5 most underrated wide receivers heading into the 2020 NFL season
The NFL is filled with some absolutely dynamic pass catchers who have not garnered a lot of attention at the national level. Here are the top five.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel broke his foot during a practice session, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Samuel suffered the injury on Tuesday and will have surgery today to correct the Jones fracture in his left foot, according to Rapoport. © Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports Niners wide receiver Deebo Samuel will have surgery on his broken left foot.
Samuel “should be able” to suit up “early in the season,” Rapoport hears, saying the 2019 second-round could miss 12-16-weeks (Twitter link). It stands to reason Samuel won’t be ready to go for Week 1, when the 49ers are slated to face the Cardinals on Sept. 13.
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The NHL has released a statement reporting that 15 players tested positive for COVID-19 after reporting to training camp. More than 1,450 total tests were administered to the 250+ players in camp. These tests have all been administered following the start of Phase 2 of the return to play initiative, which began on June 8. © Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports The NHL is going to have to determine how many positive tests for coronavirus would be considered an outbreak, as 15 players tested positive after reporting to training camp. What’s more, 11 additional players have tested positive for coronavirus outside of NHL training camps.
Samuel impressed as a rookie last season with 57 receptions for 802 yards and three touchdowns. He was slated to serve as one of the team’s leading receivers, along with second-year pro Brandon Aiyuk, Jalen Hurd and Kendrick Bourne. The Niners may choose to stand pat, depending on how Samuel’s recovery goes, but they will likely assess available wide receiver options as well.
While it represents good news that Samuel will likely be able to return during the season’s first half, this is a considerable blow to a passing attack that lost Emmanuel Sanders. The 49ers allowed the 2019 trade acquisition-turned-Super Bowl starter to defect to the Saints in free agency. The drop from Samuel to the rest of San Francisco’s receivers is fairly significant.
Seahawks rookie TE Colby Parkinson suffered broken foot, underwent surgery
Parkinson caught 48 passes for 589 yards at Stanford last season. He had 12 total touchdowns in three college seasons. He has a chance to make an immediate impact in the passing game for the Seahawks, but that will now depend upon how his rehab goes.Another NFC West team saw a key player suffer the same injury this week.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily.
The 49ers do have 2018 second-round pick Dante Pettis, but after a promising rookie season, the Washington alum barely played down the stretch as a second-year pro.
Free-agent options include Taylor Gabriel, who played for Kyle Shanahan with the 2016 Falcons. Jordan Matthews, whom the 49ers added last year, is also on the market. So are Jermaine Kearse and Dontrelle Inman. Bigger names such as Josh Gordon — who just applied again for NFL reinstatement — and Antonio Brown are also available.
The 49ers were connected to Brown last year but opted not to pull the trigger on a trade.
San Francisco has been aggressive on the trade market to plug holes recently, so it would not be surprising to see the defending NFC champions make a move to bolster this position while Samuel recovers.
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Jontay Porter could play for Grizzlies in Orlando?
The 20-year-old Porter went undrafted in 2019 after a series of devastating injuries, including an ACL and MCL tear in October 2018 followed by a re-tear of the same ACL in March 2019. The brother of Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., he signed a multiyear deal with the Grizzlies with a team option for 2020-21 just before play was suspended this past March.Porter is a versatile scoring big whose debut in the NBA will be an intriguing sight. But Memphis is fighting to hold on to the No.
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Related slideshow: The most exciting offseason addition for each NFL team (Provided by Yardbarker)
The most exciting offseason addition for each NFL team
NFL fans have plenty to look forward to in 2020. After a wild and crazy offseason, here's a look at one player addition on each team that could have fans most excited.
Arizona Cardinals: DeAndre Hopkins, WR
Arizona has a clear winner in this "competition" after acquiring arguably the best wide receiver in the game from Houston for David Johnson. Hopkins joins future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and young Christian Kirk to make for one of the most imposing receiver rooms in the league and a great selection of targets for young Kyler Murray.
Atlanta Falcons: Todd Gurley, RB
With all due respect to pass rusher Dante Fowler, the addition of Gurley is even more exciting for Falcons fans. He's set to replace Devonta Freeman as the bell cow back after a down year in 2019 with the Rams, but the Georgia alum was an elite back the previous two seasons and has averaged nearly 1,500 yards from scrimmages over his five seasons.
