Wide Receiver/Tight End Burning Questions Heading Into OTAs

Intro: We are less than two weeks away from the Colts beginning their 2016 offseason program. Where do the questions start at the wide receiver/tight end positions in 2016?

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INDIANAPOLIS –April on the calendar means work is about to start back up for the Indianapolis Colts.

With the team's offseason program commencing on April 18, we start our burning question series.

Over the next week and a half, Colts.com will take a look at the "Burning Questions" surrounding all position groups entering 2016.

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

  • Is T.Y. Hilton ready to lead the Colts' wideout group?

The veteran influences of a Reggie Wayne or an Andre Johnson are gone.

It's T.Y. Hilton's time to lead a wide receiver group with plenty of explosiveness.

While the consistent big plays weren't a staple of Hilton's game in 2015, he still turned in a 1,124-yard season.

Hilton and Donte Moncrief (64 catches for 733 yards and six touchdowns last season) will pace the Colts' receivers in 2016.

With this young duo under contract through at least 2017, the Colts have a real chance to develop quite the pair of leading weapons for Andrew Luck.

In past years, Hilton has lauded Wayne for what he taught him in three seasons together.

Now, it's time for Hilton to instill some of those lessons onto a young, but dynamic, wide receiver group.

STAT TO NOTE: In six combined NFL seasons, T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief have combined to miss just two total games (Hilton: 62-of-64 and Moncrief: 32-of-32).**

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  • What will the role for Phillip Dorsett look like in his second NFL season?

Weeks 16 and 17 of the 2015 Colts season will be remembered for wins thanks to quarterbacks named Hasselbeck, Whitehurst, Freeman and Lindley.

It also included a small look into how the Colts will try and incorporate Phillip Dorsett going forward.

In those two wins, Dorsett saw his most playing time of 2015----with 12 targets (six catches) and two carries coming his way.

The Colts want the ball in Dorsett's hands, knowing his presence should strike fear into a defense.

Dorsett will now head into the offseason program as the team's No. 3 wide receiver.

That label is restrictive to a player of Dorsett's potential though.

Screens, options out of the backfield, routes from the slot will all be a part of how the Colts will try and isolate Dorsett in favorable matchups.

Andre Johnson and his 65 percent of offensive snaps played last season are no longer in Indianapolis.

Expect Dorsett to absorb many of those reps.

STAT TO NOTE: Donte Moncrief and Jack Doyle are the only two Colts' returning offensive players who haven't missed a game the past two seasons.

  • Are the Colts still in the market for a wide receiver this offseason?

The short answer: Yes.

The Colts are going to add at least another wide receiver at some point this offseason.

Currently, the Colts have five wide receivers on their active roster: Hilton, Moncrief, Dorsett, Quan Bray and Josh Stangby.

From a pure numbers standpoint, the Colts need another body (or two) to join that quintet.

Would a taller pass catching threat be a nice complement to a group of guys all listed at 5-10 or smaller, besides Moncrief?

Bray is the interesting case study.

Colts' fans saw more than a few flashes from Bray's return abilities last year as a rookie.

At Auburn, Bray caught 62 passes his last two seasons so it remains to be seen if he can take on an expanded role, sprinkling in some offensive snaps next year.

STAT TO NOTE: Beginning with November, no NFL player had more kick/punt return yards last season than Quan Bray (166 punt return yards, 570 kick return yards).

  • What will the tight end position look like for the Colts in 2016?

This has been one of the mysteries in trying to decipher how Rob Chudzinski is going to operate his offense.

On paper, it looks as if the Colts will use nowhere near the same abundance of tight end snaps, compared to Pep Hamilton.

Coby Fleener, and his 16 starts each of the last three seasons, is no longer in Indianapolis.

From a strictly snap count standpoint, the Colts have nowhere near the same reps returning at the tight end position.

That doesn't mean the top of the depth chart won't still be utilized quite a bit.

Previous offensive coordinator stops for Chud came in Carolina (2011-12) and Cleveland (2007).

Carolina tight end Greg Olsen caught 114 balls in two seasons with Chud. Panthers' head coach Ron Rivera says Chud has a "tight end friendly" scheme.

In 2007, with Chud as the OC, the Browns offense skyrocketed to a top-10 offense with Kellen Winslow Jr. snagging 82 passes for 1,106 yards.

I'd say that's good news for Dwayne Allen.

STAT TO NOTE: Jack Doyle has not missed a game due to injury in his three seasons with the Colts.

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