Rookie Receivers in the NFL (Stats and more Stats!)

I apologize in advance for the weaving stat lines below.  I put this together and published it with everything looking neat and tidy.  Bah!

I was putting together a post regarding rookie receivers and how they have fared in the NFL and then noticed Orange and Blue just put together one of his own regarding rookie receivers.  I also noticed he had a different slant on his article; projecting Thomas and Decker's numbers compared with similar draft round picks in 2009 and 2008.  Read his post, you'll like it.

Since I wanted to provide a different viewpoint of how the NFL's wide receiver rookies have fared over the last number of years - including notable names going back over 10 years and more - I thought both our posts would provide information for MHR members to absorb and chew.

I compiled a list of the top-performing rookies from 2009 back to 2005 (top 5 for each year with a notable WR or two thrown in who didn't crack the top 5), regardless of draft position, in order to provide stats for everyone to appreciate and draw comparisons of their own regarding WR size, WR speed, QB's throwing them the ball, team WR competition, etc.  I then went back from 2004 to 1985 (heck, I even listed one from 1962 because I had a poster of him on my wall when I was a kid!), with names of notable receivers whose rookie stats I thought would be enjoyable to see and compare.

Anyway... on with the stats!  Try using caffeine to help absorb the dizzying amount of numbers.  I know I used it to research them...


2009:                          Rec.          Yards         Avg.          TD          20+

Austin Collie               60             676           11.3            7            11

Percy Harvin                60            790            13.2            6            12

Jeremy Maclin             56            773            13.8            4            11

Michael Crabtree        48            625            13.0            2            10

Mike Thomas               48            453            9.4             1              7

Not really enough information from the 2009 class to infer much, other than Crabtree might have had quite the year if he would have reported to TC on time, but interesting to note how they were used and how much injury can play a role in a receiver's chance to shine (see Collie, Austin).  The top 3 did have quality veteran QB's, if you want to make a note of that.

2008:                          Rec.            Yards            Avg.        TD         20+

Eddie Royal                  91            980            10.8            5            8

DeSean Jackson        62             912            14.7            2            17

DeVon Bess                 54            554            10.3            1            5

Donnie Avery                53            674            12.7            3            8

Jordy Nelson                33            366            11.1            2            3

Royal surprised everyone in the NFL with his rookie campaign (I don't even think MHR Kool-Aid'ers saw that one coming).  No... I don't use Kool-Aid'ers in a derogatory manner.  I love 'em!  They're crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy in the middle...

2007:                          Rec.        Yards            Avg.         TD           20+

Dwayne Bowe            70            995            14.2            5            13

Calvin Johnson         48             756             15.8           4            12

James Jones             47            676            14.4            2            10

Anthony Gonzales      37            576            15.6            3            11

Laurent Robinson      37            437            11.8            1            5

(Notable) S. Rice        31            396            12.8            4            3

Here are some guys with size that compare well regarding measurables to our rookies.  Bowe and Johnson, at least.  If our guys put up those numbers for their rookie campaigns... SWEEEEEET!  What I like here, as well, is that the top 2 did NOT have good veteran QB's tossing the pigskin, yet came out with solid numbers.

2006:                             Rec.       Yards           Avg.           TD          20+

Marques Colston          70        1,038            14.8            8            15

Santonio Holmes         49            824            16.8            2            12

Greg Jennings              45            632            14               3            10

Hank Baskett                 22            464            21.1           2              6

Demetrius Willimas     22            396            18              2              9

(Notable) B. Marshall   20            309            15.5           2             3

Colston and Jennings are two more bigger receivers who may measure comparably to our rookies.  If Thomas puts up Colston numbers and Decker mirrors Jennings... me likey!  Notable again that the top 3 had solid veteran QB's slinging the pill.

2005:                          Rec.         Yards          Avg.          TD         20+

Mark Clayton               44            471            10.7            2            3

Reggie Brown             43            571            13.3           4            10

Matt Jones                   36            432            12               5            5

Braylon Edwards        32            512            16               3            9

Chris Henry (R.I.P.)    31            422            13.6            6            5

(Notable) R. White      29            446           15.4            3            4

(Notable) V. Jackson  03            59             19.7            0            2

Not much to see here except the notable receivers who didn't crack the top 5 during their rookie campaigns.  Roddy White and Vincent Jackson took time to develop into elite receivers in the league.

The next group of stats is the fun bunch, here (with apologies to Marky Mark).  I thought it would enjoyable for MHR's to take a gander at a number of big-time receivers from the past and what they accomplished in their rookie campaigns.  Voila!

Other Notable Wide Receivers' Rookie Efforts From Previous Years

Name/Year              Rec.       Yards         Avg.          TD           20+

L. Fitzgerald ('04)    58           780            13.4            8            15

A. Boldin ('03)         101        1,377           13.6            8            20

A. Johnson ('03)      66            976            14.8           4            14

R. Wayne ('01)         27            345            12.8            0            6

P. Burress ('00)       22            273            12.4            0            3

T. Holt ('99)               52            788            15.2            6            12

R. Moss ('98)            69         1,313            19              17           20

M. Harrison ('96)      64            836            13.1            8            15

T. Owens ('96)          35            520            14.9            4            7

J. Rice ('85)               49            927            18.9            3            ?

Lance Alworth ('62)  10            226             22.6           3            ?

Lance Alworth 1968  68         1,312           19.3          10            ?

Alworth's '68 stats were made in 14 games!  WOW!  Had to include those numbers from way... back... when.  They would be impressive now.

So there you have it.  No inference or projections made regarding how our rookie Wide Receivers will or should do this year.  Just stats with a smidge of commentary thrown in for good measure.  I hope you enjoy absorbing the info as much as I did putting it together.  I'm looking forward to a solid 2010 Broncos campaign (along with fans of 31 teams with regards to their gridiron gang, I'm sure).

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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