Here it is ladies and gents. The final of a two-part writers battle. We knew you couldn’t wait too long for it! Here we look at the next 4 rookie Wide Receivers, these later guys could be season winners.
When looking at these prospects, there’s a strong argument for Jalen Reagor having the best rookie season. Let’s examine three factors that back this up. First of all, he has a good chance of volume play due to the large reduction in player numbers. Second, he has a veteran quarterback whose ability will help him succeed. Most of all, he has the skills and physical traits to kick-start an NFL career.
Philly’s first-round drafting of Reagor signalled serious offensive intention. While other teams preferred quarterbacks and defensive players, the Eagles picked a target. Of the nine Eagles wide receivers who saw targets in the 2019 season, six of them saw less than 25. The three players with the highest passing attempts? Two tight ends and a running back.
There has been an attempt to make changes, for the offence to reform and find their way. Some players have joined another team; others have been released. As it stands, The Eagles have a net loss of 5 targeted players compared to this time last year (6 players out, only 1 in). This drop is the highest in the NFL. Plenty of space that has opened up for Reagor to grow into. It is clear that his pick is a huge piece in trying to complete that attacking jigsaw.
KING WENTZ AT LAST
Witty puns aside, a gunslinger of Wentz’ calibre was sorely missing from Reagor’s junior year. TCU saw a wholesale change in their quarterback department in 2019. It affected the whole team, and Jalen’s form was no exception. The QB switch gave mediocre returns after productive freshman and sophomore years.
Looking at Reagor’s three college years suggest just what Carson Wentz can do for him in 2020. Stats comparison shows there is a direct link between his form and the accuracy of his quarterback. In 2019, when Jalen saw his slump in stats, TCU’s main QB had an accuracy of 53.4% (181/339). The year before, a monster season for Reagor, the QB1 accuracy was 60.8% (124/204). In comparison, Carson Wentz’ 2019 stats tower over his college counterparts. 600 passing attempts, with 63.9% accuracy (it was 69% in 2018) and 27 passing touchdowns. It’s likely that Reagor will be as pleased to see Wentz as the quarterback will be to see him!
PHYSICALITY IS KEY
Reagor’s combine scores in the broad jump and vertical jump literally leap off the page. It outlines a dimension of Reagor’s game the other players in this article might not have. And it’s not just a one-off. Scouting tape shows Reagor rising above cover to make catches several times. The film is a highlight reel for many aspects of his game. Separation ability from slower downfield cover, and holding off faster defenders. The skill to break tackles and rebound to continue the run. Involvement in all pitch areas, from red zone usage to downfield catches. His contribution to TCU’s run game last season is testament to this – 13 carries for 170 yards (13.1
average) and 2 rushing touchdowns.
For these reasons, and more, I believe Jalen Reagor is the rookie receiver you need.
Rob – @CowsillRob
As my good friend and Jets fan Tom Scott so eloquently put it. “Mims is good, the Jets are not. Plug him into your line up immediately”. This couldn’t be truer.
There are many places I could have started with this slam dunk of a pick by the Jets. I feel however though that the draft is as good a place as any. Mims’ phone finally started to buzz in the second round, long after it should have. On the other end was GM Joe Douglas of the New York Jets. How he fell to 59th overall is beyond me. After some niceties, Mims hung up the phone and was now a member of Gang Green!
College Production to season winner
2019 saw Mims rack up 66 catches for 1,020 yards with 12 touchdowns. Pretty prolific numbers off of a medium amount of targets. In 2018 he notched 55 catches for 794 yards with eight scores but his 2017 was better. As a sophomore, he caught 61 receptions for 1,087 yards and eight touchdowns. One thing can be said with certainty for Mims, he knows where the end zone is. Having over eight each season is a nice accomplishment.
One of the reasons for Mims’s regular visits to the end zone is his impressive catch radius. He uses his secure hands and toughest to win in contested catches. He has very long arms which help to either box defenders out or grab balls that are errand.
His lengthy frame and track star history are obvious when running his routes. Once he’s into his stride he is hard to catch as he has great long speed. His length allows him to play a part in the blocking game also. He has great instincts for where the ball is in flight which again helps him win in contested catch situations.
The only way is up
The Jets last season were tied last with the Steelers for fewest touchdowns in Football with 25. Since 2011 there have been 65 teams with 30 or fewer touchdowns scored. Of those 65 teams, 52 of them saw their touchdown totals increase the following year.
The average increase was 8.5 touchdowns the following year. Of these teams (44) the teams that were plus or minus 3 touchdowns from the Jets the average increase was 9.2 touchdowns.
Of these 44 teams over half increased their touchdowns by over double-digit touchdowns or more. That’s a huge percentage chance that the Jets see an increase in touchdowns.
Adam Gase doesn’t like the Running Back position. We saw it in Miami and we saw it last year with Bell. Touchdowns are coming and if not on the ground with Bell and not to the long-gone Robbie Anderson then who? Denzel Mims, that’s who!
Couple all this with the fact he will step in and instantly be the Alpha in the Wide Receiver Room and you’ve got yourself a bargain at his current ADP of 199 overall and the 72nd Wide Receiver off the board. Instant production for a bargain in the 16th round.
ALL DAY LONG!!
