Here’s some bold predictions to get ready for the season, Colts fans!
Game week has officially arrived for the Indianapolis Colts, so it’s time to buckle up for a crazy season upcoming. With the Colts projected to be in the thick of the AFC playoff race throughout the season, it’s time to unveil my five bold predictions.
Without further ado, let’s dive into it below:
DeForest Buckner = 15+ sacks
There were so many opportunities where Buckner was inches away from a sack last season, and he still finished with 9.5 from the interior. Adding Kwity Paye to the mix, less pressure should be on Buckner which will lead to some monster numbers.
Buckner already broke the Colts’ franchise record for quarterback hits set by Dwight Freeney, so expect the big fella to really make his mark with better reinforcements around him.
Buckner’s career-high for sacks in a season is 12 back in 2018. He’s going to crush that mark with 15 or more during the 2021-22 campaign.
Kwity Paye = more than 10 sacks
Buckner is going to make ice a lot easier for the Colts’ first-round draft pick and vice versa. This duo is going to be so exciting to watch grow together, and it should get off to a hot start with what Paye has shown already.
Here’s the list of rookies over the last decade to amass at least 10.5 sacks: Aldon Smith, Von Miller, Joey Bosa, Bradley Chubb, Josh Allen.. That’s an extremely high hit rate for long-term outcomes if Paye were to reach 10.5 or more sacks.
I’m betting on Paye doing so while being a top DROY candidate.
Jonathan Taylor = 2,000 scrimmage yards
Yeah, we’re going super bold with this one. I’m bullish on Jonathan Taylor taking the superstar leap in his second season, and this would be the perfect way to accomplish it. Over a 17-game regular season, Taylor would need to average 117.6 yards per game. That’s a massive amount of production, but Taylor showed in the second half of last season he’s ready to take the NFL by storm.
Since 2010, here’s the running backs who have accomplished 2k scrimmage yards: Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Le’Veon Bell, DeMarco Murray, David Johnson, Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry.
Michael Pittman Jr. = 100+ targets + 1,000 receiving yards
This is the year where Michael Pittman Jr. establishes himself as the next in line of great Colts wide receivers. Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton are the only wideouts over the last 15 years to produce 1k receiving yards in a single season. Now, it’s time for Pittman to join the list.
With Hilton sidelined until mid-late October, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, MPJ is going to bed fed consistently. I’ll go on record with 100+ targets and 1k+ receiving yards for Pittman in 2021-22, a full-fledged sophomore breakout.
Julian Blackmon = All-Pro
Blackmon was a top candidate for DROY before he cooled off in the second half of last season. Already one of the league’s most clutch safeties, creating three turnovers in the fourth quarter last season, Blackmon should reach another level another year removed from his ACL injury in college.
Blackmon’s ball-hawk tendencies and great tackling ability set him up well to take a huge leap within Indy’s defense. Colts GM Chris Ballard even mentioned he sees All-Pro potential in Blackmon, so I’m rolling with him here.