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Random Perspective On: The 2012 Cincinnati Bengals

by Chase Stuart on July 24, 2012

in Random Perspective On, Rookies

Chris Chambers' career path did not follow an upward trajectory.

In the first post at Football Perspective, I noted that A.J. Green became the first player in over 25 years to be the first wide receiver drafted and then lead all rookies in receiving yards during his rookie season. It’s a good thing that Green has a knack for bucking trends, because he’s going to want to do it again.

Ten years ago, Doug Drinen wondered how often the top rookie wide receiver ended up having the best career among his classmates. At the time, he was discussing Chris Chambers — yes, he was the top rookie in 2001 — and was surprised by the results.

The research showed that for the period between 1981 and 2000, the top rookie receiver almost never ended up as the top wideout from his class. Doug was correct in speculating that because of that track record, Chambers was a bad bet to end up being the best receiver among all 2001 rookies, despite Chambers having had the best rookie year.

Here’s a look at the top rookie receivers from 2001 based on receiving yards, along with three other notable wideouts:

Games Receiving
Rk Player Year Age Draft Tm Lg G GS Rec Yds Y/R TD Y/G
1 Chris Chambers 2001 23 2-52 MIA NFL 16 7 48 883 18.40 7 55.2
2 Rod Gardner 2001 24 1-15 WAS NFL 16 16 46 741 16.11 4 46.3
3 Koren Robinson 2001 21 1-9 SEA NFL 16 13 39 536 13.74 1 33.5
4 Snoop Minnis 2001 24 3-77 KAN NFL 13 11 33 511 15.48 1 39.3
5 Quincy Morgan 2001 24 2-33 CLE NFL 16 9 30 432 14.40 2 27.0
6 David Terrell 2001 22 1-8 CHI NFL 16 6 34 415 12.21 4 25.9
7 Reggie Wayne 2001 23 1-30 IND NFL 13 9 27 345 12.78 0 26.5
8 Drew Bennett 2001 23 TEN NFL 14 1 24 329 13.71 1 23.5
9 Chad Ochocinco 2001 23 2-36 CIN NFL 12 3 28 329 11.75 1 27.4
10 Freddie Mitchell 2001 23 1-25 PHI NFL 15 1 21 283 13.48 1 18.9
11 T.J. Houshmandzadeh 2001 24 7-204 CIN NFL 12 1 21 228 10.86 0 19.0
16 Steve Smith 2001 22 3-74 CAR NFL 15 1 10 154 15.40 0 10.3
25 Santana Moss 2001 22 1-16 NYJ NFL 5 0 2 40 20.00 0 8.0

As it turned out, Chris Chambers, Rod Gardner, Koren Robinson and Snoop Minnis weren’t as successful as Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson/Ochocinco, Steve Smith and Santana Moss.

So, has that trend held up? For the most part, the answer is yes. Below are the top rookie1 receivers in terms of receiving yards. But for each season, on the right side of the table, I’ve listed the career leaders in receiving yards among wideouts that were rookies that season:

