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Indianapolis Colts

Wide Receiver/Tight End Burning Questions Heading Into 2015 Training Camp

Intro: The countdown to the Colts 2015 Training Camp is less than two weeks away. What’s in store at the wide receiver and tight end positions for the Colts this season?





INDIANAPOLIS –The richness at the pass catching positions for the Colts in 2015 will make for some intense roster battles at Training Camp.

Over the next week and a half, will take a look at the "Burning Questions" surrounding all position groups entering 2015.

Here's a look at the wide receiver and tight end burning questions heading into the offseason program:

Is another Pro Bowl campaign in store for T.Y. Hilton this season?

Plenty of eyes, inside and outside the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, are going to be on T.Y. Hilton in 2015.

He's earned that from around the NFL, fresh off a 1,345-season Pro Bowl year.

Even though Hilton's numbers might not eclipse last season, a second Pro Bowl season should be in order.

Hilton had a remarkable 62 first downs on 82 catches last year and averaged an eye popping 16.4 yards per catch.

From a pure catches standpoint, Hilton might not reach another season of 82 receptions (like he has in 2013 and 2014) but it doesn't take a seven, eight-catch game to feel No. 13's impact.

You know the attention from opposing defenses are coming early and often for Hilton in 2015.

He's proven himself in each of his first three seasons, giving Andrew Luck a true No. 1 receiver, despite a 5-9, 180-pound frame.

T.Y. Hilton's Career Stats




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STAT TO NOTE: Hilton's 3,289 career receiving yards are the most in Colts history for a player after three seasons. That total is actually 569 more yards than any other player.**

Where do Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief fit in with Hilton?**

The open mini-camp practice at Lucas Oil Stadium gave a glimpse.

In a June practice filled with situational drills, the big body receivers of Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief made their presence felt.

What fans saw back in June should be very similar to what will come this fall.

Johnson gives Andrew Luck an option on intermediate routes. At 6-3 and 230 pounds, Johnson has the frame that makes him very attractive to any quarterback.

Red zone and third-down should be where Johnson is particularly counted upon, and it wouldn't shock me at all if the seven-time Pro Bowler sees an uptick in his touchdown production in 2015.

Moncrief has a similar body type to Johnson, but obviously has a burst that forced him onto the field as a rookie last season.

He might not have the name recognition around the NFL of Hilton or Johnson, but Moncrief is a rare talent who could fill needs in several roles.

STAT TO NOTE: Andre Johnson has averaged an NFL-best 6.0 receptions per game, which is the top mark in league history.**

How will Phillip Dorsett be used in his rookie season?**

By all accounts, it was a very productive offseason program for first-round pick Phillip Dorsett.

The Miami product displayed a variety of skills during OTAs and mini-camp, indicative of why the Colts took him No. 29 overall back in late April.

If the Colts employ a top wide receiver pair of T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson, what does that mean for the third wide receiver spot?

Dorsett could slide in there and give the Colts a real threat in stressing the final line of defense.

Pep Hamilton obviously has options with how he wants to use his wide receivers, and specifically Dorsett.

Punt return duties should fall on Dorsett's shoulders.

Offensively, the Colts are going to try and get Dorsett touches in other ways, too.

It will be interesting to observe Dorsett's play count as the season evolves, but when he is on the field there's potential to switch field position in a blink of an eye.

STAT TO NOTE: Donte Moncrief is one of seven Colts rookies to record multiple 100-yard receiving games in a single season.**

How much two-tight end sets will the Colts employ with Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener in 2015?**

When the Colts were in the midst of their eight straight 400-yard games of total offense last season, a healthy group of tight ends provided plenty of versatility.

Pep Hamilton, a tight end friendly offensive coordinator, finally got his look at what life with a healthy Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener was like in 2014.

The Colts offense flourished for a bulk of last season, with inconsistency creeping in when Allen (and Ahmad Bradshaw) went down in mid-November.

When it comes to 2015 though, the Colts offense has a different make up outside of the tight end position.

Talented reinforcements are in the wide receiver room this season, posing the question: With all the new pass catchers, will that impact the two tight end formations?

Knowing Hamilton, I don't think the number of personnel groupings with two tight end sets is going to dwindle too much.

He knows the value of the unpredictability that comes with having Allen and Fleener on the field together.

It's a great problem to have, but we will have to see if Hamilton stays true to his past history with tight end usage or if the wide receiver talent is too immense to ignore.

STAT TO NOTE: In 2014, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener became the first tight end duo in NFL history to record at least eight receiving touchdowns in a single season.*

2015 Wide Receivers (11): Quan Bray (Rookie), Vincent Brown (5th year), Duron Carter (Rookie), Phillip Dorsett (Rookie), T.Y. Hilton (4th year), Andre Johnson (13th year), Ryan Lankford (1 year), Donte Moncrief (2nd year), Ezell Ruffin (Rookie), Tyler Rutenbeck (Rookie), Griff Whalen (4th year)Roster Outlook: Last year, the Colts kept six wide receivers on their 53-man roster after the preseason. Griff Whalen and Da'Rick Rogers rounded out the group. Six could definitely be the magic number again in 2015, with even more talent amongst the group. It's almost a guarantee that whoever becomes the final cuts at the wide receiver position in early September, won't be unemployed for long with 31 other teams watching the waiver wire.*

*2015 Tight Ends (6): Dwayne Allen (4th year), Jack Doyle (3rd year), Coby Fleener (4th year), Sean McGrath (2nd year), Justin Sinz (Rookie), Erik Swoope (1st year).Roster Outlook: Last year, the Colts kept three tight ends (and one fullback) on their 53-man roster after the preseason. So could the tight end magic number be "four" in 2015? There's definitely enough talent to justify keeping four tight ends. McGrath might be an unknown to fans but his resume speaks of someone in the running for a roster spot. Erik Swoope is obviously going to be a name to keep an eye on at Training Camp. He still has practice squad eligibility, too.*

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