In the NFL, as a player, you don’t get many opportunities, but when you do, you have to make the most of them. This past Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Colts’ rookie wideout Donte Moncrief did just that to the tune of 7 receptions for 113 yards (16.1 ypr) and 1 touchdown.
As the “next man-up“, he delivered. Due to Reggie Wayne being held out because of a lingering sore elbow, Moncrief was given extended playing in his absence and clearly didn’t disappoint. He played in 41 of the offense’s 67 snaps (61.2%), while flashing explosive ability, and continues to see an increased role in the offense on a weekly basis:
As you can see, Moncrief’s usage has more than doubled on a week-to-week basis and continues to grow in the past 3 weeks. He’s gone from 13.8% to 61.2% in 3 weeks! Aside from T.Y. Hilton, he gives the Colts’ another deep receiving threat and big-play ability as indicated by his long 52-yard reception against the Steelers last weekend.
Despite only playing a limited role in the first 7 weeks of the regular season, Moncrief is graded as the 13th best wide receiver overall according to the advanced statistics provided by ProFootballFocus (PFF). A very impressive feat for a rookie 3rd round pick.
Oct 26, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief (10) runs after a reception against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
However, based on Moncrief’s impressive physical measurables, it’s hard to consider him as your ordinary 3rd round pick. At an imposing 6’2″, 220 lbs, he runs and jumps like a gazelle. It’s never been an issue of physical ability for the 21-year old Moncrief. Rather, it’s just whether he can consistently put it together on a weekly basis.
With Hakeem Nicks struggling to show much explosion or burst, averaging a wide receiver team-low at 9.3 yards per reception, it will be interesting to see whether Moncrief continues to see an expanded role in the offense and gets elevated in the wide receiver pecking order.
The Colts’ T.Y. Hilton is having a tremendous season as their #1 wideout, but he could use some help as the team’s lone deep threat as the season progresses. Even when Reggie Wayne returns as the team’s #2 wideout, Moncrief has earned the right to play in more 3-wide receiver sets, even if it’s at the expense of the veteran Hakeem Nicks. He makes what is already an explosive offense, even more potent, as highlighted by his 13.5 average yards per reception.
So far, Moncrief has been a pleasant surprise for this Colts’ offense. If there’s a 3-year wide receiver learning curve, someone must’ve not told Donte Moncrief, who’s been making the most of opportunity in his rookie season. #FeedMoncrief