Laquon Treadwell- Minnesota Vikings
Name the last true go-to receiver for the Minnesota Vikings… Cris Carter… Randy Moss? It’s been a while but head coach Mike Zimmer is hoping that the rookie from Ole Miss can become Teddy Bridgewater’s new best friend in the Vikings offense. He isn’t a burner but all Treadwell did was make plays in college and that’s what the expectation will be in Minneapolis. He looks to be fully recovered from the gruesome leg injury that ended his 2014 season and that’s good because the Vikings need him to produce early and often if they are going to head back to the postseason in 2016. The Vikings passing game needs to have the training wheels removed and having a receiver capable of 80+ catches and 1,100 yards could be the key to unlocking the potential of a team that has the other pieces in place to be a championship contender.
Deandre Hopkins- Houston Texans
111 catches, 1,521 yards, and 11 touchdowns are the stats of a top-tier receiver and going by his brief holdout Deandre Hopkins wants to be paid like one as well. He may have to wait for that long-term deal, but with the improvements at the quarterback position, he will have enough opportunities to show the Texans front office and the league why he is one of the best in the league – and should be compensated like one. Considering who he had throwing him the ball in 2015, it is amazing seeing the numbers that Hopkins put up. And Brock Osweiler will never be mistaken for an elite quarterback when he was inserted into the Denver lineup for Peyton Manning, the Broncos receivers still put up numbers — which bodes well for the fourth year receiver out of Clemson.
Detroit Lions Receivers
The trio of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Anquan Boldin are out to prove that the world isn’t coming to an end with the retirement of all-everything receiver Calvin Johnson. There is no one player that can come in a replace the productivity that Johnson had in his nine years in Detroit, but it can be done with multiple guys. Tate is coming off another 90+ receptions season and is looking to show everyone that he has what it takes to be a No. 1 guy. Jones was signed from Cincinnati and brings a deep threat element and Boldin has already shown in one pre-season game that while he has lost a step, he still brings a toughness as an inside receiver that most nickel cornerbacks won’t be able to handle. Each brings something unique to the Jim Bob Cooter offense and it will be interesting to see if Stafford can take advantage of their skills.
Keenan Allen-San Diego
The season-ending injury to Stevie Johnson last week places more pressure on the third-year receiver to stay healthy himself. When in the game, Allen has shown the ability to be his quarterback’s security blanket – Phillip Rivers QB rating was 101.5 with him, 85.9 without — but after missing eight games in 2015 due to injury you have to ask yourself can he be counted on to be the No. 1 receiver for the Super Chargers. The Chargers’ ownership showed their faith by extending Allen’s contract in June, now can he return the favor by having his best season?