BYU's all-time greatest wide receiver, Austin Collie, was drafted 127th overall last April. The Indianapolis Colts selected him in the 4th round after 19 other receivers had been picked. The Colts drafted Collie after releasing 36 year-old All-Pro Marvin Harrison. Harrison had accounted for over 600 yards receiving in 2008 and the Colts' rookie wideout Pierre Garcon had only made 4 catches all last season. Indianapolis hoped Collie could provide some much needed depth behind All-Pro Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez.
Not only has Collie provided the necessary depth team President Bill Polian and General Manager Chris Polian were looking for, but he has turned into one of Peyton Manning's primary targets. Collie has scored a touchdown in each of the past two contests and ranks among the NFL's top rookie receivers. You could easily argue that Collie and Minnesota rookie receiver Percy Harvin (drafted 22nd overall) have been the two best rookie receivers in the league this season.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that they are each catching passes from two of the greatest passers in league history. Still, after the Colts lost Gonzalez for the season in Week 1, Collie and Garcon have each stepped in and performed exceptionally well. And now, with the Colts having clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs and possibly resting players like Wayne and TE Dallas Clark, Collie could get even more touches in the last few games.
NFL writer Don Banks of Sports Illustrated released a "Draft Redux" re-projecting the first round of the 2009 draft. Where does Collie fall? How about in the first round, 26th overall (to Green Bay), and as the 4th receiver taken.
Here's a brief look at where Collie ranks this season:
|Category*||Total||Rookie Rank||NFL Rank|
|Touchdowns||6||Tied - 1st||Tied-17th|
*Among all players with at least 25 receptions
Here are also some links detailing more of Collie's success as a rookie:
An early take on Colts' No. 3 receiver - ESPN (8/12)
Anthony Gonzalez still not ready to practice ... - Stampede Blue (12/8)
Austin Collie, Colts... - FanHouse (10/12)
Austin Collie makes his move among NFL rookies - The Hazean (10/29)
Collie a pleasant surprise for Colts - Deseret News (10/19)
Collie's TD doom Titans - Indianapolis Star (10/12)
Colts' Collie getting some love from "The King" - Stampede Blue (8/26)
Garon, Collie don't miss a beat in Colts' offense - Indy.com (10/8)
Oak Ridge's Collie running with the Colts - ESPN Radio, Sacramento (10/13)
Rookie of the Year: Austin Collie? - Stampede Blue (11/5)
Collie Highlights from Colts v. Seahawks in October (including Collie's first touchdown reception):