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Who's Next? The search for the next great WRs. (1 Viewer)

DropKick

Footballguy
Jerry Rice, Isaac Bruce, Marvin Harrison, Antonio Brown come to mind...   WRs that dominated the game with hard work, toughness and attention to craft - a combination of production and longevity that dominated the NFL and fantasy leagues.  There have been others with incredible physical gifts like Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson - but we saw these transcendent talents coming a mile away.   

Who are the next great WRs?  Is it fair to compare today's inflated numbers against those who played under different rules?

Who has arrived and is building their body of work?  Can OBJ sustain a level of play to someday be compared with these greats?  Is Michael Thomas on that trajectory?  How will he transition from Brees someday?  Will injuries prevent Keenan Allen from his full potential?

How about tomorrow's stars?  Does Calvin Ridley have enough Marvin Harrison in his game?  Is there a game changer coming in 2019 or 2020?

 

Arodin

Footballguy
Juju seems to be well on the way to inheriting Antonio’s mantle.  We still need to see what he can do as a true #1 threat, but he’s passed every test he’s been able to thus far.

Tyreek belongs in this conversation too.  I worry some that a first injury will rob him of some of his difference-making explosion and would be more detrimental to him than a Brown-like receiver (think DeSean Jackson’s early career), but the more I see the more I think he could adapt his game and still be extremely good.

 
Juju seems to be well on the way to inheriting Antonio’s mantle.  We still need to see what he can do as a true #1 threat, but he’s passed every test he’s been able to thus far.

Tyreek belongs in this conversation too.  I worry some that a first injury will rob him of some of his difference-making explosion and would be more detrimental to him than a Brown-like receiver (think DeSean Jackson’s early career), but the more I see the more I think he could adapt his game and still be extremely good.
Agree with both of these.  

DeAndre is still only 26 (just a year older than Michael Thomas) so he has plenty of prime runway left, now with a top notch QB

 

IheartGuinness

Footballguy
Hopkins and Thomas, for sure. I realize it's a different era, but for the sake of comparison:

Marvin Harrison didn't record his first season of 1,000 receiving yards or more until he was 27. Terrell Owens recorded his first 1,000 yard season at 25, but didn't post two or more consecutive seasons at 1,000 yards or more until he was 27 & 28.

As mentioned, Hopkins is 26. He has four seasons of 1,000 yards or more already. Thomas is 25 and he has three. 

The sky is the limit for those two.

 

Ned Ryerson

Footballguy
Feel like Thomas, Hill and Hopkins are lame answers.  They will all be taken in the top 20 picks next year. 

How about "guy who I think will be perennial WR1 who has not yet broken 1000 yards?"

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
There's really no way of telling. As we've seen, guys like AB can come out of nowhere. And it's really hard to discern between situation and talent. First of all, I own neither player so please don't claim bias to this opinion, but I think it is a serious possibility that if Corey Davis was on the Steelers and Juju was on the Titans we might view them the opposite of how we view them now. Think about Robert Woods the Bill vs. Robert Woods the Ram. Remember when Oakland Randy Moss had lost a step and then was setting records the next year? Larry Fitzgerald was pretty much finished after 3 straight years of bad QB play in 2012-2014. Hopkins was "QB proof" before Brock. Was Landry actually a special player in Miami or just a PPR inflated name? He's currently being outscored by Lockett in PPR despite getting over twice as many targets.

As for the players you mentioned, OBJ has the worst situation so I give him the most credit. I'm wary of Michael Thomas without Brees. I get crap for it, but I'm of the opinion that Keenan is Hopkins without the garbage time. I don't think the injuries he's sustained lend themselves to an injury prone career. While he did miss most of week 15, he's going to end up starting 32 straight games over the past 2 years, plus at least one playoff game.

I'm not a big Ridley fan (or Sutton for that matter). If we're to see a special player emerge from the past class, I'd put my money on either DJ Moore or Pettis. I suspect Ridley and Sutton will settle into WR2 roles for their teams in the coming years. Moore and Pettis are the only ones that I could see commanding volume and thriving with it. Maybe it's just the uniform, but I see some Steve Smith in Moore. Pettis reminds me of Keenan, but with less strength and more speed.

 
They have to have the franchise QB or at least a QB that will target them 125-200 times a year.
I see what you're saying and think you have a point.  I also think guys like Nuk and Thomas are great not just because they have a QB feeding them a ton of targets....they get fed a ton of targets because they get open consistently, catch just about everything their hands touch, and show up each and every week.  For me it's what differentiates them from, say, a Davante Adams.  If Adams loses Rodgers I think we see a moderate to significant downtick in his production......same situation in Houston or New Orleans and I think you can still count on Nuk and Thomas to put up WR1-ish numbers.

