It was an excellent year for the Colts WR corps despite them facing their first year in well over a decade without HOF wideout Marvin Harrison, and losing newly promoted #2 option Anthony Gonzalez before he even caught a pass. Reggie Wayne continued to perform as a elite WR, while Pierre Garçon stepped from obscurity to the #2 spot in one of the leagues most prolific passing Os. Austin Collie stepped right into the slot role as was envisioned, and Hank Baskett... well... at least he has a home life that seems enviable.
Reggie Wayne: Wayne was fantastic, he's continued to perform as a top WR despite Harrison's sharp decline and now absence. He earned his 4th straight Pro Bowl as the #1 option of an offense without a proven 3 and 4. This season's 100 catches was the 2nd most of his career, the 1,264 yards his 3rd most, and recorded his 3rd double digit TD season with 10. With Marvin gone and with sure handed Gonzalez sidelined all year in favor of the explosive, but more inconsistent Garçon, Wayne seemed to have taken on more a possession role, recording his lowest YPR since 2003, but his 2nd best catch%. Wayne will turn 32 during next season, but has let to show signs of any production slip. While his YPR did decline his 20 receptions over 20+ yards was the 2nd best total of his career, showing he's still explosive and he recorded a career high 73 1st downs, suggesting the YPR drop was the result of taking more responsibility for getting the chains moved in key spots.
Anthony Gonzalez: A frustrating and disappointing turn of events for the 2007 1st rounder for sure. What was expected to be a breakout season ended in the 1st quarter of week 1 without a single catch to his name. Gonzalez will get another great shot at his breakout thanks to the great promise he showed in his first two years catching 72% of his targets for a 13 yard per reception average (a performance that had the DVOA computers all hot and bothered).
Pierre Garçon: "Who is this Garçon kid?" is a question anyone that frequented the "Ask a Colts Fan" threads around SB Nation this year is quite familiar with. From a small school prospect out of D-III Mount Union with impressive production and combine numbers to a 6th round rookie with more substantially more kickoff returns than targets in the offense to a starting WR in one of the league's most prolific offenses in a year and a half. Garçon's come a long way. While much of his play was inconsistent, he was always explosive. He averaged 16.3 yards per reception, caught more 20+ yard passes (13) than Dallas Clark and more 40+ passes (3) than Reggie Wayne, both on less than half the receptions of either Clark and Wayne. Garçon adds a home run threat to an offense that's quite effective, but usually makes slow methodical drives.
Austin Collie: The BYU rookie was even more Pro-ready than advertised, working the slot so well he brought back visions of Brandon Stokley. 60 receptions at a 67% catch rate, with a solid YPC of 11.3 was good enough for a top 20 season in DYAR and DVOA. Collie went straight from college to being one of the 20 most productive WRs in the NFL.
Hank Baskett: Baskett as a WR was an insurance policy that was never needed due to Garçon and Collie's emergence. As a special teamer Baskett has become a pariah for the surprise on-side kick that will be the most memorable play of his season, and possibly Colts career as Baskett is the first WR on the list that is not signed through the 2011 season. Baskett is a restricted free agent, and may not even be tendered since the price tag is a significant boost from the 800k they paid for him last year.
On the edge of the roster a 3 young WRs gunning for Baskett's place.
Sam Giguire: Whether it's the arms, the extra attention from the French Canadian Media, the always enticing project-player label, "Sammy Guns" has got to be one of the best known practice squad players in the league. We got to see a bit of him late in the year returning kicks in Buffalo, when he took back 5 for a 24.4 yard average with a long of 36. A small sample to be sure, but he did top Simpson's average (23.6). Giguire has a legitimate shot at the roster and is a safe bet to be around the team in 2010.
Taj Smith: Unfortunately the biggest news Taj made this season was a D.U.I. arrest, but it may say something about his performance, potential and personality that the mistake didn't cost him his job. Taj made a bit of a mark in preseason showing promise on kick returns with his speed. His teammates seem to have a healthy respect for his speed as shown in the twitter argument between Jerraud Powers and Pierre Garçon earlier this year;
ShowTimeP85 lol thats him...I don't push off..yall be so far off I don't have to push off...my speed push yall off far enough...
Jpeezy25 haaaa u funny..we can race tomorrow..me and lace the fastest dudes on the team besides Taj
Dudley Guice: A big WR at 6'3" 209lbs Guice has serious speed being clocked at a 4.40 at his Pro Day. He's a project, going undrafted and signed by the Titans. He saw a little action in preseason, catching a 28 yard pass for Tennessee, but didn't make the roster. Guice has great physical talent and might be the next practice squad project WR for Indy, with an outside shot at the roster if he can really impress.
Likelihood of addition: Low
Like runningback the Colts have their rotation set. The only real room for addition is for a returnman. If a WR is drafted, expect them to be returning for more than lining up in the offense.
Prospects of interest: Jordan Shipley, Jacoby Ford, Andre Roberts, Trindon Holliday, Brandon Banks, Naaman Roosevelt.