7. T.Y. Hilton
Indianapolis Colts · WR
Is Hilton a legit No. 1? Can the 5-foot-10, 183-pounder stay healthy? Is T.Y getting long in the tooth at age 30? Those are all valid questions, especially with the Colts in win-now mode, with a new quarterback at the helm in Philip Rivers. Indy needs the veteran to lead the receiving corps, with a pair of unproven youngsters (second-year man Parris Campbell and rookie Michael Pittman Jr.) likely to flank him in the starting lineup.
I’ve always been a T.Y. fan, and I love the Colts to bounce back and make the playoffs in 2020, but the pressure weighs heavy on No. 13, who just so happens to be in the final year of his contract. Will Chris Ballard let him hit the open market in 2021? Time to rejoin the 1,000-yard club, T.Y.
Now, Colts’ 38 year old veteran quarterback Philip Rivers could be in a similar boat as Hilton, but unlike the former Pro Bowl wide receiver, Rivers could elect to simply retire all together after another down season—whereas the 30 year old Hilton could choose to extend his playing career potentially elsewhere (even though Indianapolis’ 4th all-time career leading receiver has already said he ‘wants to be a Colt for life’.)
Having battled injuries last season (including a torn calf) and mediocre starting quarterback play, Hilton was limited to the tune of 45 receptions for 501 receiving yards (11.1 ypr. avg.) and 5 touchdown receptions in 10 starts. One of the game’s best deep threats had no receptions of over 40+ yards for the first time in his accomplished 8-year career.
The Colts’ ‘alpha dog’ among offensive playmakers has battled some lingering injuries over the past two seasons, but he remains a dynamic wide receiver when fully healthy—with his terrific speed, nuanced route-running, and sure hands (plus, he always destroys the divisional rival Houston Texans as an added bonus).
If healthy, with Rivers’ willingness to throw it deep and to all levels of the field (not to mention, his improved accuracy over his Colts’ quarterback predecessor), Hilton should be due for a bounce back season—especially if young wideouts Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. can make an immediate impact (leap) and free up some of the extra opposing coverage that is routinely rolled Hilton’s way.
With a rebound season, Hilton should be a top contender for a Colts’ contract extension next offseason—as he’s been highly productive and a core member of the franchise—and figures to be at least for a few more years.