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Rookie Receivers and the 2014 Season

Odell Beckham is ridiculous. Period.

Mike Evans, in just about any other year, would be considered the best rookie wide receiver in the NFL. Players like Kelvin Benjamin and Sammy Watkins would stand out in most years, too: both have over 25% of their team’s receiving yards.

Jordan Matthews has 767 receiving yards, which is only considered unimpressive against when compared against the above backdrop. Ditto Jarvis Landry and his 79 receptions. Martavis Bryant has seven touchdowns. The Jaguars have three rookie receivers playing well. And on and on we could go (just as I did in late October, and as Bill Barnwell did after week twelve).

Through 16 weeks of the 2014 season, rookies have been responsible for 12.6% of all receptions in the NFL, 12.7% of all receiving yards, and 13.7% of all touchdowns. As it turns out, that does make the 2014 class a very special one. The table below shows the percentage of all receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns by rookies in each year (other than 1987) since 1970:

rk rec

It’s worth pointing out that this looks at all rookies, not just rookie wide receivers. In the off-season, I will re-run things but look just at rookie receivers, and I have a feeling that will make the 2014 class look even more special. It’s already the best class of rookies since 1986, when Bill Brooks and Ernest Givins each topped 1,000 yards, Herschel Walker picked up 837 receiving yards for Dallas, Mike Sherrard and Mark Jackson each topped 700 yards, and Floyd Dixon, Webster Slaughter, Hassan Jones and Kelvin Bryant all made big impacts.

  • Did anyone hear much about Odell Beckham Jr. during preseason, it was all Sammy Watkins, he is not bad but Jr. really? He can even do soccer tricks with a football. Come on man!

    • Yes, someone was talking quite highly of ODBJ before the draft. One word: Rookie Scouting Portfolio. Use the Googletron Machine to find it. Buy the 2015 edition and you won’t regret it.