 

voiceofunreason

Footballguy
There's really no way of telling. As we've seen, guys like AB can come out of nowhere. And it's really hard to discern between situation and talent. First of all, I own neither player so please don't claim bias to this opinion, but I think it is a serious possibility that if Corey Davis was on the Steelers and Juju was on the Titans we might view them the opposite of how we view them now. Think about Robert Woods the Bill vs. Robert Woods the Ram. Remember when Oakland Randy Moss had lost a step and then was setting records the next year? Larry Fitzgerald was pretty much finished after 3 straight years of bad QB play in 2012-2014. Hopkins was "QB proof" before Brock. Was Landry actually a special player in Miami or just a PPR inflated name? He's currently being outscored by Lockett in PPR despite getting over twice as many targets.

As for the players you mentioned, OBJ has the worst situation so I give him the most credit. I'm wary of Michael Thomas without Brees. I get crap for it, but I'm of the opinion that Keenan is Hopkins without the garbage time. I don't think the injuries he's sustained lend themselves to an injury prone career. While he did miss most of week 15, he's going to end up starting 32 straight games over the past 2 years, plus at least one playoff game.

I'm not a big Ridley fan (or Sutton for that matter). If we're to see a special player emerge from the past class, I'd put my money on either DJ Moore or Pettis. I suspect Ridley and Sutton will settle into WR2 roles for their teams in the coming years. Moore and Pettis are the only ones that I could see commanding volume and thriving with it. Maybe it's just the uniform, but I see some Steve Smith in Moore. Pettis reminds me of Keenan, but with less strength and more speed.
Talent wise I think Moore is pretty good but I hate the qb situation and I’ve always thought that Newton won’t age well. 

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
Talent wise I think Moore is pretty good but I hate the qb situation and I’ve always thought that Newton won’t age well. 
Remember Newton resurrected a 32 year old Steve Smith's career. He's another good example of situation vs. talent. At ages 30 and 31 he had down years due to injuries and QB play and everyone said he was done. But he and Newton clicked. 

As for Newton, I wouldn't be so quick to write him off as he ages. His best receivers since Smith left have been Benjamin and Funchess  :X . But what's worse than that is that his OL has been garbage for years. I think the combination of his willingness to take shots downfield (low % plays), bad OL, and bad WRs has hurt his reputation as a passer. He's currently in the midst of a career best 67.9% completion percentage. A lot of that is due to the CMC dump offs, but outside of those passes, he's at 61.5% which is still an improvement over past years. I think Norv is a garbage OC, so I believe there is hope for Newton if he can get a decent OC, a decent OL, and some decent WRs. Moore and CMC are a good start, but he still needs that OC and OL. Matt Bitonti currently ranks their OL 27th.

Disclaimer: I have zero Newton shares, dynasty or redraft. I did have him in some leagues in 2015, though. That kind of season does stick to your mind a bit...

 

DropKick

Footballguy
Juju seems to be well on the way to inheriting Antonio’s mantle.  We still need to see what he can do as a true #1 threat, but he’s passed every test he’s been able to thus far.

Tyreek belongs in this conversation too.  I worry some that a first injury will rob him of some of his difference-making explosion and would be more detrimental to him than a Brown-like receiver (think DeSean Jackson’s early career), but the more I see the more I think he could adapt his game and still be extremely good.
Juju was one guy on my mind as I started the thread.  The ability of the Steelers to develop or, perhaps more appropriately, "mine" WRs is remarkable.  Of the players I listed, Antonio came into the league with the least (by far) fanfare.  I believe one key element is coming into a plus situation.  Would Antonio be "AB" had he landed in Cleveland?  No disrespect to Brown but supporting cast - including coaching and culture - is important.

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
I just think that once he can't run he's a pretty bad QB. I could be wrong but I'm avoiding any of his wrs.
Again take into account his situation. A bad OL, bad OC, and bad WR corps can make a QB look bad. But more importantly, he had success with Smith whose game was similar to Moore... AND Newton won't lose his ability to run while Moore is in his rookie contract. He's 29 right now. He'll be 33 in the final year of Moore's contract.

 

DropKick

Footballguy
Agree with both of these.  

