Projecting the Top 10 for the 2020 NFL Season: Outside Wide Receiversby Christopher Gallagher August 22, 2020 0 comments
Every year the NFL Network does its top 100 countdown based on the previous season. However, that’s the past, and we want to look forward to the future. Four of our writers have put together a 14 part series, predicting our top 10 at each position. We’ve also included the most under and overrated at each position. Today, we continue the series with our top 10 outside wide receivers.
10) Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
The Lions number one target has quickly become one of the best playmakers in the league in just three seasons. At 6’4″ and weighing 214 lbs, Golladay has a large catch radius that allows him to make explosive plays down the field. Along with this, he is also one of the best red-zone threats in the entire league, with 11 touchdown receptions in 2019. Entering his second year under offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell‘s system, Golladay will cement his place as a top 10 outside receiver this season.
9) Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Heading into his first season in Buffalo after a blockbuster offseason trade, Diggs is one of the most complete receivers in the league. With elite route running and separation skills, he can create space and get open against any opposing defensive back. Fresh off back to back 1,000-yard seasons, look for him to be the go-to go for the Bills this season alongside Cole Beasley and John Brown in what has quickly become one of the better receiving cores in the league.
8) Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
Despite an up and down first season with the Browns, Beckham is still a top 10 outside receiver. One of the elite route runners in the game, he can shake free from opposing corners and possess the ability to score from anywhere on the field with this game-breaking speed. After 35 touchdowns over his first three seasons, Beckham has seen a significant drop in this category with just 13 over the last three seasons. Entering year two with Baker Mayfield, look for OBJ to return to his elite touchdown form.
7) Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
Since arriving in Dallas from the Las Vegas Raiders, Cooper has allowed the Cowboys passing game to flourish. Displaying both elite quickness in and out of breaks and the ability to run past defensive backs on deep balls, he is one of the most talented receivers in the league. After struggling with drops early on in his career, Cooper has also improved mightily in that department, dropping only eight passes over his two seasons with the Cowboys.
6) Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The number one option for the Buccaneers since entering the league in 2014, Evans, had his sixth straight 1,000-yard season in 2019. While Evans lacks as much flash as some of the other receivers on this list, he remains one of the most durable guys in the league. He has averaged over 80 catches a season, all while only missing four games over his career. Following the departure of Jameis Winston and the arrival of Tom Brady in Tampa, look for his numbers to improve with more reliable play at quarterback.
5) Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
The most dynamic player in the NFL, Hill is an explosive play waiting to happen at any moment. With the ability to run past any opposing defensive player in the game, Hill is the best deep ball receiver in the game, hauling in 10 touchdowns of 50 yards or more since 2017. Featured in the perfect offense in Kansas City, he is also a dynamic rusher of the football with 500 rushing yards on 71 carries over his four-year career. Jumping ahead to this season, with the ability of Patrick Mahomes to make any throw, look for Hill to be among the top in receiving yards once again.
4) Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
After becoming the clear cut number one option in 2016, following the departure of long-time Packer Jordy Nelson, Adams has established himself as one of the toughest covers in the league. One of the best in the game at releasing off the line of scrimmage, he can use his elite route-running skills and size to shield defenders when catching passes. Consistently near the 1,000-yard mark the past four seasons, Adams is also one of the elite red-zone threats in the game, averaging 10 touchdowns a season over the past four years.
3) DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
Moving to a new home in 2020, Hopkins remains a top-three wideout heading into this season. One of the most productive receivers in the game since being drafted in 2013, Hopkins has averaged over 1,200 yards, seven touchdowns, and 90 receptions per season. Hopkins has astonishing body control skills and a large catch radius. He is also one of the best contested-catch and deep ball receivers in the league. These traits have allowed him to be a productive wide receiver despite a revolving door of quarterbacks early in his career.
2) Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
The best yards after the catch receiver in the league, Jones is a monster. A unique combination of size, speed, and exceptional body control, Jones boasts everything teams look for in a number one receiver. With six 1,000 yards seasons in a row, he has been the model for consistency at the position over his career. Heading into 2020 look for Julio to once again be among the elite receivers in the NFL as he remains the go to target for Matt Ryan in Atlanta.
1) Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Having just set the single-season receptions record with 149 catches last season, Thomas has gotten better every season since entering the NFL. Boasting elite size at 6’3″, Thomas has arguably the best hands in the game, with an 85 percent catch rate when targeted in 2018, an NFL record. Along with this, he also has elite route running/change of direction skills that allow him to separate from opposing corners and help move the chains for the Saints.
Most Underrated – Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
Underappreciated due to the lack of team success the Lions have endured over the past few seasons, Golladay is an ascending star. Last season, Golladay finished in the top 10 in receiving yards and led the league in receiving touchdowns. He did both despite catching just 65 passes and playing with a revolving door at quarterback. Golladay has proven he belongs among the league’s elite receivers.
Most Overrated – Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
With trade rumors beginning to swirl after an underwhelming first season with the Browns, Beckham has become one of the biggest distractions in the game. After one of the best three year starts to a career in New York, he has struggled to stay healthy, missing 19 games over the last three seasons. Along with this, he remains to have problems dropping the football, with a drop rate of 7.5 percent on catchable passes in 2019, good for top 10 worst amongst receivers.
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