Great athletes always have some shot at turning their potential into production, so while it seemed like Eric Ebron’s chance had come and gone after four frustrating years in Detroit, the former top-10 draft pick broke out with a 750-yard, 14-touchdown season in Indianapolis. Ebron and Jack Doyle are likely the top tight end duo in the league on paper, and Andrew Luck has exhibited some affinity for targeting tight ends. Though Ebron probably won’t post a Gronk-esque line again in 2019, the Colts are likely to get more than 245 yards and two scores out of Doyle, who missed 10 games with hip and kidney issues.
Indy’s three-headed halfback hydra was effective on the whole a year ago, even if no one posted eye-popping numbers. The trio of Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins combined to carry the ball 340 times for 1,558 yards and 12 scores, then chipped in with 96 catches for 613 yards and three touchdowns. The one thing Indy seems to be missing is a promising second wideout behind T.Y. Hilton, but if Devin Funchess returns to the form he showed in 2017 or second-round pick Parris Campbell impresses as a rookie, the Colts could rise even further.
While Barnwell’s analysis is spot on, Indianapolis should be at least a few spots higher in my honest opinion, as I do not see how teams like the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys are currently higher than the Colts (having quarterback under consideration).
However, that’s a discussion for a different day.
What is clear though is that the Colts have significantly improved their offensive potency from a little over a year ago.
Breakout seasons from Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron and young running back Marlon Mack ensured as much, but the Colts also had some key additions to their receiving corps this offseason including big bodied wideout Devin Funchess and blazing fast rookie Parris Campbell.
[Young running backs such as Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins shouldn’t also be forgotten as weapons.]
An interesting caveat to Barnwell’s piece though is that he neither mentioned the Colts ‘third-string’ tight end Mo Alie-Cox—who could be poised for a breakout season of his own, nor promising second-year wide receiver Deon Cain—if fully recovered.
No, the Colts current group won’t be mistaken for Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark anytime soon, but there’s a lot of potential—especially with another year of Andrew Luck in Frank Reich’s (i.e. the Wizard’s) offense.