Can Homegrown TE Stick At Crowded Position?

The Colts placed Tom Santi on injured reserve last week and signed his replacement off of the Titans practice squad. Brad Keller has the full scouting report on the new addition.

Jamie Petrowski is a product of the great state of Indiana.  Born in Terre Haute, he attended Indiana State and upon graduating in 2006, declared for the NFL draft.

He was signed by the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent on May 3, 2006, was released before the start of the regular season, and spent the 2006 campaign on Tennessee's practice squad.  He repeated this cycle in 2007, but actually ended up making the 53-man roster towards the end of the year and suited up against the San Diego Chargers in the Wild Card playoff game between the two teams.

Petrowski in preseason action with the Titans
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

He was signed to a 2008 contract at the end of the 2007 season, worked his way through mini-camps, OTAs, and training camp, and was cut on August 30th.  He was signed to the practice squad after clearing waivers and remained there until the Colts placed Tom Santi on injured reserve and signed Petrowski off Tennessee's taxi squad to fill the roster spot.

At 6-feet-4 and 262 pounds, he is large for a Colts tight end.  He is very similar in size and stature to the departed Ben Utecht, so it is very possible that he is a replacement for Utecht.  He has the size to be a matchup nightmare for a slow linebacker or a considerably smaller safety.

But given the fact that he was brought up in the NFL with the Titans, he is more likely a blocking tight end that has some upside as a receiver.

The stats back that up, as Petrowski has yet to see any action as a receiver during the regular season or the postseason.  Through three full preseasons with Tennessee, he has seven receptions for 120 yards and no touchdowns.

His 17.1 yards per reception in those situations speak to his upside, but the fact that he has yet to register any catches when the games count speaks to the fact that the Titans, through the course of three seasons, did not think he was ready for prime time.

The fact remains, though, that he is one of the tight ends currently on the roster for the Indianapolis Colts.  In addition to that, he and fellow tight end Gijon Robinson are no longer eligible for the practice squad.

If Petrowski was, indeed, brought in as a blocker with some potential to be a receiving tight end, he needs to prove to the Colts coaches that he is, in fact, a better option than Robinson. 

Though the Colts are currently fighting for their playoff lives in 2008, Petrowski represents a 2009 roster spot battle.  It will be between him and Robinson to decide who the blocking tight end/H-Back is next season.  The work that Petrowski does for the remainder of this season and the next offseason will determine what the Colts do at the position next season.

But, it is also important to remember that Indianapolis is currently involved in a struggle for a Wild Card spot this season and they will go with a known quantity in Robinson.

This means that, whatever Petrowski does not prove this season must be proved in the offseason.  It will be an uphill battle for a man that is already considered over the hill in prospect terms at 26, but it is a battle the Colts seem willing to let play out.

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