The 1,000-yard season has been the benchmark for top-tier production at wide receiver in the NFL.
With a large influx of talented pass-catchers entering the league in recent years and the emphasis on the passing game, the NFL has never been this stocked full of receivers capable of logging 1,000 yards in a season.
There were 25 receivers in the NFL in 2019 that logged at least 1,000 yards in the air. Of those 25, 10 did it for the first time. Let’s examine the 10 I believe could be first-timers in 2020.
D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
Despite egregious and shortsighted narratives about D.K. Metcalf during the draft process that fixated on his lack of agility without regard for the ways he can win, he found 900 receiving yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie. In two playoff games, Metcalf hauled in 11 receptions for 219 yards and a touchdown. He has a unique skill set in terms of his size, strength and speed and should be even more of a matchup nightmare in his sophomore season.
Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
If it weren’t for injuries in 2019 that forced him to miss three games, Calvin Ridley likely would have already logged his first 1,000-yard campaign. With Mohamed Sanu no longer in the mix, Ridley should see more targets and produce at a high level opposite of Julio Jones.
Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins
Terry McLaurin recording 919 receiving yards as a rookie while Washington played three different quarterbacks is impressive. He likely would have eclipsed 1,000 yards in 2019 but missed two games with an injury.
Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
Deebo Samuel’s role evolved throughout the course of his rookie season and he logged 802 receiving yards in 15 games as a rookie. Samuel should be the go-to receiver for Jimmy Garoppolo in 2020 and put up big numbers.
Darius Slayton, New York Giants
Darius Slayton, a fifth-round pick in 2019, impressed with 740 receiving yards in 14 games with a rookie quarterback in Daniel Jones. The Slayton-Jones duo should evolve as they both enter their second season and push Slayton over the 1,000-yard mark.
Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers
Diontae Johnson’s dynamic route running skills were on full display as a rookie and he logged 680 receiving yards despite Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges at quarterback. The return of Ben Roethlisberger to the Steelers’ lineup should push Johnson over the 1,000-yard threshold as a sophomore.
Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears
Anthony Miller jumped from 423 yards on 54 targets as a rookie in 2018 to 656 yards on 85 targets last season. I expect him to continue becoming a bigger part of the Bears offense and take another big step in Year 3 where 1,000 receiving yards is within reach.
Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
In his first season with the Jets, Jamison Crowder recorded a career-high 78 receptions and 833 yards playing the slot role in Adam Gase’s offense. Crowder paired with a healthy Sam Darnold in 2020 for 16 games should push him over the 1,000-yard mark.
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
Corey Davis was the No. 5 pick in 2017 but hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. But he’s far from a lost cause. He will have a chip on his shoulder after the team didn’t pick up his fifth-year option and I expect a career year from him as Ryan Tannehill enters the season as the starting quarterback for the first time. The cautionary nature of Marcus Mariota was limiting to Davis' ability to produce big numbers.
Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown produced a modest 584 yards as a rookie but powered through the year while coming back from a foot injury. His big play potential should be fully unleashed as a sophomore as he grows with quarterback Lamar Jackson. Brown could challenge for 20 yards per reception and 1,000 yards in 2020.