The Wide Receiver Mythology Index

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by Spesh, May 7, 2014.

  1. Spesh

    Spesh #freespesh

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    Purpose

    The purpose of this post is to give everyone a general idea of the importance of the receiver position by reviewing other franchises acquisitions at that position, our production compared to other teams, and the development of receivers in general. As I understand the importance of objectivity is subjective, I will not be including more than the most basic of statistics. If any information is missing or incorrect it is not due to sinister motives. Any quotes should have the link provided; everything else should be my opinion.

    Development of a Receiver

    http://mmqb.si.com/2014/05/02/nfl-draft-wide-receiver-deep-impact/

    The article has a good number of quotes from general managers and coaches in the link that I didn’t quote in order to save space, so I encourage all to read it in its entirety, but the bottom line is it takes a year or two in order for draft picks to develop. This is not new, as receivers have a history of taking time to develop. Even Calvin Johnson was relatively mortal as a rookie with just over 750 yards.

    Those who believe we are only a player or two away from contending will undoubtedly see that as a deal breaker. The fact remains that the longer we wait to draft a receiver the longer it will take us to get production at that position. If we pass on a receiver this year, it will take at least 2 years before we can get another player ready to play. Assuming we draft a receiver next year.

    Teams Investing in Receivers

    It’s become a common occurrence for teams to make significant investments into their wide out position even if they have some of the best receivers in the league already on the roster. It’s important to note that this list does not include tight ends or running backs who act as receivers. As well, this list will only cover players on the rosters today and not previous investments that have moved on or been cut. For example, Hakeem Nicks will be listed as a Colt and not a Giant, despite the fact that the Giants made the greater investment into Nicks than the Colts. Finally, this list will only include players taken in the first 3 rounds of the draft or were noteworthy resigning or free agent pickups.

    Chicago- Acquired Brandon Marshall for two 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] round picks. Drafted Alshon Jeffery in the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] round of the 2012 draft.

    Denver- Drafted Demaryius Thomas in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2010 draft. Signed Wes Welker to a two year, $12 million deal in 2013. Signed Emmanuel Sanders to a three year, $15 million deal in 2014.

    Arizona- Drafted Larry Fitzgerald in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2004 draft. Drafted Michael Floyd in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2012 draft.

    Cincinnati- Drafted A.J. Green in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2011 draft. Drafted Mohamed Sanu in the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] round of the 2012 draft.

    Houston- Drafted Andre Johnson in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2003 draft. Drafted DeAndre Hopkins in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2013 draft.

    Dallas- Drafted Dez Bryant in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2010 draft. Drafted Terrance Williams in the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] round of the 2013 draft.

    San Francisco- Drafted Michael Crabtree in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2010 draft. Acquired Anquan Boldin for a 6[SUP]th[/SUP] round pick, subsequently resigned Boldin to a two year, $12 million deal in 2013.

    St. Louis- Drafted Brian Quick in the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] round of the 2012 draft. Drafted Tavon Austin in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2013 draft. Signed Kenny Britt to a one year, $1.4 million deal in 2014.

    Indianapolis- Drafted Reggie Wayne in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2001 draft. Drafted T.Y. Hilton in the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] round of the 2012 draft. Signed Hakeem Nicks to a one year, $5.5 million deal in 2014.

    Tennessee- Drafted Kendall Wright in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2012 draft. Drafted Justin Hunter in the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] round of the 2013 draft.

    Buffalo- Resigned late round draft pick Steve Johnson to a five year, $36.25 million contract in 2012. Drafted Robert Woods in the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] round of the 2013 draft. Acquired Mike Williams for a 6[SUP]th[/SUP] round pick in 2014.

    Atlanta- Drafted Roddy White in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2005 draft. Drafted Harry Douglas in the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] round of the 2008 draft. Traded up and drafted Julio Jones in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2011 draft.

    Green Bay- Drafted Jordy Nelson in the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] round of the 2008 draft. Drafted Randall Cobb in the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] round of the 2011 draft.

