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NO.1 WRs becoming endangered species?


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No. 1 WRs becoming endangered species

Whether it was because of age or inconsistency, the four NFC East teams looked long and hard this offseason for new options at wide receiver.

The Eagles eternally seem to be looking for a No. 1 receiver. The Giants were looking because Amani Toomer is 33 and Plaxico Burress is 30. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones unsuccessfully made trade calls for Chad Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Roy Williams and Larry Fitzgerald. The Redskins also inquired about Johnson. In the end, the only options were in the draft.

What's becoming a No. 1 problem for teams is their inability to find new No. 1 receivers. Over the past six seasons, only six Pro Bowl receivers have been developed. That's an amazingly low number.

Teams have tried. An average of 32.8 receivers were drafted each year since 2001, but only 26 -- 27 if you consider Anthony Gonzalez of Indianapolis in the three-receiver set -- are currently on depth charts as starters for teams that drafted them. That's less than one per team. Thirteen post-2001 draft choices ended up going to different teams to start.

Fitzgerald, Boldin and Williams represent half of the six Pro Bowl receivers developed since 2001, which explains why they were the targets of teams in need of No. 1 threats. The Cardinals gave Fitzgerald a four-year, $40 million contract in March. Williams is in the final year of his contract, and if the Lions don't think he's worth Fitzgerald money, he might be franchised and traded next year. The Cowboys and Eagles will be waiting.

As tough as it is to find starting quarterbacks, the search for new receivers is growing tougher and tougher. Some general managers are starting to think it's tougher to find top receivers than quarterbacks, which seems incredible, considering how much more passing there is on the college level.

The reasons are simple. The jump from college to the pros for receivers is one of the toughest for any position. ESPN analyst Cris Carter explained it well last week on "NFL Live." In college, an opposing team may have only one good cornerback, so all the pro prospect receiver needs to do is slide to the other side of the field and run his route virtually unchallenged.

In the pros, most of the corners are talented enough to match up and make life difficult. Carter cited three problems facing young receivers. First, they have to learn how to beat man defenses, which he estimates a receiver will see 70 percent of the time. To do that, Carter said receivers have to learn to use their hands to fight their way off the line of scrimmage to get past a pressing corner. It takes a lot of time to learn that skill.

Second, the receiver must learn the routes and learn the defenses. Many receivers, Carter said, don't recognize a Cover 2 or Cover 3, or understand where to "sit'' in an area to catch the ball. Carter used the curl route as an example: Although a coach might devise it as a 14-yard route, the smart receiver will pick up the coverage and be ready to "sit'' in the zone to catch it at 11 or 12 yards.

Finally, Carter said great receivers need to be special. They have to do special things, like run after the catch, make great receptions and score touchdowns. Many don't end up being special.

The biggest problem facing teams is that too many college receivers are turning pro too early, and it's screwing up the drafts. Normally, six or seven underclassmen turn pro as wide receivers. Many fail. Forty underclassman receivers turned pro from 2002 to 2007. The long list of receivers no longer with the teams that drafted them includes Ashley Lelie, Jabar Gaffney, Antonio Bryant, Reche Caldwell, Shaun McDonald, Kelley Washington, Charles Rogers, Brandon Lloyd, Devard Darling and Chris Henry.

As a result, teams have become more cautious in selecting receivers who skip their senior seasons. In 2006, Santonio Holmes of the Steelers -- an underclassman -- was the only receiver taken in the first round, and he didn't go until the 25th pick. This year, no receiver went in the first round, something that hasn't happened since 1990. However, six of the 10 receivers picked in the second round were underclassmen.

Teams in need of receivers are being forced to resurrect the careers of older players. The 49ers signed Isaac Bruce. The Panthers and Bears went back to their pasts for former success stories -- Muhsin Muhammad (Panthers) and Marty Booker (Bears).

Of the 22 Pro Bowl receivers currently starting, 12 are in their 30s. Reggie Wayne of the Colts, Chris Chambers of the Chargers and Steve Smith of the Panthers turn 30 this fall. Santana Moss of the Redskins turned 29 over the weekend.

The next wave of potential Pro Bowl receivers isn't bad. There just aren't enough of them. Lee Evans of the Bills, Roddy White

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there are still #1's out there. i think it is mainly the evolution of the defenses that has made it so that there are very few "unstoppable" wr's. some seem to be lacking the fundamentals like fighting of the LOS and watching the ball all the way into their hands. some seem to be more worry about what they are going to try to do after they make the catch, before they even make the catch, thus not actually concentrating on making the catch. also cb's are way more athletic than they used to be and most teams have 2 sometimes 3 very good cb's which the young wr's didn't see in college, like carter pointed out.