DeAndre is still only 26 (just a year older than Michael Thomas) so he has plenty of prime runway left, now with a top notch QB
Hopkins on several levels.  First, he has demonstrated that he can succeed with lesser QBs.  Also, Hopkins isn't the best athlete.  Of average size and speed, Hopkins has great hands, plays through injury/adversity and - most importantly - has a competitors mentality. 

 

DropKick

Footballguy
Again take into account his situation. A bad OL, bad OC, and bad WR corps can make a QB look bad. But more importantly, he had success with Smith whose game was similar to Moore... AND Newton won't lose his ability to run while Moore is in his rookie contract. He's 29 right now. He'll be 33 in the final year of Moore's contract.
I share your feelings on Moore.   He was my main target from this year's class despite Cam - who was my primary concern.  I see the Smith comp as well.  Overall, I'm satisfied with Moore's rookie season considering Newton's injury and Moore's ascension of the depth chart. 

 

FF Ninja

Footballguy
I share your feelings on Moore.   He was my main target from this year's class despite Cam - who was my primary concern.  I see the Smith comp as well.  Overall, I'm satisfied with Moore's rookie season considering Newton's injury and Moore's ascension of the depth chart. 
Yeah, he didn't get as many targets as I hoped, but he's looked the part. His role has grown over the second half of the season. I expect at least 115 targets next year (that's his pace from the last 6 games). 

 

DropKick

Footballguy
Feel like Thomas, Hill and Hopkins are lame answers.  They will all be taken in the top 20 picks next year. 

How about "guy who I think will be perennial WR1 who has not yet broken 1000 yards?"
Christian Kirk was having a fine rookie season (in perhaps the worst environment) prior to injury.  He has a good opportunity - with Fitz close to retirement, there is no true #1 in front of him.  Obviously, the team needs to improve in many areas but the kid can ball.

 

menobrown

Footballguy
  Does Calvin Ridley have enough Marvin Harrison in his game?
Speaking of Harrison he did not even have his breakout season until he was 27, first 1K season. Mike Evans might be cooking up his 7th season in his age 27 season.

If you look at this from angle of WR's aged 27 and under not sure you'll find a better time in history of the game. So many I often forget one and really hard at times to pick from the group.

You want under 27 with multiple years of elite production.  Odell, Hop, Evans, Michael Thomas and Davante Adams might be for you.

Want to go super young but with already at least one big season in the books. Reek Hill and JuJu might be for you.

 

menobrown

Footballguy
Juju seems to be well on the way to inheriting Antonio’s mantle.  We still need to see what he can do as a true #1 threat, but he’s passed every test he’s been able to thus far.
It's been limited but it's been impressive so far.

AB missed last two games last season and JuJu went 6/75/1 and 9/143/1 and caught 15 of 17 targets and one of those games was with Landry Jones as his QB which makes me feel extra good about life post-Ben. Also since sample size is just two games I think it's fair to mention in the previous week to these two games that AB went out with 13 minutes left in second quarter  which left JuJu as #1 guy for 3 quarters and he caught all 4 targets for 84 yards in those 3 quarters.

Again small sample size, 2-2.75 games, but early returns look good with extra bonus of doing it with Landry Jones.

 

Elevencents

Footballguy
Feel like Thomas, Hill and Hopkins are lame answers.  They will all be taken in the top 20 picks next year. 

How about "guy who I think will be perennial WR1 who has not yet broken 1000 yards?"
Except those are all names mentioned by the OP so they are right in line with the question. You are trying to turn this into a under the radar WR thread. 

I think the one guy has it dead on with Juju. If I had to take one WR next year it might be him. He is so good already. And Hopkins has shown he can do it over and over. 

I’m really curious to see how much longer Brees is gonna play and who is the next starter there. They have superstars at WR and RB already so they just need consistency at QB to keep the train rolling. 

I thought Adams would forever be cursed by terrible hands but he seems to be over that and is about as consistent as they come. Again, could not be blamed for taking him #1 at the position. 

Everyone was huge on Sutton and he had his chance but didn’t really perform as hoped. A change at QB couldn’t hurt tho. Coutee has shown flashes in limited work. Kirk should be good for a long time and Larry has to retire eventually. I was trying to get Godwin and Golladay in my main league for next year. Although Godwin looked to drop off. 

The one WR I will try to have on all my teams next year is Kupp. He’s young, has great hands, runs good routes and is the RZ darling on one of the best offenses in the league. 

ETA: Man I can’t wait to draft already! Gonna be a long offseason, lol. 

