Now that we're a quarter into the 2009 NFL season, let's step back for a minute and recognize some of the top rookie receiving talent that is already making noise on Sundays.
The following study juxtaposes the early contributions of these players with that of their first-year predecessors over the last ten years.
Contribution: 12 catches, 130 yards
Season Projection: 48 catches, 520 yards
The former Kent State quarterback has made a seamless transition to wide receiver in the pros. Playfully dubbed Wes Welker's "Mini-Me," Edelman had a breakout game in Week Two while filling in for the former Pro Bowler by catching eight balls for 98 yards.
Even with Welker back in the fold, Edelman figures to eventually take over the third spot from Joey Galloway, who has failed to develop any kind of chemistry with Tom Brady.
Contribution: 12 catches, 131 yards, 1 touchdown
Season Projection: 48 catches, 524 yards, 4 touchdowns
The former BYU standout is already establishing a nice rapport with quarterback Peyton Manning. Ever since Anthony Gonzalez went down with a knee injury, Collie and Pierre Garcon have stepped up their games considerably.
Collie recorded his best game as a pro to date last week by compiling six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. Look for his numbers to continue to increase as he earns Manning's trust more and more.
Contribution: 11 catches, 172 yards, 1 touchdown
Season Projection: 44 catches, 688 yards, 4 touchdowns
The former Gator speedster has been the closest thing to a pro-caliber wide receiver on the floundering Oakland team. Despite quarterback JaMarcus Russell's penchant for inaccuracy, Murphy has posted significant numbers that easily dwarf those of his fellow rookie teammate (and former first-round selection), Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Coach Tom Cable has stated that the return of Chaz Schilens will cut into Murphy's playing time, but Cable might not be the head coach when that time comes (given his pending assault charge) so such a change is far from a sure thing.
Contribution: 10 catches, 179 yards
Season Projection: 40 catches, 716 yards
The former Bulldog had his coming out party last week against Cincinnati's surprisingly stingy defense by catching eight passes for 148 yards.
Like Louis Murphy, Massaquoi is playing for a team trapped in the NFL's cellar, where any bright spot is greatly appreciated these days.
Going forward, Massaquoi should be entrenched in the second receiver spot opposite Braylon Edwards. Look for him to continue to develop as a legitimate deep threat with strong-armed quarterback Derek Anderson at the reigns.
Contribution: 14 catches, 194 yards
Season Projection: 56 catches, 776 yards
The former Mississippi standout has gone from a complete afterthought to a legitimate threat on the pro level over just a few weeks.
Limas Sweed was expected to be the Steelers' third receiver going into the season, but his lack of consistency combined with Wallace's soft hands have boosted the rookie into the spot. Needless to say, Sweed was a healthy inactive in last Sunday night's game against San Diego.
Wallace has already burned Cincinnati for 102 yards on seven catches. Look for him to have similar outings going forward.
Contribution: 12 catches, 167 yards, 2 touchdowns
Season Projection: 48 catches, 668 yards, 8 touchdowns
The second former Gator speedster on this list has already made his presence felt all over the pro field (including a kickoff return for 101 yards and a touchdown in week three). He's also quickly become one of quarterback Brett Favre's favorite targets.
While Harvin hasn't had one big breakout receiving game yet, he's been arguably the steadiest player in this list. Continue to expect big things from this considerable talent, if he can stay healthy.
Contribution: 14 catches, 190 yards, 2 touchdowns
Season Projection: 56 catches, 760 yards, 8 touchdowns
The former Abilene Christian star exploded onto the national scene in Week One with two catches for 82 yards and hasn't looked back. Like Percy Harvin, he's a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball (i.e. his 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last week).
During the preseason, all the talk was about Jay Cutler and targets Devin Hester, Greg Olsen, and Earl Bennett, but it's been the quarterback's connection with Knox that has truly sparked the offense.
Contribution: 17 catches, 271 yards
Season Projection: 68 catches, 1,084 yards
The former Scarlet Knight has looked like the NFL's next Great Wide Receiver four weeks into the season. Despite the struggles of quarterback Kerry Collins and the Titans in general, Britt has shown all the makings of a true No. 1 receiver.
His 271 receiving yards are the ninth most of any rookie receiver in the past ten years. He's also currently on pace to break a thousand receiving yards, which has only been done by a rookie receiver three times in the past ten years (Marques Colston, Michael Clayton, and Anquan Boldin achieved it).
Football fans should definitely keep an eye on this guy as he continues to progress and should ultimately make his way into the upper echelon of star wide receivers.
Here are the top rookie receiving contributions over the first four weeks of a season during the last ten years:
1. Anquan Boldin (2003): 30 catches, 434 yards, 2 touchdowns
2. Andre Johnson (2003): 26 catches, 346 yards, 2 touchdowns
3. Marques Colston (2006): 20 catches, 336 yards, 3 touchdowns
4. DeSean Jackson (2008): 22 catches, 327 yards, 3 touchdowns
5. Deion Branch (2002): 28 catches, 309 yards, 2 touchdowns
6. Dwayne Bowe (2007): 18 catches, 299 yards, 3 touchdowns
7. Eddie Royal (2008): 27 catches, 298 yards, 2 touchdowns
8. Roy Williams (2004): 20 catches, 295 yards, 4 touchdowns
9. Kenny Britt (2009): 17 catches, 271 yards, 0 touchdowns
10. Greg Jennings (2006): 15 catches, 259 yards, 2 touchdowns
Here are the contributions through four weeks of other current NFL receiving talents in their respective rookie years:
Calvin Johnson (2007): 10 catches, 189 yards, 2 touchdowns
Braylon Edwards (2005): 9 catches, 166 yards, 1 touchdown
Larry Fitzgerald (2004): 17 catches, 207 yards, 0 touchdowns
Lee Evans (2004): 8 catches, 216 yards, 1 touchdown
Michael Clayton (2004): 19 catches, 240 yards, 1 touchdown
Antwan Randle-El (2002): 18 catches, 209 yards, 0 touchdowns
Antonio Bryant (2002): 14 catches, 216 yards, 1 touchdown
Plaxico Burress (2000): 9 catches, 144 yards, 0 touchdowns