Baltimore Ravens: Calais Campbell, DE
Baltimore set out to improve its defensive line this offseason and has certainly done that with Campbell. He's entering his age 34 season, but Campbell has made the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons. Also by adding Derek Wolfe, the Ravens have a scary defense again in 2020.
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Buffalo Bills: Stefon Diggs, WR
The Bills were missing a No. 1 wideout last year but have it after sending a big package of draft picks to Minnesota for Diggs. He's produced back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons with the Vikings and is a great deep threat for Josh Allen.
Carolina Panthers: Teddy Bridgewater, QB
It could be a long year in Carolina with all their defensive losses, but the team did make some impact moves on offense. The headliner is their new starting quarterback. Bridgewater isn't flashy, but he's 22-12 in his career as a starter between Minnesota and New Orleans. He has a nice selection of weapons, with Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and free agent signing Robby Anderson.
Chicago Bears: Nick Foles, QB
Mitchell Trubisky seemed to wear out his welcome with Bears fans last year, and the team followed by acquiring Foles. The former Super Bowl MVP missed much of last year in Jacksonville due to injury but should be the favorite to win the quarterback job and hopefully put the Bears offense back on the right track.
Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow, QB
Making Burrow the No. 1 overall draft choice was a no-brainer for the Bengals, who have a quarterback guru leading the team in Zac Taylor and were ripe to move on from Andy Dalton. There are likely to be some growing pains, but the former LSU star has lots of help in his rookie season, with a great receiving corps and Joe Mixon at running back.
Cleveland Browns: Jack Conklin, RT
After replacing their head coach and general manager once again, most of the Browns' offseason moves lacked flash. That doesn't mean they won't have a big impact, particularly those on the offensive line. The Browns gave Conklin big money to play right tackle and drafted Jedrick Wills to play left tackle. The potential impact of that tandem can't be understated as the Browns try to put last season behind them.
Dallas Cowboys: CeeDee Lamb, WR
Jerry Jones probably would have done backflips on his yacht if he were physically able when Lamb fell to the Cowboys at No. 17 in the draft. The former Oklahoma star was arguably the top wideout in a loaded draft and gives the team another top weapon along with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Once again, the Cowboys have no excuses this year.
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Denver Broncos: Melvin Gordon, RB
Denver made several significant moves in support of young quarterback Drew Lock. Gordon was the big free agent signing, as the former Chargers star will complement Phillip Lindsay in the backfield. Along with the additions of wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler in the draft, the Broncos expect their offense to take a big step forward.
Detroit Lions: D'Andre Swift, RB
The Lions are apparently moving on from 2018 second-round pick Kerryon Johnson after drafting Swift in the second round. The Georgia alum is a flashier back with the potential to get the Lions reestablished on the ground after struggling last season.
Green Bay Packers: Devin Funchess, WR
In a disappointing offseason, Funchess stands as the most significant addition for 2020. He missed most of last season due to injury, but the big-bodied wide receiver had 840 yards receiving with Carolina three years ago. He will be relied upon to replace departed tight end Jimmy Graham.
Houston Texans: Brandin Cooks, WR
Houston had several significant moves this offseason, ultimately replacing DeAndre Hopkins and Carlos Hyde with Cooks and David Johnson. It remains to be seen if that change is a net positive, but Cooks has been one of the game's best deep threats when healthy. He missed time with a concussion last year, halting his streak of four consecutive 1,000 yard seasons.
Indianapolis Colts: DeForest Buckner, DT
The Colts paid a big price for Buckner, trading their first-round pick to San Francisco for the star pass rusher. Buckner has been one of the most dominant interior pass rushers in the league over the last two seasons with a total of 19.5 sacks and greatly improves a weakness for the Colts.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Laviska Shenault, WR
Jacksonville is set to roll with Gardner Minshew at quarterback and spent its two first-round picks on defense. Second-round pick Shenault isn't without upside, however, with great ability to run after the catch. The team is hopeful he can be a star for a long time to come in tandem with DJ Chark.
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Kansas City Chiefs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB
Cap issues prevented the Chiefs from making big moves in free agency, but the addition of Edwards-Helaire in the first round of the draft is a nice consolation. He was the best pass-catching running back in the draft and an excellent fit for Andy Reid's offense. Joining with Damien Williams, Kansas City's ability to score looks even better going into 2020.