    Minnesota- Signed Greg Jennings to a five year, $47.5 million contract in 2013. Traded up and drafted Cordarrelle Patterson in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2013 draft.

    Detroit- Drafted Calvin Johnson in the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] round of the 2007 draft. Drafted Ryan Broyles in the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] round of the 2012 draft. Signed Golden Tate to a five year, $31 million contract in 2014.

    Washington- Drafted Leonard Hankerson in the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] round of the 2011 draft. Signed Pierre Garcon to a five year, $42.5 million contract in 2012. Signed DeSean Jackson to a three year, $24 million contract in 2014.

    And there are more examples. Obviously not all of those moves worked out. But there can be no denying teams invest heavy and often into the receiver position. Suffice it to say, our investment in former fourth round pick Brian Hartline and free agent Mike Wallace could be considered modest compared to the moves other teams have made.

    League Changes

    As I will show later in this post there has been an increase of production at the receiver position across the league. There are multiple reasons for this. Quality prospects are coming out of the draft at a record rate, teams have adopted more college schemes, coaches have shifted to a pass first philosophy, and more. But for this post I’m going to highlight two points:

    -Rule changes

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2...evolved-nfl/akAnTGNJaS7OrVnjAbbN6J/story.html

    The article goes on in detail about the various rule changes that have occurred over the last half century. I chose to quote the beginning of the article due to the colorful description of the way the game was played. Again, I encourage everyone to read it in its entirety.

    -Increased production at the quarterback position

    Everyone knows by now that quarterbacks are more productive than ever. But to see the actual difference in production over the last decade is a bit shocking. To save space I’ll only be linking the top 10 passers in the league. I also linked 3 years instead of merely 1 in order to avoid the appearance of cherry picking a less than productive year to compare the 2013 season with.

    NFL Passing Yards, 2013:

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/player/_/stat/passing/sort/passingYards

    NFL Passing Yards, 2005:

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/player/_/stat/passing/sort/passingYards/year/2005/seasontype/2

    NFL Passing Yards, 2004:

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/player/_/stat/passing/sort/passingYards/year/2004/seasontype/2

    NFL Passing Yards, 2003:

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/player/_/stat/passing/sort/passingYards/year/2003/seasontype/2

    As you can see, quarterbacks are throwing for roughly 700 to 1,000 yards more per season now than they were a decade ago. It stands to reason that the more productive a quarterback is the more productive his receivers are.

    Draft

    While there has been much attention shown on the depth of this draft many forget how talented it is at the top. Though I have some reservations about this list, it will give everyone a good idea of the top prospects.

    http://nfl.si.com/2014/04/11/2014-nfl-draft-position-rankings-wide-receivers/

    Quality of this draft

    http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/n...Receiver/78bf1392-37e8-403d-a8ab-dca8bf329ed1

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap20...-receiving-corps-could-include-hall-of-famers

    http://mmqb.si.com/2014/05/02/nfl-draft-wide-receiver-deep-impact/

    Three different situations with three similar answers. While this could all be smokescreen or misjudgments, and the opinions expressed shouldn’t be taken as a rule unto man, it just goes to reinforce the league wide sentiment that this is a special receiving class.

    Fallacies

    Many on this forum make up a few ill-conceived notions that become accepted as fact. I’ll be addressing a handful of them. Do note, I am not attempting to call out any individual posters and am just addressing pervading themes that exist from thread to thread. If you’ve made these arguments yourself do not take it personally, simply adjust your opinion as you see fit.

    -Why go receiver when we are fine there?

    http://mmqb.si.com/2014/04/23/pittsburgh-steelers-draft-strategy/

    Our receiving unit is distinctly not fine and needs an upgrade. That said, even if we assume that the talent of our current unit is adequate for sake of this discussion, Miami is going to have to make some difficult decisions going forward. 2 of our receivers damaged their knees last season. While reports of their recovery are encouraging one can never be certain how well they are holding up until they strap pads on. Those incidents also highlight the fact that any of our players can get injured at any given time. If Mike Wallace were to miss an extended part of the season then our receiving unit would look similar to our 2012 unit.

