With the NFL firmly established as a passing league, the hunt for quality receivers in the draft becomes of utmost concern. Teams scurry to make sure their draft picks, regardless of selection spot, When teams decided to make a rookie wideout a part of their 2020 plan, you could say the results were mostly mixed. Now, we already know that names like Lamb, Higgins, and Jefferson started strong, ranking among the leaders in rookie receptions, etc. Yet, who are the others seemingly showing out on Sundays? Conversely, who are the players that haven’t rocketed to early stardom?
The versatile Shenault saw limited action in his debut versus the Colts. Yet, his two touchdowns (rush, receiving) served as the difference for the Jags, who defeated Indy. Shenault, at least early, profiles as the type of wideout that will only improve with high-volume reps. Even early, you see a potential number-one threat for Jacksonville. Aside from his frame, Shenault displays solid hands, grabbing 76.3 percent of his targets. Granted, the 11.2 yards per catch will scare some. Realize that QB runs for his life and attempts to perform behind suspect blocking. (22 sacks allowed).
Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh
For all of the hype heaped on other prospects entering the draft, the Steelers gleefully chose Claypool with the 49th overall selection. NFL scouts were intrigued but unsure. While he tested off the charts, some questions of how the massive Notre Dame product would play at the next level. Pittsburgh, by all early returns, found a potential steal. Claypool averages 16.2 yards per catch and tallied two rushing touchdowns on six carries. Whether down the field or intermediate, he looks like a threat to take it the distance.
Work In Progress
Henry Ruggs, Las Vegas
Now, Henry Ruggs is an interesting case and some of the early disappointment isn’t quite his fault. First, he missed two games with an injury, which slowed him. Next, his quarterback loves to spread the ball around. Four Raiders, including RB Josh Jacobs, boast more targets than Vegas’ first-round selection. Lastly, some of the delays in development could be timing with Derek Carr. Ruggs, while at Alabama mastered the art of the quick slant to the house. Despite the reputation as a home run threat, Ruggs’s explosion could help at all three levels. The Raiders need to target Ruggs more, and not just use him as a decoy. When they do connect, Ruggs brings his 22.1-yard average to the table. Yet, those 220 yards on 10 catches feels rather incomplete. With time arrives trust. We’ve seen what happens when Derek Carr shows his aggressive side. The NFL is a study of the unknown variables. Yet, these three possess the talent to eventually carry their teams.