5 NFL wide receivers who became stars in 2019

NFL

This year, we saw a bevy of young receivers take the leap from solid player to stardom. Here are five names to know going into 2020.

Every season, there are a handful of receivers who make a leap, typically during their second or third campaign. It’s one of the few positions where their growth can be measured by statistics, and their development is easily seen. Today, we are taking a look at the five receivers who have made the next step in their development during the 2019 season.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Among the players that have made the biggest leaps this season is Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The first two seasons of Godwin’s career were modest, catching 93 passes for 1,367 yards and eight touchdowns. But in 2019, he emerged as one of the best receivers finishing third in the NFL with 1,333 receiving yards. Not only did he rack up yardage, but he was also one of the league’s premier red-zone threats, scoring nine touchdowns.

Godwin missed the team’s final two games of the season with a hamstring injury, but he showed he can be 1B to Mike Evans’ 1A. In fact, you can even make a case that Godwin surpassed him this season. Nevertheless, Godwin’s breakout season has established him as one of the best young receivers in the NFL.

D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

Typically, the second season for receivers is when they make the biggest leap. And for 22-year-old D.J. Moore, that jump probably shouldn’t have happened given the surrounding circumstances. Moore played with a banged-up Cam Newton, a streaky Kyle Allen, and then 2019 third-round pick Will Grier. He also played on an offense that struggled to move the ball consistently for most of the season, despite the fantastic play of Christian McCaffrey.

However, Moore has found a way to produce despite the circumstances. Moore totaled over 1,175 receiving yards and four touchdowns, becoming Carolina’s most consistent weapon in the passing game. While the raw stats are great, Moore still has a lot of growing to do as a receiver. That should be a terrifying thought for opposing cornerbacks for the next several seasons.

Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys 

Since the Cowboys made the trade to acquire Amari Cooper last season, he has stolen the show in Dallas as he’s reminded everyone how special he can be. However, Michael Gallup certainly made a name for himself as the team’s No. 2 receiver.

Despite battling a knee injury and missing time, Gallup finished 20th in receiving yards with his first 1,000-yard season. Not only did he become a more reliable target, but he was also Dallas’ best receiver down the field, averaging over 16 yards per reception. Gallup still needs to improve on his route-running and hands, but it’s clear he is one of the best No. 2 receivers in the league.

D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars

Maybe one of the most surprising receivers to break out was 2018 second-round pick D.J. Chark. In just two seasons, Chark caught passes from four different quarterbacks over his first two seasons, including Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler. Despite all of the quarterback turnover, Chark has found a way to produce.

In just 13 games this season, Chark finished with 1,008 yards, scoring eight touchdowns. Coming out of LSU, Chark was a deep-threat who needed a lot of work on his route-running. He’s become a much more polished player since entering the NFL. If the Jaguars can eventually find some stability at quarterback, whether it’s Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew, look for Chark to become that much more explosive. Together, he and Dede Westbrook are one of the most underrated and electric receiver duos in the NFL.

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos 

Finally, the receiver that has made the biggest leap in 2019 is none other than Courtland Sutton. Much like Chark, Sutton has dealt with a quarterback merry-go-round as the Broncos have struggled to find any consistency at the position. However, that hasn’t stopped Sutton as he developed into a legit No. 1 receiver.

Sutton totaled 1,112 receiving yards and six touchdowns for Denver in his second year out of SMU. With his combination of size, speed, and ball-tracking ability, there is nothing stopping Sutton from becoming one of the league’s very-best receivers.

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