How Much Have The Colts Improved At Wide Receiver This Offseason?
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INDIANAPOLIS – It was a position that many had been clamoring to be upgraded this offseason, not only in the short term, but also the long term.
But there was always that question of how serious would Chris Ballard invest into a position that the Colts did not view as that important of a need as other positions this offseason.
Well, Ballard’s actions towards bolstering the receiver group were pretty significant.
In free agency, Ballard gave Devin Funchess a 1-year deal worth $10 million, the second highest annual figure for any free agent wideout this spring.
Then in the draft, Ballard went against his previous draft history, by selecting Parris Campbell in the second round.
Serious money in free agency plus a premium draft pick was used for a position that was exposed at various times in 2018.
It’s a new-look wideout group, besides the mainstay of T.Y. Hilton, with the likes of Ryan Grant (Oakland) and Dontrelle Inman (New England) moving on for various reasons.
Let’s take a look at what the Colts have lost and gained at their receiver position going into 2019:
- Devin Funchess: The Colts are banking on the upside of the 24-year-old Funchess, compared to a guy like Inman. Funchess (6-4, 225) is bigger than Inman (6-3, 205) and is also 6 years younger. Funchess has to clean up his drops to reach his former second-round pick potential, but the Colts are very intrigued about a receiver of his size, something this franchise has not had in a long time.
- Parris Campbell: Even with the Funchess addition, the Colts still needed some more definite long-term attention to the wideout group. They got that with the electric Campbell. Compared to what the Colts lost in Grant and Inman, Campbell is in a different stratosphere from those guys in what he can do after the catch.
- Should we throw Deon Cain into this group, as well? The 2018 rookie tore his ACL in Week 1 of the preseason last year and is expected to make his full return to the practice field for Training Camp. In the very early stages of camp last year, Cain was flashing and starting to get some first-team run. A healthy Cain in 2019 could definitely be viewed as a new piece.
- Ryan Grant: The Colts swung and missed on Grant last year, with an ankle injury not helping the cause. Grant, 28, was the team’s No. 2 wideout throughout the offseason and for the first month and a half of the season. But after Week Five, he didn’t have one game with more than 2 catches OR 25 yards. Grant’s contract expired in March and he signed with the Raiders a month ago.
- Dontrelle Inman: What a find Inman was for the Colts last October. He silenced the plaguing drops and grew to be such a trustworthy target late in the season for Andrew Luck. But it became clear this offseason that the Colts wanted to push the ceiling higher for their wideout group. That has caused a crowded receiver room with Inman now moving on to the Patriots. If drops do appear again for a guy like Funchess though, the security blanket of Inman will be long gone, over with the Colts’ biggest rival.
Diversifying the receiver group, via younger players with more upside, has occurred for the Colts in 2019.
Will it lead to an offense reaching its vast potential?