INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts have featured a tight end-friendly offense with Frank Reich calling the plays. In recent years, guys like Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox, Trey Burton and Eric Ebron have all enjoyed success as playmakers at the position, with Doyle and Ebron each earning Pro Bowl selections.
On Saturday, the Colts added yet another potential weapon at the tight end position.
The team used its fourth-round (127th-overall) pick in the 2021 NFL Draft on Kylen Granson, an athletic pass-catcher out of Southern Methodist.
"They definitely acknowledged my versatility as far as my pass-catching ability and being able to create big plays after I catch the ball and get it into my hands," Granson said of his pre-draft meetings with the Colts in recent weeks. "So, you know, I'm really, really excited that they saw that and they decided to pick me."
Granson originally started his college career at Rice, where he logged 51 receptions for 622 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games his first two seasons. After a coaching change at Rice, Granson — who spent a semester at a community college — decided to transfer to SMU, where he really blossomed.
In 22 games with the Mustangs, Granson hauled in 78 receptions for 1,257 yards (16.1 avg.) with 14 touchdowns, a school record for a tight end. In 2019, Granson earned All-ACC Second Team honors after hauling in 43 receptions for 721 yards, while his nine receiving touchdowns also were the most in a single season by a tight end in school history.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 241 pounds, Granson has the chance to help fill the void left by the departure of Burton, who had 28 receptions for 250 yards and three touchdowns last season in Indy and is now a free agent.
Like Burton, Granson's primary ability at the tight end position is out in space as a pass catcher. According to his NFL.com draft profile, Granson is a "matchup tight end with acceleration and athleticism to create passing windows and make noise with his yards after catch."
That's likely not only music to the ears of Reich, but also to new Colts starting quarterback Carson Wentz, who has had success in the recent past throwing to tight ends like Burton and Zach Ertz with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I mean, it doesn't matter if I'm blocking or I'm running (routes) — I'm more than willing to block, but I will acknowledge that I am a fast tight end as far as that goes, and I can create mismatches down the field," Granson said. "So if that's how they want to use me, then I'll definitely use that (to our advantage)."
Granson looks to add his talents to a tight end room that includes the two-time veteran Pro Bowler Doyle, as well as Farrod Green and Noah Togiai. Alie-Cox, who had career-bests with 31 receptions for 394 yards and two touchdowns last season, is also yet to sign his restricted free agent tender.
Granson said he understands how much is put on the tight end's plate at the NFL level, but is ready to prove his worth as soon as possible.
"I know he was really excited," Granson said of his pre-draft conversations with Reich. "He acknowledged that I was an intelligent guy. Coming from SMU and Rice, you know, tight ends, you've got to be a Renaissance man. You've got to be smart. And so that along with my package as far as my athleticism and being able to be a big playmaker, I mean, I feel like it was just a perfect sell to him."
The Colts used their first selection of Day 3 of the NFL Draft (127th overall) to pick SMU tight end Kylen Granson.