The Indianapolis Colts know that they don’t have much more time with star veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, and they went out this offseason and signed talented wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Nicks wasn’t able to perform up to his potential in New York, but the Colts signed him believing that he would fit well with Andrew Luck and reach his full potential. Last night in the Colts’ second preseason game, he certainly looked the part of being a legitimate number one receiver.
He caught five passes for 53 yards in limited playing time, and was everywhere across the field. The Giants’ defensive backs couldn’t hang with him, and even when they were able to get him wrapped up, it was an even bigger task to bring him down. Nicks might not be able to put up those type of performances each and every week, but then again his potential suggests otherwise.
Is it possible that the Colts could have found their replacement for Wayne with Nicks?
Nicks has the exact same body type as Wayne, but is an inch taller and five pounds heavier. That is just the beginning of the comparisons that the two have in common. Wayne isn’t as strong as Nicks, but he has the ability to make plays even after first contact. The Giants didn’t use Nicks in the right way, and the Colts are obviously already figuring out what he likes to do.
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of Nicks’ game is his ability to run routes quickly and crisply, which is another comparison to Wayne. He has big, strong hands that allow him to make catches that most receivers wouldn’t have a chance at. The Colts already have their dynamic playmaking wide receiver in T.Y. Hilton, and that will allow Nicks to be more of a possession receiver who has chances to make big plays here and there.
There is no doubt that the Colts see the potential that Nicks possesses, and while Eli Manning did have a couple good seasons, Nicks has never played with a quarterback as talented as Luck. He is more than capable of putting up the same type of numbers this coming season on a nightly basis that he put up last night, and he will get plenty of passes heading his way. It’s very possible that the Colts will be using Nicks more often than most are expecting, especially with Wayne coming off of a torn ACL.
Could Nicks be the Colts’ replacement for Wayne in the future whenever he decides to retire? It’s very possible, but he is on a one-year contract that could end up giving him a big payday next offseason that would be out of the Colts’ price range. There is no question that the team will want to re-sign Nicks next offseason if he puts up a good season, but they simply won’t have a ton of money to spend on bringing him back.
Overall, Nicks is a very good possibility as far as a Wayne replacement goes in the future. The Colts believe that he is a number one wide receiver in the NFL, and even Nicks’ teammates have said that he has number one talent. Things didn’t work out with the Giants, but this opportunity with the Colts is a fresh start for him. Don’t be surprised to see Nicks put up a huge season in Indianapolis, and the Colts do everything they can to bring him back long-term in the offseason.