Las Vegas Raiders: Henry Ruggs III, WR
The Raiders surprised many by taking Ruggs ahead of Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb in the draft, but it's certainly a move that would have made franchise patriarch Al Davis happy. Ruggs was the fastest wideout in the draft, running a 4.27 second 40-yard dash at the combine. He gives the Raiders a much-needed potential No. 1 wideout.
Los Angeles Chargers: Justin Herbert, QB
When the Chargers moved on from Philip Rivers this offseason, it was clear a young quarterback was in their future. Herbert was the team's top draft choice and the future at the position. Although Tyrod Taylor could start the year as the team's quarterback, Herbert will almost certainly see the field.
Los Angeles Rams: Cam Akers, RB
The Rams moved on from Todd Gurley in the offseason and will apparently go with a three-headed monster at running back with Akers, their second-round pick, along with Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown. With the loss of Gurley and wide receiver Brandin Cooks, things could be different for L.A.'s offense, but Akers does bring exciting upside after a great career at Florida State.
Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa, QB
Miami had plenty of money and draft capital to use this offseason, but none of the team's moves is more franchise-altering than drafting Tagovailoa. The Dolphins are taking on a major risk given Tagovailoa's many injuries in college, including a fractured hip last season, but he has the potential to make the Dolphins a competitor again within the next few seasons.
Minnesota Vikings: Justin Jefferson, WR
The Vikings traded star wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the offseason, replacing him with Jefferson in the first round of the draft. The LSU wide receiver has big shoes to fill but could be a strong contribution in a complementary role opposite Adam Thielen.
New England Patriots: Josh Uche, OLB
The Patriots had a quiet offseason, except for the loss of quarterback Tom Brady. It could be a rebuilding year for Bill Belichick and Co., but they did add some exciting players in the draft, including Uche. The Michigan alum, drafted in the second round, should find the field regularly in 2020.
New Orleans Saints: Emmanuel Sanders, WR
New Orleans has struggled to find a No. 2 wideout to complement star Michael Thomas, but Sanders is up to the task. He had a good year between Denver and San Francisco in 2019 with 869 yards receiving, and he gives Drew Brees another strong option as the Saints try to return to the Super Bowl.
New York Giants: James Bradberry, CB
The Giants needed help in the secondary, and Bradberry has proved capable in his first four seasons with Carolina. The cornerback will step in as a starter immediately and help fix what was a leaky Giants defense last year.
New York Jets: Denzel Mims, WR
The Jets lost Robby Anderson in the offseason, replacing him with Breshad Perriman and Mims. Mims shows huge upside, at 6-foot-3 with a sub-4.4 second 40 time out of Baylor and could be a No. 1 wideout down the line.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor, WR
Wide receiver was Philadelphia's top issue last season with, with Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson struggling to stay on the field. Philly addressed the problem with Reagor, a speedy slot option who could help Carson Wentz immediately as a rookie.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Chase Claypool, WR
The Steelers are relieved to have Ben Roethlisberger returning this year and have given him an additional weapon in Claypool. The 6-foot-4 Notre Dame alum could figure into what's already a crowded wide receiver corps and challenge for snaps.
San Francisco 49ers: Brandon Aiyuk, WR
The 49ers lost Emmanuel Sanders in free agency but have replaced him in the draft with Aiyuk. After last year's success from rookie Deebo Samuel, there's hope Aiyuk will have a similar impact.
Seattle Seahawks: Greg Olsen, TE
The Seahawks didn't make many significant moves, but they struck early in the offseason with Olsen. The veteran tight end put off broadcasting for one more year for a chance at another playoff run in his 14th season, and he could be a difference maker for the Seahawks offense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tom Brady, QB
Brady's move to Tampa Bay was perhaps the most shocking of the offseason and also likely the most impactful. The six-time Super Bowl winner takes the reins in Tampa Bay at age 43 and was able to bring Rob Gronkowski with him. The Bucs have expectations for a major playoff run in Bruce Arians' second season leading the team.
Tennessee Titans: Darrynton Evans, RB
Derrick Henry remains the focal point of the Titans offense, but Evans has the potential to be a great complementary back. He's effectively replacing Dion Lewis as Tennessee's third down back, and the third-round pick out of Appalachian State could have a bigger impact this season.
Washington Redskins: Chase Young, EDGE
Washington has an elite defensive line on paper with the addition of Young. The second overall pick in the draft, Young joins four other former first-round picks up front for Washington to make would could be an elite pass rushing unit.
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