Analysis of Wide Receivers taken in the first round of the NFL Draft 2000-2009

For close to two months we have been analyzing the results of the draft picks made the past decade by all NFL teams in the first round by position.  What if we told you to reread Rule #3 before guessing how the Wide Receivers did?

Rule #3: WRs are a dime a dozen. Do not waste resources here; pick one up when you are close to the prize. They are always available.

Exhibit A.  Randy Moss for a 4th rounder. (Yes, we know..  Al Davis should be institutionalized.)

Exhibit B.  Santonio Holmes for a 5th rounder.

If these divas are not getting kicked out (Terrell Owens), they are busy making themselves miserable enough to get traded (Braylon Edwards, Brandon Marshall).  It’s a parade of players going from one team to the next.  Now if this was not a good enough reason to stay away from these psychotic thoroughbreds, here is one more…

THEY BUST!

 

Year Player Pick Starts TDs Pro Bowls Wonder’s Grade
2000 Peter Warrick 4 60 18   7
  Plaxico Burress 8 139 55   2
  Travis Taylor 10 90 22   6
  Sylvester Morris 21 14 3   7
  R. J. Soward 29 2 1   7
2001 David Terrell 8 30 9   6
  Koren Robinson 9 70 16 1 4
  Rod Gardner 15 62 23   7
  Santana Moss 16 105 46 2 3
  Freddie Mitchell  25 17 5   6
  Reggie Wayne 30 128 63 4 1
2002 D Stallworth 13 60 32   4
  Ashley Lelie 19 59 15   4
  Javon Walker 20 46 31 1 3
2003 Charles Rogers 2 9 4   7
  Andre Johnson  3 102 42 5 1
  Bryant Johnson 17 67 15   4
2004 Larry Fitzgerald 3 92 59 5 1
  Roy Williams 7 75 37 1 4
  Reggie Williams 9 53 18   5
  Lee Evans 13 89 39   2
  Michael Clayton 15 56 10   4
  Michael Jenkins 29 55 18   5
  Rashaun Woods 31 0 1   7
2005 Braylon Edwards 5 69 32 1 2
  Troy Williamson 7 24 4   5
  Mike Williams 10 7 2   7
  Matt Jones 21 15 15   4
  Mark Clayton 22 59 12   4
  Roddy White 27 59 27 2 2
2006 Santonio Holmes 25 48 20   2
2007 Calvin Johnson 2 40 21   1
  Ted Ginn 9 35 5   6
  Dwayne Bowe 23 40 16   3
  Robert Meachem 27 10 12   3
  Craig Davis 30 1 1   7
  A Gonzalez 32 12 7   3
2009 D Heyward-Bey 7 11 1   5
  Michael Crabtree 10 11 2   3
  Jeremy Maclin 19 13 4   3
  Percy Harvin 22 8 6   2
  Hakeem Nicks 29 6 6   3
  Kenny Britt 30 6 3   3
          0.5 4.1

 

A few quick notes before we resume the discussion.  (1) Pete reviewed the grades and disagreed (by more than 1 pt) on 7 of these guys out of 43 total.  Most of them were examples of Pete giving a player a 4 or 5 where Wonder had a 6 / 7.  As we have stated before, Wonder is a tougher grader.  We have to stick with him at this point because consistency matters as we compare position to position.  It should nonetheless be emphasized that they generally agreed or were within 1 point on almost every single player graded between a 1 and 4. (2) Players drafted in 2009 are still very much in flux.  It is conceivable that many will end up as 2′s or perhaps even higher.  Pete already had Nicks as a 2. 

If you count up the players who got a 6 or 7, they add up to a staggering 12 out of 43 or 28%!!!  Folks, that is a humongous pothole.  These guys end up on the scrap heap with DE and DT.  Now obviously the way the class of 2009 is shaping up, with 5 or maybe even 6 out of 6 becoming solid starters or better, these statistics do not spell damnation of any ONE draft pick or any ONE draft class.  They are a broad warning not to go fishing for too long in this pond.  What you catch will not rate to be all that good, and when it is good it will find its way to another’s bucket (Burress, Moss, Holmes, Edwards..).

Philosophically, my real feelings toward WRs are summed up succinctly in Rule #3.  The NFL wants passing, so I get it that every team has to have their gleaming thoroughbred race horse.  I’d rather have the defense.  Darrelle Revis excites me much more than these 1′s up there.  It’s like the good pitcher vs the good hitter in the post season.  Give me the shutdown corner.  When the Giants took Nicks (after taking Moss2, Smith2, Manningham3 in the past 3 years) and passed up on the MLB, it was a little too much for me.  At least Nicks is (as far as Diehl can tell) not a headcase and he is the real deal.  But look at the holdout of Crabtree- a classic WR response to falling in the draft and still wanting more money. 

These guys as a group are not worth it.  You better be damn sure the one you are taking at the very least has the proper attitude.  Bad attitude in a #1 pick is trouble.  Put that in a WR and it is only a matter of time before they are looking for greener pastures.  Use that to your advantage: (1) stay away from these players at the top of the draft and (2) pick one up (ie Burress) when the parade comes through town. 

Position PBowls Rating
G/C 1.6 3.0
LB 0.9 3.2
CB 0.5 3.3
RB 0.9 3.4
OT 0.5 3.7
S 1.4 3.8
DT 0.6 4.1
DE 0.5 4.1
WR 0.5 4.1

 

So with TE and QB the only positions left, the landscape is coming into focus.  What will be just as interesting is looking at the “returns” from each of the 32 slots in the draft on average the last 10 years.  It is not a wide enough sample to be examining 10-person averages, but for all 32 slots as a group it will be fine.  And then of course we will be able to compare how each team did through the decade, to see what they took and how they did. 

Quantcast