Colts T.Y. Hilton, Smaller Receivers Taking Over NFL


According to Bucky Brooks of, Indianapolis Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton and other smaller wide receivers like the Pittsburgh Steelers Antonio Brown are “leading a rise” in the NFL.

While big wideouts like Dez BryantCalvin Johnson, and Demaryius Thomas are still plenty dominant, 8 of the top 15 receivers in 2014 were actually 6 foot or shorter per Brooks. As such, Brooks proposes that the reasons for the rise of smaller wideouts in today’s NFL is as follows:

"1) Offensive coordinators need “escape artists” to defeat bump-and-run coverage.2) Elite offenses must have at least one big play threat on the perimeter.3) The emphasis on “RAC” (run after catch) has created roles for catch-and-run specialists."

Specifically, Hilton is cited in Brooks article for #1, by his exceptional ability to escape bump-and-run coverage as brilliantly portrayed by the following touchdown against the Cleveland Browns last season:

"“In the play depicted below (in this case above), from the Colts’ Week 14 win over the Browns, Indy’s T.Y. Hilton (5-9, 178 pounds) shows his elusiveness and burst on a fade route against Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden (5-11, 195),” writes Brooks. “Hilton uses a quick stutter-step move at the line of scrimmage to get Haden on his heels and attempts to stack Haden after the release. Quarterback Andrew Luck intentionally underthrows Hilton on the vertical route, due to Haden’s hip-pocket positioning. The diminutive pass catcher quickly adjusts to the back-shoulder throw, makes the reception and waltzes into the end zone for a touchdown.”"

However, Hilton is not the only Indianapolis Colt that received recognition as one of the NFL’s up-and-coming smaller receivers, as the Colts 1st round pick in Phillip Dorsett was also given a mention:

"“With smaller rookie pass catchers like Amari Cooper (6-1), Nelson Agholor (6-0) and Phillip Dorsett (5-10) expected to make an impact, the trend should continue this season.”"

Whatever the case may be, it appears as though the Colts clearly like pairing smaller, blazing fast wideouts with their star quarterback in Andrew Luck. The team has already had considerable success with Hilton the past few seasons, and it looks as though they are trying to achieve even greater success by throwing in yet another smaller, but speedy wideout like Dorsett into the mix as well.

Jun 9, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receivers from left to right Griff Whalen(17), T.Y. Hilton (13), and Phillip Dorsett (15) wait their turn to run passing routes during minicamp at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

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