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Colts looking to develop young wide receivers

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts-Training Camp USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts yesterday waived wide receiver Josh Boyce, which came as a surprise to many. Boyce was listed among the second-team guys on the Colts’ depth chart, and he had seen extensive reps during training camp and preseason.

It turns out that may have actually been the decision behind cutting him, however, as the Colts want to focus more on some of their younger receivers.

“Josh, he’s done a good job since he’s been here,” head coach Chuck Pagano said yesterday. “Really good pro. Respect everything that he’s done since he’s been here. We’ve got some young guys that we want to focus on a little bit, and there are some guys out there that we’re looking at as well. So we’re grateful for what Josh did for this organization. He came to work every single day and was a really good pro, but again, every decision we make is what’s best for this team and gives us the best chance to win. So we’re going to look at a couple other guys.”

The Colts certainly are young at wide receiver. The oldest player in the wide receiver room is 26-year old T.Y. Hilton, and the experience overall is lacking as well. Though Hilton has caught 283 passes for 4,413 yards and 24 touchdowns and though Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett have combined for 114 catches for 1,402 yards and ten touchdowns, the other eight players on the roster have zero combined catches. Zero. So it’s likely that whoever does make the roster as the fourth and fifth receivers will be doing so with very little NFL experience, but there’s certainly talent there to work with.

“Yeah, I mean there’s skill out there,” Pagano said. “You’ve got guys that have length, guys that have speed. You see a guy like Chester [Rogers] who’s got play making ability. Huge play in the last ball game.m [Marcus] Leak is a guy that hasn’t been available because of injury, but there’s another guy that’s done some good things and he’s a big, strong guy. Mac [MeKale McKay] is a big, long guy that can make plays, and Smitty [Tevaun Smith] is a good player. There’s a good group there and we’re just kind of waiting for somebody to kind of separate themselves. Quan Bray is a guy that becomes a more consistent wide receiver. We know what he can do special teams-wise, so we’re just waiting to see how that thing unfolds.”

Some of the players Pagano mentioned are especially interesting, such as Chester Rogers and Tevaun Smith. Though it seems they will get the first shot, the Colts aren’t ruling out bringing in another receiver. Pagano mentioned that there are a couple of guys the Colts are looking at, and explained that they’ll be monitoring the free agents.

“Yeah, you’re always looking at the cut down based on your roster, based on injuries and based on need,” he said. “It wouldn’t be just specific to that position alone.”

It’s no guarantee that the Colts will bring in someone else, but if they do it likely won’t be a big name to distract from the younger guys. For example, after Pagano talked yesterday the Colts signed Andrew Opoku, an undrafted free agent who played linebacker in college before switching to receiver.

The Colts’ wide receiver position is still very much up in the air after the top three at the position, and the decision to cut Josh Boyce doesn’t help clear it up much. What it does, however, is continue to reinforce the idea that the Colts want to work even more with their young receivers.