It's been an interesting couple of weeks for wideouts selected late in the first round -- both in 2019, and recent years. N'Keal Harry is on IR. Josh Doctson and Laquon Treadwell (2016 vintage) were released in final cutdowns. And Marquise Brown just won some fantasy matchups (or frustrated teams by blowing up from their bench). So did Phillip Dorsett (2015).
The "Hollywood" Brown game was particularly impressive, since his debut was better than some entire seasons for rookie wideouts selected in his area of the draft. Granted, he wasn't facing an actual NFL team when he caught 4 passes for 147 yards and 2 TDs last week, but still. Impressive debut.
I pulled out the numbers for all wide receivers drafted late in the first round -- I chose picks 20-32, or 31 for a couple of those years -- since 2000. Shown are their rookie year receiving numbers, and not surprisingly those haven't been great. One 1,000-yard guy, and just five even making it to 800 yards.
|LATE FIRST-ROUND WRS (PICKS 20-UP), 2000-PRESENT|
|2014||28||Kelvin Benjamin, Car.||73||1008||9|
|2007||23||Dwayne Bowe, K.C.||70||995||5|
|2006||25||Santonio Holmes, Pitt.||49||824||3|
|2018||26||Calvin Ridley, Atl.||64||821||10|
|2013||27||DeAndre Hopkins, Hou.||52||802||2|
|2009||22||Percy Harvin, Minn.||60||790||8|
|2009||29||Hakeem Nicks, NYG||47||790||6|
|2018||24||D.J. Moore, Car.||55||788||2|
|2009||30||Kenny Britt, Tenn.||42||701||3|
|2000||21||Sylvester Morris, K.C.||48||678||3|
|2016||21||Will Fuller, Hou.||47||635||3|
|2012||20||Kendall Wright, Tenn.||64||626||4|
|2007||32||Anthony Gonzalez, Ind.||37||576||3|
|2010||24||Dez Bryant, Dall.||45||561||8|
|2014||20||Brandin Cooks, N.O.||53||550||4|
|2005||22||Mark Clayton, Balt.||44||471||3|
|2013||29||Cordarrelle Patterson, Minn.||45||469||9|
|2005||27||Roddy White, Atl.||29||446||3|
|2005||21||Matt Jones, Jac.||36||432||5|
|2001||30||Reggie Wayne, Ind.||27||345||0|
|2002||20||Javon Walker, G.B.||23||319||1|
|2015||20||Nelson Agholor, Phil.||23||283||1|
|2010||22||Demaryius Thomas, Den.||22||283||2|
|2001||25||Freddie Mitchell, Phil.||21||283||1|
|2011||26||Jon Baldwin, K.C.||21||254||1|
|2015||29||Phillip Dorsett, Ind.||18||225||1|
|2007||30||Craig Davis, S.D.||20||188||1|
|2004||31||Rashaun Woods, S.F.||7||160||1|
|2000||29||R. Jay Soward, Jac.||14||154||1|
|2004||29||Michael Jenkins, Atl.||7||119||0|
|2016||22||Josh Doctson, Wash.||2||66||0|
|2016||23||Laquon Treadwell, Minn.||1||15||0|
|2015||26||Breshad Perriman, Balt.||0||0||0|
|2007||27||Robert Meachem, N.O.||0||0||0|
|2012||30||A.J. Jenkins, S.F.||0||0||0|
|2019||25||Marquise Brown, Balt.||?||?||?|
|2019||32||N'Keal Harry, N.E.||?||?||?|
But forgetting rookie numbers alone, which are often poor for rookie receivers, what about their careers? How many of the guys on this list would be drafted in the first round again? Those are the players I listed in bold in the table.
I count 12 out of 35, which is about 35 percent, and I think I'm being reasonable. I decided to sign off early on Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore, and I included some guys who had a couple or three good seasons but not superstars (Bowe, Nicks, Harvin). No on Kenny Britt. Will Fuller was another tough one -- talented guy, but can he put together a healthy season at some point? He's missed 17 of 32 games over the last two seasons. Phillip Dorsett is having some nice games in New England, but he might be their No. 4 this week.
What I thought was especially interesting was that nearly all the guys who hit put up solid numbers as rookies. Of my 12, six had at least 790 receiving yards in their first seasons. Only three (Roddy White, Reggie Wayne and Demaryius Thomas) were under 500.
Which says to me that if Harry and Brown are going to be successful pros, they'll likely need to put up decent numbers right out of the gate. The guys who didn't generally fizzled out. A worrying sign for Harry, and good news for Brown.