The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports

April 24, 2013

Colts Notebook: Hilton has come a long way in one year

INDIANAPOLIS — If not for a certain quarterback in Seattle, T.Y. Hilton might be viewed as the steal of last year’s third round.

The Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver caught 50 passes for 861 yards and seven touchdowns in 15 games as a rookie after lasting to the 92nd overall pick. General manager Ryan Grigson traded back into the third round to get Hilton — giving up a fifth-rounder in this year’s draft that begins Thursday in New York.

A year later, the deal stands as one of many examples why Grigson was named the Sporting News’ Executive of the Year. As for Hilton, he learned a lot about the professional game during a surprising 11-5 playoff season.

“It’s fast,” Hilton said Wednesday in the locker room at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. “I learned that I’m fast, too. But I’ve got to be more careful breaking down players and breaking down film study and watching the defense. I evaluate a game, I’m good.”

Much of Hilton’s work these days is spent studying new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s playbook.

The new scheme is expected to include elements of former coordinator Bruce Arians’ vertical passing game — as well as a few carryovers from the Peyton Manning era — blending together with Hamilton’s West Coast principles. So far, Hilton hasn’t seen many things that seem familiar.

“It’s very new so I’ve been doing this day in and day out,” he said. “You’re trying to make sure you pick up where you left off, but the offense is brand new. It’s nothing like last year so I’m just trying to pick it up.”

He’ll soon have help.

Quarterback Andrew Luck played in a similar scheme under Hamilton at Stanford. He said last week “about 75 percent” of the offense is familiar from his days with the Cardinal.

Luck has plans to head down to Miami soon to work with Hilton, veteran receiver Reggie Wayne and just about anyone else who cares to make the trip.

“We wanted to come here first and get the playbook down,” Hilton said, explaining why the group hadn’t convened earlier this offseason.

Hilton also could find another familiar face in the locker room soon.

Former Florida International teammate Jonathan Cyprien is projected as a potential first-round draft pick, and he’s one of several possibilities that could entice the Colts with the 24th overall selection.

The strong safety had 365 tackles and seven interceptions in 45 career games with the Owls and is expected to be off the board by the completion of Friday’s third round at the latest.

“I tell him just be patient, whatever’s meant is going to happen,” Hilton said of conversations with Cyprien. “If a team really wants you, they’re going to get you. So I told him just be patient and let the process go through. Just continue doing what you’re doing and prove that you have stock, and you’ll be alright.”

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