Indianapolis receiver TY Hilton comes off his worst season in 2019, struggling when he did play and limited to 10 games due to injury. Will he bounce back with a new QB this year? Here are Hilton’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year as well as the Colts’ over/under win total.
Hilton was a 2012 third-round pick from Florida International. He holds the FIU and Sun Belt all-time records, in addition to ranking fifth in NCAA FBS history with 7,498 all-purpose yards (149.96 avg. per game). He found the end zone 37 times to set a school career record for touchdowns, while his 224 points rank second in school annals.
When he entered the NFL, Hilton had the opportunity to learn from one of the best, six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver and Super Bowl XLI champion Reggie Wayne. Hilton became one of the NFL’s best receivers from 2014-17 when he was a Pro Bowler every year and led the NFL in receiving yards in 2016. Hilton had been very durable but then was limited to 14 games in 2018, although he did have 1,270 yards.
Last year, Hilton played in just 10 games with 45 catches for 501 yards and five scores. Hilton started strong from Jacoby Brissett, spiking four receiving scores in his first three games, but failed to eclipse 100 yards at any point and found the end zone just once more over his next seven injury-riddled contests
Hilton said he played through a two-centimeter calf tear late in the season. It reportedly stretched to three centimeters when he re-injured it in Week 12. Why did the coaching staff allow him to suit up for Weeks 16 and 17 since the team was already eliminated from the postseason by that time?
Even with those down numbers, Hilton owned a noteworthy 24.6% target share last season and ranked third among wide receivers in the NFL with a 35.9% dominator rating, which accounts for a receiver’s percentage of total team receiving yards and touchdowns. And now he has a better quarterback in Philip Rivers.
Hilton, in all, has played in 118 games with 97 starts, logging 552 receptions for 8,598 yards (15.6 yards per reception) with 45 touchdowns. He ranks fourth in Colts franchise history in receptions and yards, and is seventh in touchdown receptions; his 72.9 yards-per-game figure ranks second in franchise history for players with at least 100 receptions, and only trails Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison.
Hilton is hoping to get a long-term deal with the Colts and that the sides had extension talks, but they “kind of died down” during the pandemic. Hilton is scheduled to collect a $14.542 million salary in 2020. He is of the belief 2020 can be an All-Pro year for him with Rivers now under center.
“I mean, my work speaks for itself. When I’m out there I know what I can do,” Hilton said. “But these last two years I’ve been a little banged up, so this year if they want me to prove it, I’ll prove it. But I think everybody would want me here, so I want to be here.”
The lack of experienced pass-catchers elsewhere on the Colts means that Hilton’s status as the passing game’s No. 1 option likely isn’t going anywhere, but Hilton has simply never been as good without Andrew Luck. With Luck in 82 games, Hilton averages 5 receptions, 79.3 yards, 0.4 TD, 8.5 targets. Without Luck in 36 games, Hilton averages 4 receptions, 58.3 yards, 0.3 TD, 7 targets.
“He’s still the main piece of this offense,” offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said recently. “Hilton is who this pass offense runs through. Things will be schemed to get him the football. I know he’s worked hard on his body and worked hard through the offseason. He’s our guy. He’s our lead dog. He’s our alpha dog. And if he stays healthy, the sky’s the limit again for him.”
The Colts are 6.5-point favorites for Week 1 in Jacksonville.