Before we get to the wide receiver breakdown, I decided to do one thing different with this group. In today’s NFL a wide receiver can be a key contributor to an offense without technically being a “starter”. So for this group I replaced the “started games” percentage with average receptions by the receivers still in the NFL last season.
Here’s the list of wideouts taken with picks 25-48 over the last six drafts.
Kelvin Benjamin, Marqise Lee, Jordan Matthews, Paul Richardson, Breshad Perriman, Phillip Dorsett, Devin Smith, Dorial Green-Beckham, Devin Funchess, Sterling Shepard, Michael Thomas, Zay Jones, Curtis Samuel, Calvin Ridley, Courtland Sutton, Dante Pettis, Christian Kirk, Marquise Brown, N’Keal Harry, and Deebo Samuel.
Now compare that with the receivers taken in the third round of those same drafts.
Josh Huff, Donte Moncrief, John Brown, Tyler Lockett, Jaelen Strong, Chris Conley, Sammie Coates, Ty Montgomery, Braxton Miller, Leonte Caroo, Cooper Kupp, Taywan Taylor, ArDarius Stewart, Carlos Henderson, Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay, Chad Williams, Amara Darboh, Michael Gallup, Tre’Quan Smith, Diontae Johnson, Jalen Hurd, Terry McLaurin, and Miles Boykin.
My first reaction to these groups is that I feel like this is the weakest first group of the five that we’ve looked at. Out of the 20 wideouts taken in the 25-48 range over the last six years there are five that I would be happy with if the Chiefs drafted a wideout in that range this year. That’s only a 25% chance of hitting on a wideout that is good enough to warrant that draft spot. I do NOT like those odds. Now, this is a really deep wide receiver class, so that probably increases those odds, but it still is by far the weakest first group in this study.
The third round group has its fair share of busts, but it also has some solid options. I count 8 of the 24 third round wideouts on this list that I would be thrilled with having their production out of a third round pick for the Chiefs this season. That’s a 33% chance.
Here’s how the actual numbers worked out.
- 90% still in the NFL
- 40.2 receptions average for the WRs still in the NFL
- 10% have made a Pro Bowl (Thomas and Sutton)
- 67% still in the NFL
- 42.3 receptions average for the WRs still in the NFL
- 12.5% have made a Pro Bowl (Lockett, Godwin, Golladay)
I’ll be honest, while a lot of the other numbers in the post didn’t surprise me, these did. I was not expecting a slightly higher percentage of the wideouts taken in the third round to make the Pro Bowl over the wideouts taken in the picks 25-48 range.
More than that, the fact that the wideouts taken in the third round that are still in the NFL actually averaged more receptions than the wideouts taken earlier was even more surprising. Yes, there was a significantly higher percentage of players that are out of the NFL, but with where that first group of wideouts was drafted I was expecting a lot more production. Not even Michael Thomas’ gaudy numbers last season could bring the first groups’ numbers up.
Based on those numbers and the fact that the Chiefs are set at wideout for this coming season, it certainly makes arguing for a first round receiver hard to do.
Let’s see if we can sum up what we’ve learned from all of this.