    The more tangible concerns to our unit comes next offseason. While our receivers might arguably look fine for the 2014 season, barring injury, 2015 looks much hazier. Brandon Gibson will be in the last year of his contract and looking for an extension. Brian Hartline’s cap hit jumps to $22 million during the final 3 years of his deal. Mike Wallace’s cap hit jumps to just under $40 million in the final 3 years of his contract. Not to mention all 3 players will be 28 or older during the 2015 season.

    http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/miami-dolphins/brian-hartline/
    http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/miami-dolphins/mike-wallace/

    Drafting a young player now will give us leverage in 2015. And we would have a more than adequate replacement should someone go down with an injury or show lingering side effects to their existing problems. The worst case scenario is we are able to work out deals and compromises for all our players in 2015 and have a very strong 4 player rotation at a position that requires depth, hardly the biggest problem a team could have. Much as the Steelers accomplished for the better part of a decade, by drafting a receiver in this year’s draft we will have filled a hole before it was even created.

    -But we have such a need at right tackle.

    http://www.finheaven.com/showthread...-Ryan-Swope/page5&p=1064709330#post1064709330

    Many posters have made this point but Valandui caught it early and was one of the first to see the consequences. Years later his point has proven correct, you have to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you. In 2010 we had the chance to grab some great prospects in a talented tight end class. We passed on them in order to draft players that were supposed to cover our needs at that particular moment. A couple seasons later we are actively searching for an upgrade at tight end. And many the prospects we reached for to cover our needs failed in their respective roles.

    We have in front of us a talented receiving class. There is no telling when their will be another draft like it. It could be one year or it could be ten. Passing on this opportunity to focus on what happened last year will hurt us in the years to come. Not only will we be lacking those players, but our defense will be lining up against them. Every opportunity we pass on is an opportunity for another team to take advantage of.

    -This regime knows they might be fired if they don’t fix the line.

    If Hickey and Philbin are not doing what is in the best interests of this franchise as a whole then they deserve to be fired. If they are making the wrong moves when it comes to our long term well being then they are doomed regardless of how great the benefits look in the short term. As we aren’t two offensive linemen away from a Superbowl victory, it’s imperative that those who run the franchise do what is best for the Miami Dolphins even if it costs them their jobs.

    It’s in their best interest as well. If they do standout work but still get fired they will always have other opportunities in the future. Meanwhile, those that worry about keeping their job more than being good at their job rarely get another chance and instead have to snatch up work doing, say, pre-draft consultant roles 2 weeks before a delayed draft.

    -But Brian Hartline had 1,000 yards!

    He did. Unfortunately, as I suggested earlier, that is no longer the feat it used to be. With all the adjustments made receivers blow past the 1k mark on a regular basis. In fact, there were no less than 24 receivers or tight ends that hit 1,000 yards last season. 23 of those 24 had more yards than Brian Hartline.

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/player/_/stat/receiving/sort/receivingYards

    Receiving yards are not the only important stat to a receiver in today’s NFL. It’s worth noting that of the 24 players that hit 1k yards, 21 had more catches and 20 had more touchdowns than Brian Hartline.

    Of the 24 players reviewed in this section, 22 belonged to separate clubs. When two thirds of the league is hitting the same marker I no longer feel that marker is an accomplishment. It stops being a point of praise and instead becomes a general rule. Certainly there were some teams that were excluded from that rule, the Seahawks being a notable exception, but the franchises that missed that marker struggled to succeed or were utterly exceptional in other areas of their game. And as the Seahawks showed when they traded a first round pick for Percy Harvin last season, even the teams with exceptional pieces want to improve their receiving units.

    -Our receivers are worth more than a high round pick.

