After trading their lone first-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for DeForest Buckner, the Indianapolis Colts enter the 2020 NFL Draft with the 34th, 44th, 75th, 122nd, 160th, 193rd, and 197th overall picks.
There are as many theories as days in the week on what GM Chris Ballard and HC Frank Reich may do with those middle-round picks.
Offensive weapons to aid Philip Rivers seem most likely.
Yes, there have been plenty of discussions about WRs and RBs that may be drafted.
But an often overlooked position that has a bevy of interesting possibilities in the 2020 NFL Draft is TE.
Let’s look at 3 top TE prospects.
1. Cole Kmet, Notre Dame
At 6’6″ and 262 pounds, Illinois native Cole Kmet netted the fourth fastest 40 yard dash time among TEs at the NFL Combine at 4.70 seconds.
He is lanky, determined, and tough to bring down.
Cole Kmet refusing to go out of bounds at 6'6" if fun to watch. pic.twitter.com/8KCqLZb0vP
— John Chapman (@JL_Chapman) April 10, 2020
Besides playing football at Notre Dame, he spent one season as a relief pitcher on the ND baseball team (his freshman year).
There are some question marks regarding his blocking skills and his ability to make contested catches.
The Green Bay Packers have shown interest in Kmet and have the 30th draft pick so Kmet may be off the board before the Colts have their first pick.
2. Adam Trautman, Dayton
No player has been drafted from Dayton for 43 years, but that is likely to change in 2020.
NFL Draft: Small-School Sleeper TE
Adam Trautman- Dayton rsSR
Pioneer League OPOY (19’)
First-Team FCS All-American (19’)
First-Team All-PFL (19’)
Second-Team All-PFL (17’, 18’) pic.twitter.com/k9DlMB92Ji
— Boom, It’s Football! (@BoomItsFBALL) April 3, 2020
Adam Trautman has been compared to current 49ers TE George Kittle.
There is a lot of hype surrounding his play at Dayton, but the concern is if his skills are honed for NFL-caliber competition.
A former high school QB, he has run some Wildcat plays at Dayton (early in his career).
Trautman’s multi-position skill set could make him an asset for a creative offensive coordinator like Josh McDaniels who just lost his legendary quarterback.
The Patriots are one of several teams who have expressed interest in Adam Trautman.
3. Hunter Bryant, Washington
Knee injuries shortened Bryant’s 2017 and 2018 seasons, but he made up for it in 2019.
He scored 3 TDs with 52 receptions and 825 yards.
His performance garnered him All-Pac-12 First Team honors.
He has great hands and is a true threat to rack up big yardage after the catch.
Current Colts TE
He is now a Steeler.
That leaves 8-year veteran Jack Doyle as the lone TE on the current roster.
Doyle finished last season with an admirable performance.
4 TDs, 43 receptions, 448 yards, and an average of 10 yards per catch is certainly respectable.
Is it enough to lift the Colts into the playoffs in 2020?
The Philip Rivers Factor
Philip Rivers likes a good TE target.
After all, Rivers and Antonio Gates are arguably the most successful QB-TE combination in NFL history.
Gates officially retired in 2020 after not playing in 2019.
He concluded his 16 year NFL career with 955 receptions, 11,841 yards, and 116 TDs.
The Colts need to give Rivers at least one, but preferably more, talented TEs to develop that winning chemistry with.
While there will never be another Rivers-Gates combo, Colts fans hope Rivers can find some magic with a TE especially since the WR depth chart is slight.