The Colts selected Phillip Dorsett, despite the abundance of defensive players still out there. Some might like the pick, others might not. If the guy performs, then the pick is successful. However, can Dorsett be in a position to succeed as a rookie with all the bodies at the receiver spot?
What does Phillip Dorsett bring? As I described in my draft guide, Dorsett is a lanky speedster with great playmaking ability. He shows good receiving traits as he fights for passes and he is dangerous in open space. He has some issues with being jammed at the line of scrimmage (separation problems) and could benefit by bulking up a few pounds. He can play in the slot or on the outside, showing good versatility. He is a playmaker.
As it stands right now the top 6 receivers (without Dorsett) on the roster are: TY Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, Duron Carter, Vincent Brown and Josh Cribbs/Griff Whalen. That's a pretty stacked group. HIlton and Johnson are the two starters and that won't change come September. Moncrief was Indy's 2014 3rd round pick and impressed many as a rookie last season. As a player who had great flashes in 2014, Moncrief is a player you want to continue to feed and give playing time, in order to develop him. A guy like Dorsett may take playing time away from Moncrief. Then there's Duron Carter. Something tells me that many inside the Colts organization are slowly getting off the Carter train, but he's still on the roster and he possesses very good physical tools. You have to wonder if he's going to get any playing time as (probably) the #5 receiver. Vincent Brown is a good depth receiver with a good amount of experience, but with Dorsett, he's the odd man out in this unit, as he isn't a returning threat. Speaking of returners, Josh Cribbs is likely gone. Dorsett is an explosive returner and with Cribbs' gaffes in the playoffs last season, it would be hard not to replace Cribbs with Dorsett. Griff Whalen is most likely going to be cut at least once, but something tells me we'll still be mentioning his name after next season.
Ideally, Dorsett steps in and becomes the team's slot receiver. That means he'll play about 75 to 80% of the snaps. With his speed and playmaking ability, he has the ability to become an immediate threat with the Colts.
Either way, the biggest thing from the Dorsett pick is that it takes playing time away from Moncrief, who showed great promise last season and made some big plays in some big games. Dorsett fits well as a slot receiver, and that means that Moncrief has to take a step back and take more of a 10-15 snap per game rotational role. The good news is that if any of the top 3 guys (Johnson, Hilton or Dorsett) go down with injury, Moncrief would be the first man up.
What does the future look like at receiver? It's obvious that Andre Johnson is not going to be in Indy in two years, but with this Dorsett selection, I wonder if Hilton will be on the team as well. Hilton is a free agent after the season, and with Luck due a massive contract and the Colts not necessarily flush in cap space, Hilton could (gulp) become a cap casualty, especially if it means giving him a 10M+ a year deal.
Let me say that it is way too early to be talking about cap casualties and throwing TY's name in that conversation, but we do have to look ahead and that's a potential scenario. If I had to put money on it, I would say the Colts find a way to re-sign Hilton, but you never know, and this Dorsett selection gives them a possible replacement.
Many Colts fans wanted defensive players, but here are the positives: the Colts have probably the best receiving unit in the NFL.
The Colts stuck with their BPA approach. I wonder if they would have selected Brett Hundley if he were the top guy left on the board. Nevertheless, the Colts added another playmaker to an already loaded offense.