**Leading up to the start of training camp, Everything-Colts will be giving you breakdowns and ratings on each position group, making you more knowledgeable about the entire Colts team.**
Today's entry is about the wide receivers.
The wide receiver group has a bright future, but lacks players that can help immediately.
Throughtout the last 15 years, the Colts have had one of the best receiving cores in the NFL. Whether it be the duo of Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, or Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon, they've always been solid. This year could be a bit different, with only one true consistent player, and that's Reggie Wayne. Austin Collie had a great year with Peyton Manning, but last year, he was no where to be seen. He has tons of potential, but lacks consistency. The Colts also have new guys TY Hilton, their 3rd round draft pick from this last draft, Lavon Brazil, their 6th round pick from this draft, and Donnie Avery, their free agency pickup. The average age of the group is 26 years old, and contains 2 rookies.
Let's start with the one and only Reggie Wayne. Reggie doesn't have many years left in his career, but still he finds a way to produce. He had 7 straight seasons with over 1000 yards receiving with Peyton Manning. Last year, he had 960 yards with the likes of Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter, and Dan Orlovsky, and was more consistent than Pierre Garcon. It's safe to say this guy still got it. Now, Reggie Wayne could be Andrew Luck's go-to-guy, and be that crutch for Luck when he's in tough situations. Keeping Reggie Wayne was one of the best moves the Colts could have made. With Luck, he could be a 1000 yard receiver, and that perennial pro bowler he was with Peyton Manning.
Now, Austin Collie. Collie showed great flashes of briiliance with Peyton Manning in 2010, being one of the best receivers in the league that year before he had his first concussion. Then, last year, although he was healthy, and showed no post-concussion like symptons, he managed to disappoint fans with his mediocre season. As mentioned before, he lacks consistency. Andrew Luck is a good quarterback; he's better than last year's starters, but not as good as Manning, so it's going to be interesting to see what happens. He has all the physical tools (great speed, elusize) to be a star, and great football smarts to be a 1000 yard receiver in this league. It seems like him and Luck are getting along, which is always a good thing.
Then, we get to our rookies T.Y Hilton and Lavon Brazill. Hilton was selected before Brazill, and rightfully so, Hilton is better than Brazill. Hilton is a undersized speed merchant, who reminds me of a Steve Smith. He can play both slot and outside. He played outside and slot against Louisville and had a 7 catch 201 yard, 2 TD performance. He's very verstatile. He has a lot of potential. Oh and I almost forgot, he was arguably the best returner in the NCAA last season.
Lavon Brazill is the greatest receiver in Ohio University history. He had over 1100 yards this past season, and had 11 touchdowns. His route running skills are really solid, and he has good hands. He provides nice depth right now, and in the future, he could sneak into the lineup. This is more of a project, as he's going to be good in the future.
Then there's Donnie Avery, an interesting story. Avery looked to have been going somewhere in this league and posting great numbers with the subpar Rams in 2008. Then injuries hit him and he's been jumping around the league playing with the Titans last season. This is a risky pick. He claims that his speed, which is a big reason why he got drafted so high, is back to his old form, or even better than his old form. If that's the case, then he could be a real steal for the Colts. Right now, he provides great depth, but don't be surprised if you see him on the field for 5 to 7 plays a game, because he has something that TY Hilton nor Brazill don't have: experience.
All in all, this is a good starting point for Andrew Luck. I talk about him a lot considering this is about the wide receivers, but this is Luck's team, and the receivers are the people that he's going to throwing to. He has good group now, with a lot of room to grow. The Colts could look to draft an outside receiver next season and move Austin Collie inside, but that's next season. Right now, they have solid depth, with a star on the left side!
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