Second Year Wide Receivers Trying To Bounce Back


In today’s NFL, everyone wants immediate impact. If a player doesn’t produce during his rookie year, he is cast aside as a bust or a bad draft pick. We have been spoiled by players like Odell Beckham, Julio Jones and A.J. Green who stepped right in and produced at a high level. In reality, most receivers need a year or two to get accustomed to the NFL in a way that lets them produce at a high level.

Some wide receivers may not have met expectations during their rookie years, but that doesn’t mean they won’t bounce back during the sophomore campaigns.

Kevin White, Chicago Bears

Kevin White was the most talented receiver in the 2015 draft class, he had a skill set that should have translated immediately. Nevertheless, White suffered a stress fracture in his foot, which cost him his rookie campaign. Luckily, a stress fracture isn’t the type of injury that typically lingers from year to year and White should be 100 percent for this season.

Opposite of Alshon Jeffery, White will get a ton of one-on-one match ups against No. 2 cornerback, which should allow him to be extremely productive. White’s immense athleticism, leaping ability and ball skills should make him a great target for Jay Cutler this year. Don’t be surprised if White is one of the surprising fantasy football studs.

DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins

DeVante Parker was one of the biggest disappointments of the 2015 draft class. He was battling a myriad of issues during his rookie year, but he still wasn’t as productive as most thought he would be. All in all, Parker finished 26 receptions for 494 yards and three touchdowns.

The main thing Parker needs to do this year is to remain healthy. If he does, his numbers will organically increase. If he doesn’t improve at all, Parker is still a smooth athlete with great hands who can get yards after the catch.

From a technique perspective, Parker needs to do a much better job selling the vertical routes with his stems. He didn’t create enough separation last year and this was a huge reason why he did so. If he gets better with the stems of his routes, Parker can easily be a 1,000 yard receiver.

Breshad Perriman, Baltimore Ravens

Breshad Perriman was an athletic freak coming out of college and the Ravens wanted him to replace Torrey Smith as their deep threat. However, he wasn’t able to stretch the field for the Ravens because he was out for the year with a PCL injury. PCL injuries typically don’t reoccur and there isn’t a high probability of other injuries associated with it, which means that Perriman shouldn’t lose too much athleticism.

Perriman isn’t ever going to be a volume receiver; instead, he is going to be a vertical threat who stretches the field and gets big chunks of yards. Perriman won’t get over 50 catches, but he has potential to put up a lot of 20-plus yard touchdowns with Joe Flacco.

Devin Smith, New York Jets

Devin Smith was the preeminent deep threat in the 2015 draft. He has incredible deep speed, ball skills and tracking ability, which made him an enticing player to have a DeSean Jackson-esque role in the NFL. However, an ACL  and ankle injuries hindered his ability to produce this year. Furthermore, since he suffered his torn ACL in December, he should be returning right as the regular season begins. As long as the surgery was just fixing ACL and not other ancillary ligaments or cartilages, Smith should return at 100 percent.

Smith may have a slow start to the year, but if he is 100 percent healthy, he could have a huge impact as a deep receiver, especially since defense will be focused on Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Smith is the ultimate trump card who could flip field position or electrify on offense with just one play.

About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and