5 NFL receivers who could break out in 2020By Matt Verderame
There are a number of young wide receivers who could announce themselves to the NFL in 2020, including James Washington and Mecole Hardman.
5. Darius Slayton, New York Giants
As a rookie, Slayton went largely under the national radar because he played on a rancid Giants team. However, the youngster took advantage of his opportunities, notching 48 receptions for 740 yards and eight touchdowns.
With quarterback Daniel Jones entering his second year and first as the starter from jump, he should improve. This only bolsters the case for Slayton to emerge as a star in 2020, getting better passes thrown his way.
4. John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals
This might be it for Ross in Cincinnati if things don’t go well. After be picked No. 9 overall in 2017 — one spot before Patrick Mahomes — Ross has been a disappointment in the Queen City. Yet in ’19, he caught 28 passes for 506 yards and three touchdowns, and did so in eight games.
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If Ross can stay healthy with rookie first-overall pick Joe Burrow coming on the scene, his career could. see a serious trajectory change. This is an incredible chance for Ross to make his presence felt.
3. James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers
With Ben Roethlisberger out most of last season and JuJu Smith-Schuster struggling to find his proverbial footing, it was Washington who stepped up for the Steelers. After a rocky rookie campaign in 2018, Washington totaled a team-best 735 receiving yards.
With Roethlisberger presumably back and Washington entering his third season, he could take a major leap and become the latest Steelers’ homegrown talent to go over the 1,000-yard receiving mark.
2. Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
The second rookie from 2019 on the list, Hardman has all the makings of a superstar. A speedster out of the University of Georgia, Hardman largely played fourth-fiddle in Kansas City’s passing attack last year alongside Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce.
While all are back in the fold, Hardman showed what he can do with a league-high 20.7 yards per reception (26 catches for 538 yards and six touchdowns on 41 targets). Look for Hardman to see far more targets from Patrick Mahomes this year.
1. Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins
McLaurin is going to be a full-fledged star for the Redskins. Coming into the league last season as a rookie from Ohio State, McLaurin dominated the competition with 919 receiving yards, ranking 32nd in the league and second among first-year talents behind A.J. Brown of the Tennessee Titans.
Much like Slayton, McLaurin should benefit from a second-year quarterback in Dwayne Haskins getting more reps and feeling more confident. McLaurin is already a good player, but he could be great in 2020.