    Some of the best players in the league were former second round picks. Last year’s leading receiver, Josh Gordon, is a former second round pick. Vincent Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb, Anquan Boldin, and other receivers who are considered good or great players were second round picks. Other positions have fared quite well in that round as well. Last year’s AP offensive player of the year, Eddie Lacy, was a second round pick. Top linebackers such as Bobby Wagner, Lavonte David, and Daryl Washington were second round picks. Tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski and Coby Fleener were second round picks. The list could go on and on. The third round also has a strong history with players such as Justin Houston, DeMarco Murray, T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen, and many more out of it in recent years.

    Our receivers are not equal to those players. Mike Wallace comes close, but he has a huge contract and there are questions about his effort. Other teams know just how good our players are and they know just how much value is in that round. On this roster there are perhaps 3 players worthy of such compensation. Mike Pouncey, Cam Wake, and Ryan Tannehill have the talent or potential to justify such a high draft pick, though each comes with their own questions and concerns. Brent Grimes has the talent as well, but he also has had two season ending injuries on his record and is in the last few years of his career.

    If another team is foolish enough to send us a high draft pick for any receiver on this roster it would be a monumental mistake to pass on the opportunity. While there is always the possibility of busting with the picks acquired, there just as much of a chance to hit using that pick. If we have a regime capable of doing their job competently, the reward is much higher than the risk.

    Personal Opinion

    I see very little downside in selection a receiver high in the draft. The long term benefits far outweigh any of the risks. While the term “playmaker” is thrown around the forum in a very cavalier fashion, I believe we do not have enough players on this roster who make plays in less than ideal situations. That is especially true for our receiving unit. It’s not all that difficult to find a receiver who can run a satisfactory route and catch the ball when no defenders are around him. It’s not all that difficult to find players with good speed. What every team needs are players who can make contested catches while being double or triple covered and are able to score on any given play. We need players that other teams coaching staffs have to build entire game plans around. We need players other regimes are trying to constantly trade for. At the moment, we simply do not have them at a position that has grown more and more important.

    As far as our needs go, I’m a firm believer in filling needs in free agency and using the draft to get the best player available so long as he makes logical sense. I believe there are solutions are right tackle available in free agency who could be just as good as a player we’d have to spend a high draft pick on. Eric Winston comes to mind and as the President of the NFLPA he’d bring an element of professionalism to a locker room that has seen conflict of late. Even if he were merely competent and not exceptional I believe that is more than enough to get by with. There simply isn’t too drastic of a difference between the best right tackle in the NFL and the 12[SUP]th[/SUP] best right tackle in the NFL. That same difference in receivers is much starker.

    Even at the 19[SUP]th[/SUP] slot we should have potentially great players available to us. The player I hope drops to us is Odell Beckham, but I would be happy to settle for others. I could easily live with Marqise Lee and I am forced to include Brandin Cooks on the list so Rob19 will stop sending me fetish magazines. If all of the receivers are gone, I’d rather have the Dolphins pursue a defensive prospect over a lineman.

    Conclusion

    Everyone wants our line fixed. No one who witnessed the way it’s played the last few years should find the results acceptable. But we have the chance to fix the line as well and improving the team in areas that directly affect the scoreboard. Investing in a receiver or even a tight end would be in keeping with the investments made by other, often more successful, teams. Competent lineman who could fill the holes on our roster could be available later in the draft. If they aren’t then we can always turn back to free agency. The talented prospects of this receiving class are not as easily acquirable.

    In any case, thank you for reading and enjoy the upcoming draft. Hopefully the results are superior to:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2014
  2. truedolfan57

    truedolfan57 A True Fan

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    um, is 24 receivers in the whole nfl to reach 1k yards really a lot? doesn't sound like it to me. how many WR's and TE's are in the league? Lets just say every team plays at least 2 WR's and at least 1 TE on every offensive play. that means there are AT LEAST 96 WR's and TE on the field on offense the entire time. being 1 of 24 out of 96 is pretty damn good. and you know that's just the minimum, as i'm sure a very high percentage of teams and offensive plays included a 3rd WR. And Wallace was only 70yds short of 1k as well, i believe. I just don't think WR is that big of a need this year. if the oline can get shored up, i think both hartline and Wallace will do even better, and then we can look at picking up a WR in the next draft, or get lucky in round 3/4 of this draft.

    edit: i also don't believe that if Wallace is gone, that the WR unit will be like 2012. Gibson is better than bess, and Mathews looks to be a solid wr as well. would not have a true number 1, but I don't think a rookie would step right in and be a true number one either, as you've pointed out in your post, that it's usually in year 2, before you see their full potential.
     
