We have all heard about the high "bust rate" of wide-outs and how they are risky picks in the first round.
There is also a lot of discussion here about our #1 need, or certainly a major need, being a Franchise Wide-Out: the next Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald. In short a dynamic play maker who you can depend on for a reasonable amount of time.
Mark Clayton and Mark Duper spring to mind.
So keeping specific prospects out of it, I decided to take a look at just how likely it has been for an NFL team to find a productive wr who stays with the team for more than a few seasons. The answer is not very.
Of the 31 wrs taken in Round One in the seven drafts from 2000 to 2006 only 10 of them are still with the team that drafted them. You could argue that a one in three average isn't that bad...but it really means you are twice as likely to pick, sign and spend big $$ on a player you will not have in five years than you are of getting a starter, let alone a weapon.
And fire-power is the whole point of taking a wr early. Possession recievers end up in the middle to late rounds. When you spend a first round pick on a "skill position" you are looking for a play-maker and a game-breaker. Of the above mentioned 10...fewer still fall into that category.
So now we're down to 7 out of 31 or less than .250. Looking at it from the other direction that means that despite the fact that every single one of these players had outstanding college careers (or at least one outstanding year), that they were extensively scouted, tested at the combines, prodded on their pro days and analyzed right down to their DNA, that 24 times an NFL team chose and gave $millions to a receiver who did not deliver on the promise they thought he had.
"They weren't who we thought they were!"Seven years of Wrs in Rd 1. A year by year look.
2000- None of the five wrs taken in the first round of the 2000 draft are still in the NFL. As many busts as the Playboy mansion.
2001 - 6 wrs chosen only two Wayne and Sanata Moss still in the NFL - only Wayne still with his original team.
2003 - 3 wrs - only Andre Johnson is worth mentioning.
2004 - 7 wrs! Larry Fitz, Lee Evans and Michael Jenkins came through on their promise...the rest - meh...anyone remember Rashaun Woods?
Woods finished his college career at Oklahoma State University with 293 receptions, 4,414 yards and 42 touchdowns - all Big 12records. Rashaun was a two time all-american. He became the eighth player in NCAA Division 1-A annals to gain over 1,000 yards receiving in a season three times in a career.
The 49's probably wish they could forget him....last seen being cut from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2007
2005 - 6 wrs - only Roddy White looks like a franchise player - the Falcons BTW, are two for two here; we should find out who they like. Mike Clayton is the only other one still with the team which drafted him (Balt) but really a role player and Braylon Edwards is the only other one still with "Franchise" potential - just not in Cleveland.
2006 - Holmes was the only wideout taken in Round One...the jury (figuratively and possibly literally) is still out.
The last three years have brought some good, a couple of great and some yet-to be-determined wrs to the league.
2007 saw 6 wrs, including our own Ted Ginñata. Of the bunch Calvin Johnson is clearly the only one at this point who "are what we thought he were." Bowe and Meachem are good, Gonzalez got hurt and missed his chance to shine last fall and Craig Davis seems to be sinking into the Pacific.
There were no wrs taken in the First Round of the 2008 Draft...NFL GMs were probably shell-shocked at that point.
2009 - too early to tell - 6 wrs taken - Harvin had the biggest impact, Crabtree appears to be as advertised and Heyward-Bey is yet more proof that a stop watch can't take the place of a scouting department.
What this boils down to is if you are looking to spark your offence by picking a wr in Round One it's literally a crap shoot. The odds of rolling 7 are 6 to 30 or 5-1 ...pretty much the same odds as picking the next Calvin Johnson.
No team with Bill Parcells in the front office has ever taken a wr in Round one. I guess he doesn't like the odds.