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Rating The NFL Rookies: Projecting The Top Three Wide Receivers

Craig Farrell predicts the top three performing rookies in each position for the NFL season. Up next on our list are the wide receivers.


Wide Receivers

1. Brandin Cooks – New Orleans Saints

Cooks has a guy called Drew Brees throwing him the ball – that is pretty much all you need to know. The departure of Darren Sproles and Lance Moore will help Brandin Cooks get into the passing game quicker than may have previously occurred.

The Saints, much like the Patriots, use quick slants and short efficient passing as a their form of running game. Cooks is quick, and has soft hands which will make him a prime target for Brees. He also has the ability to make a guy miss, which means a quick 5-yard slant could end up as a 50-yard catch and dash.


2. Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers

Benjamin is the saving grace of the Panthers’ wide out core. Cam Newton has Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant to aim at but Kelvin Benjamin will be the Panthers’ number one receiving option in heart, spirit, and production, if not on paper.

Benjamin was highly productive in the preseason and his hands seemed to be magnets for the football. Newton has the ability to prolong plays with his legs which will help a quick guy like Benjamin find open areas.

Benjamin could certainly be the most productive rookie WR in the league but the Panthers’ heavy run game will hinder his potential production somewhat – but it will also make defenses stack the box against the run which will in turn help the former Florida State pass-catcher.


3. John Brown  – Arizona Cardinals

Brown would be much higher up this list if it was not for three issues.

The first issue is that he will find himself behind a guy called Larry Fitzgerald and another guy called Michael Floyd.

Another issue that Brown will be hampered by is Andre Ellington’s tendency to catch passes out of the backfield. Ellington will take potential grabs away from the rookie.

The other hindrance Brown will encounter is the division in which he plays. The Cards will face the 49ers, the Seahawks and the Rams all twice. Those six games could really bring down Brown’s potential production. However, the Cardinals like to toss the ball around and Brown, as the third number three should be in the slot, which will give him one on one coverage or allow him to find the gaps in the zone coverage.


Let Down: Sammy Watkins – Buffalo Bills

Watkins has one positive going for him this season that could help him be productive; he is his team’s number one wide-out.

The main problem he faces this season is that he is the number one wide receiver of the Buffalo Bills. He will face all the double teams and if he is left one on one it will be against the best CB on the opponent’s team. He has to take two trips to Revis Island this season, while also facing the Pack, the Bears, the Broncos and two games against Miami and the Jets.

He also has EJ Manuel throwing him the ball. It is going to be a long, long introductory season for Watkins.




Craig Farrell, Pundit Arena.


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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.