Earlier this offseason, the Indianapolis Colts chose to re-sign Dwayne Allen and let Coby Fleener walk. As a result, Allen enters the 2016 season as the Colts’ top tight end.
Many people were probably surprised to see Allen getting an extension over Fleener. Fleener had the better 2015 season with 54 receptions, 491 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Allen only had 16 receptions, 109 receiving yards and one touchdown.
Despite the large disparity between their numbers, the Colts valued Allen’s skill set over Fleener’s stats. As a result, Allen signed a four-year, $29 million deal to remain with the Colts.
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Allen has always been known for his versatility. He is one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL and is capable of being a reliable receiving option. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski knows Allen will be a key part of their offense in 2016.
"“I see Dwayne as a guy that is a definite weapon for us… His versatility is probably the thing that makes him unique in that he can do so many things well, and it really allows us to be diverse on offense as well.”"
Head coach Chuck Pagano echoed Chudzinski’s opinion of Allen. He believes Allen will be a huge contributor for them on offense.
"“He’s one of the better blockers in the league. We know, when healthy, he can be a mismatch. He’s a big body guy that can make plays. He’s going to be big for us in the red area. He’s a damn good tight end. That’s why he’s here.”"
In his four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Allen’s best season definitely came in 2012, which was his rookie season. He played all 16 games and caught 45 passes for 521 yards, while excelling as an in-line blocker. Since then, he has wanted another shot at replicating that season.
“I always wanted the opportunity to be on the field like I was in 2012,” Allen said.
Now that he is the primary tight end, Allen should see a lot of passes coming his way in 2016. The Colts currently have Jack Doyle as their No. 2 tight end, but he is more of a blocking specialist rather than a receiving threat. After that, Erik Swoope and undrafted rookie Darion Griswold are battling for the third tight end spot.
Also, the Colts are lacking depth at receiver. Outside of T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett, the Colts have a lot of inexperience at wide receiver. As a result, Allen will hear his name called quite often as a pass catcher.
There will be opportunities for Allen to have big games in 2016. It will be interesting to see if how often he capitalizes on those chances. He certainly has the skill set to be an every down contributor, but only time will tell if he can translate those skills to on-field success.