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The 2014 WR Draft Class: How Does it Rank after 7 Years


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Bored, off-season post:

 

With Kelvin Benjamin signing with the Giants last week, it made me think about the 2014 WR draft class. At the time, and in the first couple of years, it was billed as possibly the greatest WR draft class of all-time. So, after seven years, I wondered if that still held true.

 

2014 WRs

Round (pick)              Player                   Career (rec/yds/TDs)                Last two years average or player status 

 1st (#4)            Sammy Watkins         321 for 4,665 and 33                         45 for 547 and 3 TDs

 1st (#7)               Mike Evans              532 for 8,266 and 61                         69 for 1,082 and 11 TDs

 1st (#12)         Odell Beckham, Jr.      487 for 6,830 and 51                         49 for 677 and 4 TDs

 1st (#20)           Brandin Cooks          483 for 6,880 and 40                        62 for 867 and 4 TDs

 1st (#28)          Kelvin Benjamin         209 for 3,021 and 20              was out of league (signed by NYG as TE this year)

 2nd (#39)        Marquise Lee              174 for 2,184 and 8                                   out of league

 2nd (#42)      Jordan Matthews         274 for 3,288 and 22             out of league (was on SF practice squad last year)

 2nd (#45)       Paul Richardson          238 for 1,804 and 12                                  out of league

 2nd (#53)       Davonte Adams          546 for 6,568 and 62                          99 for 1,186 and 12 TDs

 2nd (#56)         Cody Latimer               70 for 935 and 2                                      out of league

 2nd (#61)         Allen Robinson            457 for 5,999 and 39                          100 for 1,196 and 7 TDs

 2nd (#63)           Jarvis Landry            636 for 7,028 and 35                          78 for 1,007 and 5 TDs

 3rd (#86)            Josh Huff                    51 for 523 and 4                                      out of league

 3rd (#90)        Donte Moncrief             205 for 2,576 and 21                             5 for 26 and 0 TDs

 3rd (#91)           John Brown                320 for 4,748 and 31                           53 for 759 and 5 TDs

 3rd (#97)            Dri Archer                      3 for 15 and 0                                       out of league

 

There were 18 more WRs selected in rounds 4-7. The following are the only ones with more than 300 career yards:

Bruce Ellington (769 yds) - out of league 

Martavius Bryant (2,183 yds) - out of league (playing in CFL and Indoor league)

Ryan Grant (1,333 yds) - out of the league (playing in the CFL)

T.J. Jones (852 yds) - out of the league

Quincy Enunwa (1,617 yds) - out of the league (mostly due to injuries)

 

Interesting to note that Jarvis Landry has the 2nd most yards in the class after Mike Evans (although Landry doesn't score as many TDs). Obviously Adams, Landry, and Robinson were the best values in the draft, although I definitely wouldn't have been upset drafting Mike Evans at #7.

 

After seven seasons there are only 10 of 34 WRs from the 2014 draft left in the league...but it's a pretty good group (well 7 or 8 of them at least):

Davonte Adams, Mike Evans, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandin Cooks, Allen Robinson, John Brown, Sammy Watkins, Donte Moncrief, and Kelvin Benjamin

 

 

So, how do you think they stack up against other great WR classes thus far? Here are a few of the other (Super Bowl era) years considered the best for reference:

 

1996: Terrell Owens, Keyshawn Johnson, Marvin Harrison, Eric Moulds, Amani Toomer, Joe Horn, Mushin Muhammad, Bobby Engram, Eddie Kennison, Terry Glenn

1988: Michael Irvin, Tim Brown, Sterling Sharpe, Anthony Miller, Quinn Early, Michael Haynes, Flipper Anderson, Brian Blades, Brett Permian

1985: Jerry Rice, Andre Reed, Al Toon, Chris Burkett, Eddie Brown, Jessie Hester, Vance Johnson, Reggie Langhorne, Eric Martin

1974: Lynn Swan, John Stallworth, Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, Roger Carr, Nat Moore, Freddie Scott, Sam McCullum

