From a player who outdid his own stardom to the only rookie who surpassed 1K, Breakout Live reveals the breakout wide receivers from the 2019 NFL season.
How does a guy with 125 receptions in 2018 “break out” in 2019? There’s only one wide receiver who averaged more than 100 yards per game last season, and that player is Michael Thomas. Thomas improved on his 87.8 yard per game from 2018 by 20 yards in 2019. His 107.8 YPG translates to 1725 yards over the 17-week season. That’s 231 more yards than the player who finished behind Thomas. When you outproduce the NFL gold standard WR, Julio Jones, you’re truly in rarefied air.
Drew Brees missed nearly a third of the season (5 games) and Thomas was still remarkably able to average over 100 YPG for the season. It’ll be interesting to see what Michael Thomas has in store next season if Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater move on and he’s catching passes from Taysom Hill in 2020.
Since being taken 84th overall by the Buccaneers, a breakout was foretold for the former Nittany Lion who raised eyebrows immediately upon arrival in Tampa. While Godwin didn’t quite live up to the prophecy in his sophomore season, he fulfilled it and then some in 2019. With superstar Mike Evans on the other side, Godwin competed for and found equal footing with Jameis Winston as his go-to-guy.
The 3rd year veteran finished 3rd in the NFL in yards with 1333, behind Julio Jones and Michael Thomas with 86 receptions, and 9 touchdowns on just 121 targets to boot. The burgeoning star had opposing DBs C-God in 2019. Jameis Winston is on shaky ground with Bruce Arians, so a new signal caller may be tossing the rock to Godwin next season. Who knows what we’ll see out of C-God in 2020?
One of the hardest positions for a rookie to step in and make an impact in is wide receiver. There were some fine performances from rookies this season including those from D.J. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, and Deebo Samuel, but only one rookie served up a 1000-yard season in 2019: A.J. Brown. The Ole Miss Rebel fell to the Titans as the 51st overall in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft. Tennessee is usually where wide receivers go to die, like the 5th overall pick in 2018, Corey Davis, as well as Taywan Taylor from that same draft.
However, despite quarterback issues in Tennessee, Brown started his career off with a 100-yard game in his Week 1 debut vs. the Browns. Already physically dominant, Brown would finish with 51 catches for 1051 yards and an impressive 9 scores, and he didn’t even see a 65% snap share until Week 9. The NFL looks to have lost a superstar at the wide receiver position with the off-field issues of AB. AJB looks poised to fill his void in 2020 and beyond.
Known as nothing more than the proverbial tease and trending toward complete bust after some flashes in year two, it was a surprise Parker was a member of the Dolphins in 2019. However, he did seem to fit with the idea the Dolphins were tanking the season for the top pick in the 2020 draft. Just when you least suspected it, Parker arrived after everyone had written him off. Parker blew away his former career highs in receptions (57), yards (744) and touchdowns (4) with a line of 72-1202-9.
Parker helped the Dolphins to a 5-win season when it looked like 0-16 was not only possible, but desired. It didn’t seem certain whether the 14th overall pick in the 2015 draft, who never lived up to his draft status, would be punished or rewarded for his good deeds in 2019. Dolphins brass decided reward was the right path and he signed a contract extension in December, keeping him in Miami through the 2023 season where he’s suddenly and surprisingly become a key piece in Head Coach Brian Flores’ rebuild project.
D.J. Moore and Michael Gallup
Both players took the “2nd year jump” for their respective teams. Moore had the much better rookie season in 2019, while Gallup had the more impressive jump in production. D.J. Moore dealt with a quarterback change from Cam Newton to unheralded Kyle Allen. Cam was never all that accurate, so Moore actually inclined under Allen, posting four 100-yard games while none with Cam. Moore finished ninth in yards with 1175 on 87 receptions and 4 touchdowns.
The bigger surprise of the two was Gallup, who also posted a 1000-yard season with 1107. That was over double from his 507 yards as a rookie. Gallup also doubled his receptions from 33 to 66 and tripled his touchdowns from 2 in 2018 to 6 in 2019.
D.J. Moore has questions lingering at QB for 2020 and a new head coach, while Gallup no longer has Jason Garrett with Mike McCarthy taking the reins, plus an unsigned Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper that could affect his production in year three. The arrow still points up for both in 2020.