The Indianapolis Colts were arguably the most inspired team in the NFL in the 2012 season as they were playing for their head coach Chuck Pagano, who was diagnosed with cancer, and behind the #Chuckstrong campaign. That coupled with the great season from rookie quarterback Andrew Luck led the Colts, surprisingly, to the NFL Playoffs.
Now the Colts are looking to build off that success and avoid a season of regression that many people are predicting them to have. They will need their offensive line to improve, Luck to continue to develop and grow as a pro quarterback and avoid a sophomore slump, and for their young receivers to be able to help Reggie Wayne shoulder the load.
One player to watch in terms of the Colts’ wide receivers is 23-year-old T.Y. Hilton. The little known Hilton proved himself as a big playmaker for Indianapolis last season. In 15 games, he garnered 50 receptions on 91 targets for 861 yards and seven touchdowns. 30 of his 50 receptions also went for a first down and the Colts looked to him more and more as the season progressed.
For the 2013 season, Hilton is likely to see his targets increase from last season. In terms of percentage of targets in 2012, Hilton ranked third on the Colts behind Wayne and Donnie Avery. With Avery no longer being on the team, though, that’s likely to put Hilton in the number two receiver spot, unless the team wants to continue to work him in the slot. Regardless, he’s likely going to see a lot more balls coming his way.
Hilton has elite-level speed and is hard to catch in the open field. However, he also has solid hands and runs good routes for a big-play, speed receiver. Though he’s still young and has the potential to slump this year, expect Hilton to continue making big plays for the pass-heavy Colts and to have another impressive season.