Colts loved UVA TE Jelani Woods at first sight, draft him in 3rd round

By Jerry Ratcliffe

jelani woods uva

Virginia tight end Jelani Woods celebrates his first touchdown as a Cavalier in Saturday’s win over Illinois. (Photo: UVA Athletics)

Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Marcus Brady got a good look at massive Virginia tight end Jelani Woods in the Shrine Bowl back in January and knew he wanted the former Cavalier on his roster.

The Colts declined to go after any free-agent tight ends with the intent of adding Woods come draft time, and that’s exactly what Indy did on Friday night, selecting the former Wahoo as the No. 73 overall pick in the third round.

Woods scored a 10 RAS out of a possible 10, ranking him No. 1 out of 1,014 tight ends from 1987 to 2022 and making him one of the most athletic tight ends to ever enter the draft. At 6-foot-7, 259 pounds with a 4.61-second mark in the 40-yard dash, Woods proved irresistible to the Colts’ coaching staff.

Former UVA coach Bronco Mendenhall could have, and probably did tell the Colts about the possibilities of Woods, whom Mendenhall described as “uncoverable.”

“At 6-7, the defensive backs aren’t big enough to cover him and the linebackers aren’t fast enough to cover him,” Mendenhall chuckled. “At 6-7, he’s always open.”

Woods wouldn’t disagree.

“I’m more of a physical guy,” Woods told the Indianapolis Star. “I’m a guy who attacks everything he does. In run blocking, I’m very aggressive. In pass protection, I’m the same thing.”

Last season with Virginia, Woods hauled in 44 catches for 598 yards and eight touchdowns after transferring from Oklahoma State where he was mostly used as a blocker.