Perhaps the draft selection that Colts fans are most excited about is the team's third round pick, wide receiver Donte Moncrief out of Mississippi. And if the team's mandatory minicamp this week (which, granted, is without pads or contact) is any indication, that excitement is well placed.
Out here at practice, Donte Moncrief is having quite a day. Nice catch vs double coverage in red zone— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) June 18, 2014
In addition to impressing the media, Moncrief seems to have impressed the offensive coordinator as well. Pep Hamilton, speaking to the media Wednesday, fielded three straight questions about Moncrief and it's clear that he is pleased with the rookie receiver's progress.
What does Donte Moncrief brought so far?
"He is big, fast and smart. He has the tools to be a legitimate down the field threat. He's been working his tail off with coach (Charlie) Williams to learn the offense and more importantly, develop some continuity with our quarterback. He's done some good things over the course of the offseason program and expect that he'll pick up where he leaves off in training camp."
He said yesterday that the two things he's really working on are coming out of his break sharp and focusing on the ball. Are those the two areas?
"Yeah, that's probably one of the biggest transitions that you make from college to the National Football League. The corners are a step quicker, a step faster. They react a lot faster than probably what he saw on Saturdays in college football. Coming out of his break and letting his instincts take over and that's just attacking the football, those are things that he's gotten better at and he'll offer our offense come the fall."
Does he have a chance to develop into a No. 1 type of receiver if he can progress?
If there's someone more important to win over than the offensive coordinator for a receiver, however, it's the quarterback, and Donte Moncrief has impressed Andrew Luck as well. Said Luck on Tuesday:
Do you have an impression of Donte Moncrief yet or is it too early?
"Yeah, great impression. Great teammate off the field, real awesome personality. On the field, smooth, big. I really think has an understanding of football. So yeah, it's fun to have him here and I think he'll do big things."
What does a big target like Donte Moncrief do for a quarterback?
"Well it's nice, great catch radius definitely helps. You feel like you can put the ball up there and have a lot of confidence that a guy will go up and make a play."
Moncrief is a guy who was drafted with the future in mind. Reggie Wayne is 35-years old, on a contract year, and coming off of a torn ACL. Hakeem Nicks is signed to a one-year deal. While Da'Rick Rogers, LaVon Brazill, and Griff Whalen have all impressed, counting on one of them to take on a number one receiver role in the future is counting on a lot right now - sure, maybe one of them can keep developing, but you can't count on that right now. Enter Donte Moncrief. The hope for him is that he'll be a great starting wide receiver for Andrew Luck for a long time, playing alongside star receiver T.Y. Hilton.
Lest you think Moncrief's role is only for the future, however, consider that Wednesday he saw work with the first team offense. Now, granted, it was because Hakeem Nicks left with an undisclosed injury and because Reggie Wayne is still out while rehabbing from his torn ACL, but that just reconfirms what most of us already knew, and that is that Donte Moncrief will likely be the team's fourth wide receiver this season and, as such, will see a good deal of playing time this year.
Though he's only been a member of the Colts for just over a month, it sounds like he's already impressing.