With the 2019 NFL Draft rapidly approaching, this years wide receiver class is particularly deep, so would it be worth it taking one in the first round.
Taking a player in the first round of the NFL Draft should mean that you are expecting that player to make an immediate impact on your team. The history of taking a wide receiver in the first round have really been hit or miss. There are good examples of where choosing a receiver high has paid off and they become a big part of the team’s offense, but there are also examples where the player does not even last on the teams roster. The reason for such as risk is that playing wide receiver in college is immensely different than playing in college and not just for the obvious talent differentials.
The most recent draft that has a group of receivers that positively impacted their teams was in 2014 as 1x Pro Bowler Mike Evans was drafted 7th overall and Odell Beckham Jr is a 3x Pro Bowler and holds many records was drafted 12th. These two are very different in how they play their position. Odell has brought the use of speed, route running with agility and quickness, along with his ability to reach and of course catch the ball with one hand. While on the other hand Mike Evans has made a career of using his body to create seperation and his ability to catch the football is why he was worth the pick.
The biggest example of a bust at the wide receiver position is Corey Coleman who was drafted by the Browns in 2016 at 15th overall. Coleman won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver in 2015, along with unanimous All-American and first-team all-conference honors, leading the country with 20 touchdown receptions. These stats would show that Coleman should’ve been a top pick, but what scouts missed was Coleman lack of football speed. The difference between football speed and regular speed is how Antonio Brown and Odell make their money. They use quickness to create seperation of routes a=which is what Coleman lacks as a bigger receiver.
The picking of a wide receiver first round can either make the decision makers look good or incredibly unintelligent. In my opinion taking a player first round is believing that player can compete and win battles with players who are already in the NFL. Taking a wide receiver with that pick is too much to risk for my liking, because if do not end up with an Amari Cooper or a Julio Jones, but you end up with a Laquon Treadwell then the pick is considered a bust because that player will never be able to help your squad win games.
This years class of wide receivers does not have a player that is worth a top ten pick. DK Metcalf is a physical monster and is bound to get picked within the first round, but is it worth it to take a chance on a player with injury concerns and other red flags that have some scouts questioning him. Taking a wide receiver in the first round is always a boom or bust pick because they have that constant pressure to be the next AB or Odell Beckham. A first round pick should be a player who will make the highest immediate impact on your team, and picking a wide receiver who had some success at the collegiate level who may have to develop for a couple years before really blossoming into their own does not support that idea. In my opinion I would say no, picking a wide receiver in the first round is not worth it.