Colts’ Bold Predictions Project Huge Seasons from Wide Receivers

Michael Pittman Jr.

Getty One Indianapolis insider had bold predictions for two Colts wide receivers.

The Indianapolis Colts enter the 2022 season with a lot of potential at wide receiver. But the word “potential” can easily be replaced with another word, “uncertainty.”

Indianapolis only has one pass catcher who has recorded more than 400 receiving yards in a single season. Furthermore, not any of the team’s wide receivers are older than 25.

But head coach Frank Reich has expressed his faith in the team’s young receiver core all offseason. Colts beat writer Nate Atkins, in a way, rewarded that good faith, making two bold predictions for Indianapolis’ starting wide receivers.

First, Atkins predicted Michael Pittman Jr. would lead the AFC in receptions. Secondly, he projected Parris Campbell to post more than 800 yards in 15 games. In his three-year NFL career, Campbell has recorded 360 yards in 15 contests.


Atkins Predicts Pittman Leads AFC in Receptions

NFL analysts have spent much of the offseason criticizing Indianapolis’ plan at wide receiver. The Colts let their two most experienced wideouts, T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal, both leave in free agency.

At tight end, Indianapolis also lost Jack Doyle to retirement.

Those departures hurt the team’s depth at pass catcher, but the decision to let those players leave was also an indication of the confidence the Colts have in Pittman.

“With more accurate quarterback play, plus a desire to emphasize the pass more, the Colts are setting themselves up to live through their top receiver,” Atkins wrote. “In an offense that’s all about matchups, he’s the 6-foot-5 athlete who transcends the idea. And when the Colts have to find plays they can trust, he might be the only one they throw to.”

Pittman already received nearly twice as many targets as any other Colts pass catcher last year. Atkins argued Pittman’s target share may only continue to rise.

“A year after finishing 17th in receptions, he could jump up to the top spot in the AFC — behind only Cooper Kupp, who lives in a world of his own,” Atkins wrote. “The number should be higher than 110, which would be about 6.5 per game. This prediction relies on him staying healthy, but he’s shown that durability so far.”

Last season, Pittman posted 88 catches for 1,082 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’ll need to outproduce some great receivers such as Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Keenan Allen, and Diontae Johnson, all of whom had 100 receptions last year, to lead the AFC in receptions.

Tight ends Mark Andrew and Travis Kelce also each had more than 90 catches in 2021.


Atkins Projects 800 Receiving Yards for Campbell

As bold as Atkins’ prediction was for Pittman, he went bolder with Campbell.

The 25-year-old wideout has dealt with a broken foot, broken hand and torn MCL during his three-year career. Those injuries have caused him to miss 35 games.

That long injury history does not bode well for Campbell this year, but Atkins argued that because they weren’t soft-tissue ailments, they should be viewed more as bad luck than as a trend. Atkins also wrote the receiver is due for some better injury luck in 2022.

“Campbell has not missed a practice since last season. In a contract year, he’s locked into a slot receiver role where he gets to run what he calls the “bread-and-butter” plays that Matt Ryan loves in the middle of the field,” Atkins wrote. “For as long as he’s out there, he’ll be a singles hitter helping to move the chains and string together long drives.

“He’s due for some good luck on the injury front. Injuries don’t just take a player off the field but also halt his momentum. Here’s saying Campbell plays 15 games this season and finishes second on the team in receiving yards.”

With so many projected targets going to Pittman and Campbell, Atkins also boldly predicted rookie Alec Pierce wouldn’t be all that involved in the Colts offense this season.

Atkins concluded Pierce would have moments where he shines yet finish outside the team’s top 8 in receiving yards.

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