November 8, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) runs past Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Dawan Landry (26) during the first quarter at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
When the Colts capped off their 2012 NFL Draft, I was thinking there couldn’t have possibly been a better outcome. They attacked the offensive side of the ball in a big way, starting with Andrew Luck at the quarterback position. They transformed nearly every area of the offense, and incredibly were able to put together a good enough roster to contend for the AFC South and make the playoffs.
One key piece of their draft last year was getting the speedy playmaker out of Florida International, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. Hilton is the subject of our breakout player series, but he is just one of many from the Colts’ class of 2012 that could have a big year in 2013. Here is my rookie scouting report on Hilton before he was drafted by the Colts:
"What can be said about T.Y. Hilton, a relatively unknown wide receiver prospect out of Florida International?Well, it turns out, quite a bit. The speedster showcased his ability Friday night in FIU’s upset victory over Louisville, and I had the privilege of watching him do it.It’s not like this guy is deceptively fast, because opposing teams know about his speed–he’s the focal point of the FIU offense and rightfully so. He plays out of the slot, he flanks out wide, he returns kicks, punts, and he even takes carries out of the backfield.This guy is the real deal, and he will not only be an NFL player but after seeing last night’s game on the biggest stage of his career, arguably, I am relatively certain the spotlight is no match for T.Y. Hilton.At a GlanceWide ReceiverSenior5’11″ 185 It’s hard really to compare him to anybody, but the way he is involved in the offense, he reminds me of DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles. I am not positive that he runs a sub-4.4 second 40 yard dash, but he just might, and he is as elusive as most prospects I have watched this year. We realize that he’s playing Louisville, who plays in the Big East which is definitely not known for powerhouse football at the moment, but it’s still a big step from a lot of teams FIU plays.It seemed like early on in the game last night, FIU was kidding itself by not putting the ball in T.Y. Hilton’s hands early and often, and once they did, he did not disappoint.He caught seven passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns last night, including those two scoring plays where he displayed the kind of speed and vision that NFL scouts simply drool over.Hilton was more than impressive last night, and if you have a chance to check out some highlights of his game, it really doesn’t do his performance justice–he was absolutely electrifying and really put himself in the national spotlight with this game, and he even struck a Heisman pose, which I don’t think the referees caught, but we’ll let it slide.This is a guy you want on your team, and he’s a guy who’s going to make waves all year, and then at offseason workouts."
As a rookie in 2012, Hilton caught 50 passes for 861 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging over 17 yards per catch. Hilton showed off his big play ability as a rookie, and he should see even more touches in 2013, possibly even challenging Reggie Wayne for the team lead in catches, yards, and touchdowns. With his speed, Hilton could be an effective receiver on the outsides or in the slot. He can beat anyone downfield and force opposing teams to keep a safety high. I’m really excited about what Hilton can do, and the Colts are as well.
Donnie Avery saw a lot of targets (124) while Hilton saw just 90 last season, and I think it will be the second year player who is taking over as the team’s number two target in the passing game behind Reggie Wayne. If you project Hilton’s numbers out over 125 targets (roughly), he would have caught 68 passes for 1,185 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those are really solid numbers and could earn Hilton Pro Bowl honors, especially if he continues to excel as a return specialist and potential occasional threat out of the backfield as well.
Hilton is due for a huge year I think, and he could become one of the star players on the Colts before too long.