Wide receiver Kenny Golladay had a breakout second season in Detroit in 2018.
He reached the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the first time in his career with 1,063 yards on 70 catches (15.1 avg.) in 15 games. He was one of five players in the NFL last season to record 70-or-more receptions, average at least 15.1 yards per reception and record five touchdowns.
Not bad for the former third-round pick coming off an injury-plagued rookie campaign.
But talking with Golladay at Lions training camp, he doesn’t think he’s even scratched the surface of his potential.
“I know everybody has high expectations for me but their expectations aren’t as high as mine,” he said after practice Wednesday. “I feel like I just have a lot to prove.”
That mentality has served Golladay well early in his NFL career. He has terrific physical gifts with speed and power on a 6-foot-4, 214-pound frame. He also has a humble mentality and tireless work ethic.
“This is just the beginning, I feel like,” he said. “I’m still growing as a receiver. I’m only coming into my third year. I’m still young in the game. I understand that. The coaches remind me of that all the time. I don’t ever want to get a big head. If it’s out there taking extra reps or staying after practice and doing extra, I’m all for it.”
One thing Golladay can expect in 2019 is that he will no longer fly under the radar of opponents, especially after he became Detroit's No. 1 receiver the second half of last year when Marvin Jones Jr. went out with an injury and Golden Tate was traded to Philadelphia.
“I think for Kenny, last year was a real interesting year for him. I thought we were able to do a couple different things for him, move him around and kind of get him out the box as far as things he has done in the past and I think he really grasped that concept really well,” head coach Matt Patricia said.
“One of the reasons we did that obviously because coming out of the first year - he is not unknown anymore. People are going to be looking for him and at that point, for us it was how do we just get him in good positions. We’re kind of running out of different ways to do that, so it becomes even more difficult as we go forward.”
Defenses are certainly going to be dialed in to where Golladay is on the field. Patricia expects that Golladay is going to see coverages he’s never seen before, and this season will be a bigger challenge for him in that regard.
Golladay says the game is slowing down for him entering his third season. He hopes to pick up right where he left off last season, even if defenses pay more attention to him. He’s looking forward to that challenge and the opportunity to show that he’s one of the best young all-around receivers in the league.
“I don’t know if people think I’ve already proven a lot,” Golladay said. “I don’t think I have. I’m still trying to do what I got to do. I’m still trying to solidify myself in this league.”