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Alec Pierce Colts

Should Colts Feel Comfortable With Alec Pierce As WR2?

  • Justin Melo
  • August 19, 2022
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Indianapolis Colts rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce is earning the trust of his teammates at training camp. Pierce continues to work with Indianapolis’ starting receivers and recently enjoyed a string of fruitful joint practices against the Detroit Lions. The Colts appear beyond comfortable heading into the season with Pierce as their No. 2 receiver.

A second-round selection (No. 53 overall) in the 2022 NFL Draft, Pierce joined a rather underwhelming receiver room in Indianapolis that lacked depth and reliability behind Michael Pittman Jr. Pierce’s draft positioning immediately catapulted him to second on the Colts’ depth chart. Based on Pierce’s recent performances, it’s safe to assume he’s solidified his spot as a starter.

New Colts starting quarterback Matt Ryan is developing chemistry with his weapons. Pittman is Indianapolis’ dominant boundary receiver, but the emergence of a reliable second option was critical. Ryan likes what he sees from Pierce.

“He’s a really hard worker,” Ryan recently said. “More than anything he does on the field, it’s the combination of work ethic, competitiveness, all the intangible stuff combined with the talent. The combination of those things is what fires me up about him,” Ryan concluded.

Pierce fits general manager Chris Ballard’s profile, and perhaps more importantly, possesses a skill set that meshes nicely with Ryan’s. The 6-foot-3, 211-pound Pierce has the hands and playmaking ability necessary to dominate on the perimeter. Ryan has routinely found success peppering those types with targets throughout his illustrious career. Pierce’s intimidating presence, coupled with his advanced ball skills, has allowed him to embarrass NFL-level defensive backs this summer with rare regularity.

Pierce has been “competing” for a starring role in Indianapolis’ passing offense alongside an abundance of day-three selections, undrafted free agents, and veteran journeymen. That list includes Ashton Dulin, Keke Coutee, and Mike Strachan. Dulin has been impressive in his own right and should have a role in three-receiver sets, but Pierce’s presence in two-receiver sets feels safe.

Pierce was an alpha prospect coming out of Cincinnati. The Glen Ellyn, Illinois native’s blend of size, speed, hands, body control, and competitive toughness made him a dynamic playmaker for the Bearcats’ offense. The fit between him and Indianapolis always made sense and the two were connected throughout the pre-draft process. We’re already witnessing the relationship between a team and prospect blossom.

Make no mistake, the Colts’ offense will still be headlined by defending rushing champion Jonathan Taylor this fall. But Colts Head Coach Frank Reich has discussed fielding an improved passing attack this season, which was undoubtedly the motivation behind swapping Carson Wentz for Ryan. The emergence of Pierce and the Colts’ overall youth-infused receiving corps should lead to the desired improvement.

Pierce’s abilities as a blocker should also help him quickly command an every-down role in Indianapolis’ offense. Taylor is a workhorse, and Pierce will have to show a willingness to help open up rushing lanes for Taylor to expose. Luckily for all involved, those duties aren’t anything new for Pierce.

“Offensively, Cincinnati asked me to do a lot of different things,” Pierce told TDN exclusively in March. “I was asked to crack down on linebackers in the run game. I played off the backside of the edge on running plays and blocked defensive ends. I’ve done a bunch of different things even outside of catching passes as a receiver. I’ve done things other receivers haven’t done,” Pierce concluded.

The Colts’ dire situation at receiver required Pierce to display himself capable of immediately taking up a starting role. Pierce has done just that. Look for Pierce to line up opposite Pittman when the Colts square off with the Houston Texans in Week 1.

Written By

Justin Melo