This is a bad year to need a tight end. The 2020 draft class is lacking in elite tight end talent, and top guys like Cole Kmet could be overdrafted due to the underwhelming nature of the class. Smart general managers like Chris Ballard won’t reach for a presumed need, so the Colts might wait to draft a tight end. If they do, Indianapolis could target Harrison Bryant out of Florida Atlantic.
Indianapolis Colts 2020 NFL Draft Targets: Harrison Bryant
The Colts use use more offensive weaponry, and Bryant has the skill set to be a legitimate weapon in the passing game. At 6’-5” and 243 pounds, Bryant appeared to add strength during the course of his Senior year. That added muscle worked wonders, as the former two-star recruit had what was easily the best season of his collegiate career. Playing in 864 snaps, Byant ended the year with 65 receptions for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns.
Bryant’s ability to line up all over the formation sets him apart from the pack. During his Senior year alone, the tight end lined up out wide, in the slot, and as a traditional tight end. It’s something of a cliché, but Bryant really does have the speed to separate from linebackers and the size to outleap cornerbacks. Additionally, Bryant can be dangerous with the ball in his hands and has several plays where he dragged defenders for extra yards after the catch.
Perhaps the biggest non-quarterback problem with the 2019 Colts is that they didn’t have a guy other than T.Y. Hilton capable of stretching the field. While Harrison Bryant is a far cry from Rob Gronkowski, he can be a dangerous weapon in the seam. According to Pro Football Focus, Bryant led all tight ends in the nation in deep receiving yards. This is obviously a good thing and shows the type of threat he could be at the next level.
Harrison Bryant offers plenty of promise as a pass-catcher, but he’s far from perfect. Bryant has a history of drops and doesn’t have the most reliable hands. If this was a one-year thing, you could write it off as a fluke. However, this happened throughout his career, so it’s just part of the deal with him.
Additionally, most of Byrant’s targets came on scheme plays. While this doesn’t take away from his ability after the catch, it makes one question whether or not he can open without schematic assistance. Again, this doesn’t mean he can’t get open on his own at the next level, just that there isn’t a lot of tape of him doing it in college.
Perhaps the biggest weakness in Bryant’s game is his work in the trenches. The Florida Atlantic product was a below-average blocker at the collegiate level, and that’s going to be even more of a problem at the NFL. Even though he is a tight end by trade, he’s an active liability in the run game and won’t be able to open any running lanes. Unless he’s running a route, there’s no reason to have him on the field.
Bottom Line on Harrison Bryant
Harrison Bryant is a good supporting tight end who will probably never develop into a legitimate three-down stud. Even though he’s not an elite athlete, he has the necessary size and speed to succeed in the NFL. Additionally, he’s fantastic after the catch, has the versatility to line up all over the formation, and is capable of making plays in the deep part of the field.
Of course, there is a reason that Harrison Bryant is being projected as a mid- to late-round pick. The Florida Atlantic product relied on scheme to amass most of his targets, and there isn’t enough film to adequately determine whether or not he can consistently get open on his own. Additionally, his hands leave to be desired and he’s not going to help out the running game in any meaningful way. Nobody should be drafting him in the first two rounds, but he’d be a great third-round selection for a team that knows how to use this type of player.
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