As expected, Michael Pittman Jr. makes it to the NFL, and to the Colts

Indianapolis Colts
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Michael Pittman Jr. is right where he expected to be.

That’s in the NFL.

The son of the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ standout running back envisioned himself reaching this level after being around his father’s career for as long as he can remember. He had yet to celebrate his first birthday when the Bucs selected his father in the fourth round of the 1998 draft.

“When I as young, I just always thought I was going to be an NFL player because it’s what my dad did,’’ Pittman said Friday evening in a Zoom conference call. “All I knew was football.

“I was like, ‘My dad does it . . . I can do it, too.’ I’m right where I thought I would be.’’

Taking it a step further, that’s with the Indianapolis Colts, who used the second pick in Friday’s second round – 34th overall – on the 6-4, 220-pound wideout out of USC.

“I was almost certain I was going to be a Colt today,’’ he said.

For emphasis, Pittman tugged on his T-shirt.

“You see the blue shirt?’’ he asked.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Pittman’s selection was the first of two second-rounders that addressed a deficient Colts’ offense last season. Ballard traded up from the No. 44 slot to No. 41 with Cleveland – he also sent the Browns his fifth-round pick – and took Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor.

In the span of eight spots, Ballard added Pittman, a rangy, physical wideout who generated 101 catches, 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, and Taylor, a 5-11, 226-pounder who was a time-time recipient of the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back.

The Colts apparently made no secret they were interested in Pittman, and tipped their hand to him.

“Just based on the conversations that we had,’’ he said. “I felt like we had a good connection. I just felt like it was the right fit.’’

Pittman reinforces a receivers room that includes four-time Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton, 2019 second-round pick Parris Campbell, Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson and Reece Fountain.

“It’s such a great pick because I think they brought me in to impact, like right now,’’ Pittman said. “Also, they have Philip Rivers, who I think is a Hall of Fame quarterback. That’s great.’’

Pittman said his father has been his “crystal ball.’’

“He has predicted the future every step of the way,’’ he said. “It’s just awesome to have him because he’s coached me up my whole life about the NFL and dealing with coaches and locker room life and basically just teaching me to be a football player throughout my whole life.’’

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Taylor joins a crowded running backs room. It already includes Marlon Mack, who posted a career-high 1,091 yards last season, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins.

Mack, though, is heading into the final year of his rookie contract and could be an unrestricted free agent after 2020.

At Wisconsin, Taylor rushed 926 times for 6,174 yards. He’s just the seventh player in FBS history to rush for at least 6,000 yards and the first to do it in three seasons. He’s the third player to rush for multiple 2,000-yard seasons (2,003 last year, 2,194 in 2018).

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.

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