Four Duck Receivers Primed to Break Out

Ryan Robertson Editorials

The 2019 season saw Oregon receivers drop nearly 20 fewer passes than in 2018. Unfortunately for the Ducks, they still led the Pac-12 in dropped passes. With Juwan Johnson and Jacob Breeland departing, a new wave of receivers will have to step up and cover their nearly 900 combined yards of receptions.

Second-year coach Jovon Bouknight has already made an impact, conditioning the Ducks’ receivers to a Pac-12 level. With another offseason to train, expect the coach to mold this group into one of the best in the conference.

With Johnny Johnson III, Jaylon Redd and Mycah Pittman returning, Oregon’s receiving corps will likely be strong, but will require more output from other players. Look for the following four players to provide that production in 2020.

Isaah Crocker, Wide Receiver

Isaah Crocker could end up with a similar skill set to Johnny Johnson III.

The former N0. 33 wide receiver in the 2018 class, Isaah Crocker has yet to carve out a role in the Oregon WR corps. The receiving room is dying for a big-play threat, and Crocker has the athletic ability to scratch that itch.

At 6’1″ and 175 pounds, Crocker isn’t as physically imposing as the other receivers on this list, but his speed and agility will force the coaching staff to put him on the field. The redshirt sophomore has flashed at times in practice and scrimmages, but hasn’t seen much playing time in games.

Crocker could also increase his value to the offense by becoming a strong down-field blocker, a la Brenden Schooler. Doing so would give him an expanded role in an offense focused on running the ball.

Expect all that to change in 2020. With the door open, Crocker is just the player to fill the role of “big-play threat” and take pressure off of the new starting quarterback to make great throws every play.

Devon Williams, Wide Receiver

Devon Williams should be able to fill the role that Juwan Johnson filled, or maybe even improve upon it.

Devon Williams took a long, confusing, indirect route to Eugene. Despite that, the USC transfer is finally on campus and ready to take over the receiving room.

Williams measures an impressive 6’5″ and weighs 200 pounds. With the frame of a first-option receiver in the NFL, Williams comes to campus with all-conference talent to a void where a big-bodied wide receiver should be.

Williams had limited playing time at USC, but had 5 catches for 98 yards. The Ducks could use a 6’5″ receiver who averages nearly 20 yards per catch in a variety of ways, and Williams may even push Johnson III for the No. 1 receiver spot.

Expect Williams to play early and often in 2020, using his frame to catch contested passes and acting as an avid blocker. The development of Williams will be key to the 2020 season and beyond.

Spencer Webb, Tight End / Wide Receiver

Will Spencer Webb be able to replicate the production of Jacob Breeland?

Spencer Webb ended 2019 with 18 catches for 209 yards and 3 touchdowns. Webb started the season by pulverizing the Auburn defense, but struggled to stay on the field throughout the season.

Webb stands at 6’6″ and weighs 246 pounds. That is another NFL body attached to an Oregon pass catcher. Webb has shown the best hands among the tight ends on the roster, and was moved to wide receiver at various points throughout the season.

The positional movement appeared to take a toll on Webb, as he struggled with blocking at times and had to be taken off the field for running plays during the middle of the season. If Webb is going to reach his potential, he will need to become a better blocker.

Webb also disappeared from games at times, and struggled to get separation against man coverage. With all-conference potential, Webb will need to work on getting open against press coverage.

With Cam McCormick continuing to struggle with injuries, Breeland graduating and Hunter Campmoyer struggling to catch the ball, expect Webb to be the Ducks go-to at tight end in 2020.

Bryan Addison, Wide Receiver

Bryan Addison is an excellent blocker, but will his receiving skills match his blocking skills in 2020?

Bryan Addison had an up and down season in 2019, struggling to maintain playing time over Johnson and Pittman when they returned from injury. Addison dropped a touchdown pass against Auburn, but redeemed himself throughout the season by proving himself to be the best down-field blocker of any Oregon receiver.

Addison finished the year with 18 catches for 203 yards, and his 6’5,” 190 pound frame gives him a height advantage over most defensive backs. Addison struggled to find consistent openings in the defense, and had issues catching the ball at times.

Another year of learning under Bouknight should alleviate the issues with catching and getting open, leading to Addison becoming one of the better receivers in the conference. Another year under Aaron Feld should give Addison the physical tools to dominate in the red zone.

Expect Addison to develop in to one of the best receivers in the conference in 2020, potentially leading the Ducks in red-zone receptions. After getting stronger in the offseason, Addison could become an absolute force for years to come.

How This Would Help the Ducks

Johnson III, Redd and Pittman are going to be a trio to be reckoned with in 2020, but they lack size. The development of the four receivers mentioned above will give the new Ducks’ quarterback the ability to throw with less accuracy than what was required this year, as the receiving corps should have true red-zone threats.

Giving the offense a broader scope of capabilities would go a long way to ensuring that the Ducks make it through their first two games unscathed, and would give the team more depth should injuries become an issue. We will find out just how good these players are immediately, as the Ducks play arguably the best teams in both the FBS and FCS to start the season.

Ryan Robertson
Yuma, ArizonaTop Photo Credit: Kevin Cline

Natalie Liebhaber, the Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the financial technology industry in Bozeman, Montana.

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