INDIANAPOLIS —The league's leading receiver. An emerging red zone threat. A former first-round pick continuing to find his role. An unexpected rise from an undrafted rookie.
The Indianapolis Colts' wide receiver group had several different storylines throughout the 2016 season, from T.Y. Hilton continuing to establish himself as one of the NFL's best, to Chester Rogers' emergence from bottom of the depth chart in training camp to key contributor.
And, entering the offseason, one thing's for sure: the future still looks very bright for the Colts' pass catchers moving forward.
Here's a review of the play of the Colts' wide receivers in 2016:He's No. 1
T.Y. Hilton has been one of the more under-appreciated wide receivers in the National Football League since he was taken by the Colts in the 2012 NFL Draft, as he has quietly built one of the best career starts at the position — ever.
In 2016, however, it began to be increasingly difficult for Hilton to remain quiet.
By season's end, his 1,448 receiving yards were tops in the entire NFL. He became the first Colts player to lead the league in that category since Reggie Wayne in 2007.
Hilton also came up huge in the clutch at multiple junctures for the Colts in 2016, as he caught game-winning touchdown passes Sept. 25 against the San Diego Chargers (63 yards) and Oct. 9 vs. the Chicago Bears (35 yards).
Hilton ranked in the Top 10 in receptions (tied-10th), receiving average (15.9, 10th), first down receptions (66, second), yards at catch (1,110, second) and scrimmage yards (1,448, eighth) in 2016.
A Pro Bowl selection for a third straight season, Hilton returns in 2017 with an even bigger target on his back — which is a distinction, you can bet, the Florida Atlantic product continues to enjoy.Keep him healthy
Donte Moncrief had already established himself as a legit No. 2 wide receiver for the Colts in 2015, and he showed more than enough reason in 2016 why the Colts should continue to be very comfortable with Hilton-Moncrief at the top of their depth chart.
The key for Moncrief moving forward will be trying to figure out a way to stay healthy — and stay on the field.
When he was on the field in 2016, he produced. He totaled 30 receptions for 307 yards and seven touchdowns, scoring a touchdown in seven of the nine games he played.
From Weeks 8-13, he scored a touchdown in all five games, tying for the second longest consecutive streak in team history.
Much of Moncrief's production in 2016 came in the red zone, as he became a favorite target of quarterback Andrew Luck's near (and in) the end zone. While Moncrief certainly has the speed and route-running ability to thrive in other areas of the field, too, look for this role to continue to expand moving forward.Go long
Phillip Dorsett in 2016 saw his production increase from his rookie season, though the former first-round pick certainly wants much more moving forward.
In 2016, Dorsett finished as the team's fifth-leading receiver with 33 catches for 528 yards and two touchdowns.
He also led the team — and was among the league's leaders — with a 16.0 yards-per-catch average, though Dorsett is working hard to shed the label as a "deep-threat-only" receiver.
Moving forward, his overall route-running abilities will be a major focus for Dorsett, who said he's "definitely looking forward to Year Three."Other notes
With a long list of wide receivers ahead of him on the offseason depth chart, Chester Rogers kept his head down and just worked heading into training camp.
By Week 1, he had earned a spot on the Colts' initial 53-man roster.
And, by the end of the season, the undrafted Grambling State product had caught 19 passes for 273 yards, and had served the team well as its punt returner, with 13 returns for 119 yards (9.2 yards per return).
Rogers got increased playing time at both receiver and returner due to the absence of Quan Bray, who was placed on IR Oct. 18 with an ankle injury.
Look for Bray and Rogers to continue battling it out for that No. 4 wide receiver spot heading into 2017.
Also, while veteran Devin Street's time with the Colts' active roster wasn't long, his one catch on the year was a big one.
Street, who signed with the Colts Sept. 21, played in five games, and his 20-yard catch Week 7 against the Tennessee Titans on 3rd and 13 was a huge play on Indianapolis' eventual game-winning drive.Number to remember
16: The number of 25-plus-yard receptions by T.Y. Hilton in 2016, a figure that ranked No. 1 in the NFL.
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