at winning the 50/50 balls and playing above the rim. This can be attributed to his massive catch radius. He’s a former quarterback, a trait that is evident in his football IQ and awareness. Woods understands defensive coverages and has excellent situational awareness.
Negatives in Pass Game: His burst off of the line of scrimmage would best be described as average. Woods struggles to create true separation with quick footwork and sharp angles. As a route-runner, he has a tendency to round off his routes rather than being decisive. He will also suffer from the occasional dropped ball. Once he hauls in a reception, Woods fails to pose much of a threat as a runner. Slow, heavy feet means he’ll pick up what he can before attempting to run through defenders.
Positives in Run Game: Woods has the frame of an offensive tackle. He is an enthusiastic blocker who has no problem getting his hands dirty as a blocker. He consistently keeps his feet churning.
Negatives in Run Game: His overall lack of experience as a blocker is the biggest concern here. Woods lacks bend and will suffer from lousy hand placement at times.
Summary: A lot has been made of the other tight end prospects in this year’s draft class. Add me to the list of scouts who prefer Woods in late day two or early day three, though. As a still relatively raw prospect, Woods has highly desirable physical traits that can’t be coached while simultaneously flashing great coachable qualities. He provides the offense with a big weapon capable of creating mismatches down the seem and bullying smaller defenders when lined up outside. In addition, proper coaching and development should turn Woods into a high-level blocker.
Injury Concerns: Woods does not appear to have any red flags as far as long-term health is concerned. He battled through an undisclosed injury in 2021 that many have attributed to slowing him a touch through the campaign. Despite this, all signs point up for Woods medically.
Character/Off-Field Concerns: Woods is a fiery competitor who seems to be loved by his teammates. His willingness to play through injury is seen as a plus, and his former time as a quarterback has developed him as a leader.
Projected Role: Backup with Strong Starting Potential
Strong Points: Catch Radius, Football IQ, Leadership
Weak Points: Experience as Blocker, Burst
Exposures: Duke (2021), Illinois (2021), Pittsburgh (2021)