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First-round receivers

Hit rate increases in second year

I’m not a big fan of rookie wide receivers. There were a bunch of them selected early this year, but I think that for the vast majority of those guys, the payoff seasons will come in the future. The odds are stacked against players at this position hitting it big right away.

Consider, for example, the 40 wide receivers selected in the first round in the last decade. Only 10 of those 40 put up top-30 numbers in their first seasons. (That’s using PPR scoring.)

There have been a few hits, I will concede. Odell Beckham put up top-10 numbers in his first season. Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin and A.J. Green were all able to crack the top 20.

But the hit rate goes way up in the second year. For that same group, almost twice as many were able to put up top-30 numbers in their second season. Again using PPR scoring, 18 out of 38 (two wide receivers, being selected in 2019, haven’t yet played their second season).

For those 38 first-round receivers drafted from 2010 to 2018, all but eight of them put up better stats in their second year.

So if I’m walking into a draft, I’m a lot more interested in choosing Hollywood Brown or N’Keal Harry, rather than any of the wide receivers picked in the first round in April.

I’m in an on-going crawl draft as we speak. Middle of the 12th round, and five rookie receivers have just gone off the board. That left me Harry with pick 12.07, and I like the way that played out. I expect Harry will outperform all of those guys.

Back at 7.06, I had a chance to select Hollywood Brown. I was thinking about him (he went with the next pick) but went the safer route with Marvin Jones. Brown is more dynamic, but this is PPR scoring, and I think Jones will catch a lot more balls.

Below are rookie numbers for wide receivers chosen in the first round in the last 10 years. The eight guys who got worse in year two I have tagged with black dots.

2014Odell Beckham, NYG911,30512297.088%
2014• Mike Evans, T.B.681,05112245.113-13%
2014• Kelvin Benjamin, Car.731,0089227.816-100%
2011A.J. Green, Cin.651,0577218.01738%
2015Amari Cooper, Oak.721,0706214.7218%
2018• Calvin Ridley, Atl.6482110208.820-6%
2011Julio Jones, Atl.549598203.52129%
2009Percy Harvin, Min.607908200.5236%
2014Sammy Watkins, Buff.659826200.0279%
2012• Justin Blackmon, Jac.648655184.829-59%
2018DJ Moore, Car.557882163.03643%
2009Hakeem Nicks, NYG477906162.83354%
2013• Cordarrelle Patterson, Min.454699161.738-41%
2009Jeremy Maclin, Phil.567734156.63547%
2012Kendall Wright, Ten.646264151.04542%
2010Dez Bryant, Dall.455618149.14241%
2019Marquise Brown, Balt.465847146.446?
2013DeAndre Hopkins, Hou.528022144.24962%
2014Brandin Cooks, N.O.535504139.35682%
2013• Tavon Austin, St.L.404186132.953-28%
2009Kenny Britt, Ten.427013130.15235%
2016• Will Fuller, Hou.476353128.261-12%
2009Michael Crabtree, S.F.486252122.56035%
2012Michael Floyd, Ariz.455622113.26576%
2015DeVante Parker, Mia.26494393.47865%
2016• Corey Coleman, Cle.33413393.382-30%
2017Corey Davis, Ten.34375071.585157%
2010Demaryius Thomas, Den.22283262.49579%
2015Nelson Agholor, Phil.23283157.310153%
2011Jonathan Baldwin, K.C.21254152.410812%
2015Phillip Dorsett, Ind.18225148.2110105%
2019N'Keal Harry, N.E.12105239.4124?
2009Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oak.9124129.3118151%
2017Mike Williams, LAC1195020.5139500+%
2016Josh Doctson, Was.26608.6169500+%
2016Laquon Treadwell, Min.11502.5187500+%
2017John Ross, Cin.0001.2199500+%
2012A.J. Jenkins, S.F.000.0195500+%
2015Breshad Perriman, Balt.0000--500+%
2015Kevin White, Chi.0000--500+%

—Ian Allan

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