The Indianapolis Colts wide receiving corps could be poised for a significant breakout this upcoming season, featuring the likes of T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and Phillip Dorsett atop the depth chart.
What this trio lacks in size, the group makes up for it in speed, as with blazing fast forty times, Hilton (4.34), Moncrief (4.40), and Dorsett (4.33) form arguably the fastest 3-wide receiver set in football:
Of course, the team’s #1 wideout Hilton has become a household name in recent years, as he’s made back-to-back Pro Bowl appearances, posted three consecutive 1,000 yard receiving seasons, all en route to becoming starting quarterback Andrew Luck‘s go-to target.
However, it’s the receiving supporting cast surrounding Hilton that figures to be primed for a breakout season, especially with a fully healthy Luck for an entire season.
Specifically, 22 year old wide receiver Donte Moncrief appears to be one of the league’s wide receivers who could make the biggest leap this upcoming season–entering his 3rd NFL season, which is typically the year that wide receivers take off according to the 3-year receiving rule of thumb.
While Hilton remains the team’s premier deep ball threat, it’s Moncrief who Luck may look to most in the red zone. Consider that 5 of Moncrief’s 6 touchdowns on the season came in the 7 games where Luck actually played–compared to Hilton’s 3 touchdowns during that same span.
Simply put, Moncrief has emerged as a trusted target for Luck with his big 6’2″, 222 pound frame, while maintaining great speed and soft hands.
Apparently, we’re not the only ones who have taken notice either:
"Sep 27, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief (10) celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Indianapolis won 35-33. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports“Moncrief has already earned Luck’s trust, learned to find open spots in zone defenses, reeled in a series of catches with a high degree of difficulty and emerged as the team’s best offensive player for stretches of the 2015 season,” writes NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling. “His outlook is especially promising after he demonstrated an impressive efficiency that belied his quarterbacks’ struggles in 2015.”“Moncrief should be a lock for his first 1,000-yard campaign, taking advantage of the single coverage provided by Hilton’s downfield prowess in an offense that is poised to return to its lofty 2014 heights.”"
Not to be forgotten, last season’s 1st round pick Phillip Dorsett rounds out the Colts 3-wide receiver set. Having missed 5 games because of a fractured ankle, Dorsett endured a disappointing rookie season, only catching 18 passes for 225 receiving yards and a touchdown.
However, he’s probably more talented than +90% of the league’s 3rd wide receivers and has the rare speed and playmaking ability to be a difference-maker in the Colts offense this season.
Namely, Dorsett has the speed to blow the top off of opposing secondaries and could be a tremendous deep threat for the offense if he can consistently put all of his elite receiving tools together.
Under new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, the Colts are already conjuring up creative ways to get the football in their young playmaker’s hands:
"“By the end of last season, new coordinator Rob Chudzinski was fashioning a Brandin Cooks-like role for Dorsett, featuring jet sweeps, bubble screens, quick slants and even a backfield appearance to go with the early-season shot plays downfield,” added Wesseling."
That’s why while other sources such as Pro Football Focus, who rank the Colts only the NFL’s 22nd receiving corps overall, are unreasonably down on this year’s Colts wide receivers, Colts Nation knows better.
This year’s Colts wide receivers aren’t one of the league’s best receiving groups, but that being said, they’re still one of the league’s better receiving corps if both Moncrief and Dorsett can take another step forward in their respective development–particularly in the former’s case.
The group collectively possesses rare blazing fast speed and is arguably as talented as any receiving group’s 1 to 3 wide receivers in the entire NFL. With a fully healthy Luck throwing them the football for a full season, the Colts receiving corps could be primed for a breakout season–ready or not the rest of the NFL.