Colts Mailbag

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Colts Mailbag: Quarterbacks In 2023 NFL Draft, Tight Ends And Offensive Line

The Colts Mailbag returns for Week 17 with questions on what the 2023 NFL Draft quarterback class looks like, the future of the Colts' tight end position and what was behind Nick Foles being sacked seven times on Monday Night Football. 

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The Colts Mailbag is back! Colts.com readers can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Mailbag series.

Missed out this week? Not a problem — you can submit your question(s) for next time by clicking here, or by taking part in the Colts.com Forums. You can also send your questions to @JJStankevitz on Twitter.

Let's get after this week's questions:

Amber Lacy, Indianapolis: What are the quarterback plans for next season?

JJ Stankevitz: It's too early to know, which I realize is an unfulfilling answer. But we won't know which veteran quarterbacks are available until well after the 2022 season ends, since some teams could use the franchise tag to keep an impending free agent around. And evaluations of the 2023 NFL Draft class don't kick into high gear until the Senior Bowl next month. Anything more is speculation right now.

But if you're browsing way-too-early mock drafts, you can find plenty that have the Colts taking a quarterback in the first round.

Ron Preston, North Chesterfield, Va.: JJ, we haven't heard from GM Chris Ballard in quite a while. Is he in a "lame duck" situation? It seems so odd not to hear him address the Colts issues. Thanks again to all the media staff for their great coverage and insights.

JJ Stankevitz: This isn't unusual. Plenty of general managers across the league do not hold press conferences during the season. It's really not as big a deal as I've seen some make it out to be.

Stephen Reilly, Indianapolis: In the spirit of the TE Coach taking another job, let's talk TEs. In my eyes, Woods and Granson have done a good job being pass catchers this year with high ceilings. But some people have brought up their blocking and how they struggled in that aspect. People have missed in what Jack Doyle can do and rightfully so, but it took him a bit to reach that. So question: how long did it take for Jack Doyle to become Jack Doyle, and can Woods and Granson to get to that point and/or better?

JJ Stankevitz: Great question, because tight ends often take longer to develop than other positions because of the difficult transition at that position from college to the NFL, both from a receiving and blocking standpoint.

Doyle's Pro Football Focus run blocking grade as a rookie in 2013 was 56.4; from 2014 through his retirement after the 2021 season, it never was lower than 64.6, and was higher than 70 twice.

In 2022, only one rookie tight end has a PFF run blocking grade over 70 (Baltimore's Isaiah Likely, on just 90 run blocking snaps). Usually, there's only one rookie tight end to have a strong PFF run blocking grade each year – underscoring the rarity for young tight ends to come in and be effective right away.

Woods, Granson and Drew Ogletree – don't forget about him – can all certainly be effective blockers going forward. It just usually takes time, like you pointed out.

Clay Henry, Greencastle, Ind.: How is it that the Colts have the highest paid offensive line in the game and allowed 7 sacks from the Chargers, who are below average in sacks this year?

JJ Stankevitz: I asked interim head coach Jeff Saturday how many of those seven sacks were on the offensive line, and he said two were. The rest were either coverage sacks or the product of something else going awry for the Colts' offense. It's absolutely a problem that Colts quarterbacks have been sacked 56 times – the second-highest total in the NFL and six shy of tying the franchise record for most sacks allowed in a season – but not all of those should be tagged to the O-line.

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