The receiving corps for the Colts has a lot of talent and a lot of depth. Although they won’t be in the conversation, it’s worth noting that Donte Moncrief and Da’Rick Rogers are two talented receivers with a lot of upside and could challenge for this title in a couple of years if they develop properly. Griff Whalen is a consistent performer who although his upside might be limited, he could be a good impactful long-term player for the Colts, but again, he’s nowhere near the top now.
Hakeem Nicks has been a consistent receiver for years and was a big part of the Giants’ offense when they won a Super Bowl. A subpar year (for his standards) put him a step backwards, but he’s still very talented and can make big plays at any time. He’s a big-bodied receiver with great athleticism and his strength allows him to be a threat after the run. Nicks is currently slated as a wide receiver for the Colts and perhaps the #3 receiving option behind Wayne and Hilton. If Nicks is truly the best receiver on the team, then he will ascend to the top receiving option. If he doesn’t, then clearly he isn’t.
TY Hilton has quietly taken the league by storm. Hilton did a fantastic job filling in for Reggie Wayne, with his shining moment coming in the Chiefs playoff game where he amassed over 210 yards. Hilton has always been a big play receiver, but last year, he developed as a possession receiver and significantly reduced his dropped passes number. In 2012, he dropped 12 passes on 101 targets (11.88%), and in 2013, he dropped 7 passes on 158 targets (4.43%), which is a decrease of 7.45%. Hilton is arguably the top receiving option on the team as it stands, and it is only his 3rd year in the NFL. Hilton will only improve and should only continue to develop as an all around threat.
Reggie Wayne may be old and he may be in the last stage of his career, but the man has still got it. Reggie Wayne is Andrew Luck’s security blanket. I have no evidence to support this, but I believe that Reggie Wayne went up to Andrew Luck on day 1 and told him "I got you" – with perhaps a bro or a man at the end of that statement. Unlike the other two, Reggie Wayne has consistently been the top-receiving target on the Colts ever since the Super Bowl. Even before that, he was putting up great season after great season. The only question is, can he keep that consistency going? Last year, he did, but that injury was brutal. As it stands, it will be a battle between him and Hilton for the top receiving option.
After breaking down each receiver, it’s clear to say that although Reggie Wayne still has gas in the tank, and Hakeem Nicks is still the old Hakeem Nicks, TY Hilton is the best receiver on the Colts. As mentioned earlier, Hilton has always had that big play ability and can take the ball to the house at any moment with his blazing speed. Last year, he learned the subtitles of the game from Reggie Wayne and at times, he even looked like Reggie. Despite the fact that many think that Hilton is a pure home run threat, he is a terrific all around receiver. His drop rates have decreased and his 82 receptions puts him in the top 20, tied with Larry Fitzgerald, and ahead of Wes Welker, Victor Cruz and Mike Wallace. Reggie Wayne has the best career of the three, and will be a Hall of Famer. Hakeem Nicks could become the best receiver on the team, but as it stands right now, no receiver (or player) on the Colts can do what TY does. I expect him to lead the Colts in the major receiving stats, to take a step forward this year and take a run at the top 10 in the major receiving categories.