Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton led the NFL in receiving, but that wasn’t enough for him to earn even a single vote for the AP NFL All-Pro roster. But his place in Colts history has him on pace to join very elite company.
T.Y. Hilton rattled off his fourth straight 1,000 yard in his five year career in the NFL. The young Colts receiver is quickly moving up the team’s all-time receiving charts and can already draw comparisons to Colts greats Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison.
Hilton’s fifth season in the NFL saw him haul in a career high 91 receptions for another career high in yardage, at 1,448. That last number was the best in the NFL, yet despite this Hilton didn’t receiver a single vote for the AP NFL All-Pro roster.
The snub is disappointing, as All-Pro voting is important for things like the Hall of Fame. BUt Hilton’s career is very promising. He managed to quiet all the people who said he wasn’t a true number one receiver before the season began. Hilton really backed up his talk about being a leader on the roster this season since he’s the most senior wideout on the Colts now.
Many fans are still not sold on Hilton as a top tier receiver. But looking at his stats through his first five years paints a compelling picture. Here is Hilton compared to Wayne and Harrison:
A few things to note about the start of all three of their careers.
First, Peyton Manning wasn’t drafted until 1998, so the first two years of Harrison’s career he primarily had Jim Harbaugh throwing him the ball. But in 1999 and 2000 (his fourth and fifth years in the NFL), Harrison racked up over 3,000 yards receiving and 217 receptions.
Hilton falls short of that, but primarily because Andrew Luck was hurt most of their fourth season (2015). Harrison also didn’t break 1,000 yards receiving until his fourth year in the NFL (when he had 1,663). Hilton had a 1,000+ yard season in year two.
Wayne had Manning for his first five seasons, but didn’t really take off until his fourth season in 2004. That was the same year Manning decimated the league and threw 49 touchdowns (a record at the time).
It certainly helps that Hilton has essentially had just one quarterback throwing him the ball over those five years, and that Hilton has been Luck’s only reliable receiver. Wayne also started the same way, but was behind Harrison on the depth chart.
Manning spent much of Wayne’s first few season force feeding the ball to Harrison. In fact, Wayne didn’t crack 100 targets from Manning until his third season.
Hilton had to break through a series of inferior receivers in his first two seasons as well. The likes of Donnie Avery and Darrius Heyward-Bey took away snaps from Hilton in the early days of his career because…reasons.
Hilton had an exceptional season in 2016, but it wasn’t nearly the best one by a Colts receiver. Wayne had 107 receptions, 1,510 yards, and 10 touchdowns in 2007. And Harrison, well, he had one of the best seasons ever by a wideout in 2002. Harrison set a record with 143 receptions 1,722 yards, and 11 touchdowns.
After five seasons, Hilton already ranks sixth all-time in receptions and fifth in yardage in Colts history. Before long he’ll be sitting just behind Wayne. As for now, Hilton shares distinctions with the greats among the Colts receivers and is one of the best in the NFL.