Earlier, we looked at potential 3,000-yard passers around the league.  Now we take a peek at some of the playmakers on the other end of the pitch-and-catch: the wide receivers.  And as ironic as it may seem, I anticipate several 1,000-yard receivers despite having predicted only one 3,000-yard passer in the SEC.

Wide receiver is a position stocked with talent league-wide.  With the explosiveness of offenses, expect SEC wideouts to be some of the best in the country thanks to the depth and talent around the conference.

Heading into the opening weekend of 2014, there are three receivers who are virtually locks to reach the 1,000-yard plateau. Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Mississippi State’s Jameon Lewis and Auburn’s Sammie Coates are without doubt the best wideouts in the league right now and are centerpieces of their respective offensive attacks.  Let’s take a look at how each player will reach 1,000 yards.

Though he spent most of last year injured, Amari Cooper still showed flashes of what he produced during his 2012 freshman campaign and all SEC defensive coordinators certainly know what he’s capable of on the outside.  After catching 1,000 yards and 11 TDs in ’12, Cooper tallied only 736 yards and 4 touchdowns last year.  However, look for the junior to return to form this year under Lane Kiffin, providing either Jacob Coker or Blake Sims progress as a first-year starter.

Everyone who spends a little time down on The Plains knows who Sammie Coates is, and it’s well-deserved.  Though the Auburn offense presents itself as a run-heavy scheme, expect Gus Malzahn to use Nick Marshall’s full year in the system to throw the ball more, especially more in important situations.  Coates caught 42 balls for 902 yards, averaging 21.5 yards a catch.  Reaching 1,000 yards should be within grasp for him, especially anticipating that the Tigers will air it out more.

You may not have heard his name often, but you will in 2014.  Jameon Lewis is highly-touted as a senior and is a playmaker who has finally understood his potential under Dan Mullen and is primed for a breakout in 2014.  Lewis caught 64 passes for 923 yards in ’13, but with a lot of pressure on the Bulldogs and Dak Prescott, Lewis could have the biggest impact for his team, more so than Cooper or Coates.

There are numerous other wide receivers who should have very good years for their teams, such as highlight machine Marquez North, South Carolina speedster Shaq Roland and Laquon Treadwell of Ole Miss.  You can catch our full 2014 SEC wide receiver projections here.

Best chance to reach 1,000 yards:

  • Amari Cooper, Alabama
  • Sammie Coates, Auburn
  • Jameon Lewis, Mississippi State

Should come close:

  • Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
  • Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M
  • Duke Williams, Auburn
  • Shaq Roland, South Carolina

Too tough a feat?

  • Marquez North, Tennessee
  • Chris Conley, Georgia
  • Michael Bennett, Georgia
  • James Blue, Kentucky