                                       2011
1.  A.J. Green  (CIN)           1057     |     1.  A.J. Green            1057
2.  Julio Jones  (ATL)           959     |     2.  Julio Jones            959
3.  Torrey Smith  (BAL)          841     |     3.  Torrey Smith           841
4.  Doug Baldwin  (SEA)          788     |     4.  Doug Baldwin           788
5.  Greg Little  (CLE)           709     |     5.  Greg Little            709
6.  Denarius Moore  (OAK)        618     |     6.  Denarius Moore         618
7.  Titus Young  (DET)           607     |     7.  Titus Young            607
8.  Randall Cobb  (GNB)          375     |     8.  Randall Cobb           375
9.  Vincent Brown  (SDG)         329     |     9.  Vincent Brown          329
10. Jeremy Kerley  (NYJ)         314     |     10. Jeremy Kerley          314
                                       2010
1.  Mike Williams  (TAM)         964     |     1.  Mike Williams         1735
2.  Anthony Armstrong  (WAS)     871     |     2.  Victor Cruz           1536
3.  Jordan Shipley  (CIN)        600     |     3.  Dez Bryant            1489
4.  Dez Bryant  (DAL)            561     |     4.  Antonio Brown         1275
5.  David Gettis  (CAR)          508     |     5.  Brandon LaFell        1081
6.  Jacoby Ford  (OAK)           470     |     6.  David Nelson          1011
7.  Brandon LaFell  (CAR)        468     |     7.  Anthony Armstrong      974
8.  Arrelious Benn  (TAM)        395     |     8.  Andre Roberts          893
9.  Emmanuel Sanders  (PIT)      376     |     9.  Arrelious Benn         836
10. Blair White  (IND)           355     |     10. Demaryius Thomas       834
                                       2009
1.  Hakeem Nicks  (NYG)          790     |     1.  Mike Wallace          3206
2.  Percy Harvin  (MIN)          790     |     2.  Hakeem Nicks          3034
3.  Jeremy Maclin  (PHI)         762     |     3.  Percy Harvin          2625
4.  Mike Wallace  (PIT)          756     |     4.  Jeremy Maclin         2585
5.  Kenny Britt  (TEN)           701     |     5.  Michael Crabtree      2240
6.  Austin Collie  (IND)         676     |     6.  Johnny Knox           2214
7.  Michael Crabtree  (SFO)      625     |     7.  Austin Collie         1839
8.  Mohamed Massaquoi  (CLE)     624     |     8.  Kenny Britt           1765
9.  Johnny Knox  (CHI)           527     |     9.  Brandon Gibson        1747
10. Louis Murphy  (OAK)          521     |     10. Mike Thomas           1688
                                       2008
1.  Eddie Royal  (DEN)           980     |     1.  DeSean Jackson        4096
2.  DeSean Jackson  (PHI)        912     |     2.  Davone Bess           2669
3.  Donnie Avery  (STL)          674     |     3.  Jordy Nelson          2531
4.  Davone Bess  (MIA)           554     |     4.  Pierre Garcon         2519
5.  Jordy Nelson  (GNB)          366     |     5.  Mario Manningham      2315
6.  Chansi Stuckey  (NYJ)        359     |     6.  Robert Meachem        2269
7.  Harry Douglas  (ATL)         320     |     7.  Steve Johnson         2189
8.  Josh Morgan  (SFO)           319     |     8.  Eddie Royal           2107
9.  Robert Meachem  (NOR)        289     |     9.  Mike Sims-Walker      1948
10. John Standeford  (DET)       244     |     10. Josh Morgan           1764
                                       2007
1.  Dwayne Bowe  (KAN)           995     |     1.  Calvin Johnson        5872
2.  Calvin Johnson  (DET)        756     |     2.  Dwayne Bowe           4927
3.  James Jones  (GNB)           676     |     3.  Steve Breaston        3313
4.  Anthony Gonzalez  (IND)      576     |     4.  James Jones           2704
5.  Laurent Robinson  (ATL)      437     |     5.  Sidney Rice           2613
6.  Ted Ginn Jr.  (MIA)          420     |     6.  Steve Smith           2510
7.  Sidney Rice  (MIN)           396     |     7.  Ted Ginn Jr.          2047
8.  Craig Davis  (SDG)           188     |     8.  Laurent Robinson      1858
9.  Ben Obomanu  (SEA)           180     |     9.  Jacoby Jones          1741
                                         |     10. Anthony Gonzalez      1307
                                       2006
1.  Marques Colston  (NOR)      1038     |     1.  Brandon Marshall      6247
2.  Santonio Holmes  (PIT)       824     |     2.  Marques Colston       6240
3.  Greg Jennings  (GNB)         632     |     3.  Greg Jennings         6171
4.  Hank Baskett  (PHI)          464     |     4.  Santonio Holmes       5235
5.  Demetrius Williams  (BAL)    396     |     5.  Miles Austin          3294
6.  Ruvell Martin  (GNB)         358     |     6.  Lance Moore           2783
