After months of media hype, the draft is over and fans finally have new members of their team to welcome to town. Expectations for draft picks are high, but are they too high?
Over the course of the next few weeks, "What to Expect" will examine every draft pick from the AFC South in its historical context. Using past performances from similarly drafted players and by examining the way in which each team develops certain positions, I will create a realistic baseline by which to judge the performance of each pick.
Readers should be aware that rookies historically perform much, much worse than fan expectations. Also keep in mind that I am not saying the player will perform to these expectations, but rather anything better than the results should be considered a successful rookie year and anything worse would be a disappointment.
These are not predictions. They are baselines.
Both the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts took wide receivers in the third round. Both teams have openings at receiver and it's entirely possible for both DeVier Posey and T.Y. Hilton to win starting jobs with their respective teams.
What can each club reasonable expect to get out of their new draftees? A search of recent third-round picks gives us a fair idea.
From 2005-2011, there were 36 wideouts taken between picks 60 and 100 of the draft. That spans the very late second round all the way to the early fourth. Here's what we can learn from those picks:
- Only four started at least six games. None started more than nine.
- 25 of 36 played in at least 10 games.
- Only two had at least 40 catches. Only 15 had at least 20. Thirteen had fewer than 10 catches.
- Only three had at least 600 yards receiving, and just six had 400 yards.
- Two had six touchdowns, but only eight had more than one.
- The average performance was 17 catches, 224 yards, and just under one touchdown each.
There are some decent names on the list and many of those had poor first seasons. Vincent Jackson and Mario Manningham are the best of the bunch. The best rookie year belonged to Mike Wallace who put up a 39/756/6 season.
Colts fans will remember the amazing performance by Austin Collie (fourth round) who posted a 60/676/7 start and E.G. Green (third round) who finished with 15/177/1.
Fans would do well not to expect too much out of either Posey or Hilton. The third round is littered with washed out wideouts.
For both players, a season of 25 catches, 350 yards and two scores would put them squarely in the top 10 of this class. Anything more than that would be beyond outstanding.
It's important to remember however, that it is just as likely that these two players will do almost nothing as it is that they will have an impact. A bad rookie year does not portend a bad career in this case, though.
The ceiling for these players is as a good NFL number two. If one of them becomes the next Vincent Jackson or Mike Wallace, it would be a tremendous accomplishment. The vast majority of third round wideouts have short careers with minimal impact.
For further reference see Jones, Jacoby or Green, E.G.