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Frank Reich 'Really Happy' With Young Wide Receiver Group

It’s early, but Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said he feels “strongly” about his team’s young wide receiver group, which mostly has much to prove heading into the 2018 season.


INDIANAPOLIS — Of the 13 wide receivers currently on the Indianapolis Colts' offseason roster, as a group, they average just two years of NFL experience.

Take T.Y. Hilton out of the equation, and that number gets much closer to just one year of average NFL experience.

With four rookies and three first-year players, as well as two other players entering just their second full NFL seasons in 2018, the Colts are, obviously, young at the wide receiver position.

But head coach Frank Reich likes what he's seeing out of the group so far.

"I'm really happy with the whole group," Reich told reporters last Wednesday following the team's second OTA practice of the offseason. "I mean, all the guys have been flashing."

The unquestioned leader, both from a production and an experience standpoint, is Hilton, as the four-time Pro Bowl selection enters his seventh NFL season in 2018. In 94 career games with 73 starts in Indy, Hilton has caught 431 passes for 6,827 yards and 34 touchdowns, and he doesn't show any signs of slowing anytime soon.

Behind Hilton are third-year receiver Chester Rogers and free agent signee Ryan Grant, who is entering his fifth NFL season in 2018 — and his first with the Colts, after spending the first four years of his career with the Washington Redskins.

But beyond those three receivers, there's no telling how the rest of the depth chart will pan out at wide receiver by the time Week 1 of the 2018 season rolls around in September.

That unknown, however, has produced some competitive settings in practice and in workouts, Reich said.

"I really feel strongly about this young wide receiver crew," Reich said. "No. 1, the way they are coming off the football and the way they are competing. Really through Phase 2 when we were on the field and now – with just two days of OTAs – there are things that really excite me."

The Colts have exciting rookies in Reece Fountain and Deon Cain, the Colts' fifth- and sixth-round picks in this year's NFL Draft. There's also another veteran in James Wright, who is entering his fourth NFL season in 2018 and has 18 receptions and 197 yards to his credit in 24 career games with the Cincinnati Bengals.

But several other receivers hope to continue opening some eyes and earn reps throughout the rest of the offseason into training camp and the preseason, with hopes of making the initial 53-man roster. There's a couple second-year players in Krishawn Hogan and Kasen Williams; three first-year receivers in Dres Anderson, K.J. Brent and Seantavius Jones; and an undrafted rookie in Kayaune Ross.

All the players at the position bring a little bit something different to the table — whether they excel along the outside, in the slot or if they have special teams value — but Reich is excited to see how everything pans out when it's all said and done.

"I know we have a long way to go, but there is a lot of progress. There are some guys who are explosive," he said. "(There are) some big, strong guys. I think we are catching the ball well. So I'm really encouraged."

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