Whenever an NFL team signs one of your ex-players the week that you’re facing them, your ears perk up a little bit as a fan. The term that generally describes these acquisitions is a “playbook spy,” although this one is certainly pushing the statute of limitations on viable intel.
According to Pro Football Network insider Aaron Wilson, the Indianapolis Colts have signed former Kansas City Chiefs tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart to their practice squad.
They also inked a guard by the name of Arlington Hambright. With the Chiefs lined up on the schedule in Week 3, the playbook spy thought does immediately come to mind but this one could be more of a coincidence.
Nakia Griffin-Stewart Signs With Colts
Griffin-Stewart is a journeyman blocking tight end that has bounced around the NFL since entering it as an undrafted free agent in 2020. He first signed with the Chiefs organization on November 3 of the 2021 campaign.
The reason this wouldn’t necessarily make sense from an intel perspective is that Griffin-Stewart was released back in early May, along with a handful of prospects on futures contracts.
He never played a game for Kansas City but he did learn this offense briefly from November through May.
The big-bodied blocker weighs in at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds. Sam Ekstrom of Zone Coverage described him as a potential “under-the-radar pick-up” during his rookie camp with the Minnesota Vikings but he’s yet to latch on at the NFL level.
Realistically, Griffin-Stewart is a blocker at heart but he did show flashes as a pass-catcher in college. His overall production with Rutgers and Pittsburgh was lacking — 32 receptions for 282 yards and two touchdowns in 22 games — but he did make a few highlight-reel catches like this one-handed grab he made as a member of the Scarlet Knights.
Griffin-Stewart is unlikely to be elevated for the Week 3 outing against the Chiefs.
State of the Chiefs Tight End Room
The KC tight end unit could not be in better shape — outside of a preseason injury to blocking specialist Blake Bell. The three-man unit of Travis Kelce, Jody Fortson and Noah Gray is performing swimmingly over the first two weeks.
As you might expect, Kelce leads all Chiefs pass-catchers in receptions and yardage (13 for 172) with one touchdown and 10 first downs. Gray has stepped it up behind him as a true dual-threat and that’s shown in the snap count.
The second-year TE has out-snapped Fortson 65 to 30 so far and he’s earned his keep with three catches for 22 yards (two first downs). More impressive are Gray’s blocking grades on Pro Football Focus.
Head coach Andy Reid has utilized Gray as an extra pass-blocker at times this season and his marks explain why. The Duke product has an 81.5 grade in pass protection — second on the roster behind running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire — with zero quarterback pressures allowed so far. His run-blocking hasn’t been as good but it’s earned a solid 65.4 from PFF.
Fortson has run-blocked well but his poor pass protection has kept him off the field at times. That’s not why he’s on the roster though. The 6-foot-4 weapon is one of Patrick Mahomes’ favorite red zone targets and he already has one touchdown in 2022.
Based on the aforementioned depth, Griffin-Stewart always faced an uphill battle in KC. Perhaps he’ll have better luck making the active roster in Indianapolis.