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Rookie receivers

First-year pass catchers will make an impact

Somebody in the comments section (Robert S, I think) was asking about rookie receivers, and whether any of them will post top-40 numbers. I think I can answer that one. Yes, definitely.

In nine of the last 10 years, multiple receivers have finished with top-40 overall stats. (That’s using PPR scoring). And in each of the last three years, at least three have been up in the top 30.

It will happen. I’m don’t think there will be a JaMarr Chase or Justin Jefferson guy who’s way up in the top 10, but there were be some viable receivers.

In the last 10 years, 26 wide receivers have finished with top-30 numbers – about 2-3 per years. Just 12 have made the top 20, so you’re getting down to about one guy per year.

As a I pointed out a few weeks back, a good number of these guys will be players selected outside the first round. Of the last 33 rookie receivers to finished with top-40 numbers, only 15 were picked in the first round. Over half were selected later, and I’ve got them tagged with black dots.

As I stack my board at receiver, there are no rookies in the top 30. I don’t think there’s one you can even consider. But there will be 1-4 up there at the end of the year, so it’s reasonable about 40 receivers into a draft, I think, to start throwing darts in that direction – Treylon Burks (pictured), Drake London, Garrett Wilson, Christian Watson, Skyy Moore.

In the chart below, the numbers are a little funny. Yards include not only receiving yards but also rushing yards (almost all of these guys had a few). I thought it got clunky when try to list rushing with its own columns. And similarly with touchdowns: they’re mostly receiving touchdowns but include runs and returns.

The first number (Pk) shows the player’s draft position.

2021JaMarr Chase, Cin.5811,47613306.65
2021Jaylen Waddle, Mia.61041,0187247.812
2021• Amon-Ra St. Brown, Det.112909736227.322
2021DeVonta Smith, Phil.10649165187.630
2020Justin Jefferson, Min.22881,4027274.26
2020CeeDee Lamb, Dall.17741,0177219.722
2020• Chase Claypool, Pitt.496288911216.923
2020• Tee Higgins, Cin.33679366196.628
2020Brandon Aiyuk, S.F.25608257184.535
2019• A.J. Brown, Ten.51521,1119217.122
2019• DK Metcalf, Sea.64589117193.129
2019• Terry McLaurin, Was.76589197191.930
2019• Deebo Samuel, S.F.36579616191.131
2019• Darius Slayton, NYG171487408170.037
2019• Diontae Johnson, Pitt.66597216167.139
2018Calvin Ridley, Atl.266484810208.820
2018DJ Moore, Car.24559602163.036
2017• JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pitt.62589178197.720
2017• Cooper Kupp, LAR69628695178.925
2016• Michael Thomas, N.O.47921,1379259.77
2016• Tyreek Hill, K.C.1656186012219.018
2016• Sterling Shepard, NYG40657148184.436
2015Amari Cooper, Oak.4721,0676214.721
2014Odell Beckham, NYG12911,34012297.08
2014Mike Evans, T.B.7681,05112245.113
2014Kelvin Benjamin, Car.28731,0089227.816
2014• Jordan Matthews, Phil.42678728202.225
2014Sammy Watkins, Buff.4659906200.027
2014• Jarvis Landry, Mia.63847545189.430
2013• Keenan Allen, S.D.76711,0468223.618
2013Cordarrelle Patterson, Min.29456279161.738
2012• T.Y. Hilton, Ind.92508908187.028
2012Justin Blackmon, Jac.5648885184.829

—Ian Allan

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