The 2020 NFL Draft class has gotten off to a good start this season. This is especially true in regards to the young wide receivers selected in the first few rounds. Justin Jefferson, Henry Ruggs, Chase Claypool, and CeeDee Lamb have all been big contributors for their respective teams after only five weeks. And that's just to name a few.
It is not every year we get to see such a variety of talented receivers succeed early and often in their NFL careers. Pat McAfee, while discussing this development on his show today, posited that the young guns are more successful than their predecessors for one key reason out of all the others: a drive to create content on the 'Gram.
Interesting theory. Let's check the tape, shall we?
Jefferson, Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, Lamb, Jalen Reagor, and Brandon Aiyuk were all selected in the first round this year and have found varying ranges of success in the early days of their careers. Aiyuk and Reagor both battled injures, but looked good when they were on the field. Out of those six players, only Jefferson had a video of him running routes from the last four months on his Instagram profile. Jeudy had a video of himself juking a cornerback out of his shoes on a route, which we'll say counts in spirit. So that's two of six.
There were, however, pictures on Ayiuk and Lamb's respective pages of them in workout gear on the gridiron, which supports McAfee's overall point. So two-thirds of the receivers drafted in the first round have posted themselves working out relatively recently. That's advanced analytics for ya right there.
The drive for content is never-ending. Given my place of work, one could argue that I am basically an NFL wide receiver because I, too, am motivated by content. I'm not going to make that argument, but it definitely could be made.
Anyway, I believe McAfee's theory holds water, and receivers are only going to get better from now on. Because what's the point of being good at anything if you can't brag about it on Instagram?