Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Look at Recent First Round WR Picks

by: Chris Sullivan

Well, everybody has us going with Michael Crabtree, and honestly I'm probably still in that boat right now. We'll see how the Combine goes, of course, but he seems like a freak athlete who could be a real ballhawkin' game changer. Still, the big concern is with WR busts, so I thought I'd look at the last four Drafts and check out the Bust v. Booms in the first round picks. Ugh, pardon the poor quality, did this in a rush!

Green guys I considered unqualified successes (though I'm not happy with Edwards--he made the Pro Bowl, and that's the ONLY reason he would justify a 3 pick, so, y'know, do with that what you will). The main thing is that I was looking at them based on the value they should provide at their pick. Anthony Gonzalez is no Lee Evans, but neither should he be expected to be, etc. Red players are failures, in my mind at leas; Craig Davis should have qualified too, but I was too busy being confused about who the hell Craig Davis was to color his name all fancy.

Anyway, it seems like for the most part there are a lot of success stories, a lot of failures, and a lot of middle-of-the-roaders, but the heavily touted guys--Fitzgerald, Williams, Edwards, Williamson, Johnson--seem to have done fairly well. The great-hands crowd (Fitz and Johnson especially) have made waves--Calvin Johnson is imprisoned by his terrible team, but he still has shown flashes of brilliance out there.

Anyway, I actually did more digging before, but then lost the first five years of the analysis. Oops. It tended to continue corraborating the above stuff, though; the main difference is that the further out we get, the better read we get. For example, Koren Robinson looked like a great signing two years in (fewer drops), but we all know how that turned out in the end.

So, what do you guys think? What makes a WR bust in the NFL?

[UPDATE: Additional draft data on first round wide receivers and tackles going all the way back to 1987 can be found here and here, courtesy of Seahawk Addicts reader Phil N d'Blanc. Thanks, Phil! -Ed.]