When the Detroit Lions selected Kenny Golladay in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft, it left people to wonder; while he’s still developing he’s separated himself from the current group solidifying himself as the teams’ top wide-out.
Many national media members; the Colin Cowherd‘s of the world rarely talk about the Detroit Lions, but when they do it’s usually a bunch of negativity. This year it seems things are starting to change, I mean it’s May; they need something to talk about. At times shows like this throw something against the wall and hope it sticks. Recently ESPN put out an article mentioning the Lions have a better chance at finishing with a top-five pick in next years’ draft than making the playoffs.
Another story that didn’t exactly fare well with fans was when the Lions betting line first emerged with the under/over win total set at seven. It’s time the Detroit Lions become the team that surprises the league. Every year a team seemingly comes out from nowhere to shock the league. Last year after a terrible start to the season the Indianapolis Colts excelled down the stretch; why can’t that be the 2019 Lions?
The disappointing third take I’ve heard recently on Cowherd’s show was that Kenny Golladay is an excellent receiver, but he isn’t an NFL number one. I strongly disagree with this statement! Golladay was a bit of a disappointment during his rookie season only recording 477 yards, scoring merely 3 touchdowns in 11 games. For a player who was projected to be selected in the fourth/fifth round, taken in the third many people were optimistic, yet excited.
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He played his college ball at Northern Illinois, many of us didn’t know who he was when the Detroit Lions drafted him. Of course, some of you did, but the casual fan didn’t exactly rush to the TV on a Saturday afternoon to watch that program play.
Golladay is 6’4 about 215-pounds, but one of the big knocks on him coming out of NIU was his unwillingness to be a physical presence for a wideout of his size. Another blow according to Pro Football Focus is that he’s a straight line runner who doesn’t run crisp routes, and struggles to create separation.
You could maybe make a case in his rookie year that he was a one trick pony type. A downfield threat, but he was only targeted 48 times coming away with 28 balls averaging 17 yards per catch. Last year he was still a deep threat, but he caught plenty of mid-range balls. He averaged 15.2 yards per catch and captured 58.8% of his targets. On 70 catches Golladay notched 1063 yards, scoring 5 touchdowns. He owns a 4.5/40 speed, meaning he’s not going to break any records, but he certainly won’t be caught once he has a step on a defender.
Don’t forget last year after the Lions traded Golden Tate to the Eagles, Marvin Jones was sidelined due to injury down the stretch. Golladay was the only legit big-play target Stafford had at his expense. Early on in the year, Kenny wasn’t drawing the opponents top corner; he thrived the first five weeks of the season. When he was the main threat on offense, he would often find a corner plus a safety doubling him over the top.
If we throw away the Arizona game, he played pretty well down the stretch without much help. Against Patrick Peterson‘s Cardinals Kenny was targeted four times catching two balls for 5 yards. He exploded the following week against the Bills for 146 yards nabbing seven of his eight targets.
A lot of times it takes wide-outs a couple of seasons before they explode, heading into the third season he’s visually continuing to develop, and I expect Golladay to be the Lions number one receiver; yes by default, but I think this year he will be a legit number one NFL pass catcher.
The Lions are expected to be a much more balanced team on offense. If Darrell Bevell gets the run game going, it will open up the play-action pass. Something that’s been invisible for years in Detroit because they haven’t been able to solidify any type of consistent run game. Play action won’t only benefit Matthew Stafford; it will allow his weapons an extra second to get deeper down the field, opening up more downfield strikes.
Expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 catches, 1300 yards, 8-10 touchdowns this season for Kenny Golladay; a legit number one WR proving the Cowherd’s of the world wrong. He would absolutely benefit from a better supporting cast, but Marvin Jones & T.J Hockenson should open up some room for the big playmaking receiver.