Wide Receiver: 1st Rounders Aren’t a Guarantee of Success

Perhaps we Jaguar fans have been cursed by early success.  I have been a fan since year 2 (don’t blame me as I’m a Texan, and we’re cursed to watch the Cowboys and Texans just about every Sunday).  I think back on the early Jags, and it was always dominated (or so it seemed to me, a young teenage guy that rarely had the chance to watch the Jags) by their offense: Mark, Jimmy, Keenan, and Fred.  The Jags were blessed/cursed to have 2 talented guys at wide receiver on Sunday.  I say cursed as I think that some, as casual fans, expect that it is easy to get a topnotch guy.  Just draft (insert random receiver here); he’ll put this team over the top.  The Jags have been trying to replace Jimmy going on 4 years.

When I hear the talk of Michael Crabtree, Maclin, Harvin, et al… I can’t help but think of what a first round receiver has meant for those teams grabbing one early: sadly it isn’t success more often than not.  As Jaguar fans I would think we can surely appreciate the abysmal failure rate of 1st Round Receivers.  Hell, the Jags have been bit 3 times in 8 years by 1st round receivers since 2000.

There have been 37 receivers drafted in Round 1 since 2000 (none last year however).  Maybe teams are starting to wise up a bit.  This year will be the test.


FACT: A 1st Round Receiver is more likely to be Out of Football (OOF) than play in the Super Bowl.
There are by my count seven 1st Round Receivers that are OOF compared to six receivers who have played on a Super Bowl team.  And I believe that ratio is skewed a bit by the fact 2 of those 6 “Super Bowl 1st Rounders” were Freddie “Thank God for These Hands” Mitchell and Travis Taylor, not exactly the ideal 1st Rounders themselves.  In fact Right Said Fred is OOF, so he really just cancels himself out.

FACT: A 1st Round Receiver is more likely to end up with another team than become a long term solution.
Of the 37 1st Round Receivers since 2000 only 16 are left with their original team (retention rate of 43%).  7 are with their 2nd team (19%); 3 are with their 3rd team (8%); 4 are on their 4th team (11%).  And of course 7 are OOF (19%).

FACT: While I abhor most fans’ Pro Bowl standards 1 out of 4 1st Round Receivers have made at least 1 Pro Bowl.
That’s much better odds if you consider 25% lucky, but you have to look a little deeper at the guys who made it to Hawaii.  Of those 10 only 3 have been to multiple Pro Bowls (Larry “There’s No Cheering in the Press Box” Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, and Andre Johnson).  Those are 3 studly receivers.  Who are the others you may ask?
- Braylon Edwards (Bad case of the drops – 1 Pro Bowl)
- Roddy White (Back to back stellar years – 1 Pro Bowl)
- Lee Evans (Cursed to play with the post-Jim Kelly Bills – 1 Pro Bowl)
- Roy Williams (Do most people realize he’s only had 1 season with over 850 yards, and that was 2 years ago? – 1 Pro Bowl)
- Santana Moss (Nice receiver, not great, 3 1000 yard seasons in 8 years)
- Koren Robinson (He made it as a returner for Minnesota, not receiver)
- Javon Walker (only 3 years worth a flip – his other 4 years he didn’t crack 325 yards receiving)

FACT: Percy Harvin, Maclin, Darius Heyward-Bey, and Crabtree are all sexy names.
A hit on a wide receiver is sexy and exciting (see Johnson, Fitzgerald and Wayne.  Before you trash the Jags if they DON’T pick a receiver in round 1 think of these names: Charles Rogers, Peter Warrick, David Terrell, Mike Williams, Rod Gardner, Freddie Mitchell, R Jay Soward, Robert Meachem (in fairness injury has seriously hurt him – but think of him if the Jags don’t go with Crabtree), Rashaun Woods (think Crabtree), Sylvester Morris, Troy Williamson, Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Craig Davis (think Crabtree), and the list could continue.

I really believe that the right way to build the Jags is best available player.  I won’t be upset with the Jags for taking Crabtree (if he’s around), or trading back and grabbing one of those other wide receivers if they are the best available.  Just remember that more than likely one of those guys will be out of football in 5 years.  That's a sobering thought.  Patience is the key.  You find good football players in every round.  Best Available Player might not be sexy, but it's good sound business.

This is my first fan post on Big Cat Country.  Corrections, suggestions, props, and helpful criticism are always welcome.


FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors of Big Cat Country or SB Nation.

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