10 years of Wide Receivers - Long
Another thread got me interested in success of WRs taken in the first round. I thought WR was one of the more secure picks a team could make in the 1st. Given we'll likely be drafting between 4 and 10 in the first, we'll be in the position to grab the premier wide receiver in the first round. Unfortunately, they aren't as sure of a thing as one would hope.
Here they are by Year, indicated with round drafted, name, and where they were picked in the round. Bolded players are they ones who contributed at or above that of a first or second round pick - kind of subjective, but whatever.
1-Curtis Conway (7), 1-Sean Dawkins (16), 1-O.J. McDuffie (25)
2-Kevin Williams (46), 2-Victor Bailey (50), 2-Qadry Ismail (52), 2-Vincent Brisby (56)
1-Charles Johnson (17), 1-Johnnie Morton (21), 1-Thomas Lewis (24), 1-Derrick Alexander (29)
2-Darnay Scott (30), 2-Isaac Bruce (33), 2-Kevin Lee (35), 2-David Palmer (40), 2-Ryan Yarborough (41), 2-Bert Emanuel (45), 2-Bucky Brooks (48)
1-Michael Westbrook (4), 1-Joey Galloway (8), 1-J.J. Stokes (10)
2-Frank Sanders (47), 2-Jimmy Oliver (61)
1-Keyshawn Johnson (1), 1-Terry Glenn (7), 1-Eddie Kennison (18), 1-Marvin Harrison (19), 1-Eric Moulds (24)
2-Alex Van Dyke (31), 2-Amani Toomer (34), 2-Bryan Still (41), 2-Muhsin Muhammad (43), 2-Bobby Engram (52), 2-Derrick Mayes (56)
1-Ike Hilliard (7), 1-Yatil Green (15), 1-Reidel Anthony (16), 1-Rae Carruth (27)
2-Joey Kent (46), 2-Kevin Lockett (47), 2-Will Blackwell (53)
1-Kevin Dyson (16), 1-Randy Moss (21), 1-Marcus Nash (30)
2-Jerome Pathon (32), 2-Jacquez Green (34), 2-Patrick Johnson (42), 2-Germane Crowell (50), 2-Tony Simmons (52), 2-Joe Jurevicius (55)
1-Torry Holt (6), 1-David Boston (8), 1-Troy Edwards (13)
2-Kevin Johnson (32), 2-Peerless Price (53)
1-Peter Warrick (4), 1-Plaxico Burress (8), 1-Travis Taylor (10), 1-Sylvester Morris (21), 1-R. Jay Soward (29)
2-Dennis Northcutt (32), 2-Todd Stinkson (36), 2-Jerry Porter (47)
1-David Terrell (8), 1-Koren Robinson (9), 1-Rod Gardener (15), 1-Santana Moss (16), 1-Freddie Mitchell (25), 1-Reggie Wayne (30)
2-Quincy Morgan (33), 2-Chad Johnson (36), 2-Robert Ferguson (41), 2-Chris Chambers (52)
1-Donte Stallworth (13), 1-Ashley Lelie (19), 1-Javon Walker (20)
2-Jabar Gaffney (33), 2-Josh Reed (36), 2-Tim Carter (46), 2-Andre Davis (47), 2-Reche Caldwell (48), 2-Antwaan Randle El (62), 2-Antonio Bryant (63), 2-Deion Branch (65)
1-Charles Rogers (2), 1-Andre Johnson (3), 1-Bryant Johnson (17)
2-Taylor Jacobs (44), 2-Bethel Johnson (45), 2-Anquan Boldin (54), 2-Tyrone Calico (60)
WRs Drafted in the Top 10 Rd 1
1993-Curtis Conway (7) -- Solid.
1995-Michael Westbrook (4) -- BUST
1995-Joey Galloway (8) -- Solid. Never had a QB.
1995-J.J. Stokes (10) -- Mediocre.
1996-Keyshawn Johnson (1) -- PRO BOWLER
1996-Terry Glenn (7) -- Solid. 1-time Pro Bowler.
1997-Ike Hilliard (7) -- BUST
1999-Torry Holt (6) -- PRO BOWLER
1999-David Boston (8) -- 1-time Pro Bowler. Does nothing but violate steroid policy now.
2000-Peter Warrick (4) -- Mediocre. Not worth 4th overall.
2000-Plaxico Burress (8) -- Very good.
2000-Travis Taylor (10) -- BUST
2001-David Terrell (8) -- Mediocre
2001-Koren Robinson (9) -- Solid.
2003-Charles Rogers (2) -- Two season enders in a row. Doesn't look good.
2003-Andre Johnson (3) -- PRO BOWLER (future)
Lesson 1: If you have the opportunity to draft a WR from the U of Florida...DON'T DO IT! Holy God, every single one of them has stunk. Stick with Florida St - Laverneous Coles, Anquan Boldin, Javon Walker.
Lesson 2: Seems the best time to draft a WR is in years where the class is deep, unless there's a Randy Moss. Weak years seem to inflate average, flawed players to higher draft positions. Is Mike Williams enough of a physical freak to warrant a high draft choice in a very weak WR year? Given he would have been a high to mid 1st last year in an incredibly deep WR year, I feel yeah, he's that good.
Lesson 3: When in doubt, select the WR who can catch. Seems obvious, but teams get hypnotised by guys who run fast but in retrospect couldn't catch that well. See Michael Westbrook and JJ Stokes. The guys who have had success are mostly the ones whose primary strength was their hands - Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Keyshawn, Terry Glenn, Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Chris Chambers, Joe Jurevicius, etc. Great speed does not make up for average hands. Great hands can make up for average speed.