Chuck Pagano: Sky's the limit for Colts' Donte Moncrief

The Indianapolis Colts front-loaded their wideout room with the signing of Andre Johnson, but inside the building, coaches are hoping for a breakout campaign from second-year target Donte Moncrief.

"Moncrief has big-play ability and we saw him do that," coach Chuck Pagano recently told the team's official website. "He's going to have more opportunities going forward."

Moncrief's in for a bigger role, but he still faces a numbers game in Indy. With Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks out the door, the Colts added a bona fide star in Johnson, signed Duron Carter out of the CFL and nabbed Vincent Brown off the open market.

Johnson and T.Y. Hilton -- along with tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener -- are ticketed for the lion's share of playing time, but Moncrief, who played 547 snaps last season, is bound for more looks after showing steady growth down the stretch as a rookie.

"This guy can make plays," Pagano said. "He's big. He's fast. He can stretch the defense, all those types of things. It's a learning process, and he's going to be better in Year 2 than he was in Year 1.

"He's got such a high ceiling and room for improvement. The sky's the limit for him," said Pagano.

The Colts don't designate their targets as X, Y or Z receivers, asking players to learn each position. The playbook slowed Moncrief's progress out of the gate, but the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder took off in Week 8 with seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers. We saw that explosiveness once again in a two-score, 134-yard outburst against the Redskins in Week 13.

The next step for Moncrief is fine-tuning his route-running, but it's worth noting that the Patriots thought enough of the 21-year-old to ask Darrelle Revis to shadow the wideout in the AFC title game.

"He can do all of the above," Colts play-caller Pep Hamilton said in December. "But I think we drafted him to score touchdowns."

It's a crowded house in Indy, but Moncrief looms as a good bet to do more of that in 2015.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast plays its newest game, 'What's your Fancy?' and debates if you'd trade Aaron Rodgers for Andrew Luck. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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