It looks like a good year for rookie wideouts. There were 15 drafted in the first three rounds; 5 in each. Two of the more intriguing ones were selected by the New York teams, with the Giants taking Kadarius Toney in the first round and the Jets grabbing Elijah Moore (pictured) just 2 picks into the second.
Toney going that early was a surprise to some, but after the draft Urban Meyer expressed regret that he wasn't available to Jacksonville five picks later. Moore wouldn't have been surprising as a first-rounder. Both could/should emerge as starters with their respective teams.
Sooner, or later? The Giants have Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, but were clearly looking to add a top talent to their wide receiver group. Originally picking 11th, they traded back right after the Eagles swung a deal with Dallas to move from 12th to 10th and draft DeVonta Smith. Were the Giants going to take Smith? Dallas almost certainly wasn't, so presumably the Eagles thought New York would.
As for the Jets, they have Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder atop their depth chart, with Denzel Mims fitting in there somewhere, as well as free agent signing Keelan Cole. But Crowder has a big cap figure and Moore makes the most sense in the slot, so the team might be looking to cut ties with the veteran.
Both rookies had big roles in 2020. Moore's 86 receptions trailed only Heisman-winner DeVonta Smith, and considering Ole Miss played only 8 games, Moore actually led all of college football in receptions per game (minimum of 5 games). Toney also shows up in the top 25 (stats via sports-reference.com/cfb).
|COLLEGE RECEIVING, 2020|
|Elijah Moore||Ole Miss||8||86||1193||13.9||8||10.8|
|Tyrice Richie||Northern Illinois||6||53||597||11.3||4||8.8|
|Jaelon Darden||North Texas||9||74||1190||16.1||19||8.2|
|Hassan Beydoun||Eastern Michigan||5||40||508||12.7||0||8.0|
|Jonathan Adams Jr.||Arkansas State||10||79||1111||14.1||12||7.9|
|Khalil Shakir||Boise State||7||52||719||13.8||6||7.4|
|Chris Olave||Ohio State||7||50||729||14.6||7||7.1|
|Justin Hall||Ball State||7||49||665||13.6||4||7.0|
|Jaquarii Roberson||Wake Forest||9||62||926||14.9||8||6.9|
|Terrace Marshall Jr.||LSU||7||48||731||15.2||10||6.9|
|Amon-Ra St. Brown||USC||6||41||478||11.7||7||6.8|
|Jarrin Pierce||Middle Tennessee State||9||59||584||9.9||3||6.6|
|Shi Smith||South Carolina||9||57||633||11.1||4||6.3|
|Jalen Cropper||Fresno State||6||37||520||14.1||5||6.2|
|Jaivon Heiligh||Coastal Carolina||11||65||998||15.4||10||5.9|
|Tylan Wallace||Oklahoma State||10||59||922||15.6||6||5.9|
|Tyler Snead||East Carolina||9||53||530||10||5||5.9|
|Bailey Gaither||San Jose State||7||41||725||17.7||4||5.9|
|Dax Milne||Brigham Young||12||70||1188||17||8||5.8|
|Jalen Tolbert||South Alabama||11||64||1085||17||8||5.8|
|Jahan Dotson||Penn State||9||52||884||17||8||5.8|
|Calvin Austin III||Memphis||11||63||1053||16.7||11||5.7|
|Tre Walker||San Jose State||8||45||627||13.9||4||5.6|
|D'Wayne Eskridge||Western Michigan||6||33||768||23.3||8||5.5|
|Jo'quavious Marks||Mississippi State||11||60||268||4.5||0||5.5|
Those New York wideouts aren't the only incoming rookies well represented on this list. Smith, Baltimore first-rounder Rashod Bateman, Carolina second-rounder Terrace Marshall, Green Bay third-rounder Amari Rodgers and Detroit fourth-rounder Amon-Ra St. Brown also show up favorably.
Maybe not a great year for running backs, as discussed yesterday, but some intriguing wideouts entering the league, with a chance to make an immediate impact.