7.  Brandon Marshall  (DEN)      309     |     7.  Devin Hester          2565
8.  Derek Hagan  (MIA)           221     |     8.  Jason Avant           2551
9.  Chad Jackson  (NWE)          152     |     9.  Greg Camarillo        1686
                                         |     10. Derek Hagan           1524
                                       2005
1.  Reggie Brown  (PHI)          571     |     1.  Roddy White           7374
2.  Braylon Edwards  (CLE)       512     |     2.  Braylon Edwards       6003
3.  Mark Clayton  (BAL)          471     |     3.  Vincent Jackson       4754
4.  Roddy White  (ATL)           446     |     4.  Nate Washington       3984
5.  Matt Jones  (JAX)            432     |     5.  Mark Clayton          3448
6.  Chris Henry  (CIN)           422     |     6.  Reggie Brown          2574
7.  D.J. Hackett  (SEA)          400     |     7.  Matt Jones            2153
8.  Troy Williamson  (MIN)       372     |     8.  Chris Henry           1826
9.  Mike Williams  (DET)         350     |     9.  Mark Bradley          1663
10. Brandon Jones  (TEN)         299     |     10. Mike Williams         1616
                                       2004
1.  Michael Clayton  (TAM)      1193     |     1.  Larry Fitzgerald      9615
2.  Lee Evans  (BUF)             843     |     2.  Wes Welker            7226
3.  Roy E. Williams  (DET)       817     |     3.  Roy E. Williams       6145
4.  Larry Fitzgerald  (ARI)      780     |     4.  Lee Evans             6008
5.  Keary Colbert  (CAR)         754     |     5.  Jerricho Cotchery     4751
6.  Darius Watts  (DEN)          385     |     6.  Bernard Berrian       4122
7.  Clarence Moore  (BAL)        293     |     7.  Devery Henderson      4061
8.  Ernest Wilford  (JAX)        271     |     8.  Michael Jenkins       3978
9.  Reggie Williams  (JAX)       268     |     9.  Patrick Crayton       3650
10. Bernard Berrian  (CHI)       225     |     10. Malcom Floyd          3170
                                       2003
1.  Anquan Boldin  (ARI)        1377     |     1.  Andre Johnson         9656
2.  Andre Johnson  (HOU)         976     |     2.  Anquan Boldin         9244
3.  Nate Burleson  (MIN)         455     |     3.  Brandon Lloyd         5750
4.  Bryant Johnson  (ARI)        438     |     4.  Nate Burleson         4929
5.  Justin Gage  (CHI)           338     |     5.  Bryant Johnson        3938
6.  Kelley Washington  (CIN)     299     |     6.  Kevin Walter          3861
7.  Tyrone Calico  (TEN)         297     |     7.  Kevin Curtis          3297
8.  Kassim Osgood  (SDG)         278     |     8.  Bobby Wade            2978
9.  Charles Rogers  (DET)        243     |     9.  Justin Gage           2958
10. Brandon Lloyd  (SFO)         212     |     10. Shaun McDonald        2490
                                       2002
1.  Antonio Bryant  (DAL)        733     |     1.  Deion Branch          7317
2.  Donte Stallworth  (NOR)      594     |     2.  Antonio Bryant        6497
3.  Ashley Lelie  (DEN)          525     |     3.  Jabar Gaffney         5622
4.  Josh Reed  (BUF)             509     |     4.  Donte Stallworth      4774
5.  Deion Branch  (NWE)          489     |     5.  Antwaan Randle El     4467
6.  Antwaan Randle El  (PIT)     489     |     6.  Javon Walker          4011
7.  Jabar Gaffney  (HOU)         483     |     7.  Ashley Lelie          3749
8.  Andre' Davis  (CLE)          420     |     8.  Josh Reed             3575
9.  Marc Boerigter  (KAN)        420     |     9.  Eric Parker           2586
10. Jason McAddley  (ARI)        362     |     10. Andre' Davis          2470
                                       2001
1.  Chris Chambers  (MIA)        883     |     1.  Reggie Wayne         11708
2.  Rod Gardner  (WAS)           741     |     2.  Chad Ochocinco       11059
3.  Koren Robinson  (SEA)        536     |     3.  Steve Smith          10278
4.  Snoop Minnis  (KAN)          511     |     4.  Chris Chambers        9348
5.  Quincy Morgan  (CLE)         432     |     5.  Santana Moss          9142
6.  David Terrell  (CHI)         415     |     6.  T.J. Houshmandzadeh   7237
7.  Reggie Wayne  (IND)          345     |     7.  Drew Bennett          4412
8.  Chad Ochocinco  (CIN)        329     |     8.  Koren Robinson        4244
9.  Drew Bennett  (TEN)          329     |     9.  Justin McCareins      3676
10. Freddie Mitchell  (PHI)      283     |     10. Rod Gardner           3316
                                       2000
1.  Darrell Jackson  (SEA)       713     |     1.  Laveranues Coles      8609
2.  Sylvester Morris  (KAN)      678     |     2.  Plaxico Burress       8457
3.  Peter Warrick  (CIN)         592     |     3.  Darrell Jackson       7132
