When a team makes an investment in a potential franchise quarterback like the Indianapolis Colts did this offseason when they traded for Carson Wentz, it's a good idea for them to surround them with weapons to put them in the best position to succeed.
Luckily for the Colts, they already began planting those seeds even before securing their QB.
With their first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Colts selected USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.
Following a solid rookie season, Pittman appears to be poised to take the next step in being a true WR1 in the NFL.
The change of scenery for Wentz and the expected rise of Pittman has NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt calling the pair one of the most exciting pass-catching duos of 2021, ranking them No. 7.
One of the reasons Carson Wentz failed in Philadelphia was a dearth of reliable receiving options, and the hope is he won't experience that same problem after being traded to the Colts this offseason. Though T.Y. Hilton is 31, he's coming off a strong close to the 2020 season (24 catches for 408 yards and four touchdowns in Weeks 12-16), while third-year pro Parris Campbell, who has struggled with injuries but shown promise, is another player to keep an eye on. But I'm particularly interested to see how Wentz works with Michael Pittman Jr. The 2020 second-round pick didn't exactly pop as a rookie, dealing with a leg injury that required surgery. He ranked 11th among all rookie receivers in catches (40) and 10th in yards (503) last season -- but I think he's got the potential to double those numbers in 2021. The sample size is small, but the three games in which Pittman was targeted seven-plus times were also among his most productive, with the receiver accounting for 13 catches and 185 yards (14.2 yards per catch) in those contests.
The tandem got to work on their chemistry quickly this offseason after the Colts acquired Wentz, with the new quarterback flying out to California to throw with Pittman and fellow Colts receiver Dezmon Patmon.
While the Colts have already finished their on-field work at the team facility for the offseason before they reconvene for training camp in late July, the work doesn't stop for Wentz and Pittman.
“We’ll get together maybe even here in June and then probably in July as well," Wentz told reporters about working out with his receivers in their free time. "I’ve done that in the past in Philly as well and it’s just a great time to not just get the physical work on the field, but to get together and bond outside of football and get to know the guys. I look forward to that every summer and I look forward to doing that again once or twice this summer as well.”
If Wentz and Pittman are going to be a breakout pass-catching duo, then this behind-the-scenes work should be a big boost for them.
It's beneficial for both sides. For Pittman, he's a young receiver entering his second year, and he's forming a bond with his new quarterback, who just so happens to be the guy who will be throwing passes his way.
For Wentz, he's gelling with his team's potential top receiver and a guy who's 6'4" and over 220 pounds.
Wentz has had success throwing to big targets in the past, whether it be former Philadelphia Eagles receivers like Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Matthews, or Travis Fulgham, or tight ends like Zach Ertz or Dallas Goedert.
The work that these two put in now could become quite evident as the season arrives.
What do you think of these players breaking out together? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!