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The Indianapolis Colts wrapped up their spring workouts at the end of May and will return for training camp sometime at the end of July to prepare for the 2021 regular season.
Before that happens, we will be going through the majority of the roster to preview their background, projected role and bottom line with the team entering training camp.
After taking a look at Michael Pittman Jr., we turn our attention to the elder statesman of the wide receiver room in T.Y. Hilton.
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Name: T.Y. Hilton Position: WR Height: 5-foot-10 Weight: 183 pounds Age: 31 College: Florida International Free Agent Year: 2022
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A third-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, Hilton has been the back bone of the passing offense for the majority of the last decade. He had immense success in the Andrew Luck years (2012-2018) but has struggled to maintain that elite status with Jacoby Brissett and Philip Rivers. Even in a down year in 2020, Hilton still led the Colts offense in targets (93), receiving yards (762) and receiving touchdowns (5). Hilton re-signed on a one-year deal with the Colts after they traded for Carson Wentz this offseason.
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This will be an interesting storyline to watch throughout training camp and the preseason. Will Hilton automatically continue to be the top target in the offense, or will Michael Pittman Jr. emerge as the WR1 in his second season? It's a fair question to consider. Hilton still has enough left in the tank to be a considerable asset in the passing game, but he may not be the player he was a few years ago even in Luck's final season. Still, Hilton should be considered a top-two target in the passing offense, it just comes down to whether he will be WR1 again in that regard.
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It's hard to project Hilton returning to that elite status at age 31. And given how much the Colts have spread the ball around during the Frank Reich era, Hilton likely won't be stuffing the stat sheet in 2021. But he can still help the Colts. He has the skill set to be an impactful Z-receiver in the offense and even showed the capability of having some blow up games—when they're against the Texans. This may be the year we see a changing of the guard when it comes to the WR1, but Hilton should still be heavily involved in the new Carson Wentz-led offense.
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The Colts brought back Hilton on a one-year deal to give Wentz some more help at receiver. The two have already grown a strong rapport during the spring workouts, and Hilton should still be considered among the leaders of the passing offense. How much Hilton will be involved isn't all that clear, but it's a safe bet that he will be one of the top-two targets in the passing game for 2021.