MIAMI – As hot takes go, former Lions wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst Nate Burleson had a pretty good one two years ago at the Super Bowl in Minnesota when he was asked about then Lions rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay.
"This may be the hottest take of the year, but I feel like Golladay has the possibility to be a No. 1 receiver," Burleson told detroitlions.com at the time. "Golladay can go in and really shock the world if he can just stay healthy, be patient, take advantage, don't rock the boat."
Boy did Burleson hit the mark on that one. Golladay was coming off a rookie year in which he missed five games due to injury and caught just 28 passes for 477 yards and three touchdowns.
He's since lived up to Burleson's lofty expectations the last two years, recording back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, leading the NFL this year in touchdown receptions (11), and making his first Pro Bowl.
So, what does Burleson think the next couple years will have in store for Golladay?
"When you watch him he's so fluid that you kind of assume that he's maybe around my height, but he's not," Burleson said Thursday at this year's Super Bowl of Golladay. "Big frame, big hands, aggressive at the point of attack.
"He's not a 1B dude. He is a true No. 1. You don't find guys like that that can run the routes that he can run but also are aggressive with their hands. Think about how many body catches we have in this league. People catch with the body in traffic, but when (Golladay) goes and snatches that ball out of the air, it kind of reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald, like really strong hands, very confident in his hands and that's a rarity in the league right now.
"I can't wait to see what he does this upcoming season with a healthy Matt Stafford. But Kenny, that's my guy, he's like my new favorite player. I have his jersey at home. I'm a true fan of his."
The next step for Golladay, according to Burleson, is becoming a 100-catch receiver. Golladay caught 65 passes for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. While his yards and touchdowns both ranked in the top 10 in the league, his 65 receptions ranked 41st.
"I'm never really a big fan of yardage," Burleson said. "Touchdowns, which he does, and more catches. Now he's that guy you create a game plan around. He's proven to take on that responsibility. I think it's just more numbers and he'll be ready for it."