The Indianapolis Colts added some juice to their receiving corps with the selection of Alec Pierce, the No 53 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Cincinnati product provides size and speed but needs to learn the nuances of the position to consistently succeed at the NFL level.
A late-bloomer, Pierce began his college career without a clear position, bouncing between wide receiver and linebacker. By 2019, the Cincinnati coaching staff settled on using Pierce as a pass-catcher. But while he led the team in receiving yards that season, he didn’t establish himself as a draft prospect until 2021 when he broke out with a six-catch, 144-yard performance in a nationally televised Bearcats victory over the favored Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Pierce’s size and athleticism offer a high ceiling. He measures in at a hair over 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds and tested exceptionally at the NFL Scouting Combine, producing numbers good enough for a 9.82 Relative Athletic Score. Those gifts show up in his highlight moments.
However, Pierce trails many of his draft peers in route-running acumen. He ran a limited variety of routes at Cincinnati and he lacks the nuance on his release and at the top of routes to create maximum separation. Those skills could come in time, but his rookie season could involve as much time on special teams as it does on offense.
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Fantasy football impact
Pierce was a slow riser in the NFL Draft projections. Pierce has the ability to make some big plays for the Colts. He’s extremely athletic and will be playing with Matt Ryan who gets a lot out of all his receivers. Pierce could make some noise with this team in the future, but I would expect his first year to be more of a learning year for Pierce.