3 Colts offensive threats that could break out in 2020
After a 2019 season of ups and downs, the Colt offense looks to make huge strides in 2020, and plenty of players could be due for a breakout year.
Chris Ballard went into this off-season hoping to add explosion to the Colt’s offense, and a more dynamic attack to make more plays than last year’s completely run-oriented system. With the addition of Philip Rivers and early draft picks like Michael Pittman Jr. he did just that.
Now that the offense looks to be more complete, many players on that side of the ball could be poised for a boost in production. Let’s dive into some breakout candidates.
One of the most obvious answers, Parris Campbell definitely has the potential to explode in 2020. The 2019 rookie had an injury-riddled season but showed flashes of being more than just a solid target in Frank Reich‘s offense.
At Ohio State, he totaled 1768 yards and 15 touchdowns over a 4-year period in which he had to battle a loaded Ohio State receiving corp for playing time. During his tenure, Campbell showed flashes of being a big play waiting to happen, and speed that played a huge role in Chris Ballard drafting him on the second round of the 2019 draft.
His first year in Indianapolis would soon be altered by a sports hernia, broken hand, and broken foot.
Only starting in 3 games for the Colts in his first professional season, Campbell had 18 receptions on 24 targets in 2019, racking up 127 yards with roughly 18 yards per game. While slightly underwhelming, Campbell’s injury issues played a huge part in his rookie season, and he hasn’t even scratched the surface of how good he could soon be.
The addition of Philip Rivers should boost Campbell’s production if he can stay healthy in 2020. Keep an eye on the former Buckeye this season, and expect to see a more polished Parris Campbell after another offseason in Reich’s system.
While the drafting of Jonathan Taylor might have hindered Hines’ chances to prove he can be a star in the Colts’ offense, Philip Rivers now being his quarterback helps his case a lot.
Rivers has always loved to involve his backs in the passing game in San Diego/Los Angeles, from flex backs like Darren Sproles to more recent weapons like Austin Ekeler. Sproles averaged 52 catches in his last two seasons in San Diego, and Ekeler had a whopping 92 receptions last season with Rivers at quarterback. Hines, being a flex back kind of weapon as it is, should receive a lot of targets with Rivers under center in 2020.
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Hines’ work on special teams could also play a huge part in his splurge in 2020. Towards the end of last season, Hines showed the ability to take it to the house on any given play, whether it be a hand-off, check down, or punk/kick return.
Nyheim Hines will definitely mean a lot for the Colts in 2020, and it’ll be interesting to see if its the year he finally puts it all together and becomes the playmaker Indianapolis knows he can be.
While quite possibly a dark-horse candidate, Trey Burton is in an excellent position to pop off for a big year in 2020.
We all know how much Reich loves to use his tight-ends, having a different one make the Pro Bowl in both of the last two NFL seasons. One of said pro-bowlers, Eric Ebron, is now in a Steelers uniform. The other, Jack Doyle, just recently turned 30 years of age and isn’t getting any younger.
Reich is very familiar with Burton’s game, having won a Super Bowl with him in Philadelphia only a couple of years ago. In the big game, Burton was the passer of the famous “Philly Special”, in which he threw a touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles leading to the 41-33 win over the Patriots. It’s no secret Reich is a big fan of Burton’s game, and having him be the tight end coming in to replace Ebron says a lot about the expectations he has for Burton with Rivers under center.
After a subtle year in Chicago in which he only played in 8 games and had 14 receptions for 84 yards, Colts fans can expect Burton to come in with a chip on his shoulder ready to play for his former offensive coordinator. If he can build a connection with Philip Rivers, the dominos could fall perfectly for a huge year in Indy from Trey Burton.
While there also could be plenty other breakout candidates in this year’s Colts offense, these three players really have the chips lined up to play out in their favor. If all goes as planned, look for Indy’s offense to be super explosive this year, and don’t be surprised to see them play an intricate role in a playoff run.
With the additions and subtractions of many different players, Indianapolis is slowly becoming the offensive powerhouse it once was, and it’s only a matter of time before we see Colts football as we know it return to form. I ask all Colts fans to stay patient and watch the monster be rebuilt into something special once again.