We spent much of the spring, in the run-up to the NFL draft, discussing just how good this crop of rookie wide receivers could be. That talk continues, and if the early returns are any indication, it might be a truly special group.
Sammy Watkins has been making circus catches on a routine basis in Buffalo Bills camp. Brandin Cooks looks like the real deal in the New Orleans Saints' high-voltage offense. Kelvin Benjamin has stepped up as the No. 1 receiver Cam Newton needs. All three were first-round picks, and none have done much to disappoint yet.
Watkins might not have done much in two preseason games so far, but he certainly has looked — and sounded — terrific in practice so far.
Cooks, meanwhile, has started cranking it up and has some people talking him up as an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate and the man most likely to help replace Darren Sproles. Check out the move Cooks put on St. Louis Rams rookie corner E.J. Gaines on a 25-yard catch, run and score.
Cooks also has been making plays like this on a regular basis in Saints practice.
If you missed Benjamin's pro debut — outshining Watkins in the game — and his absolutely sparkling touchdown catch, here it is.
Early in camp, Benjamin was plagued by a bruised knee, but he clearly has established himself as the go-to guy and the player to succeed Steve Smith as the top dog in Carolina.
But it's not just a three-man crew. Others have impressed early, too.
Second-rounder Jordan Matthews could end up being the Philadelphia Eagles' best receiver at some point soon, perhaps even this season. He has been the talk of camp, and the team thinks he can create mismatches while lining up in the slot with his size, but inconsistency might be a slight concern.
Mike Evans missed a chunk of the offseason with a hamstring injury but has worked in with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' starters and is likely to line up opposite Vincent Jackson there, possibly from Jump Street.
Jarvis Landry might not be a blazer, but his hands — has he dropped a pass yet in practice? — have been the talk of the town in Miami Dolphins training camp. Landry also will have heavy duty on special teams, and he had an outstanding debut against the Atlanta Falcons with a punt return of 48 yards and a kickoff for 26.
When considering who might help offset the pass-catching losses of Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno for the Denver Broncos, do not forget to include second-rounder Cody Latimer. Although Latimer currently sits fourth on the WR depth chart and fifth in Peyton Manning's receiving totem pole when you include tight end Julius Thomas, the rookie has shown great confidence, physical prowess and mental acuity, having played in a demanding offensive system under Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson. Latimer could surprise people in Year 1.
The star of Arizona Cardinals camp? John Brown. Who? Yes, the slim wideout from Pittsburg State (Kans.) has been a revelation after not long ago Cardinals fans were bemoaning him being picked so high. He was a beast in the preseason opener, and GM Steve Keim (via Grantland) had a bombshell of a quote, saying the team has not seen any rookie wideout of his immediate impact since Anquan Boldin, one of the most productive rookie receivers in NFL history.
The Eagles' Josh Huff, the Colts' Donte Moncrief and the 49ers' Bruce Ellington are other rookie wideouts who have opened eyes. The Packers' Jared Abbrederis would be on this list, too, had he not suffered a torn ACL last week.
Still, there have been a few disappointments among the rookie crop.
Odell Beckham Jr. has been held up by a hamstring injury and hasn't had enough reps with the New York Giants' first-team offense to safely predict immediate returns. But the team has high hopes for him, even with the early setbacks.
Marqise Lee is likely to be busy for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season, but head coach Gus Bradley did make a few less-than-enthusiastic comments about Lee before feeling the need to clarify them and soften his stance a bit later.
Davante Adams has been given a chance to win the departed James Jones' No. 3 receiver spot and reportedly has flashed but also has been plagued by some dropped passes, muffed punts and a wrist injury that has the team being cautious with him.
But we're talking about a pretty special-looking group early on. Last season, the San Diego Chargers' Keenan Allen became only the 12th rookie in NFL history to reach the 1,000-yard mark in their first season, but we might see two or three rookies crash that vaunted list this season.