The NFL Draft is an inexact science; we know this. First-rounders bust every year, at every position. But evaluations seem particularly shaky at wide receiver, especially recently.
Think back to 2014; that was a nice year. Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham and Brandin Cooks went in the first round that year; a pretty remarkable draft class.
There have been five drafts since then, and 17 wideouts selected in the first round in those seasons. Jury is still out on a couple of those players, but overall results have been poor.
Of those 17 players, only about half (9) are still with the teams that drafted them -- just 2 of the 10 selected before 2017. (DeVante Parker, pictured, who finally broke out last season, and Will Fuller.) The other eight are with their second or third teams or out of the league entirely. Again: these are players drafted since 2015, so they've washed out kind of quickly.
Under a quarter (4) of the 17 players have had a top-20 fantasy season thus far. More than half (9) haven't even had a season where they cracked the top 50. (PPR scoring.) A majority of the most recent picks (Calvin Ridley, DJ Moore and Marquise Brown) have started out strong, but the overall snapshot is shaky.
Table shows the best fantasy rank to this point for each of those first-round wideouts. Top-20 guys are in bold.
|FIRST-ROUND WIDEOUTS, 2015-2019|
It's a good-looking crop of wideouts this year, highlighted by Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs. A year or two from now, we might look at this group as favorably as the 2014 class.
But given the number of recent misses in round 1, best to keep expectations for these guys in check. There will be some Docton or Treadwell types, or maybe Parker or Perriman -- guys that need a few seasons before they put it all together.