Ryan Grigson had a great draft in 2012, that much is obvious. While the best player to come out of that draft is clearly Andrew Luck, that was a pretty easy pick. Give Grigson some credit for it, sure, but in my opinion, the best pick from that draft might have been the move to trade up and steal wide receiver T.Y. Hilton near the end of the third round.
In his first two seasons in Indianapolis, Hilton has been simply incredible and better than anyone could have imagined. Just read his stats from his first two seasons: 31 games played (out of 32 possible), 132 catches (on 229 targets) for 1,944 yards (14.7 yards per catch) and 12 touchdowns while getting 76 first downs. He has added 35 yards on 7 rush attempts. He has thrown a pass and made three tackles. He has returned 43 punts for 459 yards and a score, as well as 7 kick returns for 118 yards. That's a pretty impressive resume for a guy taken in the third round of the draft just two years ago.
Hilton was great last year. This year, he has been even better.
When Reggie Wayne went down with a torn ACL in week 7, Hilton became the best receiver on the roster and was forced to step up into the number one receiver role. And he has done a very good job. The first game they played without Wayne, Hilton caught 7 passes for 121 yards and 3 scores in the Colts big comeback win over the Texans.
But this past Sunday against the Jaguars really might have been Hilton's best performance of his short career so far. His previous career highs for yards in a game was set this year against the Seahawks with 140, and his previous high for catches in a game was set this year against the Texans (the second time) with 8. This Sunday, he topped both of those marks. Hilton caught 11 passes for 155 yards, being a major factor in the Colts win.
On the day, Andrew Luck completed 26 passes. 11 of them were to Hilton. It has been clear that Luck feels most comfortable throwing to Hilton, and that is understandable considering how young and how inexperienced the other receivers are for the Colts. Luck looks to Hilton often, and Hilton often catches the passes that are thrown to him.
It has really helped Hilton with the emergence of Da'Rick Rogers, Griff Whalen, and LaVon Brazill, as they take some of the attention away from Hilton and open things up for him.
And on Sunday, after coming 139 yards shy of 1,000 last year, Hilton topped the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career. On the season, he has caught 82 passes for 1,083 yards and 5 touchdowns. Hilton leads the Colts in every meaningful receiving category: catches, targets, yards, touchdowns. He ranked 18th in the league in receiving yards and tied for 19th in catches while tying for 16th in targets. He topped the 100 yard mark in 5 games this year and caught at least 5 passes in 11 of the 16 games.
Hilton has played a huge role this season in the Colts offense and on Sunday he was at his best. The Colts will need him to continue to play at a high level if they hope to advance in the playoffs, but regardless of how Hilton does in the short term future, it is clear that the Colts have a very reliable weapon for quarterback Andrew Luck for the long term as well.