The Curious Case of the Colts Wide Receivers

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A brief analysis on why drafting a wide receiver early may be the best option for the Colts in the 2014 NFL Draft.

As many of you know by now, I'm of the opinion that if a top tier wide receiver falls to the Colts in Round 2, they should take him. However, that seemed an unpopular opinion with several, rather vocal readers. I respectfully disagree with those vocal few, and here's why.

WR position is only skin-deep

First, like a girl who only looks good in make up, the beauty of the Colts wide receiver position is only skin-deep. On paper, yes, the wide receivers look much more solid than many other positions on the roster. However, based on last year's production, there should be cause for concern.

  • Reggie Wayne - Wayne is currently 35 years old and coming off a torn ACL. While we all hope he returns to form, similar to Adrian Peterson, it's far more likely he won't be his Pro Bowl self. However, Reggie will still work hard and likely find a way to be a substantial contributor even if he is less than what he used to be.
  • T.Y. Hilton - Hilton is a solid, young wide out who will be with the team for as long as he wants to be here. This is not a player I'm concerned about for next season and beyond.
  • Hakeem Nicks - The Nicks signing should be applauded because his contract is very reasonable and if he produces, it will be a huge coup for the Colts. However, if Nicks does produce, it's far more likely he will sign elsewhere than back with the Colts. Nicks will be looking for WR1 money and Grigson shouldn't pay him more than a middle WR2. Nicks had significant production issues in his last two years with the Giants and people within the Giants organization said he took plays off and lacked motivation. In the NFL, a GM is always worried about signing the next Albert Haynesworth or Mike Wallace. A guy who produces for one year, gets paid, and you never hear from him again. If per chance Nicks does produce and signs a high end contract, it'd be best for the Colts to let him walk because if that happens, it's highly likely the Colts would receive a third or fourth round compensatory pick for him, which would be much more valuable, in my humble opinion.
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  • Da'Rick Rogers - Rogers was one of my hidden gems from last year's draft. I literally was yelling at the TV as the Colts picks in the sixth and seventh rounds to have them select him. That being said, I don't trust Da'Rick as much. There's no arguing his talent is off the charts but his head is sometimes in the clouds. Including the playoffs, Rogers played in seven games last season and had 15 catches for 238 yards. If you remove the Bengals game, he had 9 catches for 131 yards in six games. Yah, not great numbers. He dropped several catchable balls and had several other questionable reactions. He seemed more intent to whine for a pass interference call, and then dance when he got it, than to finish off the route and fight for the catch. That should be concerning. Da'Rick has the physical talent to grow into a top wide receiver in the NFL but it's far too soon to hitch your future to his wagon.
  • Griff Whalen - Whalen was on and off the active roster until about Week 10. He was a consistent producer, with 24 catches for 269 yards in only 9 games, but never put up big numbers. He seems physically limited and likely will never be more than a possession, move the chains type player.
  • LaVon Brazill - Several people like to bring up Brazill as a potential replacement for Reggie. To that I call Shenanigans. Brazill played in 10 games last year, 9 of which were after Reggie's injury, and posted 12 receptions for 161 yards. Yup. 12 receptions. 161 yards. Ten games. I'm sorry but I don't have faith that Brazill will all of the sudden turn it around in year 3. Also, there's that pesky year long league suspension looming for him if he fails another drug test. Needless to say, there are question marks a plenty when discussing Brazill.

The WR class in the 2014 NFL Draft is deeper

Second, the wide receiver class in the 2014 NFL Draft is the deepest the position has been in recent memory. There are players that any other year would go in Round 1, likely to fall to around where the Colts are picking at 59.

For example, one of my recent Colts mock draft picks, Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt. He's the SEC career receiving leader and has all the physical tools to become a top NFL wide receiver, like his cousin Jerry Rice.

Allen Robinson is a beast on the outside and fights for every ball. Jarvis Landry was very poor in post-season workouts but was the top WR all year at LSU, even with Odell Beckham, Jr. playing opposite him. Kelvin Benjamin, Davante Adams, Donte Moncrief are all great prospects. Marqise Lee could even fall into the early second round. If there were a year to get great value and possibly get a WR to pair with Luck and Hilton for the long term, this is the year to do it.

Game of chance

Lastly, the NFL Draft is a widely variable game of chance. There will be a run on certain positions. No one knows when it'll happen, but we all know it will happen.

If all the sudden the second tier quarterbacks start to come off the board in the early/middle of the second round, which is likely to happen, then some great players will fall. Looking at the overall needs for other NFL teams, safety is a huge niche position. Everyone is looking for what Seattle has. I'd bet there is likely a run on safeties soon before the Colts select, since many teams know the Colts desperately need help in the back of their defense. If that run happens as well, more and more top prospects will fall with the most likely position being wide receiver due to the incredible depth.

Now to be clear, I'm not saying the Colts should absolutely, unequivocally draft a wide receiver in Round 2 because if a player like Jimmie Ward or Deone Bucannon falls, the Colts should obviously draft them as need and best player available clearly intertwine. However, if those guys or someone similarly rated are gone, then the team should seriously consider loading up with an inexpensive but highly talented wide receiver for Luck to grow with for the future.

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