INDIANAPOLIS – It was not the most pressing need the Colts had going into the 2017 offseason.
The wide receiver position in Indianapolis has talent. Some proven, some unproven.
When Chris Ballard took a closer look at his roster earlier this year, he clearly saw an opportunity to add something to a wide receiver group already filled with potential.
Enter 6-2, 215-pound, Kamar Aiken, a former leading receiver of the Baltimore Ravens.
Aiken, who at 27 years old is the Colts' oldest wide receiver, knows why he was brought to Indianapolis.
"To come in here and compete with those guys for a starting position. Help out on special teams and to be a leader, vocally and by my actions," Aiken says.
How Aiken has migrated from his days on NFL practice squads to a former No. 1 receiver is the sort of story the Colts want in a receiver room needing guys to tap into budding talent.
In Aiken, the Colts are getting a different skillset they can incorporate in various personnel packages.
One of the first attributes most will notice with Aiken is his frame, which is unique to the vast majority of receivers already in Indianapolis.
But Aiken doesn't want to be pigeonholed as just a "bigger receiver."
"I'm going to add a physical aspect," Aiken states when first describing his game, "but also add a speed aspect as well. I'm a speed guy, too. People don't like to give me that credit."
The combination of size and speed helped Aiken become Baltimore's top receiver in 2015.
With 75 catches two seasons ago, Aiken was the leading wideout in Baltimore.
He slid down the depth chart this past season, catching just 29 balls, with fellow receivers Steve Smith returning from injury and Mike Wallace arriving in free agency.
What did Aiken learn from being the guy to playing much more of a complementary role.
"Just take advantage of your opportunities," Aiken says. "You never know when you are going to have them. You never know when they are going to be taken away from you. And just enjoy each moment of it."
In bringing Aiken into the mix, the Colts now can fluctuate their wide receiver groupings by incorporating bigger options (Donte Moncrief/Kamar Aiken) with the speed (T.Y. Hilton/Jacoby Brissett).
A guy like Chester Rogers also showed enough last season to merit opportunities in pushing for playing time.
One specific element of the game the Colts could certainly use Aiken in is the red zone, an area of the field he's found past success.
No matter how the Colts end up using Aiken in 2017, his addition defines the theme of the offseason, at perhaps the most competitive position group on the roster.
"Kamar is a tough competitor and has shown he can be a consistent wide receiver in this league," Ballard says. "He adds a nice complement to our wide receiver group and we look forward to watching him compete."
The Colts Sign WR Kamar Aiken!
The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.