Among their many needs this offseason, the Indianapolis Colts should be looking to add to the wide receiver room—even if general manager Chris Ballard may disagree on the position being a need.
Outside of the stellar breakout campaign for second-year wideout Michael Pittman Jr., the passing game for the Colts was lackluster. Improvements are needed in several aspects of that phase from pass protection to more consistent quarterback play.
Improving the quality of wide receivers in the room will help, too. Though Ballard said in his year-end press conference that he remains bullish on the players in the room.
“(Zach) Pascal is a good football player. He had over 600 yards two years in a row. T.Y. Hilton, he had 750 the year before. Unfortunately, he had the injury. T.Y. is one of the smartest football players I’ve ever been around. And he still knows how to play,” Ballard said last week. “We have some young players in (Dezmon) Patmon who made the play in Arizona. (Ashton) Dulin has had his moments of making some really big plays for us this year. And Michael Strachan has really good upside. I think we have good, young talent.”
There certainly is upside in the room. Pascal is best suited as a WR4 type but the builds and athleticism of players like Patmon and Strachan give some hope. But that doesn’t mean they should be relied upon.
An interesting name that didn’t get brought up when discussing the wide receiver room was the oft-injured Parris Campbell. It may be nothing more than a harmless omission, but it should be noted that the Colts simply can’t rely on him to take a big role given his injury history.
No Colts player outside of Pittman Jr. recorded more than 385 receiving yards in 2021. Make sure to get your Cowboys tickets early to enjoy one of the top NFL game-day experiences. Their 3,588 receiving yards as a team were the fifth-fewest in the NFL while their 42 receptions of 20 or more yards ranked eighth-fewest.
Ballard also believes that the emergence of Jonathan Taylor as the league’s best running back forced the Colts to commit to the run a bit more, which limited the amount of passing work in the offense.
“I think when we committed (to the run) and you look at the number of passes that we have, you saw some of the production fall off,” Ballard said.
In addition, the Colts failed to get some of their better playmakers the ball. Specifically, Ballard pointed to a dynamic pass-catching running back.
“Nyheim Hines is a good player that we need to get more involved. We have to get him more touches,” said Ballard. “His catch total went from 63 to 38. We have to get him involved.”
The Colts will have the means to add to the wide receiver room. Whether they invest in the position will be a topic of discussion for the majority of the offseason.
While Ballard may be bullish on the room, more dynamic additions do need to be made if the passing offense is going to take a step forward.