Indianapolis Colts’ receiver Phillip Dorsett may only be in his second year in the NFL, but the next couple of weeks will be a defining stretch for him in his young career.
As a result, Dorsett will jump into the No. 2 receiver role alongside the team’s top target T.Y. Hilton. Dorsett will be expected to replicate Moncrief’s production. Unfortunately, Dorsett has struggled with consistency in his short NFL career.
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The Colts took a gamble by drafting Dorsett 29th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft because they had other personnel problems they needed to address. So far, Dorsett has not played like a first round pick.
Dorsett struggled with inconsistent play and injuries in his rookie season. In the 11 games he played that season, he only came up with 18 catches for 225 receiving yards and one touchdown.
He has had an inconsistent start to the 2016 campaign. After starting the season with four catches and 94 receiving yards in Week 1, he only caught one pass for 30 receiving yards in Week 2.
To be fair, Dorsett is playing behind two very good receivers. The Colts’ passing game revolves around Hilton and Moncrief when both are healthy. For this reason, Dorsett is often squeezed out of receiving opportunities.
Also, Dorsett has only played in seven games where Andrew Luck was the starting quarterback in his career. It is hard to be effective when the Colts’ best quarterback is not playing.
With Moncrief out, Dorsett’s usage in the Colts’ offense will go up. Opposing defense will primarily focus on stopping Hilton, which means Dorsett will be in a lot of one-on-one matchups. He needs diversify his skill set in order to take pressure off Hilton and be a reliable No. 2 option.
Right now, Dorsett only makes plays downfield. The Colts primarily run Dorsett on deep fade or crossing routes where he can use his speed to create separation from defenders.
This is not bad thing because the Colts are trying to best utilize his strengths. The only issue is he now has to do some different thing as the No. 2 receiver.
Now, Dorsett needs to diversify his route tree. He cannot only be a deep ball threat. He has to be able to get open on short, quick passing plays; which means he needs to be more technically sound.
On short passes, receivers need sharp route running skills in order to get open quickly. Dorsett’s route running is not very sharp, which why the Colts have avoiding giving him complicated and quick receiving routes.
Hopefully, Dorsett has improved his route running by watching how Hilton and Moncrief have played over the past year.
There is growing concern that Dorsett will end up being another first round bust by general manager Ryan Grigson. With Moncrief out for the next handful of games, Dorsett could significantly change that narrative.
With a couple of good performances, Dorsett could jump into the good graces of most Colts’ fans. On the flip side though, a string of bad performances would reaffirm people’s belief that he is a first round bust.
Dorsett’s tenure with the Colts has been underwhelming so far. It will be interesting to see if that fact changes over the next couple of games.