Colts Rookie WR Alec Pierce Earns ‘Surprise’ 2022 Projection

Alec Pierce

Getty NFL Writer Mike Clay is projecting Indianapolis Colts rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce to have a strong first season in the NFL.

The Indianapolis Colts drafted Cincinnati wide receiver Alec Pierce with the hope that he becomes part of a strong receiving duo paired with 25-year-old Colts wideout Michael Pittman Jr.

NFL writer Mike Clay of ESPN projects him to be a lot more than that as a rookie. Clay foresees Pierce to finish among the top five rookie wide receivers in receiving on June 3.

Clay predicts Pierce will finish fifth among rookie wideouts with 746 receiving yards. Those are quite high expectations considering 11 wide receivers were selected ahead of Pierce in the 2022 NFL Draft.

“Second-rounder Pierce is a bit of a surprise on this list, but even in a run-heavy offense, he has a clear path to a big workload opposite Michael Pittman Jr,” Clay wrote. “He just beat out (on his list) Jameson Williams (No. 12 overall), who might miss time as he recovers from a torn ACL, as well as Jahan Dotson (No. 16), Christian Watson (No. 34) and Skyy Moore (No. 54).”

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Pierce Projected to be Among Top Rookie Receivers

The top four wideouts Clay projected to lead all rookies in receiving this fall were Drake London, Treylon Burks, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Pierce was the only one of the five on Clay’s list not to be drafted in the first round.

In fact, the other four receivers on Clay’s list were all taken in the first 18 selections of this year’s draft.

As Clay mentioned, he picked Pierce to finish with more receiving yards than Williams, Dotson, Watson and Moore. But he also projected Pierce to finish in front of Wan’Dale Robinson, John Metchie, Tyquan Thornton and George Pickens, all of whom were also drafted before Pierce at No. 53 overall.

One advantage Pierce has over a lot of those other wide receivers is his quarterback. Matt Ryan has thrown for an average of 4,516 passing yards over the last 11 years. He only had 3,968 passing yards last season, but it was the first time ever the Atlanta Falcons did not have a receiver reach 1,000 yards in a season during the Ryan era.

With more weapons to work with in Indianapolis, Ryan should be back closer to 4,500 passing yards this fall. That will help Pierce’s stat totals.

Colts Pushing Pierce This Offseason

The Indianapolis receiver depth chart is another advantage Pierce has over some of the other rookie wideouts. Despite landing on a team that is expected to be competing for a postseason berth in 2022, Pierce could see ample playing time as a rookie.

Besides Pittman, who broke out with his first 1,000-yard campaign last year, the Colts don’t have much experience at receiver. It’s possible Pierce starts immediately.

With that feasibility, the Colts are pushing Pierce this offseason.

“He’s a very smart guy,” Reich said to the media on June 1. “He’s really learned the offense quickly. He’s done a good job.

“He’s going to have to compete for every snap. It’s a very competitive group. But we’re definitely pushing him.”

Pierce will compete with Parris Campbell and Ashton Dulin for playing time. Dezmon Patmon, Mike Strachan and Keke Coutee could also be in the mix.

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