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Do the Indianapolis Colts Actually Need a Veteran Tight End?

Posted By Kyle J. Rodriguez On June 5, 2013 @ 12:01 am In Colts News | No Comments

Ryan Grigson doesn’t rest during the offseason. 

While fans may assume that the front office’s job is done for the summer after the draft, a GM that isn’t continuing to shape the roster is a poor GM. 

Last season, Grigson made numerous transactions during the offseason that resulted in critical production during the season, such as Cassius Vaughn, Moise Fokou, Mewelde Moore and Justin King. Each of those veterans were acquired in a variety of ways, be it trade (Fokou, Vaughn) or free agency (Moore, King). 

This offseason, Grigson is at it again, continually scouring far and wide for any available talent, including cast-aside veteran talent. Specifically, cast-aside tight ends are being sought after. 

Late in May, the Colts [1] actively searched for a veteran tight end, trying out three of them [2] during the last two weeks of the month: Dante Rosario, Randy McMichael and Cornelius Ingram. 

Rosario, a 28-year-old tight end from the University of Oregon, has spent six years in the NFL [3], four with the Carolina Panthers [4] and two between the Dolphins [5], Broncos [6] and Chargers [7]. He’s namely been a special teams player, averaging fewer than 17 catches per season. 

McMichael is an 11-year veteran who has spent years with the Dolphins, Rams [8] and (most recently) the Chargers. McMichael has had a productive career, but is in the twilight of it, and had just nine receptions last season without any scores. 

Ingram was drafted in 2009 by the Philadelphia Eagles [9], but tore his ACL during training camp, and has been bouncing between practice squads ever since, never appearing in a regular-season game. 

The Colts’ activity tells us one thing definitively: They are not satisfied with their third tight end. 

Last season, the Colts only kept three true tight ends on the active roster at any given time: Dwayne Allen [10], Coby Fleener and Dominique Jones or Weslye Saunders. 

Allen and Fleener’s jobs are safe, so we must assume that the third spot is the one up for grabs. The Colts currently have Saunders, Jones and 2013’s Mr. Irrelevant Justice Cunningham on the roster. 

With none of the veteran tight ends brought in for a tryout sticking in Indianapolis, there is a good chance that they will continue to look. 

Do they need a veteran to compete for the spot? I have to believe not. 

It’s not a drastic need by any means. Fleener and Allen are the future, and will take the lion’s share of the snaps. An experienced veteran to round out the position would be a luxury at best. 

The positive of having an older TE is clear: an experienced voice in the locker room to help mentor Allen and Fleener as they progress, much like Matt Hasselbeck [11] is doing for Andrew Luck. 

The disadvantage, however, is that it would likely block any chance of Justice Cunningham, who has impressed in OTAs and mini-camp [12], making the final roster and contributing during the season. 

Cunningham, if he worked out, would be the perfect addition to the position, with his size and skill as a blocker fitting in perfectly as a special teams player and extra blocker on TE-heavy run sets. His surprisingly good receiving skills would help keep the defense honest as well. 

The Colts may have the option to cut and place Cunningham on the practice squad for a season, but it is a risk: Other teams may claim him.

If the Colts wish to find a veteran presence and influence for Allen and Fleener, a veteran TE should not be difficult to find as the offseason grows. If they wish to develop their seventh-round pick, however, a tight end signing at this time will likely be nothing but a camp body. 

Read more Indianapolis Colts [1] news on BleacherReport.com

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URL to article: http://www.coltsaddicts.com/colts-news/do-the-indianapolis-colts-actually-need-a-veteran-tight-end/

URLs in this post:

[1] Colts: http://bleacherreport.com/indianapolis-colts

[2] trying out three of them: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/05/24/colts-check-out-a-few-veteran-tight-ends/

[3] NFL: http://bleacherreport.com/nfl

[4] Carolina Panthers: http://bleacherreport.com/carolina-panthers

[5] Dolphins: http://bleacherreport.com/miami-dolphins

[6] Broncos: http://bleacherreport.com/denver-broncos

[7] Chargers: http://bleacherreport.com/san-diego-chargers

[8] Rams: http://bleacherreport.com/st-louis-rams

[9] Philadelphia Eagles: http://bleacherreport.com/philadelphia-eagles

[10] Dwayne Allen: http://bleacherreport.com/dwayne-allen

[11] Matt Hasselbeck: http://bleacherreport.com/matt-hasselbeck

[12] who has impressed in OTAs and mini-camp: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1637654-the-6-biggest-takeaways-from-the-colts-rookie-mini-camp/page/7

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