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NFL Draft: Recent high pick wide receivers have been more bust than breakout
As the 2011 NFL Draft nears, AJ Green and Julio Jones figure to go very high. Both are projected to be top ten picks, and Green could go in the top three. Both receivers are very good, but teams should be weary about using such a high draft pick on a wide receiver. High picks are better spent at core positions. Still, there is a long history of wide receivers being drafted high. Some are better than others. Here is a look at how some recent receivers drafted in the top ten have performed.
Heyward-Bey has been playing for a bad Oakland Raiders team so far in his career. In two seasons, he has just two touchdown catches. That is not what you should expect from a number seven pick. Meanwhile, Crabtree held out for most of his rookie season with the San Francisco 49ers. He is starting to emerge as a real threat for that team and should be better with a good quarterback.
The Detroit Lions had a disastrous decade of using high draft picks on wide receivers that didn't work out. It was a little surprising they would take that risk again, but it has worked out. They took Johnson with the second overall pick in the draft and he has been great. He has emerged as one of the best receivers in the game and is a big reason that Detroit is finally starting to improve. Ginn, the ninth pick by the Miami Dolphins, was a bust there. He is currently on the San Francisco 49ers.
Edwards was picked third by the Cleveland Browns, and he had rough tenure there. He is famous for his dropped balls, but has found new life with the New York Jets. Williamson was the seventh pick and a big underachiever. He was traded out of Minnesota after the 2007 season and spent two forgettable years in Jacksonville before being released. Williams, a star at USC who had to sit out a year from football after trying to declare too early, was a major flop in Detroit. He lasted just two years there and was out of the NFL in 2007. He did return in 2010 with the Seattle Seahawks.
There is no question that Fitzgerald is a superstar. He has been great throughout his career with the Arizona Cardinals is one of the biggest threats in the NFL. Roy Williams had some mild success in Detroit but was never worthy of his pick. He was dealt to the Dallas Cowboys, where he has struggled as well. Reggie Williams was a bust in Jacksonville, where he played from 2004 through 2008. He had a few decent games but never amounted too anything there.
Rogers was picked second by the Lions while Johnson went third to the Houston Texans. Rogers was a major bust for the Lions and was out of football after a series of drug problems. On the other hand, Johnson has been a star for Houston and remains one of the best receivers in the NFL.
Neither of these receivers ever amounted to much. Terrell, the eighth pick by Chicago, lasted just a few years before being cut in 2004. He has attempted several failed comebacks since. Robinson was the ninth pick by Seattle and struggled with drug problems. After several comeback attempts, Robinson wound up in the United Football League.
Warrick was the fourth pick by the Bengals and was a complete bust. He was forced out of Cincinnati after the 2004 season and bounced around the NFL, Arena Football League, and the CFL. Burress emerged as a great wide receiver with the Steelers and Giants, helping New York win a Super Bowl. However, his run was cut short when a club shooting incident landed him in prison.
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