Tennessee Titans second year wide receiver Corey Davis is on pace to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in 2018, but it wasn’t that long ago that some fans, and media analysts, were discussing whether or not the former Western Michigan standout was a “bust”.
Davis has been banged up a bit at the start of his career (mostly his rookie year, he hasn’t missed a game this season), which caused some folks to label the talented wideout as “injury prone”.
It seems ridiculous to consider Davis a bust when he’s only in his second season in the NFL. Especially when you consider he missed all of pre-season as a rookie and he’s dealing with his second offensive coordinator in less than two years.
But that’s the world we live in now. Fantasy football and instant hot takes have ripped away the patience of the sports world.
15 or 20 years ago you would’ve been laughed at for wanting to call Davis a bust just a few games into his second season.
That’s because 15 or 20 years ago there was a rule of thumb that everyone went by.
Running backs and wide receivers weren’t expected to be big contributors as rookies. Running backs were expected to break out in their second season (assuming they weren’t buried behind a star on the depth chart) and wide receivers were expected to breakout in their third season.
— Erik Bacharach (@ErikBacharach) November 15, 2018
The third season used to be when a team could start “counting on” a wide receiver to be a focal point of their offense.
Players like Steve Smith, Roddy White, and more recently Davante Adams (just to name a few), all saw big jumps in their performance from their second to third seasons.
Are there players who make an impact as a rookie or second year wide receiver?
Of course. But you have to take into account what type of situation those players are stepping into. If a wide receiver has a huge rookie season, it’s typically because they’re playing with an established quarterback in an established system.
Davis didn’t have either of those things as a rookie. Not to discount Marcus Mariota, I think he’s probably the longterm answer for the Titans, but he was still mostly unproven coming into the 2018 season. And the Titans’ offensive system was new this season.
Both of those are things Davis will have to overcome to become a Pro-Bowl caliber wide receiver (he has that type of talent).
Davis is only going to get better the longer he’s in Matt LaFleur’s offensive system. He’s already showing he can be a number one wide receiver in the NFL (his performances against the Eagles and the Patriots showed us his true potential).
By this time next year, I think we’ll see Davis breakout in a big way. And that’s the way it should be.
We all need to learn a little patience.
After all, jumping to conclusions is rarely a good move.
Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports