INDIANAPOLIS – Since Donte Moncrief was taken in the third round of the 2014 Draft, his coaches have oozed about the potential they saw in the 6-2, 220-pound receiver.
Sanjay Lal is the Colts' new wide receivers coach in 2017 and he has joined the others in praising Moncrief's rare makeup.
The frame is there (6-2, 220 pounds), but let's not forget about the explosion.
At the 2014 NFL Combine, Moncrief had the third fastest 40-yard dash (4.40) of any receiver, the third best vertical jump (39.5) and the top broad jump (11'0").
You do not see those numbers on a guy with the size of Moncrief.
As Moncrief readies for a fourth NFL season, which is also a contract year for him, there's a specific area of his game that he wants to see growth.
Make more plays post catch.
"Pretty much this year is going to be big on yards after catch," Moncrief says. "I've got to make plays with the ball in my hands, not just the end zone. Take one tackle and take it to the end zone."
The stats back up Moncrief's statement.
In 2014, Moncrief averaged 6.7 yards after catch (8th in the NFL). In 2015, that number dipped to 4.1 YAC (66th in the NFL). Last year, it plummeted to 2.5 YAC (**106th in the NFL**).
No one questions Moncrief's presence in the red zone (he had 7 red-zone touchdowns in 9 games last year), but there's room for his game to expand.
Moncrief said he expects the Colts to move him around more within the offense in 2017, which should give him extra opportunities for playmaking.
If Moncrief can become a more complete receiver he's going to be one very coveted wideout next spring, one the Colts should be eager to re-sign.
A shoulder injury took Moncrief off the field for five and a half games early last season.
This offseason Moncrief went back to Ole Miss, where he went to college, to clean up the injury that caused him to miss his first NFL action.
"It's just taking care of your body. That was the main thing with this offseason," Moncrief said. "Strengthened my shoulder, so I can be out there every game with those guys. I know how much I mean to the offense, and I won't leave those guys out there by themselves again."
Moncrief says he's full-go with a big year on the horizon.
For this offense to truly flourish in 2017, they need to tap into Moncrief's potential.
With their lockers next to each other, T.Y. Hilton and Moncrief have had a discussion about the inevitable contract year this fall.
"If you want it, you just got to get it," Moncrief says of Hilton's message to him. "My main thing is showing him that I want it. That was a big boost for me. For him to come tell me that, he sees the potential that I got and he obviously wants me to be with him. I just need to have a good healthy year.
"I know what I can do and I know what I'm capable of."
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