When asked what the Colts’ biggest need to address this offseason is, what would you say? Most people would probably tell you that the Colts need defense and offensive line. Although this is very true – the Colts’ offensive line is decimated and the defense is filled with holes – they have a big need that nobody seems to care about. That need is one that has not been an issue due to the elite quarterback under center. We all know that Andrew Luck makes everyone around him better. All of this being said, I believe that the Colts need to pay big money to or draft a receiver early.
How could I say such a ludicrous thing? Have I even watched the Colts? Well, for one saying ludicrous things makes for interesting discussion, and I unfortunately have watched the Colts this year. And the thing I have watched, that not many seem to notice, is the Colts’ abysmal receiver play. In a few years, this receiving corps has seemingly fallen off a cliff, but I’ll argue that it was never that great. This season, star receiver T.Y. Hilton has 791 yards and four touchdowns through 12 games. Seems pretty good, right?
Well, not really. Look closer. In the Colts’ three wins, Hilton is averaging an incredible 168.3 yards and a total of three touchdowns. Over the Colts’ nine losses, Hilton is averaging a disappointing 31.8 yards and a total of one touchdown. In too many big games, “the Ghost” seems to take his nickname too seriously. The supposed breakout receiver Donte Moncrief has had an incredibly underwhelming season. 391 yards, two touchdowns, and 26 catches just does not cut it for a number two receiver. No other receiver has done too much consistently, and Jack Doyle has had an up and down year. The Colts rank 28th in passing yards per game, at 196.9. That is not good folks.
You are probably thinking, “But Andrew Luck is out so these guys have an excuse! Blah blah blah…..” Well, you are partially right. Sure, Jacoby Brissett is no Andrew Luck, but who’s to say Luck is ever the same? The Colts may have to deal with a quarterback who is just slightly better than Brissett for quite a few years, and need some receivers to give the signal caller a cushion. The Colts have also never had a big, go up and get the ball type receiver, and could really use him. Throwing the ball up to T.Y. Hilton on third and long is probably not the best idea, but throwing the ball up to a Mike Evans type player is. Hilton would be the perfect complement to a big bodied receiver, similar to what he was to Reggie Wayne
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How can the Colts fix this problem?
Through free agency:
The Colts could go out and pay big money to Allen Robinson in free agency, which may be the best idea. With the Colts’ top pick, the best idea is probably to go defense or offensive line. Signing Robinson here would alleviate that worry.
Other options at receiver could include Rams’ Sammy Watkins or Redskins’ Terrelle Pryor, who had a terrible season in Washington.
Read more in depth about Colts’ free agents here.
Through free agency:
Here is the far more radical, far more risky but incredibly high rewarding, and far more unlikely option. There are three receivers in this draft class with star potential, in Courtland Sutton, Christian Kirk, and Calvin Ridley. The Colts would be fools to draft one of those players as high as they are picking, so they would need to trade down, which is not idea. Sutton out of SMU has idea size for a possession style receiver, at 6’4 and 216 pounds. Sutton is excellent at making plays, has a great catch radius, and projects well at the NFL Level. Kirk and Ridley are less ideal for the Colts, as they are both small, quick, and excellent route runners. Sutton is projected in the mid first round.
If the Colts cannot find a way to acquire Sutton, they need to draft one on day two. Some of the candidates are: Simmie Cobbs Jr. our of Indiana or Arden Tate out of Florida State. Similar to Sutton, both are big receivers who could be big time red zone threats at the next level.
Remember, a Colts’ roster far inferior to the one they have now made the AFC Championship in 2014. With a healthy Andrew Luck and a loaded receiving corps, the Colts could be primed for a Super Bowl run in a few years.