Michael Pittman has dropped into a great situation in Indianapolis and has a real potential to become an instant impact for the new QB Philip Rivers. His competition at present is the incumbent number one T.Y. Hilton and last year’s second-round pick Parris Campbell, he will challenge straight away for the number two spot and should make it his own early doors.
Pittman is a big-bodied WR standing at 6’4” and just over 200lbs whilst possessing impressively athleticism for his size. He ran a 4.52 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. Rivers will look to utilise Pittman in the red zone given his tall stature and strength making him a solid red-zone threat.
He excels in the tight window spots and uses his size and physicality to outmuscle defenders in 50/50 balls and against press coverage. Pittman is also a solid blocker and isn’t afraid to face up against defenders. Some scouts have identified Pittman as having some of the best hands among this wide receiver draft class.
Some negatives currently in his game are his sharpness off the line when getting into his route. He has some ability after the catch but doesn’t possess the top tier elusiveness to create himself space after the catch. Pittman shouldn’t be seen as a downfield threat and uses his size more than speed to create space which he could struggle with at the next level.
Of course, a lot will depend on what Rivers has left in the tank when it comes to his fantasy value in his first couple of years in the NFL, but Rivers has done well in the past with red-zone threat wide receivers and should so once again with Pittman’s abilities.
Hilton and Pittman will likely line up in two WR sets with Campbell/Pascal coming on in the 3 WR sets. Expect a lot of snaps for Pittman in his rookie year as the X wide receiver.
Fantasy Impact for the season
In terms of Fantasy Pittman has a very high ceiling and if he can develop a rapport quickly with Rivers expect him to contribute right away in his rookie year and be a viable fantasy piece. My projection is 70-90 targets, 50-60 receptions, 800 yards and 7 Touchdowns. I would view Pittman as a WR 3-4 in his first year in an improved Colts offence across the field. Pittman is currently ranked as the #59 WR off the board in redraft and #43 in dynasty and should be available around the 12th round. This could turn out as incredible value come season’s end!
-Ash Goddard @Addicted2_FF
Now you may be thinking ‘this is one of the worst landing spots a Receiver could land’ but you couldn’t be more wrong. With a lack of depth at Wide Receiver, expect Aiyuk to start alongside Deebo Samuel in two WR sets. With Deebo expected to take the better Corner Back away, expect the vacated targets from Sanders plus some of Samuel’s, to go Aiyuk’s way.
The 49ers must have liked what they saw in Aiyuk a lot. As they traded up in the 1st round to take him 25th overall. The very versatile Aiyuk is the perfect piece to make the 49er’s winners in the super bowl next time round. Pairing him with Samuel has made sure NFL defences need to be alert, it’s not just the run game that can hurt them now.
Having only played at Arizona State for two years. Aiyuk managed 1666 yards off 98 receptions with 11 TD’s. His first season at Tempe he mostly came off the bench. Starting only three games, he still managed 33 receptions for 474 yards and 3 TDs. It was his second year that he really came alive. Getting 1192 yards on 65 receptions and scoring 8 TDs. Coming on so much in the second season had Lynch and Shanahan looking to take him 13th overall if there wasn’t a good enough replacement of Buckner still on the board.
Aiyuk ranked second in yards after the catch in the FBS last year. Making him a big play Receiver. With great arm length, solid hands and great body control. Expect Shanahan to find some brilliant ways to get Aiyuk involved and make big plays just like he did with Samuel in the latter half of his rookie season.
The 49er’s made it to the Superbowl last year. Being beaten by the free-scoring Chiefs, it’s clear Shanahan and the coaches know they can’t just win games running the ball. Adding aiyuk to this offence with his big-play ability makes the 3rd and long downs that little bit easier.
San Francisco scored the second-most points in the NFL last season. This fits perfectly for Aiyuk. They now have a Receiver that can be used in jump ball situations. So having a player with the jumping ability to go against cornerbacks. Jimmy G has now got himself a very capable red-zone threat.
Aiyuk and Shanahan look like a match made in heaven. Shanahan loves a versatile, big-play ability player and that’s exactly what Aiyuk is. Aiyuk played Running Back when growing up, and you can tell. He runs just as a Running Back would. Making defenders miss and piling up the yards after the catch. Also, expect to see him get a lot of rushing attempts just like Samuel had last season.
The one thing everyone agrees on about Aiyuk is he’s an incredible athlete. In his final college season, Aiyuk didn’t find a cornerback that he couldn’t run past. The one thing he needs to work on is his route running, but that will come in time. Adding the fact that he understands how to catch a football away from his frame. He will be a nightmare match-up whoever he’s up against.
A vertical jump of 40″ and a 128″ broad jump ranked him 6th overall in each competition. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.50. Doing all of this whilst needing core muscle surgery. Now that’s pretty impressive. He had surgery in April and was a success. So don’t worry he’ll be ready to learn the playbook in no time.
With an overall ADP of #233 grab yourself a bargain and pick up a player who is going undrafted in most leagues. With the potential to be a fantasy championship-winning player. Just like Samuel was. He blows his opponents in this battle out of the water!
-Josh P @5yardrush
The final of a two-part writer’s battle is complete. Now we need your help. Who do you think won? Has a writer managed to change your mind? Please vote who you think won round this round, and get in touch on Twitter too. And don’t worry, of course, there’s going to be more battles. We wouldn’t do that to you. Let us know what battle you want to see next!
Stay tuned Rush Nation and as always, Keep Rushing.