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2020 vs. 2017 NFL Draft for WRs


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I'm pulling this from a reply of mine in the draft forum because I think it's worthy of mainstream discussion.  It will be unpopular with some, but it's meant only to show a small data set and draw a tenuous conclusion from it to spark yet more debate over the OT/WR discussion.

While looking back over WR draft history, I noticed 2017 was particularly puzzling.  Here are the WRs taken in Days 1 and 2:

1 5 Tennessee Titans Corey Davis  Western Michigan
1 7 Los Angeles Chargers Mike Williams  Clemson
1 9 Cincinnati Bengals John Ross  Washington
2 37 Buffalo Bills Zay Jones  East Carolina
2 40 Carolina Panthers Curtis Samuel  Ohio State
2 62 Pittsburgh Steelers JuJu Smith-Schuster † USC
3 69 Los Angeles Rams Cooper Kupp  Eastern Washington
3 72 Tennessee Titans Taywan Taylor  Western Kentucky
3 79 New York Jets ArDarius Stewart  Alabama
3 82 Denver Broncos Carlos Henderson  Louisiana Tech
3 84 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chris Godwin † Penn State
3 96 Detroit Lions Kenny Golladay † Northern Illinois
3* 98 Arizona Cardinals Chad Williams  Grambling State
3* 106 Seattle Seahawks Amara Darboh  Michigan

 

That Davis, Williams, Ross trio in the top-10 of 2017 really scares me.  Scouts liked all three.  Ross was the Ruggs comp of that year.  Williams and Davis were much bigger than Jeudy and Lamb and also very productive guys.  None of them really turned out to be game-changing talents so far.

The best WRs taken in that draft, by far, were  Juju (2:62), Godwin (3:84), Kupp (2:69) and Golladay. (3:96).

Some of this could certainly be attributed to the situations each landed in.  But I don't think all of it can.  This is very anecdotal, but a very strong signal that it's not so easy to identify the best pro WRs in a draft class.  Jeudy and Lamb were very, very good college WRs but they don't look like Julio Jones or Calvin Johnson.  I think those guys are a little easier to project because they have every box checked, including size, speed, hands, health, routes, etc.  Hell, Mike Williams does look like those guys and even he didn't amount to much so far.  

I'm no expert, but thhis is why I am leaning OT in 1, WR in 2 and 3.  I don't see a Julio Jones in the top group of three.  I see a lot of guys who aren't big and could end up being good but not great.  I'd rather spin the wheel twice on day 2 and hope to land a Juju.

Countering this is the draft of 2013 with all those OL that busted in the top-12 picks, but I still feel like chasing a 6' 190 lb. WR in the first over a potentially equally rated OT prospect (assuming one of them is still there) makes me nervous.

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2017 was never considered as an All-Time great WR class (as is 2020). 

For a more accurate discussion you should compare 2014 vs. 2020 (headliners being Odell Beckham Jr and Mike Evans vs. Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb). 

Comparing 2020 vs 2017 is a slap in 2020's WR's face (2014 is more comparable). 

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