INDIANAPOLIS – What are the odds?
Anyone with the answer, please contact Kylen Granson at the Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Football Center.It would be appreciated.
Granson was elated when the Indianapolis Colts selected him last Saturday in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. He was absolutely flabbergasted several hours later when they opted for another product of West Lake High School, a bona fide football power in Austin, Texas, with the first pick of round 7.
Granson and his prep quarterback, Sam Ehlinger, were back together. They were on hand for the start of the Colts’ three-day rookie minicamp until Ehlinger returned to Austin to be with his family following the death of his younger brother, Jake.
“Me and him would talk quite a bit about it,’’ Granson said during a Saturday Zoom conference call. “We’re like, ‘What are the odds?’ I’m like, ‘All right, we’ve got to get some dude to do a mathematical study, do some type of calculation to determine the odds of that happening.’ It’s like a one-in-a-billion chance. It’s really cool to have him here.’’
It’s not actually that rare. According to Colts.com, in 2018 Washington drafted a pair of Stonewall Jackson (Manassas, Va.) H.S. teammates while Carolina selected a pair of Trinity Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) teammates.
But Granson made his point.
Forty players who were high school teammates last season were selected in the three-day draft. Only two landed with the same team: Granson and Ehlinger. Granson’s family erupted when the Colts made him the 127th overall selection. Even though his destination had been determined, everyone still paid attention as the draft unfolded.
“I was watching the draft still,’’ Granson said.
Then, round 7 rolled around. General manager Chris Ballard had acquired the first pick in the final round in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“My family freaked out,’’ Granson said with a smile. “They started screaming, ‘Oh my god, Sam just got drafted.’ I was like, ‘Where?’ Then I looked at the screen and it popped up Indianapolis Colts. I said, ‘Oh my god, what are the odds?’ We went crazy for him.’’
Ehlinger was the epicenter of Westlake’s football program. He’s the school’s all-time leader in total yards (9,886) and passing yards (7,491), and was named Texas’ 2015 Player of the Year. Ehlinger led the Chaparrals to a state title as a junior and was named Offensive Player of the Year on the strength of 4,041 passing yards and another 1,325 on the ground.
“He was the star of our high school, man,’’ Granson said. “He was QB1, going to UT, all that.
“But he’s a really cool guy, really chill, really humble. I really enjoyed my time playing with him in high school.’’
Granson transferred to Westlake from Marble Falls after his sophomore season. He collected 48 receptions for 739 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons, including 39 catches for 630 yards and 10 TDs as a senior.
“I was OK,’’ he said. “I wasn’t a showstopper or anything like that, like him. I did OK for myself.’’
Granson and Ehlinger kept in touch as Ehlinger became the four-year starter at Texas and Granson initially played at Rice before transferring and honing his hybrid tight end skills at SMU.
After the draft, Granson waited for things to settle down before reconnecting with Ehlinger.
“I didn’t reach out until a couple of days later because the whole state of Texas is texting him congratulations,’’ he said. “He probably wouldn’t have seen my text till later.
“We reached back out, got connected. I saw him on the flight up here. I was nice catching up.’’
Ehlinger joins a quarterback room led by veteran Carson Wentz and includes 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason and Jalen Morton.
Granson fills the “move’’ tight end role that previously was held by Trey Burton and Eric Ebron. At 6-2 and 241 pounds, he’s expected to be the downfield receiving threat that isn’t a positional strength of Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox.
Granson has yet to have a serious one-on-one meeting with coach Frank Reich, who always makes liberal use of tight ends in his offense.
In a post-draft conference call with the media, Reich mentioned he was excited about the “dimension” (Granson) brings. When you watch the tape, you see he is explosive. He has explosive speed, he has quickness, foot and body quickness.
“He’s also dynamic with the football in his hand as a tight end, which can be a great element for our offense. We like to think we know what we’re doing when we’re using that position . . . I think he’ll complement the other guys well.’’
Along with adding a vertical threat to the passing game, Granson realizes he’ll have to contribute on special teams.
“Definitely going to be a ‘teams’ guy for sure,’’ he said. “Teams are a big deal here. Also, just high expectations for me all around. “That’s just the standard here in Indianapolis.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.