What names come to mind when you think of the top 5 wide receivers in the NFL? Julio Jones is probably one of them, so is Michael Thomas. There’s an argument to be made for Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, and Tyreek Hill as well. Still, there might be one player we’re overlooking. That player is Kenny Golladay.
Yes, I’m very high on the former Northern Illinois star, but for good reason.
Golladay, a fourth-year wide receiver entering his age 27 season, has grown by leaps and bounds since being drafted by the Lions in 2016. After a rookie season that saw him snag 28 receptions and 3 touchdowns, Golladay exploded onto the scene in 2018, racking up 70 receptions and over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. The improvement carried on to 2019 as Golladay finished as a WR1 despite Matthew Stafford spending half the season on IR.
So what makes Kenny Golladay so good?
Most receiving yards on contested targets since 2015 (WRs):
1. Mike Evans – 995
2. Julio Jones – 986
3. Kenny Golladay – 864
4. Marvin Jones Jr. – 857
5. DeAndre Hopkins – 807 pic.twitter.com/UPM7HM6cKp
— PFF (@PFF) August 12, 2020
For starters, Golladay is a dangerous deep threat; he led the league in receptions of 20+ yards (98% catch rate on catchable targets of 20+ yards) despite having an undrafted rookie quarterback throwing the ball for half the seasonThat investment, of course, has been fruitful. His speed is elite for a player of his size, with his height adjusted speed score ranking in the 91st percentile of NFL players. Sure, his route running may not afford him much separation, but his 54.6% contested catch rate suggests Golladay will come down with the ball if it is in his vicinity. It is this raw, untapped potential that enticed the Lions to draft him in the third round, far ahead of where most projections placed Golladay. Needless to say, Detroit made the right call and landed the steal of the draft.
The Lions are the perfect fit for Golladay and his talents too, with Matthew Stafford having the arm strength and mentality to get the ball to Golladay deep and let him make plays.
Improved quarterback play this season could lead to the best season yet from the talented 4th-year player. Don’t forget, Golladay was on pace to post 70 receptions, 1,280 yards, and 14 touchdowns with Matthew Stafford. It is reasonable to assume that a full season of Matthew Stafford will allow Golladay to meet or surpass those numbers. To make matters even better, Golladay has the second-easiest schedule for wide receivers, per PFF. Matchups tend to be especially important at the wide receiver position, so this schedule should allow Golladay to feast on opposing cornerbacks and maximize his potential.
Last but not least, it is a contract year for Golladay, a fact that should motivate him even more as the season gets underway. I fully expect a top 8 season from the talented wideout and there’s every possibility he could sneak into the Top 5 at his position. He’s an absolute monster and his ADP is well worth it.