The Indianapolis Colts used the No. 34 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft to select wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. out of USC. He is expected to play an important role as a rookie.
In recent years, there has been a real lack for reliable supporting cast receiver production around T.Y. Hilton in the Colts’ offense. They have particularly lacked a big target that can provide different looks to the defense, which is where Pittman, at 6’4″, will come into play.
In a recent list by NFL Network Analytics Expert Cynthia Frelund ranking the projected production for rookie wide receivers, Pittman Jr. ranked No. 3 compared to the rest of his class.
At No. 43, Pittman Jr. projects as a much “safer” fantasy value than Ruggs, who is ranked just one slot ahead of him. His USC resume shows that he logged the most deep receptions (20-plus air yards) and receiving yards in the Pac-12 last season (12 and 493, per PFF) and the fourth-most yards after the catch in the Pac-12 since 2018 (716, per PFF). Pittman’s potential fit could start in the deep passing game, with Colts receivers recording the fewest deep receptions in the NFL last season (6 on 34 targets, per Next Gen Stats). Factoring in quarterback Philip Rivers’ play-execution history along with veteran receiver T.Y. Hilton’s ability to draw away top defensive players, Pittman has a safe floor with a lot of upside.
It’s a strong sign that Pittman Jr. trailed only CeeDee Lamb (Dallas Cowboys) and Henry Ruggs III (Las Vegas Raiders) considering they were taken in the first round. That means he ranked higher than four receivers taken before him.
During Michael Pittman Jr.’s final season with the Trojans, he managed to finish with 101 receptions, 1,275 receiving yards, and 11 touchdown grabs. He displayed an impressive ability to haul-in deep throws and create yards after the catch.
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