4.  Dennis Northcutt  (CLE)      422     |     4.  Dennis Northcutt      4941
5.  Laveranues Coles  (NYJ)      370     |     5.  Jerry Porter          4120
6.  Travis Taylor  (BAL)         276     |     6.  Travis Taylor         4021
7.  Plaxico Burress  (PIT)       273     |     7.  Peter Warrick         2991
8.  Danny Farmer  (CIN)          268     |     8.  Todd Pinkston         2816
9.  Trevor Gaylor  (SDG)         182     |     9.  Dez White             2149
10. Todd Pinkston  (PHI)         181     |     10. Dante Hall            1747
                                       1999
1.  Kevin Johnson  (CLE)         986     |     1.  Torry Holt           13382
2.  Torry Holt  (STL)            788     |     2.  Donald Driver        10060
3.  Troy Edwards  (PIT)          714     |     3.  Marty Booker          6703
4.  Terrence Wilkins  (IND)      565     |     4.  Peerless Price        5281
5.  Darrin Chiaverini  (CLE)     487     |     5.  Kevin Johnson         5229
6.  David Boston  (ARI)          473     |     6.  David Boston          4699
7.  Jason Tucker  (DAL)          439     |     7.  Brandon Stokley       4680
8.  Peerless Price  (BUF)        393     |     8.  Brian Finneran        3093
9.  Bobby Shaw  (PIT)            387     |     9.  Bobby Shaw            2843
10. Yatil Green  (MIA)           234     |     10. Troy Edwards          2404
                                       1998
1.  Randy Moss  (MIN)           1313     |     1.  Randy Moss           15251
2.  Oronde Gadsden  (MIA)        713     |     2.  Hines Ward           12083
3.  Jerome Pathon  (IND)         511     |     3.  Marcus Robinson       4699
4.  Tony Simmons  (NWE)          474     |     4.  Az-Zahir Hakim        4191
5.  Germane Crowell  (DET)       464     |     5.  Joe Jurevicius        4119
6.  Mikhael Ricks  (SDG)         450     |     6.  Jerome Pathon         3350
7.  Ryan Thelwell  (SDG)         268     |     7.  Corey Bradford        3346
8.  Kevin Dyson  (TEN)           263     |     8.  Oronde Gadsden        3252
9.  Damon Gibson  (CIN)          258     |     9.  Tim Dwight            2964
10. Jacquez Green  (TAM)         251     |     10. Germane Crowell       2722
                                       1997
1.  Rae Carruth  (CAR)           545     |     1.  Derrick Mason        12231
2.  Reidel Anthony  (TAM)        448     |     2.  Ike Hilliard          6397
3.  David Patten  (NYG)          226     |     3.  David Patten          4715
4.  Dedric Ward  (NYJ)           212     |     4.  Bill Schroeder        4583
5.  Derrick Mason  (TEN)         186     |     5.  James Thrash          3646
6.  Will Blackwell  (PIT)        168     |     6.  Albert Connell        2674
                                         |     7.  Dedric Ward           2413
                                         |     8.  Kevin Lockett         1943
                                         |     9.  Reidel Anthony        1846
                                         |     10. Keith Poole           1734
                                       1996
1.  Terry Glenn  (NWE)          1132     |     1.  Terrell Owens        15934
2.  Eddie Kennison  (STL)        924     |     2.  Marvin Harrison      14580
3.  Keyshawn Johnson  (NYJ)      844     |     3.  Muhsin Muhammad      11438
4.  Marvin Harrison  (IND)       836     |     4.  Keyshawn Johnson     10571
5.  Charlie Jones  (SDG)         524     |     5.  Eric Moulds           9995
6.  Terrell Owens  (SFO)         520     |     6.  Amani Toomer          9497
7.  Muhsin Muhammad  (CAR)       407     |     7.  Eddie Kennison        8836
8.  Bobby Engram  (CHI)          389     |     8.  Terry Glenn           8823
9.  Eric Moulds  (BUF)           279     |     9.  Joe Horn              8744
10. Karl Williams  (TAM)         246     |     10. Bobby Engram          7751
                                       1995
1.  Joey Galloway  (SEA)        1039     |     1.  Rod Smith            11389
2.  Frank Sanders  (ARI)         883     |     2.  Joey Galloway        10950
3.  Chris Sanders  (HOU)         823     |     3.  Wayne Chrebet         7365
4.  Wayne Chrebet  (NYJ)         726     |     4.  Antonio Freeman       7251
5.  Willie Jackson  (JAX)        589     |     5.  Frank Sanders         6749
6.  Michael Westbrook  (WAS)     522     |     6.  J.J. Stokes           4447
7.  J.J. Stokes  (SFO)           517     |     7.  Michael Westbrook     4374
8.  Will Moore  (NWE)            502     |     8.  Willie Jackson        3898
9.  Justin Armour  (BUF)         300     |     9.  Chris Sanders         3285
10. Tamarick Vanover  (KAN)      231     |     10. David Dunn            1351
