2011 NFL Mock Draft: A Look Back at First Round WRs Since 2001, No Guarantees
Going back to the 2001 NFL Draft, there have been a total of 40 total first round receivers that have been drafted.
The draft is really a process of making the best case guess for any position because there is no sure thing.
This is just a message to address caution in simply assuming that A.J. Green or other receivers could become the next Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald.
Here is a list of all the receiver drafted in the first round since 2001.
2001 NFL Draft First Round WRs
Pick 8 - Chicago Bears - David Terrell
Pick 9 - Seattle Seahawks - Koren Robinson
Pick 15 - Washington Redskins - Rod Gardner
Pick 16 - New York Jets - Santana Moss
Pick 25 - Philadelphia Eagles - Freddie Mitchell
Pick 25 - Indianapolis Colts - Reggie Wayne
Moss and Wayne are the highlights in this group and they are true top-tier Pro Bowl talents that have produced solid and consistent numbers since they were drafted.
2002 NFL Draft First Round WRs
Pick 13 - New Orleans Saints - Donte' Stallworth
Pick 19 - Denver Broncos - Ashley Lelie
Pick 20 - Green Bay Packers - Javon Walker
Stallworth is the only one still left in the NFL even though all three looked promising early on in their careers. All three should be considered first round busts.
2003 NFL Draft First Round WRs
Pick 2 - Detroit Lions - Charles Rogers
Pick 3 - Houston Texans - Andre Johnson
Pick 17 - Arizona Cardinals - Bryant Johnson
Andre Johnson by far is the name to talk about from this first round draft class and he has quietly become one of the top five receivers currently in the NFL.
2004 NFL Draft First Round WRs
Pick 3 - Arizona Cardinals - Larry Fitzgerald
Pick 7 - Detroit Lions - Roy Williams
Pick 9 - Jacksonville Jaguars - Reggie Williams
Pick 13 - Buffalo Bills - Lee Evans
Pick 15 - Tampa Bay Buccaneeers - Michael Clayton
Pick 29 - Atlanta Falcons - Michael Jenkins
Pick 31 - San Francisco 49ers - Rashaun Woods
Fitzgerald is the top receiver from this class and even though Evans is still a starter with the Bills, his career has been plagued by inconsistent quarterback play. Roy Williams has been on and off with both the Lions and now with the Cowboys.
2005 NFL Draft First Round WRs
Pick 3 - Cleveland Browns - Braylon Edwards
Pick 7 - Minnesota Vikings - Troy Williamson
Pick 10 - Detroit Lions - Mike Williams
Pick 21 - Jacksonville Jaguars - Matt Jones
Pick 22 - Baltimore Ravens - Mark Clayton
Pick 27 - Atlanta Falcons - Roddy White
Edwards has had his issues with inconsistency, drops and an ego--so that makes the pick of this class easily White, who is another under-the-radar receiver who can be spoken in the same breath as the top 10 receivers in the NFL right now.
2006 NFL First Round WRs
Pick 25 - Pittsburgh Steelers - Santonio Holmes
Holmes is a Super Bowl MVP and a playmaker on offense in the past for the Steelers and currently for the Jets this season.
2007 NFL First Round WRs
Pick 2 - Detroit Lions - Calvin Johnson
Pick 9 - Miami Dolphins - Ted Ginn Jr.
Pick 23 - Kansas City Chiefs - Dwayne Bowe
Pick 29 - New Orleans Saints - Robert Meachem
Pick 30 - San Diego Charger - Craig Davis
Pick 32 - Indianapolis Colts - Anthony Gonzalez
Johnson stands high above in this class but Bowe is quickly becoming more dangerous as the weeks go by for the Chiefs and Meachem is the deep threat on a potent Saints' offense too.
2008 NFL First Round WRs
There were no receivers taken in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft but there were 10 taken in the second round.
DeSean Jackson highlights that list and he was selected by current Browns' general manager Tom Hekert.
2009 NFL First Round WRs
Pick 7 - Oakland Raiders - Darius Heyward-Bey
Pick 10 - San Francisco 49ers - Michael Crabtree
Pick 19 - Philadelphia Eagles - Jeremy Maclin
Pick 22 - Minnesota Vikings - Percy Harvin
Pick 29 - NY Giants - Hakeem Nicks
Pick 30 - Tennessee Titans - Kenny Britt
This class is looking to be the most talented crop of receiver talent in recent memory with Nicks leading a very promising group in his second season as of Week 12, but do not doubt that Crabtree, Maclin and Britt can all becoming primetime players too.
2010 NFL Draft First Round WRs
Pick 22 - Denver Broncos - DeMaryius Thomas
Pick 24 - Dallas Cowboys - Dez Bryant
Thomas was considered a reach and has been fighting through injuries this season which have plagued him even coming into the 2010 Draft.
Bryant had a ton of critics and drama surrounding him coming out of college, but he is putting all of it to rest showing that he is indeed a playmaker in the NFL and he will be Pro Bowl bound sooner than later.
2011 NFL Draft First and Second Round WR Talent Possibilities
The following at the top receiver talents who could be in next April's 2011 NFL Draft. (* denotes juniors)
A.J. Green*, Georgia, 6-4, 208 lbs.
Julio Jones*, Alabama, 6-4, 211 lbs.
Jon Baldwin*, Pittsburgh, 6-5, 230 lbs.
Michael Floyd*, Notre Dame, 6-3, 225 lbs.
Ryan Broyles*, Oklahoma, 5-11, 183 lbs.
Leonard Hankerson, Miami, 6-3, 205 lbs.
Ronald Johnson, USC, 6-0, 185 lbs.
Greg Little, North Carolina, 6-3, 220 lbs.
Niles Paul, Nebraska, 6-1, 220 lbs.
Titus Young, Boise State, 5-11, 170 lbs.
Nick Toon*, Wisconsin, 6-3, 218 lbs.
Green is on top of this list, but a player to watch is Baldwin--he has tremendous size and speed and if he declares for the draft early, then he could be a gem in the second or third round too.
In theory, if all of these juniors declare early for the Draft in 2011, then look for the teams like the Cleveland Browns to pick one and possibly two of these receivers since this class would be loaded.