Last year, rookie wide receivers such as D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel played prominent roles on playoff teams, while a host of other members of the 2019 class also exceeded expectations. All in all, it was one of the better first-year showings we've seen from a group of wide receivers since the PFF era began back in 2006.
The collegiate ranks has followed this group with a 2020 wide receiver draft class that has earned the reputation as one of the best groups coming out of college ever. But will this collection of talent be able to outperform the 2019 class, which already put up big-time NFL numbers and has a full year under its belt within specific offenses?
Putting the numbers from the 2019 wide receiver class into context
The NFL is trending towards the passing game, which is becoming more and more efficient as NFL offenses get better over time. This has put young receivers in a better spot than they have ever been from a numbers perspective, but the production that the 2019 rookie wide receiver class put up was impressive, nonetheless.
At a high-level look, there were nine rookie wide receivers who accumulated more than 500 receiving yards last season. The last time this many first-year receivers reached that threshold was the loaded 2014 rookie class that brought us the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Jarvis Landry, Brandin Cooks, Allen Robinson and Davante Adams (who didn’t even put up 500 yards receiving as a rookie). The only other time this many first-year receivers reached the mark in the PFF era was back in 2009, headlined by strong debuts from Hakeem Nicks, Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace.