The Indianapolis Colts will open up the regular season this Sunday afternoon vs. the Oakland Raiders. While Oakland isn’t known for their defensive secondary, they did make some moves this off-season to bolster that area of their defense. Charles Woodson and Tracy Porter were signed as free agents and D.J. Hayden was their first round draft pick. While these three moves are solid, they will be tested very early by the receiving corps of the Colts.
Reggie Wayne is the obvious name that comes to mind when talking about Colts wide receivers. He’s entering his 13th season, all with Indianapolis, and is primed to have yet another big year. Wayne is Andrew Luck’s favorite target, and should have a big game against Oakland on Sunday. Their defense is very young, and you can expect to see Wayne pick them apart with his excellent route running ability.
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Darris Heyward-Bey is heading into his first year with the Colts, and is currently listed as the Colts’ #2 wide receiver on the depth chart. This is a very interesting guy to watch on Sunday because his first four years were with the Oakland Raiders. He was the #7 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, and played the last four seasons in Oakland. His main deficiency is dropped passes. While he didn’t struggle with drops in the preseason, he did have multiple practices where he had some issues. Expect DHB to put up solid numbers, but watch out for inconsistency with him. His speed will allow him to burn past Oakland defenders, so he is primed to have a good week.
T.Y. Hilton is the third receiver on the Colts’ depth chart at this point. He is the guy that most analysts are looking at to have the biggest impact behind Reggie Wayne. Hilton has incredible speed, so being a deep threat is what really comes to mind about T.Y. In addition to his speed, he has great hands and route running ability. This kid has a chance to be a future star for the Colts. He’s got great swagger and appeals to the fans. Similar to Heyward-Bey, you can expect him to tear apart the Oakland defense down the field. The Colts will also use him in the short game with screens and short routes over the middle.
Griff Whalen is the final Colts wide receiver that we’ll discuss in this article. He’s going to get the first crack to be the Colts’ #4 wide receiver, but does have some things to prove to keep the job. Whalen caught 9 passes for 91 yards in four preseason games, and does have quite a bit of talent for the future. He has struggled with drops as well, but has looked much better this year compared to last. Expect him to get a good number of targets, and only time will tell how long he’ll keep the job. This week is a good week for him to get his feet wet in the offense, and you can expect him to receive a few targets.
Overall the Colts wide receivers should look very good this week. There is certainly a lot of talent at the first three wide receiver spots on the depth chart, but there is a lot of uncertainty afterwards. Expect to see a pass-first offense in Week 1, and good numbers put up for everyone involved.