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Donte Moncrief drafted to score TDs, Colts OC says

Does rookie Donte Moncrief hold the keys to the Indianapolis Colts' aerial attack down the stretch?

Moncrief's playing time has steadily increased, cresting with a season-high 50 snaps at Cleveland last week. That number should continue to rise out of necessity.

Hakeem Nicks has been a free-agent bust, failing to separate from defensive backs. Playing through a torn triceps injury, Reggie Wayne is coming off the worst game of his career, featuring three drops, two more passes knocked out of his hands and two Andrew Luck interceptions on throws in his direction.

Going forward, offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton will have to lean heavily on Moncrief and tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen behind No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton.

That script worked to perfection in Week 13, as Moncrief and Fleener combined for 261 yards and four touchdowns against the Redskins.

Hamilton's offense is unique in that it deploys an extraordinary number of personnel groupings and is one of the few that does not designate wide receivers as X, Y or Z. Moncrief's playing time had been limited as he learned all of the wide receiver positions and route concepts, but he's gradually earning Luck's trust.

"It's obvious that he can make plays," Hamilton said this week, via The Indianapolis Star.

Beyond that playmaking ability, Moncrief's goal is to follow Wayne's lead as a complete receiver, running precise routes, catching balls in tight spaces and blocking in the run game.

"He can do all of the above," Hamilton explained. "But I think we drafted him to score touchdowns."

At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds with freakish measurables, Moncrief is one of the most physically gifted of a historically great rookie wide receiver class.

The Colts also drafted him to eventually replace Wayne in a dynamic one-two punch with Hilton. They just didn't expect that transition to be accelerated, with Moncrief pushing Wayne into a niche role for what could be the final games of the veteran's illustrious career.

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