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Drafting 1st Round WRs Isn't Easy


If equipped with 20/20 hindsight, sifting through the past 10 NFL drafts clearly shows that selecting a wide receiver in the first round is like trying to find a pot of gold in a minefield.

Thus, if the Ravens choose to draft a receiver in the first round this year, it's certainly not guaranteed that he will be a difference-maker in Baltimore's offense.

For example, for every Andre Johnson there's a Charles Rogers.

Both wide receivers were taken in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft. The Detroit Lions selected Rogers out of Michigan State with the No. 2 overall pick. The Houston Texans took Johnson of Miami one pick later at No. 3.

After breaking his collar bone twice during his first two seasons, then failing a drug test in 2005, Rogers finished his career in 2006 with 15 games played, four touchdowns and 440 receiving yards.

Johnson, on the other hand, is a four-time Pro Bowler, led the NFL in receiving yards in 2008 and 2009 with more than 1,500 each season, and topped or tied all of Rogers' career statistics in just his rookie year.

There are countless more examples of total steals and utter forehead-slappers. Let's take a look at some of the best from the past decade.


Hit: No. 8, Plaxico Burress, Pittsburgh Steelers – Tough to dub a guy in jail as a hit, but Plaxico certainly was one of the game's top threats before his legal trouble. He has four 1,000-plus yard seasons and helped the Giants to a Super Bowl win.

Miss: No. 4, Peter Warrick, Cincinnati Bengals – Warrick never turned into anything special. He averaged 46 catches and less than 500 yards per season over his six-year career.


Hit:No. 30, Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts – Five receivers went before Wayne in the first round. He has turned into an elite target with four Pro Bowls and six straight 1,000-plus yard seasons.

Miss:No. 9, Koren Robinson, Seattle Seahawks – Robinson had one great year in 2002. Remove that and he averaged 429 yards and 31 catches per year. He played in the UFL this past year.


Hit: No. 20, Javon Walker, Green Bay Packers – This draft was full of flash-in-the-pan first-round wideouts. Walker may be the best of the bunch but it's a tough call. At least Walker put together two standout seasons in 2004 and 2006 with 1,382 and 1,084 yards, respectively.

Miss: No. 13, Donte' Stallworth, New Orleans Saints – The first wide receiver taken this year, Stallworth has had some productive years, including a seven-touchdown year with the Saints in 2005, but was also suspended for all of 2009.


Hit: No. 3, Andre Johnson, Houston Texans

Miss:No. 2, Charles Rogers, Detroit Lions


Hit:No. 3, Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals – This draft set a record with seven wide receivers taken in the first round. At least the Cardinals got the right one first. Fitzgerald already has four Pro Bowls to his name and led Arizona to the 2008 Super Bowl.

Miss: No. 31, Rashaun Woods, San Francisco 49ers – He played just two seasons and caught seven passes for 160 yards and one touchdown. Woods tore ligaments in his thumb, was traded in the summer of 2006 and cut before the season started. He's played in the Canadian Football League before being released in 2008.


Hit:No. 27, Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons – White has reached the Pro Bowl the past two seasons and logged three straight years with more than 1,150 yards. He has 24 touchdowns over the past three years.

Miss: No. 10, Mike Williams, Detroit Lions – There were a lot of flops this year. Williams may be the biggest as he played in just 30 games and caught two career touchdowns while with three teams in four seasons. He and Matt Jones (Jaguars, No. 21) are out of the league. Troy Williamson, (Vikings, No. 7) has also struggled but at least still resides on the Jaguars' roster.


Hit: No. 25, Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh Steelers – Holmes was the only wide receiver taken in the first round. Considering he caught the game-winning pass in last year's Super Bowl and has had steady top-tier production, Holmes was a good find.

Miss:Chad Jackson went to the New England Patriots with the fourth pick in the second round so that's close enough to the first round to consider him. Jackson played in 14 games with the Pats, making 13 catches, and had one reception in four games for the Broncos in 2008. He wasn't picked up by a team in 2009.


Hit:No. 2, Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions – There's several solid wide receivers in this year's class. Johnson may be the cream of the crop, especially considering he plays in the worst offense of the bunch. Dwayne Bowe (Chiefs, No. 23) and Robert Meachem (Saints, No. 27) also appear to be good picks.

Miss: No. 30, Craig Davis, San Diego Chargers – Davis played in 14 games as a rookie and five games since, including one in 2009. He had 10 catches for 111 yards the past two years.


There wasn't a wide receiver taken in the first round. Pierre Garcon (Colts, 6th round) and DeSean Jackson (Eagles, 2nd round) were definitely the steals of the draft. Second-rounders Limas Sweed and Jerome Simpson haven't been impact players for the Steelers or Bengals, respectively.


Hit: No. 22, Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings – Harvin won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award and was added to the Pro Bowl roster after scoring eight touchdowns in 2009.

Miss: No. 7, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Raiders – It's still extremely early in Heyward-Bey's career, but there's no denying that he has had a sluggish start. Heyward-Bey had nine catches for 124 yards in 11 games and was benched for the Raiders' final five contests.

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