1st Round WR’s 2000-2004: A Real Horror Story
(Originally posted by me at Mocking The Draft)
In just a couple of weeks, the streets will be filled with witches, goblins, ghosts and other nightmarish creatures as they roam door to door demanding candy. But if you really want to scare your friends this Halloween, you should dress up as one myriad 1st round WR busts who entered the NFL between 2000 and 2004. Just hearing the name “Rashaun Woods” or “R.Jay Soward” is enough to send a chill up any general manager’s spine. Drafting WR’s is exceptionally difficult, but the early part of last decade produced some real nightmares.
When you draft any player in the 1st round, you are hoping for a cornerstone of your franchise. A player who will not only be a game-changing talent, but someone who can bring longevity and long-term stability to his position. Unfortunately, it rarely works that way. Consider these haunting facts:
Between 2000-2004 there were 24 WR’s drafted in the 1st round. Of those, only Reggie Wayne (2001, Colts), Andre Johnson (2003, Texans) and Larry Fitzgerald (2004, Cardinals) are still with their original team. Less than half (11) are still active in the league.
The 24 WR’s have cumulatively averaged just 3 catches and 42 yards per game over the course of their careers. Only 4 of the receivers (Fitzgerald, A.Johnson, Wayne and Santana Moss) have averaged 4+ catches per game. Only 7 have averaged 50+ receiving yards per game:
But that’s not all. Of the 24 1st round WR’s in this time period, only a quarter of them (Wayne, Fitzgerald, A.Johnson, Lee Evans, Michael Clayton and Michael Jenkins) played more than 5 seasons with their drafting team. So much for “long term stability”. This is what it looks like in graphical form:
Three 1st rounders (Rashaun Woods, R.Jay Soward and Sylvester Morris) only played one season in the league. The majority of the others played out their rookie contracts (typically 4 or 5 year deals) and bolted for greener pastures – or the unemployment line.
The 2000-2004 1st round WR’s have compiled 154 seasons played and 90 of those (58%) have resulted in fewer than 50 receptions:
Not scared yet? Take out the three superstars (Wayne, Fitzgerald, A.Johnson) and the other 21 WR’s have averaged a paltry 13% of their team’s catches throughout their career. Hardly what one hopes for when selecting a receiver early in the draft.
So when the spring rolls around and your favorite team is considering a WR on Day 1 of the draft, don’t get your hopes up too high. As exciting as it is to imagine Alshon Jeffery, Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd as the next Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson, the WR class of 2012 is likely to produce more tricks than treats.