Oct. 04, 2016
Is T.Y. Hilton the Colts' Offensive MVP?
It is not surprising that T.Y. Hilton is having a year for the record books. In each of his first five seasons, he has proven to be Andrew Luck’s go-to man. But this season in particular, Colts fans are witnessing performances they haven’t seen since the Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne days.
Hilton is 2nd in the NFL in receiving yards (1,203). He is only 50 yards shy of Julio Jones (1,253), who was the NFL’s leading receiver last season.
He is also 7th in receptions (78) and 11th in touchdown receptions with six on the year.
These rankings are not surprising to Luck, who was drafted in the same class as Hilton in 2012. (Luck was of course the first overall pick in that draft and Hilton fell to the third-round.)
“T.Y. Hilton is that play maker. He’s one of the heartbeats of this team. You roll through him.”
Hilton is not a physically imposing receiver like a Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Larry Fitzgerald etc. For a guy that is 5-9 and 180 lbs., T.Y. has his own unique skill sets that make him as difficult to cover as any of those names previously listed.
Hilton’s nickname “The Ghost” is attributed to his electrifying speed, route running ability, and his knack for finding open areas in the defense.
Denver Broncos pro bowl cornerback Chris Harris Jr. listed Hilton in his article “Five Toughest Players I’ve Covered” on The Players Tribune.
“T.Y. is another guy who can line up all over the field, which makes him very unpredictable. He’s a guy who is very patient in his routes, but the thing that sticks out the most is that he takes very precise angles. The best route runners make very sharp, precise breaks at full speed. T.Y. is phenomenal at this.”
Aside from his on-field production, Hilton’s role has evolved in the locker room. He is no longer receiving the guidance from future Hall of Fame veterans such as Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson and is now the conduit of their guidance and his own success to the younger guys in the locker room.
Colt's wide receivers coach Lee Hull claims Hilton’s leadership role has made him a better player and it’s showing on the field this season.
“I think what has helped him is he has been more of a leader in the receiver group. He has taken the younger guys under his wings and is trying to teach them the ropes and I think that helps him because now he becomes more focused and more detail oriented. I think that’s the biggest thing is him being a leader helps him become a better player.”
For some statistical perspective:
• Needs one 100-yard receiving game to pass Raymond Berry (23) for the third-most in Colts history.
• Needs one 100-yard game to tie A.J. Green (24) for the eighth-most 100-yard games in a player’s first five seasons in NFL history.
• Needs five receptions to set a new single season career-high. (Recorded 82 in 2013 & 2014)
• Needs two-receiving touchdowns to set a new single season career high. (Totaled seven in 2012 & 2014)
• Needs 143-receiving yards to set a new single season career high. (Registered 1,345 in 2014)