Free-agent scouting report: Colts WR Pierre Garcon

Posted March 07, 2012 @ 10:05 a.m.
Posted By Arthur Arkush

This is the 35th in a series of scouting reports on key players who are expected to become free agents March 13, unless they are re-signed or franchised before then.

News: Garcon reportedly turned down a five-year, $35 million deal in late February. The Colts, with only two wide receivers under contract for 2012, want to keep Garcon to give soon-to-be top overall pick Andrew Luck a proven target. Coming off a career year, Garcon is looking to get paid like a No. 1 receiver. The Colts are expected to submit a counteroffer to Garcon, though it remains to be seen how much higher they are willing to go. There were rumblings during the season that Garcon was ready to move on from the Colts, possibly in search of a warmer climate and the chance to be a No. 1 wideout.

Notes: Drafted by the Colts in the sixth round in 2008, Garcon, a Mount Union product, is coming off a career year despite playing without QB Peyton Manning. Garcon tallied 70 catches for 947 yards, both career bests. His six receiving TDs, which tied a career best, led the team. He has improved his catches and yards each of his four seasons. In addition to averaging 62 catches for 832 receiving yards and 5.3 TDs the past three seasons, Garcon has been a big-time postseason contributor, with 26 catches for 363 yards and three TDs in four career postseason contests. Garcon finished his collegiate career ranked first all-time in both receptions (202) and TD catches (47). He helped Mount Union capture two Division III titles.

Positives: Garcon is a terrific athlete with elite straight-line speed. At 6-0, 210 pounds, he is a big, physical target with strong hands and good leaping ability. He possesses good balance and body control. Garcon has a huge catching radius and a knack for making acrobatic grabs. He is a strong competitor who does not shy away from contact or blocking assignments. He can work outside the numbers or underneath. He is a good blocker and solid teammate. Garcon also can help in the kick-return game.

Negatives: Garcon is too inconsistent. While he makes the highlight-reel grabs, he often drops very catchable balls, though he was credited by STATS LLC. with only four drops in 2011. He is a work in progress as a route runner. Garcon has elite speed, but he lacks great quickness and acceleration off the line. He has had the luxury of working in a very WR-friendly offense that included a future Hall of Fame QB and perennial Pro Bowl wideout (Reggie Wayne).

Risk factor: Garcon, who turns 26 in early August, looks to have his best football in front of him. The question is, can he put up elite numbers without Manning and Wayne? He has the makeup of a No. 1 wideout, but his inconsistency likely will lead some teams to stay away from offering him No. 1 wideout money.