The Indianapolis Colts might not feature Ashton Dulin as their No. 1 wide receiver, nor will you see him paraded around their social media accounts, but the unassuming small-school receiver may have the best chance of any Colt this season of getting a Pro Bowl nomination amid a sluggish start.
Dulin arrived in the NFL out of tiny Division II Malone University in Ohio. We’d love to try and find the next Dulin to make it big from that school, but the program doesn’t even exist anymore. When we say that Dulin overcame the odds, one has to remember the school from which he came.
Despite all of that, and despite players like Mike Strachan and Dezmon Patmon filling out the bottom part of their roster, it’s been hard to ignore what Dulin has been doing, especially as a special teams player. His game against the Miami Dolphins showed he is playing at an elite level in that regard.
Dulin was able to both make a tackle as a gunner on the punt team in their win against Miami, and it was the former Pioneer who recovered a muffed punt that helped seal Indianapolis’ victory. Oh, and he threw in a catch against Xavien Howard for good measure.
The Colts might have a stud in Ashton Dulin.
Patriots gunner Matthew Slater has been named a Pro Bowler nine times in the last 10 seasons, with 2018 standing out as the only time he was excluded. With many voters not taking the time to grind special teams film and voting Slater in on reputation, Dulin’s fantastic season might go unnoticed.
You don’t get noticed out of Malone University unless you are a premium athlete. A former 100 meter dash champion and G-MAC Track Athlete of the Year at 215 pounds, Dulin has more than enough burst to be an impact player in multiple phases of the game.
While making plays on special teams is all well and good, there is still a chance Dulin moves up on the wide receiver depth chart if the squad continues to get middling production from that unit.
He appears to have locked up the fourth wide receiver spot behind Michael Pittman Jr., Zach Pascal, and Parris Campbell. TY Hilton returning could eat into his playing time, but it’ll be hard for Reich to turn down an opportunity to get him on the field if he keeps playing like this.
It will be tough to beat out Slater considering the monopoly he has had on the nominations over the years, and the Colts might not get Dulin the recognition he deserves if they keep losing, but his special teams play has been impressive, and he could earn a trip to Las Vegas if he keeps it up.