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  3. Awsi Dooger

    Awsi Dooger A True Fan

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    I hated the Isaac Curtis Rule when it was instituted, and I've despised every measure that further coddled the passing game.

    Wide receivers should be eliminated at the snap, with no apologies and few options for the quarterback dropping back with his mouth ajar. That was the football I grew up with.

    It's all time hilarious that goofs like Aaron Schatz try to use statistics from that era in comparison to today and pretend they know anything about that time frame.

    There's no way I'm going to make any pronouncements about football or anything else dating to earlier than the late '60s, when I was old enough to witness and evaluate.

    Yeah, receivers can take a while to develop, unlike quarterbacks who recently played a different position, or painfully skinny defensive ends.
     
  4. fishfanmiami

    fishfanmiami Have you seen junior's grades ? Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    You made a good case Spesh and i got a feeling the new GM may be thinking along the same lines. Personally I'd like a WR , LB and O line in the first three picks so the order would be decided by whatever grade the Fin's have on these guys. Could be a top WR in the first. i think most would be happy to give our QB a top threat for the future and this is a great opportunity to do just that. I really do hope he doesn't bring his whole family with him this time :)
    Thanks for the time and effort you put into this post.
     
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  5. KTOWNFINFAN

    KTOWNFINFAN Seasoned Veteran

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    Anyone know where I can pickup some cliff notes for the OP novel ?? I'm sure it's an interesting read, but I don't have another vacation day til later in the year. Might have to wait for the movie.... :read:
     
  6. spiketex

    spiketex Kiko, El Bravo 47 - the yappy chihuahua Super Donator Donator

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    The extra 2 weeks that Commissioner Goodell has generously given us permits some indulgence in deep thinking. In recent days we have heard why we should draft a mike linebacker with our 1st round pick, and now why we need to invest in a wide receiver. Spesh makes some excellent points, especially the data to support the increasing trend for more yards thrown by QBs compared to 9 - 11 years ago. Spesh sees little downside in selecting a WR in the 1st round and the talent is definitely available. His logic is good. However, I would argue that if we don't get the right O-linemen to fix a gaping problem that resulted in Tannehill getting sacked 58 times last season, then we are not in the game. We are basically lucky that Tannehill is a lot tougher than he looks and he didn't get badly injured. Improved O-line play is essential and non-negotiable, it will also improve our running game. The only question is the quality of O-line draft prospects in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th round drop off compared to to the WRs and mike linebackers, who are likely to be available in the same draft slots?
    Can we use another good WR? Yes, absolutely. The prospect of Marqise Lee/Brandin Cooks/Odell Beckham Jr/Allen Robinson is very exciting, as is the prospect of addressing our LB issues in one fell swoop by drafting CJ Mosley. But we have only one 1st round Draft pick and our O-line needs are the biggest problem that need to be addressed.
    XSF is likely to be available and he can help to fix our biggest problem straight away. Good WRs like Allen Robinson, Donte Moncrief and Jordan Matthews from Vanderbilt could be available in the 2nd round or later. It will be interesting to see how Hickey prioritizes. I hope he goes O-line but I'm not confident and expect that he will select Mosley if he's still there to be taken.
     
  7. fisi

    fisi A True Fan Donator

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    Great job, Spesh! I have been singing the same song for quite a while now. Obviously not at the same depth as your but nonetheless.This GM is very open-minded, am counting on him to do the right thing. The other one came from the old thinking, "don't draft receivers, running backs an tight ends in the first two rounds because you can always find a good one in the later rounds." Those were the words that killed the Dolphins. How else could you explain 6 drafts and no play makers.
     
