After an impressive rookie season, often-overlooked wide receiver T.Y. Hilton enters Indianapolis Colts training camp looking to improve upon his first run with the team. A third round pick out of Florida International, Hilton performed much better than anybody could have expected in 2012.
Behind the play of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, Hilton developed a relationship with him that reaped some fun moments. Hilton quickly proved to be Luck’s deep threat as he averaged over 17 yards per catch on the year — quite incredible.
Last season, the second year pro put up 50 catches for 861 yards and seven touchdowns. One other interesting statistic: He did not fumble the ball once.
With Reggie Wayne the obvious number one target — and having a phenomenal 2012 as well — Hilton received a lot less attention throughout the year, and until Wayne’s production declines, that should be the norm.
The Colts brought in another wideout in Darrius Heyward-Bey who has had a tough first four years and will compete for time as well.
Hilton, though, has established his spot on the team in a big way. In his second training camp as a pro, he will be able to come in a bit more comfortable overall and work with the offense to continue to improve off of last year’s success.
Where I would watch for Hilton to focus in on is his work toward being an all-around receiver. We know he’s a deep threat and has the speed to burn past his man. But, where he will need to continue his development the most is his ability to be more of that third down security blanket like Wayne has been.
Once Wayne is gone, Hilton will likely be the top option. The Colts like what they’ve got in him and he will continue to get better. Improving his overall ability, especially only having a 5’9” frame, will make him an incredibly valuable asset. Look for Hilton to enjoy himself a little more in this year’s camp and keep moving towards being a legitimate wideout in this league.