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What to expect this season: Wide receivers

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Throughout this series I will outline what my best, middle, and worst case scenario is for each position group in the Colts. Now covering wide receiver.

(Disclaimer: injury is always the absolute worst case scenario, so we will talk about worst case assuming the players remain healthy for the sake of the article)

Best Case: MPJ emerges as a superstar, Parris Campbell manages to remain healthy, Alec Pierce puts up a solid rookie year, Dulin steps up with more targets, either Strachan/Patmon emerge as a viable reserve receiver.

MPJ emerged as the undisputed #1 receiver for the Colts’ last season, getting over a thousand yards receiving and catching 6 scores, on what was a floundering passing offense. This season, with an improved quarterback situation, Pittman Jr. could reach new heights. I am thinking >1.300 receiving yards, and over 8 touchdowns would do that. It is impossible to talk about Parris Campbell and not mention injuries, so I will have to make an exception for him. Since being drafted, Campbell has started just 9 games in his three seasons so far (just 15% of the total games played). Best case scenario for Campbell is playing double digit games for the first time in his young career. Rookie receivers tend to struggle a bit out of the gate, saving for the occasional exception (like Justin Jefferson and Ja’Mar Chase). The best case scenario for Pierce would be to be one of those exceptions, and post a sensational rookie year. Going further down on the depth chart, Dulin has been having a nice camp, and the best case for him might be stepping in that Zach Pascal role and making the most of what will be surely be limited targets. As for Patmon/Strachan, I envision either one of the two is going to see a meaningful role, while the other might be relegated to the PS. Best case scenario would be for the one that gets the job to provide some valuable reserve snaps.

Middle Scenario: MPJ peaks as an above-average receiver, Campbell shows flashes but nothing spectacular, Pierce struggles a bit adjusting to the NFL, Dulin gets more targets but is pedestrian at best, Strachan/Patmon fail to make a meaningful impact.

There is a reasonable chance that Michael Pittman Jr has already showed the ceiling of his capabilities, and that he is better suited as a complimentary receiver rather than a true superstar #1. The middle scenario for Campbell would be him playing something along the lines of 8 games, making the occasional big play here and there but failing to assert himself as a consistently productive slot receiver. A middle case scenario for Pierce would probably be an up & down rookie year, where he puts up some spectacular games, followed up by disappearing acts. As for Dulin and the rest of the depth chart, the middle scenario would be all of them failing to take advantage of the opportunity they have and seeing their touches diminish each week. There is only so much to go around this offense, so they will have to make the most of each target they get.

Worst Case: MPJ failts to adapt to Ryan, Campbell’s injuries limit his athleticism, Pierce struggles a lot and does not get much playing time, Dulin makes no sort of impact, Strachan/Patmon fade into obscurity.

Lookig at what the worst case would be for this unit, perhaps MPJ takes a step back, last season being just a mirage of what he can do in the NFL. For Campbell it would be once again suffering a season ending injury. Him entering a contract year, yet another season without playing more than at least 8 games would cast some serious doubts about whether he can have a productive NFL career. For Pierce, the worst case scenario would be him failing to make any sort of impact adjusting to the NFL, and struggles throughout his rookie season, which I would not worry too much about. As for the bottom guys, the worst case would be failing to get any sort of snaps. The good thing for Dulin is that even if he struggles mightily as a receiver he could still carve out a role as a special teams’ ace.