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.
|FIRST-ROUND WIDE RECEIVERS (last 10 years)|
|2014||Odell Beckham, NYG||91||1,305||12||297.0||8||8%|
|2014||• Mike Evans, T.B.||68||1,051||12||245.1||13||-13%|
|2014||• Kelvin Benjamin, Car.||73||1,008||9||227.8||16||-100%|
|2011||A.J. Green, Cin.||65||1,057||7||218.0||17||38%|
|2015||Amari Cooper, Oak.||72||1,070||6||214.7||21||8%|
|2018||• Calvin Ridley, Atl.||64||821||10||208.8||20||-6%|
|2011||Julio Jones, Atl.||54||959||8||203.5||21||29%|
|2009||Percy Harvin, Min.||60||790||8||200.5||23||6%|
|2014||Sammy Watkins, Buff.||65||982||6||200.0||27||9%|
|2012||• Justin Blackmon, Jac.||64||865||5||184.8||29||-59%|
|2018||DJ Moore, Car.||55||788||2||163.0||36||43%|
|2009||Hakeem Nicks, NYG||47||790||6||162.8||33||54%|
|2013||• Cordarrelle Patterson, Min.||45||469||9||161.7||38||-41%|
|2009||Jeremy Maclin, Phil.||56||773||4||156.6||35||47%|
|2012||Kendall Wright, Ten.||64||626||4||151.0||45||42%|
|2010||Dez Bryant, Dall.||45||561||8||149.1||42||41%|
|2019||Marquise Brown, Balt.||46||584||7||146.4||46||?|
|2013||DeAndre Hopkins, Hou.||52||802||2||144.2||49||62%|
|2014||Brandin Cooks, N.O.||53||550||4||139.3||56||82%|
|2013||• Tavon Austin, St.L.||40||418||6||132.9||53||-28%|
|2009||Kenny Britt, Ten.||42||701||3||130.1||52||35%|
|2016||• Will Fuller, Hou.||47||635||3||128.2||61||-12%|
|2009||Michael Crabtree, S.F.||48||625||2||122.5||60||35%|
|2012||Michael Floyd, Ariz.||45||562||2||113.2||65||76%|
|2015||DeVante Parker, Mia.||26||494||3||93.4||78||65%|
|2016||• Corey Coleman, Cle.||33||413||3||93.3||82||-30%|
|2017||Corey Davis, Ten.||34||375||0||71.5||85||157%|
|2010||Demaryius Thomas, Den.||22||283||2||62.4||95||79%|
|2015||Nelson Agholor, Phil.||23||283||1||57.3||101||53%|
|2011||Jonathan Baldwin, K.C.||21||254||1||52.4||108||12%|
|2015||Phillip Dorsett, Ind.||18||225||1||48.2||110||105%|
|2019||N'Keal Harry, N.E.||12||105||2||39.4||124||?|
|2009||Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oak.||9||124||1||29.3||118||151%|
|2017||Mike Williams, LAC||11||95||0||20.5||139||500+%|
|2016||Josh Doctson, Was.||2||66||0||8.6||169||500+%|
|2016||Laquon Treadwell, Min.||1||15||0||2.5||187||500+%|
|2017||John Ross, Cin.||0||0||0||1.2||199||500+%|
|2012||A.J. Jenkins, S.F.||0||0||0||.0||195||500+%|
|2015||Breshad Perriman, Balt.||0||0||0||0||--||500+%|
|2015||Kevin White, Chi.||0||0||0||0||--||500+%|