Every NFL season there is a draft prospect that gets overlooked for various reasons. The players that make bigger impacts than those who were selected ahead of them are known as draft gems.
The Indianapolis Colts searched for a draft gem, and might have found a diamond in the rough with their receiver T.Y. Hilton.
Being selected in the third round as the 92nd pick of the 2012 NFL draft, Hilton leaves Florida International University as the best player to ever come from their short-lived program.
Leaving Florida International and the Sun Belt Conference as the career leader in receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, all-purpose yards and kickoff return yards, Hilton is exactly the type of player general manager Ryan Grigson wanted to bring in to retool the Colts offense. He's a dynamic playmaker.
Already having drafted the "best quarterback prospect since John Elway" in Andrew Luck, the Colts drafted Hilton 91 picks later and signed him to a four-year contract. Indianapolis fans can look forward to a long time of Hilton catching passes from Luck.
One of the main reasons why a small school receiver was taken so early was because of the trailblazing speed that Hilton possess. Standing at 5'9", 185 pounds, Hilton boasts a gasping 4.34 40-yard dash time.
Proving to be a safety belt for the Panthers, his speed routinely preserved victories.
In 2010 when Florida International played in their first bowl game of school history against Toledo, Hilton was a part of a decisive hook and lateral play. On 4th-and-17, he kept the drive alive and ensured the Panthers victory. In addition to that, in 2011 against the Big East Champion Louisville Cardinals, Hilton showcased his blazing speed on ESPN with seven receptions gashing the Cardinals for 201 yards receiving.
The speed that Hilton has will cause matchup nightmares for defensive backs on the NFL stage. Luck will not have a difficult time finding Hilton because of his electric quickness and astonishing speed. With the ability to stretch a defense vertically, he will separate himself with his deceptive route running, breaking away from cornerbacks and safeties to catch long touchdown bombs.
Of course, with every rookie there will be areas needed for improvement. With a lack of height and a wiry frame, Hilton will need to add more muscle to endure the rigors of playing in the brutal NFL.
Because of his size, at times when he makes catches in traffic and attempts to evade defenders he loses control of the football and gets stripped. Keeping turnovers to a minimum will have to be an area of emphasis, since turnovers prove costly in the NFL.
For a person who finished his senior year as a first-team Sun Belt Conference performer at Florida International, as well as a All-American Honorable Mention selection, working hard comes as no surprise to Hilton.
Since the Colts already have Austin Collie and Reggie Wayne, Hilton will walk into a situation where he will be competing for the third receiver position on the depth chart. With Donnie Avery and Jeremy Ross also looking for playing time, he will have to ward them off to take his spot on the field.
When Hilton does breakthrough finally, Andrew Luck will have yet another weapon to throw to in his arsenal. Helping Luck cast aside the ginormous shadow of Peyton Manning will be vital.
If all goes to plan, maybe the Colts will not be missing Peyton Manning after all.
For a Super Bowl Champion and four-time MVP, chances are not likely.
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