Third Round Wide Receivers: Setting the Bar

In case you were on a different planet in April, the Panthers drafted two wide receivers in the third round of the NFL draft: Brandon LaFell (78th overall) and Armanti Edwards (89th overall). I've heard various predictions for both of these receivers for this year. If you ask the right person on CSR, they will both be pro-bowlers with 75 receptions, 1,000 yards and double digit touchdowns in 2010.

I figured I'd do a little research to find out how third rounders generally fare in their rookie seasons. In the decade from 2000-2009, there have been 47 wide receivers drafted in the third round. That's a lot of data to draw many possible conclusions from. For the purpose of this article, I stuck to the stats at the WR position (excluding special teams stats). When giving averages and predictions, I excluded the five players that didn't get any playing time in their rookie seasons.

Here's a hint. The best rookie season by a third round pick happened in 2009 - see if you can guess the player...

More after the jump.

Here's what I found:
  • An average of 10.1 games with 2.3 starts.
  • 13.6 receptions
  • 180.8 yards
  • 13.3 yards/catch
  • 1 touchdown
  • 44% of players that didn't eclipse 100 yards receiving are now out of the NFL.
  • 64% of players that played in 2 or less games are now out of the NFL.
  • Most yards in a rookie season: Mike Wallace with 756 yards (congrats if you guessed right).
  • Most touchdowns in a rookie season: Mike Wallace/Darrell Jackson/Chris Henry with 6 TD.
  • Most starts: "Snoop" Minnis with 11.
  • 2009 total yards rank by a 3rd round receiver: 25th - Steve Smith CAR (982), 31st - Mike Sims-Walker (869), 34th - Mario Manningham (822)
  • 2008 total yards rank by a 3rd round receiver: 3rd - Steve Smith CAR (1,421), 24th - Bernard Berrian (964), 34th - Laveranues Coles (850)

I will include all the data I compiled below, but the biggest thing I saw is that most third round receivers are intended to be 3rd or 4th receivers with few exceptions. I know that the Panthers are a run-first team and they still believe they have something in Dwayne Jarrett, but one or both of these rookies is likely to get significant playing time this year. I don't know how likely it is, but many have suggested we could even have both on the field at the start of week one (along with Smitty). Maybe you can tease even more trends out of the data, so here it is:

Year Pick # Team Name Games Starts Rec. Yards Avg TD
2009 84 Steelers Mike Wallace 16 4 39 756 19.4 6
2000 80 Seahawks Darrell Jackson 16 9 53 713 13.5 6
2007 78 Packers James Jones 16 9 47 676 14.4 2
2001 77 Chiefs Marvin "Snoop" Minnis 13 11 33 511 15.5 1
2003 71 Vikings Nate Burleson 16 9 29 455 15.7 2
2007 75 Falcons Laurent Robinson 15 6 37 437 11.8 1
2005 83 Bengals Chris Henry 14 5 31 422 13.6 6
2000 78 Jets Laveranues Coles 13 3 22 370 16.8 1
2008 84 Falcons Harry Douglas 16 0 23 320 13.9 1
2005 96 Titans Brandon Jones 10 8 23 299 13 2
2003 65 Bengals Kelley Washington 16 3 22 299 13.6 4
2005 68 Titans Courtney Roby 13 6 21 289 13.8 1
2004 78 Bears Bernard Berrian 16 1 15 225 15 2
2006 82 Dolphins Derek Hagan 16 0 21 221 10.5 1
2007 79 Jaguars Mike Sims-Walker 9 1 16 217 13.6 0
2009 91 Seahawks Deon Butler 10 0 15 175 11.7 0
2001 74 Panthers Steve Smith 15 1 10 154 15.4 0
2007 73 Texans Jacoby Jones 14 3 15 149 9.9 0
2000 66 Bengals Ron Dugans 14 5 14 125 8.9 1
2006 90 Bucs Maurice Stovall 9 2 7 102 14.6 0
2000 79 Browns JaJuan Dawson 2 2 9 97 10.8 1
2000 73 Giants Ron Dixon 12 0 6 92 15.3 1
2008 81 Cardinals Early Doucet 7 0 14 90 6.4 0
2000 69 Bears Dez White 15 0 10 87 8.7 1
2008 97 Bengals Andre Caldwell 7 4 11 78 7.1 0
2009 82 Lions Derrick Williams 11 0 6 52 8.7 0
2007 99 Raiders Johnnie Lee Higgins 16 2 6 47 7.8 0
2007 74 Ravens Yamon Figurs 14 0 1 36 36 0
2006 78 Browns Travis Wilson 4 1 2 32 16 0
2008 95 Giants Mario Manningham 7 0 4 26 6.5 0
2009 85 Giants Ramses Barden 3 0 1 16 16 0
2003 74 Rams Kevin Curtis 4 1 4 13 3.3 0
2007 76 49ers Jason Hill 5 0 1 6 6 0
2004 82 Ravens Devard Darling 3 0 2 5 2.5 0
2003 95 Eagles Billy McMullen 5 0 1 2 2 0
2009 83 Patriots Brandon Tate 2 1 0 0 0 0
2009 87 Dolphins Patrick Turner 2 0 0 0 0 0
2009 99 Bears Juaquin Iglesias 1 0 0 0 0 0
2008 70 Bears Earl Bennett 10 0 0 0 0 0
2007 80 Titans Paul Williams 0 0 0 0 0 0
2006 84 49ers Brandon Williams 13 0 0 0 0 0
2006 95 Steelers Willie Reid 1 0 0 0 0 0
2004 77 49ers Derrick Hamilton 2 0 0 0 0 0
2002 86 Bucs Marquise Walker 0 0 0 0 0 0
2002 87 Redskins Cliff Russell 0 0 0 0 0 0
2002 95 Rams Eric Crouch 0 0 0 0 0 0
2000 70 Broncos Chris Cole 0 0 0 0 0 0

In This Article

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