Who Will be This Year’s Cooper Kupp?
Let’s get this out in the open right away. There will not be a Cooper Kupp in 2022, including Cooper Kupp himself. What he did last season was historic. He led the NFL in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, and his receptions and yardage numbers were the second highest of all time.
His 11 100-yard receiving games tied an NFL record, and he is the only receiver in NFL history to go over 1,900 yards with as many as 16 touchdowns.
Matthew Stafford deserves some of the credit – the Rams finished fourth in Real Quarterback Rating – but the team’s second-place ranking in Real Passing Yds/Attempt is largely a product of Cooper Kupp. (Both are stats provided by Cold, Hard Football Facts that give a more complete look at effective passing attacks.)
Since we shouldn’t expect a repeat of Cooper Kupp’s incredible season, who might get the closest this year?
Let’s keep it in the Rams family with their new wide receiver, Allen Robinson. He has long been considered the most talented wide receiver in the NFL without a good quarterback, which you might have said about Cooper Kupp prior to Stafford’s arrival in L.A.
Cooper Kupp was good in 2019 and 2020 with Jared Goff as his quarterback. He was otherworldly with Stafford. Robinson was even better than Cooper Kupp in 2020 with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles as his quarterbacks, and with the Bears ranking 25th in Real Passing Yds/Attempt. What heights can he reach with Stafford, Sean McVay, and Cooper Kupp drawing the attention of the defense?
Look for Robinson to challenge new career highs in receptions (102), yards (1,400), and touchdowns (14).
It’s not a stretch to suggest that Mike Evans is going to have a good season in Tampa Bay. In eight NFL seasons he has gone over 1,000 yards eight times. He’s had double digits in touchdowns four times, and he has caught as many as 96 passes in a season.
With Chris Godwin slowed to begin the season and Rob Gronkowski not taking away red zone looks – at least not until he unretires in November to make another run at the Super Bowl – Evans will be the unquestioned top target in Tampa.
No one should be surprised if Evans finishes the 2022 season with 110 catches, 1,600 yards, and 15 touchdowns – which would all be career highs.
Stefon Diggs has been a target machine in Buffalo, averaging 165 targets per year since becoming a Bill in 2020. He also has a combined 230 catches over those two seasons, 18 touchdowns, and 2,755 yards.
And that was with Cole Beasley taking 112 targets last season and 107 in 2020.
Beasley is now gone, and while Gabriel Davis will get a good chunk of the former Beasley targets, Diggs will too. And when you play on a team that finished first in Cold, Hard Football Facts’ Real Quarterback Rating Differential, it means Diggs is in line to have his best season ever.
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