In Sunday’s dominant win over the Jaguars, T.Y. Hilton, a dynamic playmaker, was injured with an ankle sprain. Hilton’s status is still uncertain as of now which ultimately comes as a huge scare to Colts fans since he is arguably Luck’s #2 target. Hilton’s exit results in Donte Moncrief’s entrance. Moncrief demonstrated great potential for filling Hilton’s cleats in the lopsided win with 4 catches for 55 yards, including an impressive toe dragging reception near the goal line.
Anyone who paid close attention to the Colts in training camp realized that Moncrief, a rookie receiver from Ole Miss, looked great and might get some touches but how can he set himself apart enough to be recognized? Donte has perfect receiver size –6’2” and 221 lbs (As a comparison, Dez Bryant is also 6’2” and 220 lbs). Moncrief has always been impressive – dating back to Mississippi, then at the NFL combine, and yet again at the Colts training camp.
Donte is the type of player that explodes off the line and will beat the secondary with his speed. He has also displayed great balance and body control, which complement his ability to use his vertical advantage to snag balls out of the air. His highlights from Ole Miss show that he has the capability to be a playmaker by often making the initial cornerback miss.
Donte is a big and gifted wide receiver that I think has the ability of maybe taking some snaps at tight end before his career is over. When you consider his blocking ability, vertical jump, broad jump, and size (minus his weight), I can definitely see him being transitioned to a tight end for the Colts.
Donte is far from a flawless player; after all, he is a rookie. If he wants more touches he must improve his route running and understand his size. Donte often loses the 50-50 balls because he gets outmatched, and also struggles going up and getting the ball in traffic despite his ability to jump; he made up for that in college with his ability to out-run his opponents.
I believe Donte has a chance to become an insanely talented wide receiver and might even compliment Pep Hamilton’s offence. To me, it’s safe to say that Donte’s best football is ahead of him. In fact, if he would have stayed at Ole Miss for his senior year he probably would have elevated his draft stock to at least a second round pick.
Even with T.Y. likely to play this week, look for Donte to be thrown in every now and then. He holds the attributes to become a top receiver, but with the Colts loaded at that position it’s highly unlikely that he can snag a starting position this season.