Position Plus/Minus: A detailed look at Georgia football wide receivers in 2020
Every Tuesday, we’re going to take a deep dive on every Georgia position in the run-up to the 2020 season. Georgia figures to have one of the most talented teams in the country and the Bulldogs have a number of talented players across the board. But there are still some questions that have to be answered if the Bulldogs are to achieve their end goals.
This week we take a look at the wide receiver position.
PLUS: The most talented player on the team
George Pickens showed in the Sugar Bowl that when he is fully locked in, there might not be a better player on the Georgia team. Pickens caught 12 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown as he earned MVP honors for the game.
The now sophomore scored a touchdown in each of his final four games as a freshman. In total, he led Georgia receivers with 49 catches for 727 yards and 8 touchdowns. Add in the fact that Georgia’s new offensive coordinator Todd Monken has a great track record with wide receivers, from Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State to Mike Evans with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it’s not unrealistic to think that Pickens could become the second receiver in program history to have a 1,000-yard season.
But Pickens does have some very specific areas he can improve in. As he and Georgia coach Kirby Smart acknowledged, the Hoover, Ala., native does have some growing to do. He was suspended twice last season, once for an unspecified violation of team rules and another time for throwing a Georgia Tech defender into a brick wall.
If Pickens does continue to mature, it could make life a whole lot easier for whoever lines up at quarterback for Georgia in 2020.
MINUS: Injury history
The Georgia wide receivers have not always been the healthiest bunch and that could be a worry once again in 2020.
Then there’s Dominick Blaylock. Like Pickens, Blaylock showed a lot of promise during his freshman season. He just didn’t get a chance to finish it in spectacular fashion like Pickens, as Blaylock tore his ACL in the opening quarter of Georgia’s SEC championship loss to LSU.
All indications are that Blaylock will be ready to go for Georgia’s opener against Virginia on Sept. 7. But the far bigger game for Blaylock might be against Alabama on Sept. 19. That will be the game that Georgia really needs him to be ready by.
Wide receiver was a huge issue for Georgia last season. In addition to a lack of top playmakers, they were also snake-bitten buy injuries. We haven’t even mentioned the departed Lawrence Cager, who missed a number of games due to shoulder and ankle injuries.
Georgia’s quarterback, whether it be Jamie Newman or JT Daniels, needs to have its best pass catchers on the field. That means avoiding injuries.
PLUS: Young reinforcements
It’s well established how much of a need wide receiver was for Georgia. Kirby Smart and wide receivers coach Cortez Hankton brought in an infusion of talent as the Bulldogs signed five wide receivers in the 2020 class.
All five offer something a little different. Smith is the fastest of the group, while Robinson is the most physical. Rosemy figures to be the one most-ready to help right away, while Burton is the most complete wide receiver.
Much like it needed Pickens and Blaylock last season, Georgia once again will need contributions from these freshmen wide receivers. Pickens and Blaylock were top-40 overall recruits and by the end of the season, you felt very comfortable about what they could give you. Georgia will need the same from some of the five freshmen from the 2020 class.
MINUS: Possible chemistry issues
Georgia will have a new offensive coordinator, a new quarterback and a brand new offense. And the Bulldogs will have to break in that new offense without the benefit of having spring practice.
Lost are the extra reps and organized seven-on-seven workouts that span the entire offseason. Georgia is back on campus now and does have the opportunity to organize those, but not with coaches present. It has to be on the players.
Many of the things that would get worked out over the long summer are now less likely too. Newman, Daniels or whoever ends up being the starting quarterback won’t have as much time to develop trust in the wide receivers, simply due to the loss of reps.
This makes the month of August, when practice returns, all the more crucial for the wide receivers. It’s cliche to say it, but in practice leading up to the start of the season, every single rep is going to matter for this group given how it has been disrupted over the past four months.
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