                                       1994
1.  Darnay Scott  (CIN)          866     |     1.  Isaac Bruce          15208
2.  Derrick Alexander  (CLE)     828     |     2.  Johnnie Morton        8719
3.  Bert Emanuel  (ATL)          649     |     3.  Derrick Alexander     6971
4.  Charles Johnson  (PIT)       577     |     4.  Darnay Scott          6193
5.  Lake Dawson  (KAN)           537     |     5.  Bert Emanuel          5098
6.  Tydus Winans  (WAS)          344     |     6.  Charles Johnson       4606
7.  Isaac Bruce  (RAM)           272     |     7.  James McKnight        3595
8.  Bryan Reeves  (ARI)          202     |     8.  Leslie Shepherd       2832
                                         |     9.  Chris Penn            1945
                                         |     10. Lake Dawson           1406
                                       1993
1.  James Jett  (RAI)            771     |     1.  Curtis Conway         8230
2.  Horace Copeland  (TAM)       633     |     2.  Troy Brown            6366
3.  Vincent Brisby  (NWE)        626     |     3.  Sean Dawkins          6291
4.  Victor Bailey  (PHI)         545     |     4.  Rocket Ismail         5295
5.  Sean Dawkins  (IND)          430     |     5.  Qadry Ismail          5137
6.  Rocket Ismail  (RAI)         353     |     6.  O.J. McDuffie         5074
7.  Ray Crittenden  (NWE)        293     |     7.  James Jett            4417
8.  Russell Copeland  (BUF)      242     |     8.  Andre Hastings        3307
9.  Curtis Conway  (CHI)         231     |     9.  Vincent Brisby        3202
10. Qadry Ismail  (MIN)          212     |     10. Kevin Williams        2314
                                       1992
1.  Arthur Marshall  (DEN)       493     |     1.  Jimmy Smith          12287
2.  Courtney Hawkins  (TAM)      336     |     2.  Keenan McCardell     11373
3.  Carl Pickens  (CIN)          326     |     3.  Carl Pickens          7129
4.  Torrance Small  (NOR)        278     |     4.  Torrance Small        4602
5.  Cedric Tillman  (DEN)        211     |     5.  Courtney Hawkins      4573
6.  Tony Hargain  (KAN)          205     |     6.  Robert Brooks         4276
                                         |     7.  Desmond Howard        1597
                                         |     8.  Todd Kinchen          1358
                                         |     9.  Arthur Marshall       1267
                                         |     10. Cedric Tillman        1227
                                       1991
1.  Lawrence Dawsey  (TAM)       818     |     1.  Herman Moore          9174
2.  Mike Pritchard  (ATL)        624     |     2.  Jeff Graham           8172
3.  Willie Green  (DET)          592     |     3.  Ed McCaffrey          7422
4.  Tim Barnett  (KAN)           564     |     4.  Shawn Jefferson       7023
5.  Randal Hill  (PHO)           495     |     5.  Jake Reed             6999
6.  Alvin Harper  (DAL)          326     |     6.  Michael Jackson       5393
7.  Derek Russell  (DEN)         317     |     7.  Mike Pritchard        5187
8.  Michael Jackson  (CLE)       268     |     8.  Yancey Thigpen        5081
9.  Anthony Morgan  (CHI)        211     |     9.  Willie Davis          4503
10. Wesley Carroll  (NOR)        184     |     10. Randal Hill           4344
                                       1990
1.  Ricky Proehl  (PHO)          802     |     1.  Rob Moore             9368
2.  Fred Barnett  (PHI)          721     |     2.  Tony Martin           9065
3.  Rob Moore  (NYJ)             692     |     3.  Ricky Proehl          8878
4.  Calvin Williams  (PHI)       602     |     4.  Terance Mathis        8809
5.  Tony Jones  (HOU)            409     |     5.  Chris Calloway        5497
6.  Tony Martin  (MIA)           388     |     6.  Fred Barnett          5362
7.  J.J. Birden  (KAN)           352     |     7.  Calvin Williams       4018
8.  Terance Mathis  (NYJ)        245     |     8.  J.J. Birden           3441
9.  Greg McMurtry  (NWE)         240     |     9.  Nate Lewis            1802
10. Jeff Campbell  (DET)         236     |     10. Alexander Wright      1772
                                       1989
1.  Shawn Collins  (ATL)         862     |     1.  Andre Rison          10798
2.  Andre Rison  (IND)           820     |     2.  Michael Timpson       4047
3.  Hart Lee Dykes  (NWE)        795     |     3.  Floyd Turner          3805
4.  James Dixon  (DAL)           477     |     4.  Don Beebe             3416
5.  Derek Hill  (PIT)            455     |     5.  Robb Thomas           2229
6.  Andre Brown  (MIA)           410     |     6.  Tom Waddle            2109
