NFL experts are predicting 'a huge jump in production' for this young Colts player

Indianapolis Colts v Minnesota Vikings
Indianapolis Colts v Minnesota Vikings / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages

The Indianapolis Colts have a young player that’s expected to breakout and become a star during the 2023 NFL season.

Currently, expectations are low for the Indianapolis Colts in 2023. After a 4-12-1 season in 2022, the Colts have made some moves that should make them more competitive than last season, but for the most part, this upcoming season is expected to be a year filled with growing pains before Indy really reaches contender status.

One of the ways that process can be expedited is by a few players playing above expectations and having breakout seasons. With all of the young talent on Indy’s roster, there are several breakout candidates, on both sides of the ball. The Colts have one of the highest-drafted rookie quarterbacks, and a few rookie cornerbacks that could be immediate starters. Additionally, there are returning players that should be ready to make a leap.

Nick Villano, in a recent piece for FanSided, focused on a returning player as Indy’s most likely breakout star. Naming a breakout candidate for all 32 teams, Villano named second-year tight end Jelani Woods as the player likely to breakout in 2023 for the Colts.

Jelani Woods named as a breakout candidate for Colts

Villano highlights the three important people that should help Jelani Woods excel in 2023: Anthony Richardson, Shane Steichen, and Woods himself. For starters, stability at the quarterback position should help everyone in Indianapolis, from pass catcher to fans. It has been far too long since the Colts had a young quarterback that can grow and lead the team. Building a rapport with Richardson will be the first step to Woods breaking out.

Beyond that, Woods will now be utilized by Shane Steichen, who has a history of getting tight ends involved. As Villano pointed out, “Steichen loved using Dallas Goddert with the Eagles. He’s going to love using Jelani Woods in Indianapolis.” With opportunity, it will be up to Woods to deliver.

At times last season, it seemed like all Jelani Woods needed was opportunity. The athletic, 6-foot-7, 265-pound tight end played in 15 games as a rookie but only played 33% of offensive snaps. When he was on the field, he was targeted 40 times, catching 25 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns. If Woods is on the field more in 2023, all of those numbers should go up, and he’ll have the chance to blossom into a superstar.