How does Frank Reich envision using WR Alec Pierce?

After trading back from their original spot, the Indianapolis Colts used their first pick of the 2022 NFL draft on a player who checked almost every box in the form of Cincinnati wide receiver Alec Pierce.

Despite playing mostly the X-receiver role for the Bearcats, the Colts already have a player at that spot. That would be Michael Pittman Jr., who enters his third season. So Pierce is likely to still see work on the outside but potentially in a Z / flanker role.

Reich envisions being multiple when it comes to using Pittman Jr. and Pierce together, and he could see the latter thriving in an X role as well.

“I like him on the outside. I think he’ll move around, and we’ll see how much he’ll play. He’ll compete but as you guys know, it’s play by play. We’re going to move the guys around multiple positions, ”Reich said after the draft. “They need to be smart enough to do that, all of our receivers are, and he fits in that mold as well. One of the things I like on his tape is I like him outside. I think he’s very good versus press, I think he’s got length and vertical speed to get down the field. I think for his size, he’s a very good route runner. So, it’ll be fun to see him grow and develop and compete over these next couple of months. ”

Pierce certainly has the size to play on the boundary. It’s also evident how much his speed plays into the factor of going against press coverage. With how quickly he can get vertical, the Colts can use him in several ways.

Pittman Jr. is coming off of a 2021 season in which he held a 25.7% target share while no other receiving option recorded more than 385 yards. With Pierce coming into town and Matt Ryan now under center, the hope is that the rookie can have more of an impact as a complementary piece.

It will be interesting to see how the competitions shake out, but Pierce appears to be on the fast track to be the WR2 opposite Pittman Jr. when training camp rolls around.

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