Colts GM Chris Ballard has regularly stated that his philosophy is that you build teams through the draft. That makes this time of year critical to the Colts’ long term success. So in the lead up to this year’s draft, I wanted to do something to honor some of the meaningful draft picks that the Colts have made in their time in Indianapolis. These players have helped to tell the story of the Colts franchise we love. Every day leading up to the draft, we’ll drop a story about a different player from Indianapolis Colts draft history.
Today we’re talking about wide receiver Bill Brooks. Brooks was selected in the 4th round of the 1986 draft with the 86th pick overall. In his rookie season, the 6’1” 190lb Brooks notched his best performance, with 1,131 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns, and 1,420 all purpose yards.
Despite playing with a highly unsettled quarterback situation during his time with the Colts, Brooks was still the team’s leading receiver in 5 out of the 7 seasons he played there, and he ranks 4th among Colts receivers in terms of career receiving yards with the Colts. Only Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and T.Y. Hilton have more.
His reliability in spite of less than ideal surrounding talent was a critical ingredient for his success, and Brooks missed just six games in his time with the Colts. With the onset of the Manning Era in Indianapolis, we tend to think of Marvin Harrison as being the first great Indy receiver, but that award really goes to Brooks, who was something special before the game had changed in favor of the pass, and without the help of an all-time great quarterback.
After his playing days were over, Brooks was honored by being made the first player added to the Colts “Ring of Honor” and also spent time as an executive with the team. As with Duane Bickett, Bill Brooks helped limp a mediocre Colts team through several dry seasons. He was a very good player and a memorable Colt from an era many would rather forget.
If you’ve got a favorite memory of Bill Brooks, drop it in the comments below!