NFL Rookie WR Outlook: Drake London, Garrett Wilson and others already have their team’s no. 1 receiving option?

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The NFL has embraced its transition to a more pass-happy offense. The league’s receiving leaders are filled with first- and second-year players like Jamar Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Amon-Ra Saint. Brown et al. A year ago, Chase became the first wide receiver since Odell Beckham Jr. to win Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. In 2014.

Two games into the 2022 regular season, it appears the youth movement continues with some talented pass catchers — even if the Lions’ Jameson Williams is sidelined with an injury during the College Football Playoff.

CBSSports.com Here’s a look at the rookie wide receivers’ early-season production and their spots on their respective rosters:

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Atlanta’s pass game lacks two players: tight end Kyle Pitts and London. Each is an expression of enormous size, range and production to play. A year ago, Pitts broke Julio Jones’ franchise rookie receiving record and became only the second tight end in NFL history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards. Through two games, he has just four receptions for 38 yards. Meanwhile, London has clearly established himself as quarterback Marcus Mariota’s top receiving option.

London was targeted on 19 of Mariota’s 59 pass attempts (32.2% target share). He has 13 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown. The USC product is CBSSports.com’s third-highest rated wide receiver talent in the 2022 NFL Draft and the no. 12 opportunities in total. If the Falcons can land a top quarterback prospect and wide receiver Calvin Ridley rejoins the equation, Atlanta will have one of the most promising skill groups in the NFC.

Verdict: Top target

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Entering the season, many expected second-year wide receiver Elijah Moore to break out and emerge as the team’s primary outlet. Moore’s numbers to open the season were respectable, but the rookie may have barred him from veteran quarterback Joe Flacco’s sights. Wilson was targeted on 22 of Flacco’s 103 pass attempts (21.4%) and leads the team in touchdown receptions (two). His footwork to create separation quickly made him difficult to defend in the red zone. He had a few chances to pad his stats, but Flacco was on a different side.

Mendo in a Coke bottle could be coming within weeks of Zach Wilson’s scheduled return. Will the second-year quarterback’s play continue to favor the rookie, or will his relationship with Moore lead to an increased target share for the latter? At the end of the day, Wilson’s confidence and footwork will ensure he remains the second choice for the AFC East franchise at worst. He was CBSSports.com’s top-rated wide receiver in the draft and the No. 7 chance in total.

Verdict: Top goal

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New Orleans gave up a lot to make Ole’s pick possible, but how will it work with Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry? Soldiers live in squats and squats in mandals. Due to necessity, Olav should be a nearly vertical option. This assumption proved correct, as the rookie averaged 15.13 yards per catch, which ranked No. 1. 20 among all pass catchers with at least four touchdowns. Landry (12.64) and Thomas (11.09) are ranked lower. Despite a clear role, the goals are relatively even among those three players. Quarterback Jameis Winston has 14-17 targets each.

Thomas and, to a lesser extent, Landry, will most likely end up being Winston’s primary targets for most of the season. Big plays from Olaway will be sprinkled along the way.

Verdict: Secondary goal

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Target sharing has been a defining statistic used in this article, but intuitions play out with commanders. A healthy Curtis Samuel was targeted 20 of Carson Wentz’s 87 pass attempts. Five other players have 10-12 goals, Dodson being one of them.

Three of Dodson’s seven receptions have gone for touchdowns. Strong hands and a large catch radius were two notes made when studying the Penn State product ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft. It’s safe to say that both have translated to a professional level.

Verdict: Secondary goal

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A.J. Brown’s trade placed high expectations on Burks before he even set foot in team headquarters. It’s been a rough start for the rookie during training camp, but Tennessee has forced touches on him early in the season. He leads the team with 11 targets, seven of which have been converted for 102 yards. On the year, quarterback Ryan Tannehill has only attempted 53 passes. The team’s identity revolves around the run game, but Burks is responsible for keeping the defense honest. He’s the best receiving option in Tennessee. He should be. Who else will take on that role: fellow rookie Kyle Phillips or Robert Woods? Dodson and Wilson do a great job of creating opportunities for themselves, but Burks is going to get opportunities for him.

Verdict: Top goal

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