Pre-Draft Colts Positional Outlook: Wide Receiver

After re-signing veteran T.Y. Hilton in free agency, the Colts seemingly buried the need for a receiver early in the 2021 NFL Draft. Depth-wise, the Colts are in great shape at receiver leading into the NFL Draft.
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Following the re-signing of T.Y. Hilton on a one-year deal, the Indianapolis Colts and General Manager Chris Ballard got the band back together at receiver, providing new Colts' QB Carson Wentz with some stability at pass catcher.

With Hilton back in the mix, Michael Pittman Jr. having another year under his belt, Zach Pascal returning on a second-round tender and electrifying playmaker Parris Campbell looking to stay healthy, it's hard to look past the experienced depth that the Colts have at their disposal at receiver.

On the roster: T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman, Zach Pascal, Parris Campbell, Ashton Dulin, Dezmon Patmon, DeMichael Harris, Quartney Davis, Gary Jennings, J.J. Nelson

Pre-Draft need: Low

While I have mocked a receiver to the Colts in my first two versions of a seven-round draft, I don't think it's that big of a need from a roster-building perspective ahead of the 2021 season.

Though Hilton remained on the market longer than expected, he still has plenty of good football left at 31 years old, especially in the red zone. It's important to remember that defenses double covered the former star, forcing guys like Pittman, Pascal and Campbell to beat them.

Once Pittman emerged though, defenses had to respect the rookie's talents, allowing Hilton to take advantage of one-on-one matchups down the stretch, looking like the Hilton of old.

As for Pittman, the former USC star really came on strong in the second half of the season and has the look of a true No. 1 moving forward. Building rapport with Wentz in the off-season should do wonders for the second-year receiver.

Getting Pascal back on a second-round tender allows the Colts to retain their top three from a year ago, making the transition to the blue and white easier for Wentz in Year One. Pascal is a sound route runner that brings physicality to the position and has a knack for coming up with the big play.

As for Campbell, if he could just stay healthy he could develop into a strong No. 2-3 option for the Colts. Campbell showed his abilities in Week 1 in 2020 against Jacksonville. Barring health, he could tear up opposing defenses on those trademark crossing routes in Frank Reich's scheme.

With Dulin and Harris, they're two key special teams guys for this roster. Dulin was a strong presence on kickoff returns, while Harris flashed some playmaking abilities at receiver in limited action in 2020.

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Behind those six, I'm keeping my eyes on Patmon and Quartney Davis as potential surprises for the 2021 roster. Patmon has been putting in a lot of work this off-season with Pittman and Wentz and looks bigger and stronger than he did entering the league.

He's a big, physical guy and could add an element to the receiving room that maybe was missing in 2021 with the contested catch abilities.

Davis was a terrific route running in college at Texas A&M, and though he hasn't quite latched on in the league, has impressive footwork that could see him land a roster spot simply due to his ability to get open when given the chance.

Overall, this is a deep room on paper and should only improve with Wentz under center. As of right now, I don't think there's a true need to add a weapon through the draft, but if Ballard sees a guy he likes fall to him in the fourth round or later, I wouldn't be opposed to the move.

Have thoughts on the depth at receiver ahead of the draft for the Colts? Drop a line in the comment section below!


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