Who will step up in the Colts WR corps after TY Hilton in 2020?
It’s clear the Indianapolis Colts are preparing for life without TY Hilton, who will be a free agent after this season. When they selected USC wideout Michael Pittman Jr. early in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, it was clear general manager Chris Ballard had a vision moving forward.
But there still remain a lot of question marks. Will Pittman seamlessly fit into the offense? Will Parris Campbell take the next step this season after appearing in just seven games last year? Was Zach Pascal’s impressive campaign a fluke or is he ready to break out? And with Philip Rivers the new QB under center, how will it all pan out?
Whatever happens, it’ll likely define the Colts wide receiving corps for years to come.
In short, unless the Colts figure out a way to keep Hilton under contract (and he can figure out a way to stay healthy), this group of young wideouts needs to be ready for the challenge. Pascal, an undrafted free agent out of ODU in 2018, proved he’s capable of making plays after catching 41 passes for 607 yards and five touchdowns in 2019.
Campbell’s rough rookie season featured a hamstring injury, a sports hernia and a broken hand. He logged just seven games and caught 18 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. We can see he possesses some explosiveness, but that needs to be evident on a weekly basis, so his health in 2020 will be the most crucial aspect of his sophomore year.
And finally, Pittman has high expectations after a colossal senior season at USC. The 6-foot-4, 223-pound wideout profiles as a No. 1 target, which is exactly what Indy needs. Hilton is more of a vertical/deep threat, and though he’s as reliable as anyone, he’s not exactly a guy you’re throwing it up to on the outside considering he’s just 5-foot-10 and 183 pounds.
Pittman can do it all. He can body a defensive back one-on-one or burn defenses vertically, proven by his 101 catches for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Trojans in 2019. He’s got the size and speed to be a dynamic piece the Colts haven’t had in quite some time.
Indy’s offense can really take the next step if all of these guys behind Hilton can carve out a role for themselves and stay healthy. Rivers has been known to spread the ball throughout his career too, so that will be a significant factor in having this unit turn into something special for the next 3-4 years.