Meachem moving?

Former University of Tennessee wide receiver Robert Meachem is understandably thrilled to have been a first-round selection by the New Orleans Saints in the recent National Football League Draft.

Still, the ex-Vol probably shouldn't get too comfortable in the Big Easy. In fact, it might be wise to rent a home instead of buying one. Figures compiled by Pat Kirwan and posted at NFL.com show that wide receivers rarely spend a lot of time with the teams who draft them, even when they are picked in Round 1.

According to Kirwan's research, none of the five wideouts taken in Round 1 of the 2000 NFL Draft are still with the team that chose them. Only one of the six receivers picked in Round 1 of 2001 remains with his original team. Of the three wideouts picked in Round 1 of 2002 – Donte' Stallworth (Saints), Ashley Lelie (Denver Broncos) and Javon Walker (Green Bay Packers) – not one is still with the team that selected him just five years later.

In other words, of the 14 first-round wide receivers selected during that three-year span, only one is still with his original team. That would be former Miami University standout Reggie Wayne, who recently completed his sixth season with the Indianapolis Colts.

Stallworth, who played his college ball at Tennessee, is a prime example of the transient nature of NFL wideouts. He stuck with the Saints from 2002-2005, but spent 2006 with the Philadelphia Eagles and will open 2007 with the New England Patriots.

Lelie followed a similar path. He spent four years with his original team (Broncos), spent 2006 with the Atlanta Falcons and will open 2007 with the San Francisco 49ers.

Walker also got the four-year itch. After demanding the Packers trade him following his fourth season in Green Bay, he soon will begin his second year with the Broncos. Coincidentally, he was acquired because Lelie (selected one pick earlier in the 2002 draft) didn't pan out in Denver.

Interestingly enough, the Patriots signed Stallworth as an unrestricted free agent on March 13, the same day they signed former Vol teammate Kelley Washington as an unrestricted free agent.

Stallworth caught 38 passes for 725 yards (19.1 yards per catch) and five touchdowns in 12 games for the Eagles last season. Washington played in just five games for the Bengals, catching nine balls for 115 yards (12.8 per catch) and one TD.

Stallworth and Washington gave the Big Orange a terrific 1-2 receiving punch in 2001. No doubt, they expected to do the same for New England in 2007. Instead, they probably are destined to be complementary receivers. That's because the Pats recently acquired talented but disgruntled Randy Moss, a former first-round wideout who previously played for the Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders.


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