Rookie Wide Receivers Not Too Productive

So you're expecting big things from a rookie wide receiver if the Vikings draft one at No. 7 or No. 18, are you? Think again. The averages from the last dozen NFL drafts show a much different picture for first-round wide receivers, and the numbers are eye-opening.

If the Vikings expect immediate impact from their No. 7 overall pick, that might not happen with a wide receiver.

No matter how high they go in the selection process, wide receivers aren’t nearly as productive as many casual observers seem to think. In the Vikings’ entire team history they have drafted a WR in the first round only three times — Randy Moss at No. 21 overall in 1998, Gene Washington at No. 8 in 1967, and Jack Snow at No. 8 in 1965.

That said, this writer and admitted draftnik would be comfortable with Mike Williams or Braylon Edwards at No. 7 but none of the others that high. As for the rumors that have the Vikings considering a trade up to get Edwards, we're not convinced on the value of that.

But the rookie wide receiver trend goes much further than just the Vikings’ draft picks. We took a look at the past dozen drafts league-wide and how the first-round receivers fared. In analyzing the past drafts, we had gone back farther than 1993 but with these players fresher in people’s minds, that is where we ended. The results were a little surprising.

The receivers picked in the top 10 averaged only 40 receptions, 539 yards and fewer than four touchdowns in their rookie seasons. By comparison, at the Vikings’ third wide receiver last year Marcus Robinson produced 47 catches for 657 yards and eight touchdowns.

So maybe the Vikings should wait until the 18th pick to select a wide receiver, hoping for better value, right? No surprisingly, the production from rookie receivers selected between the 11th and 32nd overall picks wasn’t any better than the top-10 group. The second-tier receivers averaged 32 catches for 480 yards and three touchdowns. Not surprisingly, Randy Moss raised the average with his incredible rookie season in 1998.

Here are the results from this draftnik’s research:

 

        First-Year Stats
1st-Round WRs (1992-2004) Year Team Pick Rec. Yds. TD
Keyshawn Johnson 1996 NYJ 1 63 844 8
Charles Rogers 2003 Det. 2 22 243 3
Andre Johnson 2003 Hou. 3 66 976 4
Larry Fitzgerald 2004 Ariz. 3 58 780 8
Peter Warrick 2000 Cin. 4 51 592 4
Michael Westbrook 1995 Wash. 4 34 522 2
Desmond Howard 1992 Wash. 4 3 20 0
Torry Holt 1999 StL 6 52 788 6
Roy Williams 2004 Det. 7 54 817 8
Ike Hilliard 1997 NYG 7 2 42 0
Terry Glenn 1996 N.E. 7 90 1132 6
Curtis Conway 1993 Chi. 7 19 231 2
David Terrell 2001 Chi. 8 34 415 4
Plaxico Burress 2000 Pitt. 8 22 273 0
David Boston 1999 Ariz. 8 40 473 2
Joey Galloway 1995 Sea. 8 67 1039 7
Reggie Williams 2004 Jax. 9 27 268 1
Koren Robinson 2001 Sea. 9 39 536 1
Travis Taylor 2000 Balt. 10 28 276 3
J.J. Stokes 1995 S.F. 10 38 517 4
Average (Top 10 Picks)       40 539 3.7
             
Lee Evans 2004 Buff. 13 48 843 9
Donte Stallworth 2002 N.O. 13 42 594 8
Troy Edwards 1999 Pitt. 13 61 714 5
Michael Clayton 2004 T.B. 15 80 1193 7
Rod Gardner 2001 Wash. 15 46 741 4
Yatil Green 1997 Mia. 15 0 0 0
Santana Moss 2001 NYJ 16 2 40 0
Kevin Dyson 1998 Tenn. 16 21 263 2
Reidel Anthony 1997 T.B. 16 35 448 4
Sean Dawkins 1993 Ind. 16 26 430 1
Bryant Johnson 2003 Ariz. 17 35 438 1
Charles Johnson 1994 Pitt. 17 38 577 3
Eddie Kennison 1996 StL 18 54 924 9
Ashley Lelie 2002 Den. 19 35 525 2
Marvin Harrison 1996 Ind. 19 64 836 8
Javon Walker 2002 G.B. 20 23 319 1
Sylvester Morris 2000 K.C. 21 48 678 3
Randy Moss 1998 Minn. 21 69 1313 17
Johnnie Morton 1994 Det. 21 3 39 1
Eric Moulds 1996 Buff. 24 20 279 2
Thomas Lewis 1994 NYG 24 0 0 0
Freddie Mitchell 2001 Phl. 25 21 283 1
O.J. McDuffie 1993 Mia. 25 19 197 0
Rae Carruth 1997 Caro. 27 44 545 4
Michael Jenkins 2004 Atl. 29 7 119 0
R. Jay Soward 2000 Jax. 29 14 154 1
Derrick Alexander 1994 Clev. 29 48 828 2
Reggie Wayne 2001 Ind. 30 27 345 0
Marcus Nash 1998 Den. 30 4 76 0
Rashaun Woods 2004 S.F. 31 7 160 1
Kevin Johnson 1999 Clev. 32 66 986 8
Average (Picks 11-32)       32 480 3

 

 


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