 
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Spike

Footballguy
Not giving names, because people have already done so, but I look for the following:

- good QB

- good/great route runner (as opposed to big/fast guy; “raw” guy)

 

Ned Ryerson

Footballguy
Not giving names, because people have already done so, but I look for the following:

- good QB

- good/great route runner (as opposed to big/fast guy; “raw” guy)
Think this is a good point.  To this end, presuming health, I'm betting that Dante Pettis is a 3rd round pick, or higher, in 2020 fantasy drafts.

 

-OZ-

Footballguy
How about "guy who I think will be perennial WR1 who has not yet broken 1000 yards?"
Although he's more likely to be Keelan Cole than Tyreek, I like what I see from Robert Foster if you want a guy who's probably still pretty cheap.

 

Tanner9919

Footballguy
Golladay and Tyler Boyd , who will surpass AJ Green for the #1 WR role in Cincy. Actually, he already has. Likely a top 5-7 WR for next year. Golladay is awesome,  hopefully Patricia gets fired for a poor 1st season as HC and they replace him and the entire coaching staff with competent skilled coaches who know how to run an offese ..JB Cooter? really? cmon now.

Laughing at the T. Hill love fest. what he did last week is pathetic. in 8 games he failed to catch more than 5 balls. He failed to score a td IN 9 games including the last 4 games. his TDs come in bunches, i.e., 3 multi TD games incl one with 3 TDs..compiled 74 or fewer rec yards in 9 games.

glorified kick returner, one trick pony speedster who gets hand-offs from time to time. no thanks. just a gimmick player.

:rolleyes:

 
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EBF

Footballguy
People like OBJ and Thomas are already established.

Of the young guys, DJ Moore has the physical tools to be a standout.

 

dmac37

Footballguy
Sutton- people forget he is a really raw rookie thrown into a situation where he was expected to be the instant WR1 with a QB that can't throw downfield

Godwin- seems to have all the tools to be a true #1 Wr, would not be shocked if TB re-tooled and move on from Evans

 

menobrown

Footballguy
Tyler Boyd , who will surpass AJ Green for the #1 WR role in Cincy. Actually, he already has.
No he hasn't

Laughing at the T. Hill love fest.
T. Hill owners are laughing at your take.  You can break it down your way all you want but he was the #6 WR last year with freaking Alex Smith as his QB and then follows that up by as the #5WR.  He has improved each year he's been in the league and has  been a full time WR for two years in those two seasons  he's been outscored by Hopkins, AB, Thomas and Adams. That's it. Those WR's have had between 287-331 targets, Hill has had 235 in that time frame.  His QB for likely bulk of the prime of his career is Mahomes.

 
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menobrown

Footballguy
- good/great route runner
This is what people should look for in incoming rookies if they want to limit what has been massively high bust rate of highly drafted WR's. Been tracking this for just a few years now but results are pretty strong. It's subjective of course but the following players were what I considered the best route runners in their draft classes, and I'd add this is how I felt about them entering the league,not hindsight.

2014- Odell

2015 - Cooper

2016- Michael Thomas

2017- Cooper Kupp

2018- Ridley

 

higgins

Footballguy
This is what people should look for in incoming rookies if they want to limit what has been massively high bust rate of highly drafted WR's. Been tracking this for just a few years now but results are pretty strong. It's subjective of course but the following players were what I considered the best route runners in their draft classes, and I'd add this is how I felt about them entering the league,not hindsight.

2014- Odell

2015 - Cooper

2016- Michael Thomas

2017- Cooper Kupp

2018- Ridley
Anyone whose route-running you particularly like from the incoming class?

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
Stefon Diggs: He just turned 25 last month and has 3400 yards and 23 TDs. By age 25, Antonio Brown had 869 and 3. Isaac Bruce was at 3400 and 23. Diggs seems right on track for a massive career. It’s an especially impressive for him to have such a quick start given his lower draft slot and having been really overlooked in college. 

 
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Ilov80s

Footballguy
Not giving names, because people have already done so, but I look for the following:

- good QB

- good/great route runner (as opposed to big/fast guy; “raw” guy)
Just looking at combos: Mahomes/Hill has Manning/Harrison potential. Ditto with  Watson/Nuk and Rodgers/Adams.

 

menobrown

Footballguy
Anyone whose route-running you particularly like from the incoming class?
Good question , don't know yet and it's one of the first things I try and figure out but let me say I usually need help, need to be pointed in the right direction.  I asked that very question last year to about 4-5 ex NFL scouts, (Daesean Hamilton was runnerup to Ridley btw) but I need help getting into the right neighborhood on this myself and I've not yet started that process.