2001: Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Steve Smith, Santana Moss, T.J. Houshmandzadah, Chris Chambers

1976: Steve Largent, Sammy White, Dave Logan, Henry Marshall, Duriel Harris, Pat Tilley

1991: Herman Moore, Ed McCaffrey, Keenan McCardell, Shawn Jefferson, Rocket Ismail, Jake Reed, Mike Pritchard, Michael Jackson, Jeff Graham

2015: Stephon Diggs, Tyler Lockett, Amari Cooper, Jamison Crowder, Devante Parker

2010: Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Golden Tate, Brandon LaFell, Victor Cruz, Eric Decker

2011: Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Randall Cobb, Torrey Smith, Cecil Shorts, Jeremy Kerley, Denarius Moore

1998: Randy Moss, Hines Ward, Tim Dwight, Joe Jurevicius, Az-Zahir Hakim, Kevin Dyson

1986: Ernest Givens, John Taylor, Tim McGee, Webster Slaughter, Mark Jackson, Bill Brooks

 

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Thanks for the post.

 

The things that stick out to me:

 

- Blame injuries or QBs or coaching or whatever, but after some early All-World play, OBJ has actually had a pretty unremarkable career.

 

- Mike Evans is a beast.

 

- Jarvis Landry is vastly underrated.

 

- John Brown has had just as good a career in terms of production as the guy we traded up for, Sammy Watkins.

 

- The 1996 WR class is still the best of all time, in my opinion. No one can ever convince me that Eric Moulds wasn’t a HOF level talent whose career was wasted by mostly bad QB play and mostly bad offenses.

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It's a group that came out really strong but has not really kept it up in recent years. OBJ was just used really well when with the Giants. They lined him up all over the place and he got a ton of targets. He hasn't been that great in Cleveland.

 

2010 was a pretty dang good class, especially if Antonio Brown would have kept his head on his shoulders.

 

But yeah, I think it is 1996. Eric Moulds was my favorite player growing up.

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Looking at that 1996 list is just amazing.  Clearly the best year ever. 

 

We've often had great receivers.  Andre Reed, Wagon Wheels Dubenion (after he got old), Jerry Butler, Moulds, Watkins, Marlin Briscoe, Lee Evans, James Lofton, Don Beebe, Bobby Chandler,  not to mention newcomers / short-timers like Diggs, Cole Beasley, Terrell Owens, and Ahmad Rashad, and pretty good players like Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods and Peerless Price (sorry if I forgot someone who deserves to be included).

 

The Bills spent almost as much time kvetching about getting a true #1 receiver as they did about getting a franchise QB.  We all had in mind someone like Julio Jones or Megatron, huge body, great speed, great patterns, great hands.  Turns out our #1 is a pretty short guy who nevertheless is a fantastic receiver.  Maybe we were looking in the wrong places. 

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3 hours ago, machine gun kelly said:

Folz, lots of data.  I promise not trying to be a pain, but was there a point, meaning some overarching theme.  I guess I’m just dense after midnight.

 

I really do appreciate the data.

 

No, no real overarching theme...I just remembered how the 2014 class was hyped so much as possibly the best class ever, so I wanted to try and see kind of where they ranked. (Initially I was thinking about how Benjamin and Watkins hadn't lived up to their potential). I didn't give my own ranking or whatever because I was curious what others thought. But I agree with some of the other posters that 1996 seems like the best. But where would 2014 rank...2nd? Top 3? Top 5?

 

Really just something I decided to look into out of curiosity and thought I'd post about it.

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Posted (edited)

Probably a top three or four class, particularly in terms of depth. Which is just what they were saying about that class originally.

 

 A massive disappointment up top in Watkins, who has absolutely minted cash for disappointing numbers his whole career. And yeah, Logic is right that for whatever reason, OBJ looked historically good and lately has only been pretty OK. It's fair to wonder if we've seen his best and it's in the past. 

 

And yet that class still has Evans and also Landry, Cooks, Adams and Robinson as well as a number of others who are pretty solid.

