2017 NFL Rookie Wide Receivers On The Rise
Usually, wide receivers take about 2-3 years to fully develop and create a role in a team’s offense, but there were a couple rookies that have already started to stand out. As week 2 wraps up, let’s take a look at the rookie wide-outs who made a statement in their NFL debuts, Kenny Golladay and Cooper Kupp.
Played in 3 preseason games, and only impressed in one, but during his one great performance, he managed two touchdowns. The TD’s are impressive, but the game as a whole was a mixed bag for Golladay as he only logged 53 receiving yards, but it was based on a 3 reception game. His potential was evident as a go-to touchdown receiver but inconsistency plagued him and his best game came behind the throws of backup quarterback Jake Rudock, so his chemistry with Matthew Stafford remained to be seen.
But as week 1 of the regular season has already shown, Stafford is ready to use his new wide-out in the red zone and they managed to find success twice. While Golladay only caught 4 of his 7 targets for a total of 69 yards, he was tied for the 2nd most targets on the team and played against a stifling Arizona Cardinals defense.
The Los Angeles Rams have made a lot of new changes for the season, including a new head coach and entirely new receiving corps. With the additions of standout Sammy Watkins and his co-pilot, Robert Woods, the Rams were looking like a revamped Buffalo Bills. But once preseason started, another name was on everyone’s tongue, Cooper Kupp. He impressed a lot of people, especially teammates that tried to cover him in practice. In two preseason games, he managed 8 catches for 105 yards and one touchdown, with the biggest takeaway coming in the 2nd preseason game; starting quarterback Jared Goff consistently targeted Cooper on 3rd down.
Now that the season is officially underway, Cooper got a taste of real NFL game day action, and he didn’t disappoint, scoring in the 2nd quarter on an 18-yard pass and finishing with a game-high, 76 receiving yards. This game was a blowout against the bleeding Indianapolis Colts, but nonetheless, the young wide-out was facing NFL caliber talent and did some damage. The jury may still be out on him, but it won’t be long before he faces a great defense as he competes in the NFC West.
Will Their Success Continue?
With the absence of a big red zone target like Megatron, Golladay is primed to be in the Lions’ plans for years to come. As he’s proven in his first game, he’s a big guy that can go up and grab it, something this team has missed and can definitely use.
While Cooper faced a team suffering from several offensive woes that have negatively impacted its defense, he should be able to continue to have success as a slot receiver especially when the top corner for each team will focus its attention on Watkins. This will continue to allow Cooper more opportunities and touches to prove he’s not just preseason hype, but a solid go to.
Both receivers enjoyed a win to start their careers and will have plenty of chances to continue their individual success as they help to establish the receiving game their respective teams have missed. As one team looks to its veteran quarterback in the hopes of returning to the playoffs, the other hopes 2nd year Goff and his third-down target will end the team’s playoff drought. These two 3rd round draft picks are exactly what each team needed as they look to embrace the future.