I’m currently in a Twitter spat right now with Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune. For those of you who don’t know Dan has a college hoops background with his only other experience being a back-up college football writer. When he was given the lead Minnesota Vikings beat writer position with the Minneapolis Star Tribune he was given Judd Zulgad’s Twitter account that contained roughly 15,000 followers. Those followers were not earned on his own, but simply included when taking the job. Also Dan’s written on his chats that the Vikings should at the very least consider taking Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon in the top 5 overall and is now tweeting about it tonight. Yes, Blackmon is going off versus Stanford right now. Yet here are three major reasons why they shouldn’t consider drafting a wide receiver in the first round, let alone someone in the top 5…
1. Bust Rate
Every year there are several wide receivers that are in the mix to be taken in the top ten. This position is one of the most heavily drafted in the NFL and it also contains the highest probability of drafting someone who will flame out after a few years. For every Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald there are several Charles Rogers, Peter Warricks, Braylon Edwards and David Terrells.
2. Top NFL Offenses Didn’t Take Wide Receivers Until Later Rounds
Here’s some trivia for our readers and something I highly doubt Wiederer knows himself. Taking the top 3 scoring offenses of the 2011 season and their respected quarterbacks top 4 targets — Can you name the number of WRs taken in the 1st round? Anyone, anyone? That’s right… Zero! Not one of the Packers Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley, James Jones… the Saints Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, Darren Sproles, Lance Moore… and the Patriots Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Deion Branch were drafted in the 1st round. All of those offenses have legit offensive lines and quarterbacks who are fine throwing the ball to a wide array of targets.
3. Dez Bryant’s Draft Story
The last highly graded wide receiver to come out of Oklahoma State that was considered a lock for the first round was Dez Bryant in 2010. Bryant had the most acclaimed season at the time for an Oklahoma State wide receiver as a sophomore in 2008 when he caught 87 passes for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was also the runner-up for the Biletnikoff Award given to the nation’s top wide receiver and was a named an All-American by a number of publications. His 2009 season was set short by an NCAA suspension, but he stayed in shape and was drafted 24th overall in 2010 by the Dallas Cowboys who even traded up to get him. Expectations were high that season with the Cowboys having Tony Romo as their quarterback with a core of Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten and Roy Williams to throw to not to mention a loaded backfield of Felix Jones, Marion Barber III and Tashard Choice. Sounds splendid. But what were the problems with that team who went 6-10… Offensive Line and Defense. And what did owner Jerry Jones finally select in the first round of 2010 – Offensive Tackle (Tyron Smith).
I’m not denying that Blackmon is a legit prospect who could have a very productive NFL career. Still even your finest of wide receivers today in the NFL are involved on about 1/4th of plays and offenses, let alone NFL teams, need a solid foundation before drafting for luxury. Our offensive line and secondary are simply too much of a mess to consider other positions early on. I’m sure somewhere Matt Millen would agree.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig