ANDERSON, IN --- The Colts wide receiving corp may be the deepest position on the roster, and T.Y. Hilton was not shy Monday when asked how good he thinks it is with Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks.
"We have three number one wideouts," Hilton said after practice. Asked to clarify if he views himself as a number one wide receiver, Hilton replied, "Without a doubt. All you have to do is turn on the film and watch me play."
That's the kind of confidence that comes with being the most productive receiver from his 2012 NFL Draft class, despite being selected in the 3rd round out of FIU. In two seasons, Hilton has amassed 132 receptions, 1,944 yards, and 12 touchdowns. Nobody from the 2012 class has more receiving yards and touchdowns.
"I came into the draft with a torn quad," Hilton remembered. "So, I knew I was going to fall in the draft, but I knew wherever I was going, I was going to make other teams pay. That's what I did."
And his game is only growing. Hilton said he doesn't have specific goals for 2014, after an 82 catch, 1,083 yard, 5 TD campaign last season, but he's definitely impressed his new teammate.
"His speed. He's got that quick-twitch, that quick feet," fellow Colts wide receiver Hakeem Nicks said. "We were actually watching film yesterday, and we were talking about that. He gets in and out of his breaks real fast, and he can go get that deep ball too."
Nicks recalled the specific play on film he watched of Hilton Sunday that gave him that impression. "It was a little in-and-out route, and then Andrew scrambled. It was red zone period. (Hilton) flipped his hips so quick, he kind of lost the defender and scored a touchdown. Him and Andrew were right on point with it."
Those observations are also right on point with exactly what Hilton said he's been working on since his sophomore season ended in Indianapolis.
"This offseason I worked on getting in and out of my break, coming back to the ball when the ball's thrown." Hilton said.
He certainly has the confidence of his head coach as well.
"He never ceases to amaze us. The guy is just a spectacular athlete," Chuck Pagano said Monday. "The game has obviously slowed down tremendously for T.Y. He knows this thing inside and out now. There's not one play call that we have (that he doesn't know), and we have a pretty big play list. So, there's not one play call that we have where he's out there thinking."
Pagano also said Hilton understands now looking across the line of scrimmage what he's getting from a coverage standpoint pre-snap.
"He's just going to keep building," Pagano said. That's a scary thought for opposing defenses.
MONDAY PRACTICE NOTES
- Several 1st team players had rest days Monday, with the team practicing in just helmets, after full pads Sunday: WR Reggie Wayne, LB Jerrell Freeman, RT Gosder Cherilus, G/C Jack Mewhort, S Delano Howell, DE Cory Redding, OLB Robert Mathis
- RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) practiced for a second straight day in a red non-contact jersey. His confidence was high though as to whether he'll be ready week one. "I'm very confident," said Bradshaw. "I just want to heal as much as possible. There's not a lot of guys that have been through neck surgeries, and a year later they are playing football, especially at my position. Right now, as we speak, I'm as confident as anything. I don't think about my neck at all playing." Bradshaw said he also plans to play in week 2 or 3 of the preseason.