  8. Fin Thirteen

    Fin Thirteen FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP Donator

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    Though I could pick a few holes in the argumentation, I totally agree with you on the thrust of the argument. Where there is an abundance of talent at a position, there is value and the chance of hitting on a true talent is higher. You simply have to play those odds every offseason.

    I don't agree that TE is a position you can look at through that prism this year. It's not a deep TE class even if there are a few good guys in it.

    If you look at what round starting right tackles and right guards are taken in, there are as many who came from R7-UDFA as there are from round one, typically. If you NEED to fill a hole in the line, that doesn't mean you'll be as successful getting a guy in R7 as R1 (and we NEED to fill at least one starting berth on the line), but you're not at much of a disadvantage taking a second or third round RG/RT over a first rounder. That's even adjusting for the fact that sacks and pressures come almost equally from right side as left side in today's NFL. There's little difference between the job of tackle as pass protector regardless of the side of the line and - on top of that - the RT typically has more than 50% of the run plays to his side. Even with that, it's not mandatory we go o-line on day 1, or even in round 2. It is mandatory we find a solution, obviously, but we would be fools to miss out on this receiver class.
     
  9. Zounds

    Zounds CPA4LYFE Donator

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    WR is important, but OL should be the priority. Right now we have no starting RT or LG on the roster. We need to draft an OL who is ready to start now, where as any WR drafted will likely not be playing much in 2014. I'm fine with drafting a WR in the 1st or 2nd, but only if there are no starting caliber OL prospects available when we pick.
     
  10. rent this space

    rent this space Starter Finheaven VIP

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    I agree on the idea of drafting with an eye on the future but with amount of current holes on this roster, I'm not sure we have that luxury
     
  11. roy_miami

    roy_miami 2020 cant get here soon enough Donator

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    Its easy for us to sit back and tell them not to worry about their jobs but look at what happened just one year ago, we traded up and took what many would argue was the best playmaker in the entire draft instead of the nice safe tackle that almost assuredly would have gotten us to the holy land and what happened? We're demanding heads roll for the man thats just two years on the job.

    I agree that we need to be taking playmakers in the first, especially WRs and CBs, but you still can't ignore the problem of the extreme turnover rate for coaches and GMs in todays NFL. And I'll be upset if we reach and take a right tackle at 19 but I'll also understand why they did, you can't ask somebody to take a short term risk while at the same time demand "safe" short term results.
     
  12. Daytona Fin

    Daytona Fin Hot Sauce Moderator Finheaven VIP

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    Stay with the game plan, fix the OL. If a stud TE falls to us draft him or if a play maker WR merits the pick in round two or three then go for it otherwise be patient, there are plenty of WR's available in the later rounds. Our WR corps is sufficient for 2014.
     
  13. tthorpe13

    tthorpe13 Well-Known Member

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    You make some interesting points. I feel we are in a position in the draft that we could go a number of ways. If one of the top 4 tackles drops to us I feel we have to go that route. If Mosley drops we should go there, otherwise I think WR may be the best option at 19 outside of trading down, which I think will be tough. Reaching for an O lineman is a huge mistake in my opinion. I really like XSF but I do not think this team is putting a priority on the guard spot, I get the impression they are happy with the Thomas, Brenner, Smith, and Garner fighting for 2 spots. and I cannot argue that logic. I do feel RT needs to be addressed at some point, either with someone falling in our lap in round 1 or 2 or later on to compete with Fox.

    We will know the answer to all of this by Sunday! :hclap:
     
  14. Dogbone34

    Dogbone34 cowboy surfer

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    you can't have enough big time receivers. everytime you add real competition, you improve the core group and the offense gets stronger. marino was on fire when we lined up duper, clayton and moore. it's a simple formula that works, show up with game changers.

    i've been on the odell beckham bandwagon for months. too bad he won't make it to #19.

    my board is beckham / ebron / lee and then look at mosely/shazier.
     

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