Next Man Up: Griff Whalen?

griff-whalenThe “next man up” may be Griff Whalen. Whether out of necessity or by design, the Indianapolis Colts have promoted wide receiver Griff Whalen from practice squad to active roster. The second-year receiver played football with Andrew Luck at Stanford, while Pep Hamilton called the plays. In fact, he was one of quarterback Andrew Luck’s favorite receivers.

The Colts will sorely miss veteran Reggie Wayne, who tore his ACL in the 4th quarter versus the Denver Broncos. Reggie was without a doubt the Colts’ most reliable receiver, having caught 38 passes on the year at that point, 28 of which went for first downs (73.7%). He had the best hands of all the active receivers.

But while Reggie was not only a great player and a true professional in every aspect of his game, other players can emerge give the chance.

Case in point: Wes Welker. Yes, we are talking about the same Wes Welker who was once cut by the San Diego Chargers, and traded by the Miami Dolphins to New England for a second-round pick. It’s the same Wes Welker who, since 2007, has caught more passes than any player in the league, and holds the Patriots all-time franchise record for receptions.

The NFL is full players who rose seemingly out of nowhere to become stars. It underscores the fact that talent evaluation is more art than science, and that even the so-called experts can overlook the talent that is right before their eyes.

Is the next Wes Welker already on the Colts roster? Only time will tell. One thing that’s for sure: Whoever he is, he will be given a chance to shine next Sunday, as the Colts take on the Texans at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

Here’s to a speedy recovery for Reggie. Next man up.