Let's be honest with one another: The Colts have a ton of roster holes. The center, guard, safety, outside linebacker, nose tackle, and cornerback positions either have unproven players assuming a starting role or as so thin that one single injury makes the position a complete liability.
However, one position that is very intriguing as the Colts enter their second week of OTAs is the wide receiver position.
Yes, Ryan Grigson deserves the lumps he's getting for his plethora of bad decisions in free agency and the draft, but I'll say this for him: The guy knows how to stock up on talent at wide receiver.
The signing of veteran free agent Hakeem Nicks and the drafting of the University of Mississippi's Donte Moncrief infused an already talented wide receiving corps with more height (6'1 and 6'2, respectively), speed, and playmaking ability.
Remember, this was a grouping that already had promising youngsters like Da'Rick Rogers, who himself is 6'3 and was able to beat out veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey late in the season last year to become a starter opposite T.Y. Hilton. Rogers caught 14 balls for 192 yards and two TDs in five games last season as an undrafted rookie. He also had a HUGE 46-yard catch in the third quarter against the Chiefs in the playoffs, a play that sparked the Colts' miracle comeback victory after being down 31-10 at halftime.
Rogers' rookie year was impressive when placed in the proper context. The next step in his development is being more consistent.
The Colts also have LaVon Brazill and Griff Whalen. Like Rogers last season, both showed glimpses. Brazill is certainly talented, but he's one more drug policy violation away from being suspended for an entire season. Whalen is a solid route runner who is very comfortable in Pep Hamilton's offensive system, which is what Whalen and quarterback Andrew Luck worked to near-perfection when the two played for Hamilton at Stanford in 2011. Whalen snared 24 balls for 259 yards and two touchdowns in 9 games last year.
Like Rogers, that's impressive.
There is also the anticipated return of Reggie Wayne, whose 2013 season was ended after Andrew Luck threw him a bad pass in the second half of the Colts' Week 7 victory over the Broncos. Wayne twisted back to attempt to catch the errant throw and blew out his ACL. Wayne has spent the last 8 months rehabbing the knee, and all signs point to his return on schedule.
However, it would be folly to simply assume that the Reggie Wayne of old will return post-knee surgery. Wayne is 35-years-old, and in the final year of his contract. With speedy talent like Hilton, Rogers, and the 20-year-old Moncrief to work along the outside along with the veteran Nicks, it would make sense to utilize Wayne more in the slot. Especially on third down.
I've written all this and dedicated barely a word to T.Y. Hilton, who is pretty much Indianapolis' No. 1 receiver now. Or, at least, he should be. He had 82 receptions for 1,083 yards and 5 TDs in 2013, and in the playoffs he was a monster with 17 receptions for 327 yards and two touchdowns. Hilton stretches the field and makes safeties look stupid in big moments at critical times in ballgames. Hilton's so good, he made Richard Sherman shut-up.
Again, while other areas of the roster are problematic, the wide receiving corps is quite strong. I'm excited to see what they can do in 2014.