Opinion: Daurice Fountain Will Be The Colts’ Best Rookie In 2018

Sep 2, 2017; Ames, IA, USA; Northern Iowa Panthers wide receiver Daurice Fountain (10) makes a catch in front of Iowa State Cyclones defensive back D'Andre Payne (1) at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 2, 2017; Ames, IA, USA; Northern Iowa Panthers wide receiver Daurice Fountain (10) makes a catch in front of Iowa State Cyclones defensive back D'Andre Payne (1) at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

In 2012, the then-Colts’ General Manager and future McDonald’s Cashier took a chance on a receiver in the third round of the draft. This player was T.Y. Hilton, a 5’9″ receiver out of Florida International. He quickly proved himself as the Colts’ best receiver, creating great chemistry with Andrew Luck. His deep speed, quickness, release, ball skills, and route running make him the top 10 receiver he is today. Despite Hilton’s success, the Colts have failed in finding a secondary receiver to pair with Hilton.

Ryan Grigson clearly didn’t have an eye for receivers in the draft as Hilton was the fluke of all flukes. The Colts took two big swings on Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett and missed twice. Moncrief showed promise in Indianapolis but never eclipsed his 733 yards, 64 catch season in 2015. Between missing games due to injury and disappointing on the field, the Moncrief experiment was a failure in Indianapolis. This offseason, the Jaguars picked him up, hoping to bring out the potential that the Colts saw in him. However, if Moncrief couldn’t excel with Andrew Luck, I fear for how he plays with Blake Bortles

Drafting Phillip Dorsett in the first round, over the likes of Landon Collins, was a colossal failure. Dorsett’s speed-based game never translated to the NFL, as he only accrued 753 yards and three touchdowns on 51 catches in two seasons for the Colts. The Colts moved him to New England for Jacoby Brissett who has been solid in Andrew Luck’s absence.

The Colts took a chance on a veteran Andre Johnson in 2015. He, predictably, underwhelmed, catching 41 balls for 503 yards and four scores. Kamar Aiken, Quan Bray, Griff Whalen, and Hakeem Nicks all failed to compliment T.Y. Hilton subsequently.

This season, the Colts’ wide receiver room doesn’t look too promising on paper. Besides Hilton, you have free agent Ryan Grant, who has good speed and ball skills, and Chester Rogers, who has been solid for the Colts for the past few seasons. In the draft, the Colts added two late round receivers in Clemson’s Deon Cain and Northern Iowa’s Daurice Fountain.

Most people have penciled in Cain as the Colts’ rookie breakout receiver. A sixth-round pick, the 6’2″ receiver has great speed and solid route running ability. His drops and overall focus are a bit of a concern but Cain does have tools to be a very solid receiver in the NFL. However, I expect Fountain to be the receiver to break through the ranks in Nick Sirianni and Frank Reich’s offense this year.

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Fountain broke onto the scene at his UNI Pro day after not receiving an invite to the combine. His physical numbers were simply eye-popping: a 42.5-inch vertical leap and an 11’2″ broad jump. Both of those would have led all receivers at the NFL combine. His 4.46 40-yard dash is also nothing to scoff at, along with his 14 reps at 6’1″, 210 pounds. Fountain also won Offensive MVP honors at the East-West Shrine Game, posting a stat line of 61 yards on three snags. In 2017, he finished his season with 943 yards and 12 scores on 66 receptions.

Fountain’s explosiveness flies off of the screen the second you put on his tape. His foot speed is excellent and he accelerates quickly, making him a deadly vertical threat. Fountain has big, strong hands and excels in contested ball situations. He high points the ball and leaves the corner little room to knock the ball away. He is also solid making plays after the catch.

Fountain needs to refine his route running skills and diversify his route tree but that is very possible under Nick Sirianni. Sirianni, a former wide receivers coach with the Chargers, has done a very good job in the past when it comes to the development of receivers. Fountain has the physical tools to be a superstar, he just needs help in refining his skills.

Fountain’s number one receiver potential will compliment T.Y. Hilton’s skill set well. Fountain definitely has some competition but I think he’ll be able to beat out Ryan Grant and as the primary outside receiver opposite of T.Y. Hilton. Daurice Fountain couldn’t ask for a better quarterback to gel with and learn from. If he and Luck can develop good chemistry. He’ll be making the state of Iowa very proud in due time.

Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.


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