The NFC South is going to be an extremely competitive division in 2020. Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn have seats that couldn’t be hotter. Unfortunately the NFC South isn’t here to do them any favors.
Taking a birds eye look at the state of various position groups in the division, wide receiver definitely stands out. The NFC South has some of the best skill players in the game, especially at wide receiver. And I’ll admit, it’s hard to know how the 2020 season will play out. But we can make an educated guess. Headed into the 2020 season, this is how I’d rank the various WR corps in the NFC South:
Tom Brady’s decision to sign with the Buccaneers was cringeworthy. In a perfect world, he’d struggle to transition into a new offense on a new team that isn’t coached by Bill Belichick. But with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at his disposal, Brady will undoubtedly have an easier time moving the ball downfield in 2020. Brady didn’t have any true deep threats at his disposal in 2019. In fact, he had to work with a hodge-podge of replacement level WRs, trying desperately not to disappoint Belichick. Evans and Godwin combined for 2,490 receiving yards and 17 receiving touchdowns in 2019. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where they don’t produce at a similar clip in 2020. The addition of 5th round draft pick Tyler Johnson makes that already scary WR corps even scarier. Johnson, heralded by some as the biggest steal of the draft, should’ve never been a day 3 pick, and he will get immediate production as their slot WR.
The two-headed monster that is Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley is enough to give any defensive back night sweats. Jones has been to six straight Pro Bowls. (And, to be clear, he’s earned those Pro Bowl bids, racking up 1,300+ receiving yards in each of those seasons.) Ridley has all of 29 career games under his belt, but he’s already caught 17 touchdown passes. The Falcons will utilize Russell Gage as their slot receiver, and his physicality will surprise some defensive coordinators. Former first round draft pick Laquon Treadwell will look to rejuvenate a career that has never lived up to expectations.
Michael Thomas, if you’re reading this, thank you for being a charitable human being. But you are definitely not the best WR in the NFL. Heck, you aren’t even the best WR in your division. I hate to admit it, but pairing Thomas with veteran Emmanuel Sanders was not a bad idea. In fact, it makes their passing attack downright scary. With Sanders on the roster, Drew Brees
can stop saying stupid things in public won’t have to throw 7 yard slants to Thomas every other play. Sanders may be 33 years old, but he’s got the experience (7 playoff starts) and ability to hold down that WR2 spot. Tre’Quan Smith is an interesting player who has flashed here and there with a couple of explosive performances. Taysom Hill is a dynamic player with a unique skillset. He’s not a WR in the traditional sense, but he will undoubtedly play a role in the Saints’ passing attack. Hill caught 19 balls last season (22 targets), 6 of which were touchdowns.
DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel must be thrilled by the addition of Teddy Bridgewater, a reliable passer with a career completion percentage north of 60 percent. Both Moore and Samuel have seen their production limited by bad quarterback play, and the Panthers front office has seemingly remedied that. Meanwhile, Robby Anderson is the deep threat quarterbacks dream of; Bridgewater will surely get him some highlight reel balls in 2020. While he’s technically a running back, Christian McCaffrey does most of his damage as a receiver, which is why he deserves a mention here as well. CMC is arguably the most dynamic player in the NFL, and any passing attack that includes him is going to produce.
What say you, Falcoholics? Which NFC South team has the best WR situation? What do your rankings look like?