The biggest surprise throughout the month of August for the Indianapolis Colts has easily been Michael Strachan. The 6-foot-5 wideout from DII Charleston (West Virginia) continues to turn heads over the last few weeks, and that trend continued with an impressive NFL preseason debut against the Carolina Panthers.
Although Strachan’s physical tools for a wide receiver are off the charts, he’s showing some real underrated abilities as a consistent route runner who can provide a multitude of options for Indy’s aerial attack.
Colts head coach Frank Reich is noticing the consistency and on-field impact from Strachan since his arrival in Indianapolis, which continues to ascend a fast-paced upward trajectory. When asked about Strachan on Monday, Reich gushed about the rookie’s immense potential.
“He’s been showing up in camp every day. That’s been the good thing for him. It’s not just a flash play here or there. It’s happening every day, there is a consistency,” Reich said. “Sometimes when you’re a young player, you don’t just want to see flashes you want to see some consistency. There’s been a few mental mistakes here and there, that’s normal for a rookie, but physically there’s been good consistency.”
If the consistency is there, it bodes well for a potential role to be carved out for Strachan even as a late-round rookie currently buried behind an impressive quartet of wideouts: T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman Jr., Zach Pascal, and Parris Campbell.
With his unique size and speed combination, Strachan could be a weapon within the red-zone Indianapolis can utilize whenever they so choose. As we saw against Carolina on Sunday, Strachan’s ability to track a deep ball showed up in a big way.
“The other thing that I think about Mike that’s so impressive is that he’s not just a good physical talent, but you can tell how smart of a player he is,” Reich said. “He’s a very instinctive route runner. And the game is just not too big for him. So, I think those three things bode well for him, niching out a role for himself. I think it’s too early to tell what that will be, we have a good group, but we really like where he’s at right now and expect him to continue to grow and make an impact on our team.”
It’s early, but we’re starting to get a good idea that Strachan is not on the same tier of other previous preseason standouts like Deon Cain and Duron Carter. Strachan’s versatility within the passing game, plus his jaw-dropping traits, allow him to potentially become a long-term piece to the Colts’ puzzle on offense.
Just imagine the possibilities with Strachan and Pittman Jr. on opposite sides of the field, while Campbell patrols the slot. That’s a fun young trio to think about down the road for Indianapolis, but, in the meantime, look for Strachan to be in a similar role as 2020 sixth-round selection Dezmon Patmon. Kept on the 53-man roster all season in a redshirt year, we could see the exact same scenario unfold for Strachan. If he were to be released at roster cut-downs, there’s no way a team wouldn’t scoop him up just based off the flashes we’ve seen thus far.
Reich outlined exactly what they’ve loved from Strachan: consistency, instincts, and the pure talent he possesses. Indianapolis envisions a role for Strachan, the question is whether the No. 229 overall pick might force their hand earlier than expected.
If Strachan continues to look the part of an immediate contributor over the next few weeks fo practice and preseason games, there’s a strong possibility we see him suit up in regular season action for the Colts.