 

DropKick

Footballguy
Although he's more likely to be Keelan Cole than Tyreek, I like what I see from Robert Foster if you want a guy who's probably still pretty cheap.
I didn't want to be the one to mention Foster.  Of course, this is all recency bias but success in Buffalo is something to take note of...  His draft profile paints him as a fringe talent so sustained success would be a big surprise.   Could he be a guy with the "it" factor?  Someone that just plays better than the metrics suggest? 

 

DropKick

Footballguy
Sutton- people forget he is a really raw rookie thrown into a situation where he was expected to be the instant WR1 with a QB that can't throw downfield

Godwin- seems to have all the tools to be a true #1 Wr, would not be shocked if TB re-tooled and move on from Evans
Really high on Godwin this year but he did disappear at times.  Jackson should be gone next year;  Wouldn't expect them to move on from Evans - is his contract up?

 

ZenoRazon

Footballguy
Cajon HS out here in southern Cali has the nations top ranked dual purpose QB in Jayden Daneils just think Lamar Jackson, and his life long buddy WR Darren Jones. Jones is 6-8 and can run, as of right now he is headed to Utah, (Daneils a ???).  Remember that name....Darren Jones.

 

dmac37

Footballguy
Really high on Godwin this year but he did disappear at times.  Jackson should be gone next year;  Wouldn't expect them to move on from Evans - is his contract up?
Not sure but was listening to a podcast that mentioned Evans moving on to another team.

 

ffmail4me

Footballguy
If Baker develops into what I think he will you’ll want to target Calloway as a late pick with big upside 

 

DropKick

Footballguy
My wife insists that size does matter but I'm not so sure.  While a 6'4, 220+ pound player seems like the ultimate weapon, what is the ideal size for an NFL WR?  I suspect that most would target a player at 6'0+

Is a lanky player less likely to have the fluid body control of a more compact man?  Can a small receiver deal with the physicality of the position?

My prototype starts with Torry Holt.  He measured just over 6'0 at 192 pounds (4.44 40 time).  For sake of comparison, OBJ's combine was 5'11 198 (4.43); Antonio Brown was 5'10 186

 

Sebowski

Footballguy
Nobody in on Brandon Cooks? He's only 25 (only 3 months older than Cooper Kupp) and has 4 straight 1k yard years. He has Hill's big play ability and he's the same size as AB. On a great offense too. 

 

DropKick

Footballguy
Sebowski said:
Nobody in on Brandon Cooks? He's only 25 (only 3 months older than Cooper Kupp) and has 4 straight 1k yard years. He has Hill's big play ability and he's the same size as AB. On a great offense too. 
Cooks is still a mystery to me.    Can't figure out how he's been on three great offenses in three years.  Productive, durable, consistent... certainly nothing to complain about.  Yet, he doesn't seem to garner the respect he deserves... Is it because we felt he would/could do more on the Saints, Pats, Rams?

 

lod001

Footballguy
DropKick said:
My wife insists that size does matter but I'm not so sure.  While a 6'4, 220+ pound player seems like the ultimate weapon, what is the ideal size for an NFL WR?  I suspect that most would target a player at 6'0+

Is a lanky player less likely to have the fluid body control of a more compact man?  Can a small receiver deal with the physicality of the position?

My prototype starts with Torry Holt.  He measured just over 6'0 at 192 pounds (4.44 40 time).  For sake of comparison, OBJ's combine was 5'11 198 (4.43); Antonio Brown was 5'10 186
6'-2", 200. Kinda like that Jerry Rice guy.

 

Spike

Footballguy
Cooks is still a mystery to me.    Can't figure out how he's been on three great offenses in three years.  Productive, durable, consistent... certainly nothing to complain about.  Yet, he doesn't seem to garner the respect he deserves... Is it because we felt he would/could do more on the Saints, Pats, Rams?
For the Patriots moving on from him, it was due to the massive contract they saw he would command. 

 

DocHolliday

Footballguy
Seems like the NFL is filled with potentially great WRs when I read through the thread.   Hall of Fame great depends on factories that are tough to control such as injuries, great QB, and offense.  

 

tjnc09

Footballguy
Mike Evans youngest player ever to 6000 yards. That's quite amazing considering the QB carousel he has played with.

 
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kittenmittens

Footballguy
Sutton- people forget he is a really raw rookie thrown into a situation where he was expected to be the instant WR1 with a QB that can't throw downfield

Godwin- seems to have all the tools to be a true #1 Wr, would not be shocked if TB re-tooled and move on from Evans
Evans is signed for like 5 more years.  Just signed an extension before the season... 

 

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