Wide receivers are the most important position in football, and these five second-year players are poised to breakout for their respective teams. Who will be the next Odell Beckham Jr.?
CeeDee Lamb and Four Other Second-Year Wide Receivers Who Are Poised to Breakout in 2021 NFL Season
Wide receivers in the NFL have a history of improving their performance in their second season. In 2020, Justin Jefferson was an anomaly, putting up amazing statistics as a rookie. CeeDee Lamb, a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, has been one of the most talked about players throughout training camp and the preseason. In his second year, he is expected to put up huge statistics.
Lamb is at the top of the list of second-year wide receivers on the verge of breaking out in 2021.
Honorable mentions: Jaguars’ Laviska Shenault Jr. and Raiders’ Henry Ruggs III.
Henry Ruggs III warms up before an NFL game | Harry How/Getty Images; Laviska Shenault Jr. warms up before an NFL game | Will Newton/Getty Images
Laviska Shenault and Henry Ruggs III were only inches from from making the cut. However, both players should improve by 2020. Shenault fills a crucial need left by Travis Etienne. In the short and middle portions of the field, Trevor Lawrence should attack him a lot.
Ruggs is a powerful athlete, but the Raiders didn’t use him as much as they might have. In 2021, they’ll have to make a change. Las Vegas should attempt to get the ball in his hands as often as possible, given his lightning speed.
Dallas Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb
CeeDee Lamb has impressed in training camp and seems to be on the verge of a breakthrough season | Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
CeeDee Lamb’s balling out in camp videos have gone viral on Twitter. In 2021, Dallas wants him to play a key part in one of the league’s most explosive offenses.
Lamb threw for 935 yards and five scores on 74 receptions in 2020. Due to Dak Prescott’s injury, his rookie numbers are skewed, but with his quarterback recovered, he could make a huge jump in his second season.
The Oklahoma product is a force to be reckoned with. He’s a capable deep ball receiver who’s also improved as a route runner. Lamb will have plenty of chances to contribute in this offense because to the presence of Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup.
Denver Broncos’ Jerry Jeudy
Jerry Jeudy, the finest wide receiver coming out of college in 2020, was probably the greatest. He didn’t make a splash like Justin Jefferson, but he has the ability to do so in the future.
The recipient of the 2018 Biletnikoff Award caught 52 passes for 856 yards and three touchdowns. As a rookie, his shaky quarterback performance hampered him. Teddy Bridgewater isn’t a great quarterback, but his approach complements Jeudy’s abilities as a receiver.
As a rookie, Jeudy was targeted 113 times. He hasn’t given any hint that he won’t be a key part of the Broncos’ offense. In terms of touchdowns, he should experience a favorable regression as well.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Chase Claypool
Chase Claypool, a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is poised to make an impact in his second NFL season | Nic Antaya/Getty Images
When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Chase Claypool in the first round, they received more than they bargained for. He was a standout at Notre Dame before entering the draft, but his name was lost in the mix among the first-round picks.
The second-round pick showed glimpses of the NFL player he can be. In 2020, Claypool hauled in 62 catches for 873 yards and nine touchdowns. His second season was highlighted by a four-touchdown outburst against the Philadelphia Eagles.
In 2021, Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster will continue to have high target shares. Claypool, on the other hand, will get a lot of attention. Ben Roethlisberger will try to move the ball downfield and take advantage of Claypool’s physical mismatches.
Cincinnati Bengals’ Tee Higgins
The Bengals of Cincinnati are another club with a plethora of offensive weapons. Heading into the 2021 season, Joe Burrow has an abundance of resources at his disposal.
Tee Higgins and Burrow had a terrific connection in 2020. He has a total of 67 catches for 908 yards and six touchdowns. He’s a real red-zone danger for the Bengals at 6-foot-4.
Opposing defenders will pay attention to rookie JaMarr Chase and veteran Tyler Boyd, which should bode well for the Clemson product. Higgins will have plenty of one-on-one chances, and he possesses the size and skill set to take advantage of them.
San Francisco 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk
Brandon Aiyuk’s second NFL season may be a significant one for the 49ers wide receiver | Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Brandon Aiyuk has big hopes for the San Francisco 49ers in 2021, and it’s easy to see why. In 2020, the former Arizona State wide receiver caught 60 receptions for 748 yards and five touchdowns. In the second year, those figures should improve.
Aiyuk has the good fortune of being coached by one of the league’s best offensive brains. When Kyle Shanahan’s offense is in full health, it operates like a well-oiled machine. He’ll come up with inventive ways to send the ball to his explosive wideout early and frequently.
Aiyuk has an excellent balance of strength and quickness. He has a knack for accumulating yards after the catch. He’ll flourish with George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and a powerful rushing assault as a creative playmaker.
CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Chase Claypool, Tee Higgins, and Brandon Aiyuk are all expected to have strong seasons in 2021.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
RELATED: Fantasy Football: Three Late-Round Running Backs to Target
CeeDee Lamb is a wide receiver for the New York Giants. He has been with the team since he was drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. This upcoming season, he will be looking to break out and show that he can be a consistent target for Eli Manning. Reference: ceedee lamb stats.
- nfl wide receiver rankings
- what does a wide receiver do
- cee dee lamb