7.  Wayne Walker  (SDG)          395     |     7.  Jeff Query            1865
8.  Jason Phillips  (DET)        352     |     8.  Anthony Edwards       1478
9.  Jeff Query  (GNB)            350     |     9.  Shawn Collins         1433
10. Don Beebe  (BUF)             317     |     10. Hart Lee Dykes        1344
                                       1988
1.  Sterling Sharpe  (GNB)       791     |     1.  Tim Brown            14934
2.  Tim Brown  (RAI)             725     |     2.  Michael Irvin        11904
3.  Brian Blades  (SEA)          682     |     3.  Anthony Miller        9148
4.  Michael Irvin  (DAL)         654     |     4.  Sterling Sharpe       8134
5.  Aaron Cox  (RAM)             590     |     5.  Brian Blades          7620
6.  Anthony Miller  (SDG)        526     |     6.  Brett Perriman        6981
7.  Ernie Jones  (PHO)           496     |     7.  Michael Haynes        6588
8.  Quinn Early  (SDG)           375     |     8.  Quinn Early           6448
9.  Flipper Anderson  (RAM)      319     |     9.  Flipper Anderson      5357
10. Michael Haynes  (ATL)        232     |     10. Ernie Jones           3630
                                       1987
1.  Ricky Nattiel  (DEN)         630     |     1.  Cris Carter          13899
2.  Mark Carrier  (TAM)          423     |     2.  Mark Carrier          8763
3.  Frankie Neal  (GNB)          420     |     3.  Haywood Jeffires      6334
4.  Bruce Hill  (TAM)            403     |     4.  John Taylor           5598
5.  Ron Morris  (CHI)            379     |     5.  Kelvin Martin         4768
6.  Lonzell Hill  (NOR)          322     |     6.  Curtis Duncan         3935
7.  Gary Lee  (DET)              308     |     7.  Mark Ingram           3926
8.  James Brim  (MIN)            282     |     8.  Mervyn Fernandez      3764
9.  Stephen Baker  (NYG)         277     |     9.  Bruce Hill            2942
10. Lee Morris  (GNB)            259     |     10. Robert Clark          2644
                                       1986
1.  Bill Brooks  (IND)          1131     |     1.  Ernest Givins         8215
2.  Ernest Givins  (HOU)        1062     |     2.  Webster Slaughter     8111
3.  Mike Sherrard  (DAL)         744     |     3.  Bill Brooks           8001
4.  Mark Jackson  (DEN)          738     |     4.  Ricky Sanders         6477
5.  Floyd Dixon  (ATL)           617     |     5.  Mark Jackson          5648
6.  Webster Slaughter  (CLE)     577     |     6.  Tim McGee             5203
7.  Hassan Jones  (MIN)          570     |     7.  Mike Sherrard         3931
8.  Rod Barksdale  (RAI)         434     |     8.  Hassan Jones          3824
9.  Ricky Sanders  (WAS)         286     |     9.  Floyd Dixon           2523
10. Tim McGee  (CIN)             276     |     10. Aubrey Matthews       2343
                                       1985
1.  Eddie Brown  (CIN)           942     |     1.  Jerry Rice           23324
2.  Jerry Rice  (SFO)            927     |     2.  Andre Reed           13198
3.  Gary Clark  (WAS)            926     |     3.  Gary Clark           10856
4.  Anthony Carter  (MIN)        821     |     4.  Eric Martin           8161
5.  Vance Johnson  (DEN)         721     |     5.  Anthony Carter        7733
6.  Jessie Hester  (RAI)         665     |     6.  Al Toon               6605
7.  Al Toon  (NYJ)               662     |     7.  Eddie Brown           6134
8.  Andre Reed  (BUF)            637     |     8.  Jessie Hester         5850
9.  Eric Martin  (NOR)           522     |     9.  Vance Johnson         5695
10. Chris Burkett  (BUF)         371     |     10. Reggie Langhorne      5446
                                       1984
1.  Louis Lipps  (PIT)           860     |     1.  Irving Fryar         12785
2.  Bobby L. Johnson  (NYG)      795     |     2.  Louis Lipps           6019
3.  Daryl Turner  (SEA)          715     |     3.  Brian Brennan         4524
4.  Lionel Manuel  (NYG)         619     |     4.  Lionel Manuel         3941
5.  Ron J. Brown  (RAM)          478     |     5.  Pete Mandley          2370
6.  Brian Brennan  (CLE)         455     |     6.  Kenny Jackson         2170
7.  Kenny Jackson  (PHI)         398     |     7.  Daryl Turner          1872
8.  Mitchell Brookins  (BUF)     318     |     8.  Bobby L. Johnson      1862
9.  Weegie Thompson  (PIT)       291     |     9.  Ron J. Brown          1791
10. Jesse Bendross  (SDG)        213     |     10. Phil McConkey         1410
                                       1983
1.  Willie Gault  (CHI)          836     |     1.  Henry Ellard         13892
2.  Jeff Chadwick  (DET)         617     |     2.  Mark Clayton          8974
3.  Stephone Paige  (KAN)        528     |     3.  Willie Gault          6635
