Want Your Team to Draft a Wide Receiver Early? Think Again.
In recent years, first-round receivers have been busts far more often than not.
At 6’1” and 190 pounds, former Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Calvin Ridley projects to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft and has drawn comparisons to ex-Packers wideout Greg Jennings.
Jennings was a second-round pick (No. 52) and, if NFL teams are paying attention to recent history, that may be where they should consider taking Ridley as well as most of his pass-catching peers.
Over the past three drafts, only one out of the 13 wide receivers who were picked in the first round have been selected to the Pro Bowl (Amari Cooper). Out of those selections, nine have never caught 40 passes in a season. (In some cases, injuries have been a factor.)
The reasons for this are myriad (different terminology, changes in route-running technique, how they’re taught to catch the ball), but it appears young wide receivers are in a bad way in the NFL.
Due to that concern, it’s possible this could be the year no receiver gets picked in the first round, according to 17-year NFL wideout and former Panthers position coach Ricky Proehl.
“We heard that more with running backs, that they’re a dime a dozen, that you don’t take them in the first round,” he said. “When I was coaching, there were classes with Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Odell Beckham. The receivers coming out just didn’t impress at the combine—no true route runners, and there may not be a whole lot [going in the first round].”
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