Indianapolis Colts: Could Carson Wentz help Zach Pascal break out?

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 27: Zach Pascal #14 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 27: Zach Pascal #14 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts took on former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz with the understanding that he needed some quality players around him if they are to rehabilitate him, and the first step in doing so was bringing back wide receiver Zach Pascal.

Pascal recorded 44 catches, 629 receiving yards, and five touchdowns last season, making him the perfect third passing option for Philip Rivers as the Colts made it back to the postseason.

The wideout re-signed with Indianapolis after the team chose not to leave him in restricted free agency limbo, and he figures to slide in behind TY Hilton and Michael Pittman Jr. on the depth chart. Despite the fact he might be behind them nominally, he’s trying to do everything he can to become close with his new signal caller.

As proven on Pascal’s Instagram, Wentz is already doing everything he can to establish a connection with his receivers. With Pascal potentially destined for a greater workload this year, could 2021 be the season in which he finally has that breakout campaign we’ve all been waiting for?

Will Zach Pascal become an integral part of the Colts offense?

Hilton and Pittman might be the two favorites to receive the bulk of Wentz’s targets, but they aren’t guaranteed to end up at the top of the depth chart. Pittman is still a young player who needs to earn his keep, while Hilton has clearly lost a step or two over the years, which could make it hard for him to assume full-time WR1 responsibilities.

The Colts had more than enough money to spend in free agency, but they chose to bring back Hilton and Pascal instead of signing a big name. They clearly like the continuity and value what Pascal brings to the table as a threat over the middle and vertically.

His near-flub against Buffalo in the postseason last year is not a good look, but he has shown to be effective at catching the ball in traffic, making plays in the red zone, and has improved his skill as a runner after the catch. With a quarterback in Wentz who thrives when the ball is out of his hands as quickly as possible, Pascal will be an invaluable asset.

Pascal rose from an unknown UDFA out of Old Dominion to one of the more reliable receivers in the AFC South. Frank Reich and the Colts had the chance to let him go this offseason, but they are fans of his skill set, and he could finally blossom into an upper-tier starter if he ends up developing some good synergy with Wentz.