In 2011 the New England Patriots used a unique duel tight end set that carried the most explosive offense in the NFL. That year the Patriots won the AFC championship and nearly the Super Bowl. The 2013 Indianapolis Colts have the opportunity to do that same thing in 2013.
In the 2010 NFL Draft, the Patriots took tight end Rob Gronkowski out of Arizona in the second round with the 42nd overall pick. Two rounds later, with the 113th overall pick, the Patriots took tight end Aaron Hernandez out of Florida. In their sophomore years of 2011, the two tight ends had a record breaking season which ended with a trip to Super Bowl XLVI.
In the 2012 NFL Draft, after using their first overall pick to select quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts went a similar way. In the second round with the 34th overall pick the Colts took Luck’s teammate, tight end Coby Fleener out of Stanford. Then in the third round with the 64th overall pick they took tight end Dwayne Allen out of Clemson.
Like Gronkowski and Hernandez, Fleener and Allen were two of the best tight ends in college football in 2011. And it already looks as though that talent is starting to show at the next level. In 2010 Hernandez had 45 receptions for 563 yards or 12.5 yards a catch. Allen had a similar year in 2012 recording 45 receptions for 521 yards or 11.6 yards a catch. The two were even targeted the same with Allen receiving two more throws from Luck than Hernandez did from Tom Brady.
While Fleener didn’t have the same receiving season as Allen, Hernandez, and Gronkowski in the rookie seasons, he showed the ability to be as successful. While Fleener only caught 26 of 48 passes, he averaged 10.8 yards a catch and scored a pair of touchdowns.
Now that Luck has a year under his belt in the league and Allen and Fleener are used to the next level, the tandem could be ready to break out. In their first year in the league, these three led the Colts to an unexpected playoff appearance. Next year they’ll be shooting for a division title and maybe even more. The 2013 Colts could end up being a repeat of the 2011 Patriots and while the Colts and Patriots shared a rivalry for over a decade, I’m sure Colts fans wouldn’t mind.