Last week, the Jets announced that they had signed former Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Trystan Colon. Today, we break down Colon in detail.
The 25-year old Colon is listed at 6’3” and 313 pounds and was undrafted out of Missouri in 2020. He has started four NFL games in three seasons. Coming out of college, Colon actually went by the name Trystan Colon-Castillo but he dropped the second part of his name while with the Ravens.
Colon was a three-star recruit who redshirted his first season at Missouri in 2016 and then started 38 consecutive games over the next three seasons. He earned all-SEC freshman honors in 2017.
At the end of his junior year, Colon opted to enter the 2020 NFL draft and was a projected late-round pick. However, he went unselected and was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent.
Colon would go on to spend his rookie season on the Ravens’ practice squad but he was elevated for and saw action in two games, including a late-season start against the Steelers.
In his second season, Colon was a key reserve as he played in 12 games and started two. He reprised his reserve role last season and played in six games with one start. Baltimore went 2-2 in his four starts.
Colon was a restricted free agent coming into the offseason but the Ravens opted not to tender him and the Jets signed him to a low-level one-year deal.
Now let’s take a look at what Colon brings to the table, divided into categories.
Although he has solid size, Colon has extremely short arms and small hands which can limit him in the trenches.
His pre-draft preparation was disrupted when he was injured performing the bench press at the scouting combine, rendering him unable to do a full combine workout or to work out at his pro day. He had managed 11 reps before getting hurt.
On film, it’s apparent that Colon displays some good strength and explosiveness at times. He won an award for his work in the weight room while at Missouri.
Colon played center throughout his college career, although he had been a tackle in high school.
At the NFL level he’s played almost exclusively at center in preseason action but he had some snaps at guard and as a jumbo package tight end during his first two seasons and even started a game at right guard in 2022.
Colon’s pass blocking numbers have been really good throughout his college career and in his pro career so far. He didn’t give up a sack in his first two years in college and, although he did give up two in his last year, he only gave up five other pressures all season.
At the NFL level, he’s been similarly reliable. He has given up just five total pressures in 232 pass block snaps in preseason and regular season action.
To some extent that’s been because he hasn’t been relied upon that often to single-block a dangerous interior defender, instead getting used a lot on double teams or as a spare man. However, when he has been required to block one-on-one he’s generally looked comfortable.
He is balanced in his sets, will be the aggressor at the snap and does a good job of staying on his man after handling his initial move.
With that said, while he battles well and can re-anchor, Colon is someone who can be moved off his spot.
On this play, he wasn’t quick enough to move across and help out his teammate, leading to Aaron Donald splitting their double-team for a half-sack. Although Colon faced multiple NFL-level prospects in college, it’s evidently still an adjustment to face someone as dominant as Donald.
Colon has typically had mixed results as a run blocker, but he has put a lot of good moments on film, displaying an ability to drive his man off the line and to take out targets at the second level.
One of the things he does well is move laterally, either on reach blocks or stretch zone plays.
Colon can climb to the second level effectively and drive back or angle off his target and has shown an ability to get on the move to pull or trap.
In terms of negatives, he can get stood up in the trenches at times, his lack of length can be a detriment in battles for leverage and he will end up on the ground from time to time. He can also over-extend and whiff on his initial block as he comes out of his stance.
The Ravens only had a couple of short-yardage touchdowns with Colon in the line-up but they’ve also had some successes moving the chains on short yardage situations. Colon shows an ability to get some movement at the line in these situations.
Colon hasn’t had many chances to get out in front of a screen pass in his limited action but he shows willingness to hustle downfield and look for work and did a good job on this play.
Entering the league, pad level was a concern for Colon, based on plays like the one below. However, this seems to be an area he has worked at improving.
Colon uses his hands quite well and has also become better at controlling his blocks since entering the league.
This is an interesting play where Colon gets an excellent drive on the linebacker but ultimately loses leverage and fails to sustain the block. However, he got enough of the linebacker to prevent him from making the play, which ended up being a long touchdown.
Penalties haven’t been a major issue for Colon at the NFL level, as he’s just had one false start and a holding penalty for grabbing his man’s outside shoulder on a run out wide.
In college, he had 10 penalties in three years with five in his redshirt sophomore season but only two in his final year.
Colon didn’t play special teams at all in college, but has lined up at guard on the placekicking unit at the NFL level. He hasn’t had any notable contributions or mistakes within that role.
Colon handled all the line calls in college and his teammates were quick to point out how well-prepared he was and how well he communicated when he was called upon at short notice in his rookie year.
He generally does a good job of picking up blitzes or helping out his teammates when he’s the spare man or dealing with stunts, but hesitation has cost him on a couple of occasions.
He is also adept at adjusting his block on the fly or peeling off to a secondary assignment based on some of his film.
Colon has impressed his coaches with his leadership, toughness and work ethic at the NFL level and in college. He’s a player who will battle hard and play to the whistle, often driving his man well out of the play.
He showed some nastiness with the finish on this play; a third down conversion that clinched a win.
Colon has been durable since the start of his college career, starting all 38 games during his three seasons with the Tigers. He did suffer a pectoral injury at the combine, but an MRI revealed a strain but no tear, so that wasn’t serious.
He was knocked out of one Missouri game with an ankle injury but he got it taped up and went back in. Injuries haven’t impacted him so far at the pro level.
The Ravens run a different system from many NFL teams with their extensive use of RPO’s and read-option type plays. They also run a lot of pin-and-pull schemes and not as much zone blocking as the Jets.
However, these days every system includes varying degrees of everything so Colon should have the skill-set to adjust into the Jets’ current system. His primary position is definitely center, but he can clearly work at guard too.
In Baltimore, Colon played with current Jets Chuck Clark, Chris Streveler and Isaiah Mack.
The Colon acquisition has a lot in common with that of Nate Herbig, who, along with Dan Feeney, would be the outgoing players who Colon and his fellow recent signing Wes Schweitzer have been brought in to replace.
Like Herbig, Colon was an undrafted rookie who has done a solid job whenever he has been called upon and the fact he wasn’t brought back for a fourth season with his original team was a surprise to some fans who felt he was a useful piece.
Herbig did have a much bigger sample size than Colon in those first three years (17 starts to four) but Colon could have built on those early performances if he got more opportunities. Hopefully, he can be a reliable reserve for the Jets if they need to call on him too.