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birdz4i (6/3/2008)
there are still #1's out there. i think it is mainly the evolution of the defenses that has made it so that there are very few "unstoppable" wr's. some seem to be lacking the fundamentals like fighting of the LOS and watching the ball all the way into their hands. some seem to be more worry about what they are going to try to do after they make the catch, before they even make the catch, thus not actually concentrating on making the catch. also cb's are way more athletic than they used to be and most teams have 2 sometimes 3 very good cb's which the young wr's didn't see in college, like carter pointed out.

yea i agree its a couple of things. the corners have gotten bigger and faster, you usually used to see 5'9, 5'10 corners, but they are all like 6'0, 6'1 now and have the fast 40s. plus i think a lot of the time the teams and scouts focus too much on a WRs size, speed and return ability. it seems like ever since hester came into the league now if you were a good return man you get bumped up like 3 rounds just for that. half of them are good returnmen, but wont be good wideouts in the NFL. they have breakaway speed...and that is it. work ethic and catching the ball is also key too.

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monoxide (6/3/2008)
Roddy's getting the attention he deserves, I love it. I think he's one of the most underrated offensive players in football. For Media's sake, just look at Madden. Receivers who didn't have half his stats, and had a pro Bowl QB, are rated a lot higher then him.
I was reading this gay thing on NFL.com yesterday. Roddy White wasnt even mentioned in the Top 10 waiting for the Pro Bowl - it featured some not that great players- he didnt even make the "Other noteable possibilities" section soon after the list. Which is a joke.
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McKay deserves some credit for finding Roddy and an aother very promising young WR in Laurant Robinson.

For 2 straight years the Roddy White pick was used to beat up on McKay, and I've seen almost no one retract the intense criticism and admit McKay got us some very good, young, promising  players for TD to build with. Instead, they just start bashing the Anderson pick, which is still just as premature to call a bust as Roddy was in his second year.

When we look back on McKays picks 3 years from now, it could be he did better than a lot of fans ever gave him credit for.

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gazoo (6/3/2008)
McKay deserves some credit for finding Roddy and an aother very promising young WR in Laurant Robinson.

For 2 straight years the Roddy White pick was used to beat up on McKay, and I've seen almost no one retract the intense criticism and admit McKay got us some very good, young, promising  players for TD to build with. Instead, they just start bashing the Anderson pick, which is still just as premature to call a bust as Roddy was in his second year.

When we look back on McKays picks 3 years from now, it could be he did better than a lot of fans ever gave him credit for.

exactly.That gets on my nerves.they get proved wrong brush it off and jump on the next young player to bash.I supported Roddy through his whole career,even when he was dropping passes left and right.There was this guy that was always bigging up Jenkins when reality was he was dropping passes as much as Roddy.His BS 7 TD's clouded everybodies eyes.That same guy bashed Roddy all day.that same guy either no longer posts here or has a new name.I always knew Roddy had the talent,he just needed to get over his mental issues.I always knew Jenkins wasn't a legit starter in this league,not because he can't play but because he doesn't have the skills to be a dangerous WR.I thought he could work in the slot but he still can't move and I prefer the smaller quicker guys in the slot and Welker's year last year made me want it even more.Hello Harry Douglas lol.I even think Jennings could be a pretty good slot receiver.
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i dont see why roddy is even mentioned in this article. one ok season last year and now all of a sudden hes a pro bowl type reciever? naw, i dont think so. i would rather see consistant 1000 yard recieving seasons from then before i call him a potential pro bowl candidate. not hating, i just cant seem to get that game against the saints were he missed a wide open pass from vick that could of been a touchdown.

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The next wave of potential Pro Bowl receivers isn't bad. There just aren't enough of them. Lee Evans of the Bills, Roddy White of the Falcons, Marques Colston of the Saints

For a league supposedly scrambling to find probowl receivers, Colston had more receptions

in his first 2 seasons in the league than any rook ever. Should have been the ROY instead of Vince Young because it is certainly arguable that Colston is a better WR than Young is a QB.

Tell the writer of this piece if he thinks there should be more probowl WRs, then lets make the probowl about who is the best statistically, not who is the most popular.

Colston shouldn't be considered a "potential on the horizon" but instead, a bust down the door #1 WR featured in 1 of the league's top offenses.

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saint vitus (6/3/2008)
The next wave of potential Pro Bowl receivers isn't bad. There just aren't enough of them. Lee Evans of the Bills, Roddy White of the Falcons, Marques Colston of the Saints

For a league supposedly scrambling to find probowl receivers, Colston had more receptions

in his first 2 seasons in the league than any rook ever. Should have been the ROY instead of Vince Young because it is certainly arguable that Colston is a better WR than Young is a QB.