4.  Eugene Goodlow  (NOR)        487     |     4.  Stephone Paige        6341
5.  Stephen Starring  (NWE)      389     |     5.  Jeff Chadwick         4653
6.  Clarence Weathers  (NWE)     379     |     6.  Dennis McKinnon       3012
7.  Byron Williams  (NYG)        346     |     7.  Dokie Williams        2866
8.  Dennis McKinnon  (CHI)       326     |     8.  Clarence Weathers     2680
9.  Gregg Garrity  (PIT)         279     |     9.  Mike A. Jones         2372
10. Herkie Walls  (HOU)          276     |     10. Stephen Starring      2193
                                       1982
1.  Charlie Brown  (WAS)         690     |     1.  Mark Duper            8869
2.  George Farmer  (RAM)         344     |     2.  Mike Quick            6464
3.  Floyd Eddings  (NYG)         275     |     3.  Charlie Brown         3548
4.  Lindsay Scott  (NOR)         251     |     4.  Stacey Bailey         3422
5.  Phil Epps  (GNB)             226     |     5.  Phil Epps             2992
6.  Kenny Duckett  (NOR)         196     |     6.  Cedric Jones          2703
7.  Renaldo Nehemiah  (SFO)      161     |     7.  Dennis Gentry         2076
8.  Floyd Hodge  (ATL)           160     |     8.  Bobby Duckworth       1932
9.  Mike Quick  (PHI)            156     |     9.  Calvin Muhammad       1276
10. Byron Walker  (SEA)          156     |     10. Anthony Hancock       1266
                                       1981
1.  Cris Collinsworth  (CIN)    1009     |     1.  Cris Collinsworth     6698
2.  Ken Margerum  (CHI)          584     |     2.  Matt Bouza            3064
3.  Virgil Seay  (WAS)           472     |     3.  Leo Lewis             2933
4.  Mike Holston  (HOU)          427     |     4.  Mark Nichols          2235
5.  Marcus Anderson  (CHI)       243     |     5.  Mike Wilson           2199
6.  Mark Nichols  (DET)          222     |     6.  Jim C. Jensen         2171
7.  Malcolm Barnwell  (OAK)      190     |     7.  Byron Franklin        2016
8.  David Verser  (CIN)          161     |     8.  Malcolm Barnwell      1997
                                         |     9.  Ken Margerum          1348
                                         |     10. Mike Holston          1187
                                       1980
1.  Art Monk  (WAS)              797     |     1.  Art Monk              12721
2.  Ray Butler  (BAL)            574     |     2.  Carlos Carson         6479
3.  Kevin House  (TAM)           531     |     3.  Kevin House           5553
4.  Lam Jones  (NYJ)             482     |     4.  Ray Butler            4293
5.  Mike Friede  (NYG)           371     |     5.  Gerald Carter         3443
6.  Danny Pittman  (NYG)         308     |     6.  Tim Smith             3107
7.  Calvin Sweeney  (PIT)        282     |     7.  Lam Jones             2322
8.  Jeff B. Moore  (RAM)         168     |     8.  Calvin Sweeney        1775
                                         |     9.  Mike Friede           992
                                         |     10. Danny Pittman         832
                                       1979
1.  Jerry Butler  (BUF)          834     |     1.  Drew Hill             9831
2.  Earnest Gray  (NYG)          537     |     2.  Roy Green             8965
3.  Rickey Watts  (CHI)          421     |     3.  Dwight Clark          6750
4.  Rich Martini  (OAK)          259     |     4.  Steve Watson          6112
5.  Dwight Clark  (SFO)          232     |     5.  Jerry Butler          4301
6.  John Floyd  (SDG)            152     |     6.  Earnest Gray          3790
                                         |     7.  Jeff Groth            2132
                                         |     8.  Steve Kreider         2119
                                         |     9.  Rickey Watts          1547
                                         |     10. Gordon Jones          1402
                                       1978
1.  John Jefferson  (SDG)       1001     |     1.  James Lofton          14187
2.  James Lofton  (GNB)          818     |     2.  Wes Chandler          10108
3.  Derrick Gaffney  (NYJ)       691     |     3.  J.T. Smith            6974
4.  Alfred Jackson  (ATL)        526     |     4.  John Jefferson        5714
5.  Dave Stief  (STL)            477     |     5.  Mike Renfro           4708
6.  Wes Chandler  (NOR)          472     |     6.  Preston Dennard       3665
7.  Mike Renfro  (HOU)           339     |     7.  Alfred Jackson        3001
8.  Jesse Thompson  (DET)        175     |     8.  Derrick Gaffney       2613
                                         |     9.  Jimmy Cefalo          1739
                                         |     10. Don Bass              1580

A.J. Green bucked the odds by being the top receiver last year. We'll see if he can do it again.

It’s a bit early to grade the last three classes. But from 1978 to 2008, only three wide receivers — Randy Moss, Cris Collinsworth and Art Monk — ended up having both the best rookie season and the best career among the wideouts from their respective classes. The median rank was fourth, which isn’t bad, but would be significantly disappointing for Bengals fans. A Darnay Scott or Chris Chambers career path is certainly not what Cincinnati fans are expecting. And that’s just the median, as over a third of the receivers ended up ranking outside of the top five from their class.

Conversely, if we look at those wide receivers who ended up having the best careers from their class, the median rank during their rookie season was fifth, as was the case for Derrick Mason or Laveranues Coles.

Green looks to be the next superstar wide receiver in the league. My friend and football analyst Matt Waldman loves Green’s skillset, and I agree that he looks to be the real deal. That will just makes him even more unique if he ends up having the career many expect: Jim Benton is the only player in NFL history to be the highest drafted wide receiver, lead his rookie class in receiving yards, and then finish with the most career receiving yards among wideouts from his class. Benton was drafted in 1938.

Previous “Random Perspective On” Articles:
AFC East: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers
AFC South: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans
AFC West: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers
NFC East: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
NFC North: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons
NFC South: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC West: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams

  1. I’ve defined a player’s rookie year as their first year in which they played an NFL game, regardless of the year they were drafted. []

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Bo July 24, 2012 at 9:41 am

Also jumps out how much better DeSean Jackson has been than his classmates, even after a comparatively down 2011.

Reply

Tim Truemper July 24, 2012 at 10:09 am

This article is why I love this site.

Reply

Chase Stuart July 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Thanks!

Reply

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