INDIANAPOLIS — After waiting a day to make their first selection in the virtual NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. with Friday’s second pick of the second round.
Pittman, at 6-4 and 223, gives the Colts a big receiver they desperately needed to go with speedy T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell. What stands out about Pittman is how he uses that size. He’s physically tough on cornerbacks with excellent ball skills.
He enjoyed a breakout final season for the Trojans with 101 receptions, 1,275 yards and 11 TDs. For his college career, Pittman caught 171 passes for 2,519 yards and 19 TDs.
Here’s his NFL.com assessment:
“Big, smart and reliable, Pittman falls into the "possession receiver" bin, but has top-notch ball skills that allow him to bully and best cornerbacks down the field. Improving release quickness against press will be an early focal point in an NFL camp, but his frame and physicality should create work space underneath even with close coverage. He lacks the speed and separation quickness teams covet from WR1 candidates, but he comes from NFL bloodlines and plays with a pro demeanor. He should be a productive plug-and-play talent at WR2 early in his career.”
A big, physical receiver is what new Colts quarterback Philip Rivers likes. The 38-year-old passer loves to take shots down the field, especially high throws where larger targets are given a chance to make a play. Pittman is ideal.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard was reportedly looking into trading down form the 34th overall pick, but evidently didn’t hear what he wants. After the Cincinnati Bengals took Clemson wide receiver Tee Higgins at 33, the Colts didn’t take much time to turn in their pick of Pittman.
Pittman, 22, is the son of a NFL running back and Super Bowl winner of the same name.