1. Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions
If wide receivers were built in assembly plants, chances are they would look a lot like Golladay, who at 6-foot-4 with 32-inch arms and 4.5 speed is the modern-day prototype that can beat defensive backs with a diversified set of skills.
The third-round pick is in many ways a self-made athlete who worked his way up from being an overlooked pass catcher at the off-the-beaten-path University of South Dakota by sending out DVDs of himself to bigger programs.
Golladay’s perseverance landed him at his hometown Northern Illinois University (NIU), where he established himself with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and 18 touchdowns.
Pro Football Focus (PFF) delved even further into his junior and senior numbers and highlighted the fact that the Chicago-born playmaker dropped only 5 of 165 catchable passes in his last two years as a collegian.
But making a sudden fantasy impact takes more than just being a great athlete that was productive at the college level—a rookie’s landing spot can be just as critical.
As a member of the Detroit Lions, Golladay finds himself with the golden opportunity of playing himself into a WR3 role that will translate into enough snaps for him to potentially be in the running for rookie-of-the year.
And though it may seem that I’m probably getting ahead of myself by mentioning ROY honors at this stage of the game, Golladay has done nothing to make the front office regret drafting him as a Day 2 pick.
At OTAs, the dynamic newcomer didn’t take long to look like a polished veteran by routinely winning his one-on-one battles, as well as flashing his electrifying run-after-catch ability on in-breaking routes.
The coaching staff is counting on Golladay being a major part of the Detroit’s passing attack with Anquan Boldin no longer in the mix.
It wouldn’t be overly surprising, in fact, if No. 19 eventually overtakes Marvin Jones as the offense’s WR2 behind Golden Tate if the former Cincinnati Bengal goes through another stretch of ineffectiveness as he did in 2016.
The time to add Golladay as a late-round pick is now while most people may still be unaware of the youngster’s massive upside.