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After the splash moves the Colts have made this off-season through free agency and trades, I think it is time to start evaluating some players in the draft who could fit the Colts since it looks like the Colts are done making major moves in free agency. With that in mind, I wanted to look at a potential TE target who I think would make a lot of sense for the Indianapolis Colts, and that is TE Chigoziem Okonkwo of Maryland. Chigoziem Okonkwo is someone I feel is criminally underrated and deserves more attention. Today, I will give you a high-level report and look at his strengths and weaknesses and why I think the Colts are interested in him.

Games Watched: Michigan State (2021), Penn State (2021), Michigan (2021)

RAS Card:

Strengths

Ability as a Receiver

I am going to make a really bold statement here about Chigoziem Okonkwo. I think he has the best Yards After the Catch (YAC) Ability of the TE Group in this entire Draft Class. Yes, you read that right. You can see this in his tape, and I wanted to show you all a play against Michigan State that he made that was extremely impressive to me and highlights his YAC Ability.

If that clip against Michigan State didn’t impress you, I don’t know what else to show you. How many NFL Tight Ends can take a screen 32 yards to the house and make defenders look silly like that? This play displays his athleticism and his ability to run after contact.

So, I may have lied about not knowing what else to show you. I have another clip that highlights Chigoziem Okonkwo’s athleticism and his YAC Ability. After watching the three games I mentioned above, I decided to look at his highlights because I was so impressed with his film, and I saw another TE screenplay that really excited me about him.

Video Via Ketari Productions on Youtube

If you just watched the clip above, you can see why I was so impressed. How many NFL Tight Ends are capable of what he just showed there? The play he makes here is spectacular, and he continues to impress me with his ability to make plays in space. The other thing that impresses me about both plays is that the blocking on both plays was not perfect. He was able to use his athleticism to get himself out of tricky situations, whereas other Tight Ends might’ve gotten tackled. Whether it’s hurdling or making defenders miss with his combination of speed and strength, he has a unique ability to make plays after the catch. His receiving ability is a significant plus for me when evaluating whether the Colts should draft him.

 

Weaknesses

Ability as a Blocker and Football IQ

With Chigoziem Okonkwo, I don’t think it is a matter of not being able to block or not having a high Football IQ. In many instances, he has shown good ability as a blocker and that he’s smart. However, I think he is definitely raw in several areas, and I can point to a couple of clips from the Michigan game that concern me with his blocking, especially.

Videos Via Deep Cover Podcast on Youtube

This rep just wasn’t good from the start, and Chigoziem Okonkwo gets absolutely bullied here and gets flagged in the RedZone. For Okonkwo, this is a big no-no, especially in the RedZone. You just can’t get flagged here. The technique was really poor on this play, which is what led him to get flagged here, so this is not a fantastic rep at all. I don’t think there is much more to say about it.

On this rep here, he is lined up next to the Right Tackle, and they are in the RedZone, this play is quite honestly a terrible play call, but that does not excuse what Chigoziem Okonkwo does here. He lets the defender get inside on him and looks to have given up on this block. That is not great, and that is definitely something he can’t get away with when he is in the NFL. With his strengths and weaknesses outlined, now it is time to visit why I think the Colts are interested in Chigoziem Okonkwo.

Why I think the Colts are interested

One of the big reasons I was drawn to Chigoziem Okonkwo’s name is that he participated in the Shrine Bowl. The Shrine Bowl is a College Football All-Star game to give Scouts a chance to see some of the best college players live in action. At the Shrine Bowl, the Colts had 2 Offensive Coaches coaching the West Team. Those two coaches were: Offensive Coordinator Marcus Brady and Tight Ends Coach Klayton Adams. Marcus Brady was the Head Coach of the West Team, and Klayton Adams was the Offensive Coordinator for the West Team. It turns out that the West Team was the team that Chigoziem Okonkwo was on, and I think that is really important. If the Colts drafted him, his position coach and offensive coordinator would be familiar with him. Chigoziem Okonkwo having a chance to work with Marcus Brady and Klayton Adams was huge for the Colts because they now know how he practices, his approach to the game, and what he is really capable of as a player. He is someone that the Colts would be comfortable with. Frank Reich is also a Maryland alum, and he keeps close tabs on the program and follows Maryland pretty closely. In fact, he almost got hired as Maryland’s head coach. Beyond Reich’s connection to Maryland and the Shrine Bowl, we also know that the Colts had Senior Player Personnel Scout Todd Vasvari at his Pro Day in Maryland, which is significant.

Overall Takeaway

Through the three games I watched of Chigoziem Okonkwo, as a receiver, I saw an extremely competitive guy and a hard runner in the open field and a big-play threat when he got touches in space. I thought he showed solid hands and displayed great control of his body when asked to make a play in the passing game. On day 1, you can expect him to be an immediate contributor in the passing game, but there are some things he needs to work to improve. There are a lot of impressive tapes but a lot of questionable film too. Situational football is something he needs to learn and improve on, which is why I called his Football IQ a weakness. With good coaching, I think he can develop his weaknesses into strengths. He has traits that you cannot teach and shows a lot of upside as a player. In terms of a prospect grade, I would grade him as a day three prospect. I think he can contribute early as a receiver, develop into a good blocker, and be a productive second Tight End for a team. Put everything together, and I think we can see the interest in him as a potential player for the Indianapolis Colts. When you have a senior scout at the pro day, the offensive coordinator and position coach working closely with him, and know the type of player that Chigoziem Okonkwo is, it is easy to see why the Colts are interested in him. In terms of his traits, his strengths/weaknesses, and the Colts’ connections/interest, this one makes sense, and I would be thrilled if the Colts drafted him.

Ceiling: Jonnu Smith

Floor: Chris Gragg

For more Colts Content, you can follow me @TheZschankISN on Twitter and @IndySportsNow on Twitter. Also, make sure to listen to the latest episode from The Blue Stable Podcast and stay tuned for more articles from the great writers at The Blue Stable. Thank you for reading and for your support!

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Zach Schankerman

Hey Colts Nation! I am so excited to be writing for The Blue Stable Team, looking forward to creating dialogue around a team I've been a fan of my whole life!

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