Tell the writer of this piece if he thinks there should be more probowl WRs, then lets make the probowl about who is the best statistically, not who is the most popular.

Colston shouldn't be considered a "potential on the horizon" but instead, a bust down the door #1 WR featured in 1 of the league's top offenses.

 

compared to marcus coltson, roddy white is a busts.sorry to say that as a falcons fan but he is. a 7th round draft pick in colston is looking like a 1st rounder while roddy in his whole nfl career has looked like he should have been drafted in the 4th round or 5th.

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crankthatbatman (6/3/2008)
saint vitus (6/3/2008)
The next wave of potential Pro Bowl receivers isn't bad. There just aren't enough of them. Lee Evans of the Bills, Roddy White of the Falcons, Marques Colston of the Saints

For a league supposedly scrambling to find probowl receivers, Colston had more receptions

in his first 2 seasons in the league than any rook ever. Should have been the ROY instead of Vince Young because it is certainly arguable that Colston is a better WR than Young is a QB.

Tell the writer of this piece if he thinks there should be more probowl WRs, then lets make the probowl about who is the best statistically, not who is the most popular.

Colston shouldn't be considered a "potential on the horizon" but instead, a bust down the door #1 WR featured in 1 of the league's top offenses.

 

compared to marcus coltson, roddy white is a busts.sorry to say that as a falcons fan but he is. a 7th round draft pick in colston is looking like a 1st rounder while roddy in his whole nfl career has looked like he should have been drafted in the 4th round or 5th.

Yeah, but Roddy White gets the benefit of the doubt cuz of whom he had QBing for him the last few seasons. Colston at least has a top 5 QB throwing him the rock. I'm willing to cut Roddy some slack.

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saint vitus (6/3/2008)
crankthatbatman (6/3/2008)
saint vitus (6/3/2008)
The next wave of potential Pro Bowl receivers isn't bad. There just aren't enough of them. Lee Evans of the Bills, Roddy White of the Falcons, Marques Colston of the Saints

For a league supposedly scrambling to find probowl receivers, Colston had more receptions

in his first 2 seasons in the league than any rook ever. Should have been the ROY instead of Vince Young because it is certainly arguable that Colston is a better WR than Young is a QB.

Tell the writer of this piece if he thinks there should be more probowl WRs, then lets make the probowl about who is the best statistically, not who is the most popular.

Colston shouldn't be considered a "potential on the horizon" but instead, a bust down the door #1 WR featured in 1 of the league's top offenses.

 

compared to marcus coltson, roddy white is a busts.sorry to say that as a falcons fan but he is. a 7th round draft pick in colston is looking like a 1st rounder while roddy in his whole nfl career has looked like he should have been drafted in the 4th round or 5th.

Yeah, but Roddy White gets the benefit of the doubt cuz of whom he had QBing for him the last few seasons. Colston at least has a top 5 QB throwing him the rock. I'm willing to cut Roddy some slack.

 

has nothing to do with the QB. vick got roddy the ball, it was roddy's fault for not catching some passes, and vicks fault for not being accurate all the time. but we are talkin about catchable balls tho, and roddy has disappointed in that area. hes not as dependable as colston is.

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i agree....when your evaluating wrs, you have to take into account who is throwing the ball, & roddy (even though he had a rough start)didnt have a top tier passer throwing the ball....& he broke out(so to speak) last year with what we had at qb.so with joes help, he got alot better last year.imo maybe not this year but very soon after, he can be a pro bowler

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mark hunter (6/3/2008)
i agree....when your evaluating wrs, you have to take into account who is throwing the ball, & roddy (even though he had a rough start)didnt have a top tier passer throwing the ball....& he broke out(so to speak) last year with what we had at qb.so with joes help, he got alot better last year.imo maybe not this year but very soon after, he can be a pro bowler

so u sayin chris redman, and joey harrington are better then vick? hmmmmmmmmm

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crankthatbatman (6/3/2008)
saint vitus (6/3/2008)
crankthatbatman (6/3/2008)
saint vitus (6/3/2008)
The next wave of potential Pro Bowl receivers isn't bad. There just aren't enough of them. Lee Evans of the Bills, Roddy White of the Falcons, Marques Colston of the Saints

For a league supposedly scrambling to find probowl receivers, Colston had more receptions

in his first 2 seasons in the league than any rook ever. Should have been the ROY instead of Vince Young because it is certainly arguable that Colston is a better WR than Young is a QB.

Tell the writer of this piece if he thinks there should be more probowl WRs, then lets make the probowl about who is the best statistically, not who is the most popular.

Colston shouldn't be considered a "potential on the horizon" but instead, a bust down the door #1 WR featured in 1 of the league's top offenses.

