Throw Me The Ball
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The NFC South has some of the most talented players in the NFL. I think most people would agree the strength of the division is on offense.
Let’s take a look at the top five wide receivers in the division.
# 1 Michael Thomas (New Orleans): I have to admit I’m surprised at this ranking. I know he’s a very good player but he doesn’t wow you with athleticism.
In 2019 he led the league in receptions (149) and receiving yards (1,725). He was tied for second in receiving touchdowns with nine.
He’s so far ahead of the guys in second place.
Christian McCaffrey is second in receptions with 116. That’s extremely impressive considering he’s a running back but you get the point.
Thomas has been in the NFL since 2016 and his stats have gotten better every year. His worst season was his rookie year and he had 1,137 yards and 9 TD’s.
# 2 Julio Jones (Atlanta): Julio was sixth in the league in receptions (99) and second in yards (1,394).
Jones has the rare combination of size and speed. I think he’s a more talented player than Thomas but I’m basing this on numbers. He had 21 plays of 20+ yards.
Jones has been the model of consistency since entering the league in 2011. He’s been to the Pro Bowl seven times in his nine seasons.
He has two seasons with under a thousand yards and his season was cut short due to injury both times. Julio is an outstanding player but the Falcons normally have other weapons on offense so he’s not always the focal point.
# 3 Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay): Godwin had a breakout year in his third season in 2019.
In his first two years he had 93 catches, 1,367 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Last season he was third in receiving yards (1,333) and tied for second with Michael Thomas for receiving touchdowns with 9.
What makes it more impressive is he missed two games and he did this with only 86 catches. Godwin had 25 plays that were 20+ yards so he’s a big play threat.
# 4 Mike Evans (Tampa Bay): If this list were based on total career Evans would have been one spot higher.
What’s impressive is Evans has been performing well for the Buccaneers with Jameis Winston primarily at quarterback. He’s also had Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him passes. Having very inconsistent quarterbacks is why he’s never had 100 receptions in a season. The closest he came was 96 catches in 2016.
In 2019 he only had 67 receptions but he had 1,157 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Evans is a big, 6’5 receiver so we don’t think of him as a big play threat, but he is. He averaged 17.3 yards per catch and he had 17 plays of 20 or more yards.
# 5 D.J. Moore (Carolina): He drastically improved in his second season.
As a rookie in 2018 he had 55 receptions, 788 yards and two TD’s.
In 2019 he had 87 catches, 1,175 yards and 4 touchdowns. The addition of Teddy Bridgewater should help him improve in 2020.