With a wide receiver group desperately in need of playmakers outside of T.Y. Hilton, there is a ton of room for rookie receivers to make an impact and contribute early. Perhaps the most intriguing prospect to make his mark might be Daurice Fountain.
Fountain is a 6-1, 210-pound receiver with crazy athleticism and a ton of upside. A small-school guy out of Northern Iowa, he could find himself right at home working on his craft alongside Hilton, who has consistently been at the top of the league in receiving yards over the course of his career despite being initially labeled as a deep threat with limited capabilities.
One of the most exciting things to think about in terms of the contribution Fountain could make immediately is his ability to high-point the football. He has absolutely ridiculous hops, putting up a 42.5-inch vertical at his pro day, a full inch higher than the best at the combine.
.@Reece_JMM impressing early at Pro Day! #UNIFight pic.twitter.com/LT7DMoT201— UNI Football (@UNIFootball) March 25, 2018
The Colts haven’t had a receiver who could reliably go up and contest 50/50 balls in the end zone, but that is a part of Fountain’s game that will allow him to contribute right away.
Here is a perfect example of him making a contested catch for a touchdown.
Fountain has a step on the coverage and is able to go up and grab the ball over the cornerback on a tough completion. Unsurprisingly, he consistently dealt with less than ideal ball placement, a situation that will be vastly improved by catching passes from Andrew Luck.
Fountain’s ability to get up isn’t all he can do. He can move, too. He ran a 4.46 forty-yard dash, and that speed translates to his game. His ability to accelerate out of his breaks quickly gets him consistent separation. That also helps him set up comebacks, which were used pretty effectively to generate a lot of his production. While his route running will need to be polished and improved, he certainly has the skills to be a threat.
Here, you can see how smoothly he is able to work the double move to get himself in great position to make a play. It goes for an incompletion because the ball is slightly overthrown, and while you’d like to see Fountain adjust to that a bit better, his ability to get that smooth separation will give Luck the opportunity to hit him downfield and make plays.
It is actually quite fitting that Fountain will don the number 10, most recently worn by Donte Moncrief. While Moncrief never really broke out like Colts fans hoped, he was able to be a very valuable red zone target when healthy. What I’ve watched of Fountain gives me hope that he can be as effective as Moncrief and more. Fountain is more athletically gifted than Moncrief, though admittedly, will be rawer in the face of top-level talent since he comes from the Missouri Valley Conference.
One impressive area of his game is his ability to make adjustments in the air.
On this play, we see him beat his man to the outside and he, impressively, is able to get up and make a very nice one-handed grab for a big gain.
Given his small-school background, questions are bound to arise about Fountain’s ability to compete with higher-level competition. He used the East-West Shrine game to make his case that he could in fact compete. During that game, Fountain showed up in a big way, netting 61 yards on 3 catches, including this excellent slant.
While he has some impressive abilities and a lot of untapped potential, it will be up to Fountain to show up ready to be a sponge. Hilton will be an excellent guy to learn from, and with the news that Colts great Reggie Wayne will be a volunteer assistant wide receivers coach for the Colts, the resources will certainly be at his disposal to improve in a major way to make himself an integral part of the roster.