Observation deck: Gonzalez making an instant impact

Rookie WR Anthony Gonzalez is one of the biggest acquisitions for the Indy offense in years, writes John Clayton.

Originally Published: August 1, 2007
By John Clayton |
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Five observations from Indianapolis Colts training camp, gleaned from the team's practices:

1. Gonzalez making an instant impact
First-round choice Anthony Gonzalez is the best addition to the passing offense in the past couple of years. Defensive coordinators used to lament to Peyton Manning how tough it was to defend him when Brandon Stokley was healthy. Stokley, in their eyes, was the best slot receiver and created mismatch problems when the Colts were in three-receiver sets. Coordinators put their third-best pass defender on Stokley, but Stokley was so shifty and so good at getting Manning's attention in the middle of the field, he opened the offense up for Manning's best season. Gonzalez could be equally dangerous. Even though he's still learning the offense, he looks like a natural. He worked the slot for Ohio State and has the knack of getting open in the first 12 yards from the line of scrimmage. After the catch, he looks like Speedy Gonzalez. He should be exceptional with his ability to run after the catch. Don't put Gonzalez immediately into the fantasy football mix. He needs time to learn this system. For example, he has to learn not to stop his route if Manning gets past his third progression. But fantasy or no fantasy, Gonzalez looks like a dream acquisition for this offense.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer