Despite his obvious talents and his perfect fit in the Colts' offense, veteran wide receiver Zach Pascal continues to struggle to gain attention from the national media.
Due to his tendency to fly under the radar, Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport labeled the fourth-year receiver as the Colts' "biggest sleeper" ahead of the 2021 season.
Through three seasons with the Colts, Pascal has hauled in 112 receptions for 1,504 yards and 12 touchdowns and is coming off of a career year with 44 catches for 629 yards and five touchdowns catching balls from Philip Rivers.
When folks talk about the wide receivers in Indianapolis, the conversation starts with veteran T.Y. Hilton. Then it moves on to second-year pro Michael Pittman Jr. Parris Campbell might get some run too, although he's been more injuries than excitement in his professional career.
More likely than not, Zach Pascal won't be mentioned. But that might change. Pascal's numbers weren't especially impressive in 2020—44 catches on 71 targets for 629 yards and five scores.
But Doug Farrar of Touchdown Wire thought enough of Pascal's play to name the 26-year-old one of the 10 best slot receivers in the game: "Pascal is probably the least-known receiver on this list, but he caught 33 of 48 slot targets for 397 yards and five touchdowns with a quarterback in Philip Rivers who was clearly at the end of the road. Not that the Redemption Edition of Carson Wentz gives Pascal more explosive opportunities, but the third-year man from Old Dominion has the route and leverage understanding to drive slot defenders nuts, and that should at least help Wentz along the way."
Indy has uncertainty up and down the depth chart, whether it's Hilton's age or Campbell's durability. A career year from Pascal is a possibility in the Colts' new-look offense in 2021.
Davenport is correct in stating that when the discussion turns to the receivers in Indianapolis, Pascal is overlooked.
When it comes to playing in the slot, few are better than Pascal in today's NFL. Thanks to his size, toughness and surefire hands, Pascal wins consistently out of the slot, providing his quarterbacks with a security blanket at the position.
Though he had a career-best year in 2020 catching passes from Rivers, Pascal should see increased opportunities in 2021 with Carson Wentz now in the fold, possessing a stronger arm, which should open up opportunities down the field this season under Frank Reich's direction.
If Pascal can build off of a career year last season and take the next step as a complete receiver, his name and recognition will begin to garner the attention and the respect it deserves outside of Indianapolis.
Have thoughts on Zach Pascal being named the Colts' biggest sleeper ahead of the 2021 season? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know how you feel!