INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts didn't hold a pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday, but it didn't take them long to get in on the action in Round 2 on Friday night.
With the second pick in the round — No. 34 overall in the draft — the Colts selected USC wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.
The 6'4", 223-pound wideout is a perfect fit for the Colts and what they like to do on offense, and the Indy media got a chance to talk to the Colts' newest playermaker soon after he was selected.
You can listen to that entire conversation above, but here are some takeaways:
» Pittman Jr. started the day with the Colts on his mind: "I was almost certain that I was gonna be a Colt today," Pittman Jr. said when asked if he had any idea of the Colts' interest in him. "I know you see the blue shirt," he pointed out with a smile.
The Colts have been in communication with Pittman Jr. throughout the draft process, and it was able to get off to a good start while he was at the Senior Bowl. Participating down in Mobile, Ala., in January is a big factor in a lot of Colts picks, and that appears to be the case again here with Pittman Jr.
» The fit is there: "Just based on the conversations that we had. I felt like we had a good connection," Pittman Jr. said. "I just felt like it was the right fit."
He's big, he's fast, has great hands, runs good routes, and can win the jump ball. He's the type of player the Colts have been trying to add at receiver for a few years now, and he's the most they've invested in that kind of player so far. The respect is mutual from both sides, and Pittman Jr. is particularly excited that he gets to play for a head coach who used to play in the NFL himself.
"You're getting coached by a guy that actually played and actually knows how to play the game, which doesn't happen very often," Pittman Jr. said of head coach Frank Reich. "So I have a coach now that understands what it's like to be a player as well as a coach."
» The rookie is ready to make an instant impact, wherever that comes: "I think that's why it's such a great pick is because I think that they brought me in to impact right now," Pittman Jr. elaborated on his fit with the Colts. "Also, they have Philip Rivers, who I think is a Hall-of-Famer, and I just couldn't be more happy that I get to start (my career) with a Hall-of-Fame quarterback. So that's great."
Yes, Pittman Jr.'s talent means he may be able to contribute right away on offense at receiver, but he's a very willing special teams player as well after blocking two punts in college. For a fresh rookie, he just wants to get on the field and make an impact however he can.
"I think it can attribute to my toughness and just want-to because specials teams is football, too," he said of playing special teams. "Any time that I can get on the field, I'm gonna get out there and try to put somebody on my highlight reel."
» He's big, fast and strong, but Pittman Jr. is a hard worker above all else: "I feel like I try to be diverse in what I can do. I feel like I use my hands well," Pittman Jr. began describing about his game. "Being a bigger guy, people expect me to be physical and strong, so I have that. But I can also do all of the stuff that the smaller guys can, like the quick feet and the route running."
The first thing that jumps out about Pittman Jr. is his blend of size and athleticism, but that all means nothing without work ethic, in which the former team captain has plenty.
"Just showing up every day," he said about how he has become so consistent and productive after contending for the Fred Biletnikoff Award in 2019, which honors college football's top wide receiver. "When I say showing up, I mean showing up, working hard, being there early, studying plays. It just leads to more opportunities, and when they happen, you have prepared for them."
» Senior helped pave the way: Many know by now that Pittman Jr. is the son of former Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Michael Pittman, who played 11 years in the NFL and amassed more than 9,000 yards of offense.
"He's basically like my crystal ball. He has predicted the future every step of the way," Junior said. "It's just awesome to have him because he's pretty much coached me up my whole life about like NFL and dealing with coaches, locker room life and basically just teaching me to be a football player my whole life.
"When I was young, I just always thought that I was gonna be an NFL player because it's what my dad did," Pittman Jr. continued. "So, my dad was drafted the year that I was born, so that's all I knew was NFL football. So I was like, 'My dad does it, I can do it, too.' Back then I didn't realize how hard it is and how much of a struggle it is. Looking back now, I'm right where I thought I would be."
Well, like father like son, it appears.