Michael Pittman Jr. will turn into a superstar for the Colts in 2023

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts
Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The Indianapolis Colts have finally solidified the quarterback room for the first time since drafting Michael Pittman Jr. in the second round of the 2020 Draft.

Each year with the Indianapolis Colts, Michael Pittman Jr's involvement and production have increased, yet he just hasn't been considered one of the best in the NFL. Things could be looking to change in 2023 as he is now paired up with some electric receivers and a quarterback that can get the ball down the field.

Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Sam Ehlinger, and Nick Foles. The five quarterbacks to throw the ball to Pittman since he was drafted are not something you'd like to see on a young offense. Every year since being drafted, Pittman has had to learn a different quarterback playing style and adjust his game to provide support for a weak passing game for the Colts. Now that Indianapolis has drafted their first day one quarterback in the Chris Ballard era, progression should only increase for the 25-year-old receiver.

With a contract year coming up for the receiver, expect big numbers as he proves that he should be paid as one of the top receivers in the league. We see this often in the NFL with receivers that haven't quite made a difference, suddenly jump up and become a pivotal piece to the offense.

Michael Pittman Jr. had to learn to adapt in college

Young wide receivers have to learn to adapt early considering college teams are in such a rotation and often see different lineups each year. In his first two seasons at USC, Pittman had Sam Darnold throwing to him before Darnold entered the draft.

After that, there was a flux of QBs in two off years for USC. It takes time learning their style and that can affect you. However, Pittman continued to get better each year, similar to how he is progressing in the Colts offense.

After just six receptions in nine games in his freshman season, he quadrupled with 23 in 2017 in the same amount of games. He then double his production his Junior and Senior seasons and ended up catching 101 passes for 1,275 yards in 2019.

It's worth noting that in his Senior season, Pittman had to share targets with Velus Jones Jr (Chicago Bears), Amon-Ra St. Brown (Detroit Lions), Drake London (Atlanta Falcons), and Tyler Vaughns. The other three future NFL receivers on the offense combined for 122 receptions and 1,644 yards.

In his college career, Pittman ended up with a total of 171 receptions, 2,519 yards, and 19 touchdowns. Solid production from a player whose school produced some top NFL wide receivers today.

Will Michael Pittman Jr. have a breakout season for Colts?

In his three years so far in the NFL, Michael Pittman Jr has combined for 227 receptions for 2,510 yards and 11 touchdowns. We know from his time at USC, those numbers could be better considering he's caught an additional 56 balls and has nine less yards.

The main reason for this is the sheer fact that the five Colts quarterbacks have not been able to get him the ball downfield. Either they see a quick sack or don't have the arm strength to get it that far. It's also been known that the Colts have been thin at wide receiver as many of them couldn't seem to stay healthy.

With a player like Anthony Richardson, who can break the pocket and extend plays and launch it 60+ yards down the field, Pittman should see a bump in his numbers this season. Also, with the addition of Alec Pierce last year and Josh Downs this year, that will allow Pittman to see more single coverage defenses, allowing him to "Moss" players down the field a lot easier.

Expect Pittman to not only have a breakout year for the Indianapolis Colts in his contract year but to have a season that puts him in the top five of NFL wide receivers in the league. At the end of the season, everyone might just be talking about Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, and Michael Pittman, Jr.

Pittman will put up superstar numbers for the Colts in 2023 amounting to 115 receptions (+16 from '22), 1,400 yards (+475 from '22), and 10 touchdowns (+6 from '22).

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