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3 minutes ago, Thurman#1 said:

And yeah, Logic is right that for whatever reason, OBJ looked historically good and lately has only been pretty OK. It's fair to wonder if we've seen his best and it's in the past. 

 

OBJ's problem has mostly been availability. He's averaging less than 10 games a season the past 4 years (9.75).

 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Rubes said:

 

OBJ's problem has mostly been availability. He's averaging less than 10 games a season the past 4 years (9.75).

 

 

 

I don't know. You may be right, I haven't paid much attention.

 

But over the last four years he's averaging 75.2 YPG. Which is still very good.

 

But in his first three years he was averaging 95.9 YPG, which is insane.

 

There are a ton of factors, availability, QB, injuries, offense, targets, receivers on the other side, etc. But he isn't what he was. He looked like a hall of famer for a while.

 

 

 

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You never invest two 1st rd picks on a WR when you don't have the Franchise QB.   It will always go to waste.  It was shame to see us betting that Manuel and then Kyle Orton doing any magic with Watson.  

 

If Watson was with Allen, it would have been a different ball game

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Does 1974 get the most overrated award? Neither Swann nor Stallworth belong in the HOF. 

Agree 1996 just edges out 1985. Rice and Reed are two of the all time greats with Rice in my top 3 players of all time.  

 

Too soon to tell but 2015 with Diggs and Parker looks like a top 3 class of all time

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Posted (edited)

Mike Evans has rather quietly had an amazing start to his career. At least relatively. This board Hs talked a lot about OBJ being on the board, but Evans is the big miss here. 
 

It also feels like half that class was signed by the Bills at some point. 

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1 hour ago, Mango said:

Mile Evans has rather quietly had an amazing start to his career. At least relatively. This board Hs talked a lot about OBJ being on the board, but Evans is the big miss here. 
 

It also feels like half that class was signed by the Bills at some point. 

 

I agree that Evans has arguably had the better career than OBJ, but he was off the board before the Bills original pick was made.  OBJ was still available.  After the trade up, however, the Bills could have had any of them.  The thing people talk about is that we could have had OBJ without trading up, whereas we traded up for Watkins (at a very steep price) and would have had to trade up for Evans.

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2 hours ago, ganesh said:

You never invest two 1st rd picks on a WR when you don't have the Franchise QB.   It will always go to waste.  It was shame to see us betting that Manuel and then Kyle Orton doing any magic with Watson.  

 

If Watson was with Allen, it would have been a different ball game

So Allen has magical healing powers to prevent Watkins from being injured every season?

 

Good to know.

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2 minutes ago, msw2112 said:

 

I agree that Evans has arguably had the better career than OBJ, but he was off the board before the Bills original pick was made.  OBJ was still available.  After the trade up, however, the Bills could have had any of them.  The thing people talk about is that we could have had OBJ without trading up, whereas we traded up for Watkins (at a very steep price) and would have had to trade up for Evans.

 

My knee jerk was "no he wasn't off the board, Sammy was the first WR taken". But luckily for everybody I read your entire post. haha. 

Evans would have been worth the trade up. He has had 7 consecutive years over 1k yards receiving. He has very quietly been an absolute thoroughbred and would have been worth the cost we paid for Watkins. 

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5 hours ago, Thurman#1 said:

 

 

I don't know. You may be right, I haven't paid much attention.

 

But over the last four years he's averaging 75.2 YPG. Which is still very good.

 

But in his first three years he was averaging 95.9 YPG, which is insane.

 

There are a ton of factors, availability, QB, injuries, offense, targets, receivers on the other side, etc. But he isn't what he was. He looked like a hall of famer for a while.

 

 

 

Obj is an excellent wr I will never argue that. But I feel his stardom was shot into the stratosphere when he made one of the greatest catches of all time on prime time tv and he propelled himself further with his swag and his famous hairstyle that every high-schooler copied for years. He's a great player but it's just funny how he still over shadows Mike Evans fame by miles when Mike Evans is having a hall of fame career and doesn't get nearly the recognition obj gets.

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