INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL Players Association last week named Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton to its "Rising 50" list, which is released annually to determine which up-and-coming players are the league's "future retail stars."
Hilton comes in at No. 19 on this year’s list, sandwiched right between two tight ends: the Washington Redskins' Jordan Reed (No. 18) and the Cincinnati Bengals' Tyler Eifert (No. 20).
It's actually the third straight year in which Hilton was selected to the NFLPA's Rising 50; he ranked at No. 26 at this time last year, and came in at fifth overall on the inaugural list in 2015.
So what, exactly, does this mean?
Well, in the grand scheme of things, it means nothing. It's yet another offseason list used to predict which players or teams will be the best at various aspects of the game by the end of the upcoming season (and we're not complaining — those are typically nice conversation starters throughout the year to feature here on the website).
But Hiton's inclusion, yet again, cements the fact that he continues to be viewed league-wide as one of the top young talents around.
"The Ghost," of course, is coming off the best season of his career, one in which he led the entire NFL in receiving yards with 1,448. The last Colts receiver to do that? Reggie Wayne in 2007 — and Wayne could very well find himself with a gold jacket and a bust in Canton, Ohio, here in a few years.
Hilton, meanwhile, is very much on that same career track. Take this into consideration: Hilton's 5,861 receiving yards are the ninth-most among players in their first five seasons NFL history, and seven of the first 10 on that list were first-round draft picks; Hilton was a third-round pick of the Colts out of Florida International in 2012.
Hilton also is coming off his third straight Pro Bowl selection, his fourth straight 1,000-yard receiving season and finished with single-season career highs in receptions (91), receiving yards (1,448) and yards from scrimmage (1,448).
So, yeah, there's no reason to believe Hilton couldn't be one of the league's "retail stars" with yet another monster season in 2017.
He's one of a few AFC South Division representatives on this year's NFLPA Rising 50 List, which also includes:
• Houston Texans: Quarterback Deshaun Watson (9)
• Jacksonville Jaguars: Wide receiver Allen Robinson (12), running back Leonard Fournette (13)
• Tennessee Titans: Running back Derrick Henry (23), wide receiver Corey Davis (47)
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