 

compared to marcus coltson, roddy white is a busts.sorry to say that as a falcons fan but he is. a 7th round draft pick in colston is looking like a 1st rounder while roddy in his whole nfl career has looked like he should have been drafted in the 4th round or 5th.

Yeah, but Roddy White gets the benefit of the doubt cuz of whom he had QBing for him the last few seasons. Colston at least has a top 5 QB throwing him the rock. I'm willing to cut Roddy some slack.

 

has nothing to do with the QB. vick got roddy the ball, it was roddy's fault for not catching some passes, and vicks fault for not being accurate all the time. but we are talkin about catchable balls tho, and roddy has disappointed in that area. hes not as dependable as colston is.

I agree with if the ball hits the hands, it should be caught, and Colston is definitely money.

I haven't been able to keep up with Roddy for more than a couple games, so I don't know how many he should have caught that hit him in the hands.

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crankthatbatman (6/3/2008)
mark hunter (6/3/2008)
i agree....when your evaluating wrs, you have to take into account who is throwing the ball, & roddy (even though he had a rough start)didnt have a top tier passer throwing the ball....& he broke out(so to speak) last year with what we had at qb.so with joes help, he got alot better last year.imo maybe not this year but very soon after, he can be a pro bowler

so u sayin chris redman, and joey harrington are better then vick? hmmmmmmmmm

heck no...im saying that he had a rough start, but with joes help he did better with worse qb play....i know most of the drops when #7 was throwing was his fault, but horns mentoring helped him tremendiously which he had a better season with what we were stuck with at qb
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mark hunter (6/3/2008)
crankthatbatman (6/3/2008)
mark hunter (6/3/2008)
i agree....when your evaluating wrs, you have to take into account who is throwing the ball, & roddy (even though he had a rough start)didnt have a top tier passer throwing the ball....& he broke out(so to speak) last year with what we had at qb.so with joes help, he got alot better last year.imo maybe not this year but very soon after, he can be a pro bowler

so u sayin chris redman, and joey harrington are better then vick? hmmmmmmmmm

heck no...im saying that he had a rough start, but with joes help he did better with worse qb play....i know most of the drops when #7 was throwing was his fault, but horns mentoring helped him tremendiously which he had a better season with what we were stuck with at qb

 

oh ok, that sounds about right. i wish joe could stay to mentor laurent and harry more, but he obviously wants to be more then a mentor which is understandable. roddy is not ready to become that mentor type player yet, he still needs a couple of years under his belt to mature.

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crankthatbatman (6/3/2008)
i dont see why roddy is even mentioned in this article. one ok season last year and now all of a sudden hes a pro bowl type reciever? naw, i dont think so. i would rather see consistant 1000 yard recieving seasons from then before i call him a potential pro bowl candidate. not hating, i just cant seem to get that game against the saints were he missed a wide open pass from vick that could of been a touchdown.

At this time last year... he was a bust. I remember posting that there had

to be something that they saw in him to draft him that high. I was hoping

it would come out and it did. I give Harrington credit for having and voicing

confidence in him and also for throwing a more accurate and catchable ball

than he had been looking at. Some people give Joe Horn credit for mentoring

him but I never bought into that. He may not be All pro yet but he is pretty

good and we can brag on him a little at this point without being corrected.:)

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i agree crank...i just hope roddy has learned enough to keep it up & know what he has to do to become a pro bowler....i really dont think joe is going to be anything more, anywhere else, than he is here, so if we keep him we should put some plays in designed for him....imo

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LADBABY (6/3/2008)
crankthatbatman (6/3/2008)
i dont see why roddy is even mentioned in this article. one ok season last year and now all of a sudden hes a pro bowl type reciever? naw, i dont think so. i would rather see consistant 1000 yard recieving seasons from then before i call him a potential pro bowl candidate. not hating, i just cant seem to get that game against the saints were he missed a wide open pass from vick that could of been a touchdown.

At this time last year... he was a bust. I remember posting that there had

to be something that they saw in him to draft him that high. I was hoping

it would come out and it did. I give Harrington credit for having and voicing

confidence in him and also for throwing a more accurate and catchable ball

than he had been looking at. Some people give Joe Horn credit for mentoring

him but I never bought into that. He may not be All pro yet but he is pretty

good and we can brag on him a little at this point without being corrected.:)

so ....iyo.....joey gets the credit for roddys year???interesting....i dont see it , but interesting
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FalconWong88 (6/3/2008)
Colston was a nice find in the 7th.  But he also has hit the rookie wall.

Roddy should have turned the corner sooner for a 1st rounder, but he seems well above the rookie wall now.

 

i dont mean to critisize your photoshop skills, but that pic of matt ryan could be more defined. maybe feather it a little more to get rid of the outline around his head and feet.

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