Which 2022 backup player is ready to have a breakout season for the Colts?

As the 2023 season approaches, experts believe the Indianapolis Colts have a player that’s ready to go from the bench to stardom.
Indianapolis Colts Training Camp
Indianapolis Colts Training Camp / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

One of the reasons the NFL is special is that each season is so unique. Sure, there are certain players and teams that are exceptional from year to year, but each season is also guaranteed to have surprises: breakout stars, dark horse teams, and all new storylines. The Indianapolis Colts could have all of that in 2023.

With a rookie quarterback, a first-year head coach, and a star running back that’s dealing with an injury and contract situation, Indy has storylines covered. As far as being a dark horse team, time will tell. No one’s expecting the Colts, so they’ll need to be successful to complete the equation. For breakout stars, Indianapolis has several young players that could shine in 2023.

Brent Sobleski, in a recent piece for Bleacher Report, named eight players that were backups last season but could blossom this season. The Colts were represented on the list, with second-year tight end Jelani Woods being named as as player poised to breakout.

Jelani Woods expected to blossom for Colts in 2023

Speaking on Woods, Sobleski said, “Even during a disastrous rookie campaign, Indianapolis Colts tight end Jelani Woods flashed moments of future dominance.” Jelani Woods played in 15 games as a rookie, catching 25 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns. His production in limited snaps had fans begging for him to be utilized more.

That's why entering year two, Sobleski and a ton of other people expect big things from Jelani Woods. Unfortunately, his breakout campaign is off to a rocky start as he’s been dealing with a hamstring injury. These are critical days, as the Colts are implementing a rookie quarterback and new offense.

As Sobleski highlighted, Shane Steichen’s offense is tight end friendly, although it does require them to block. If Woods can get healthy, pick up the offense, and build a rapport with Anthony Richardson, he should be ready to thrive in 2023.