Rookies Reconsidered

Why first-round wideouts have a hard time catching on
November 05, 2007

YOU HEARD it allsummer: First-rounder Anthony Gonzalez was going to slip right into the Colts'slot receiver position, which had been vacated by Brandon Stokley, and have agreat rookie season. O.K., so he started slowly. But when Marvin Harrison wentout and Gonzalez got to start—well, now he really was going to break out. ButGonzalez, who had one catch for 16 yards on Sunday in the Colts' 31--7 rompover Carolina, still hasn't lived up to expectations, perhaps because peopleforgot just how steep the learning curve for receivers can be.

True, among thefirst-rounders reviewed on this page, Calvin Johnson and Dwayne Bowe have shownflashes, but they're just beginning to bud. Except for that pair andthird-rounder James Jones, none of the other 32 receivers drafted in '07 havemade noise. By contrast, rookie runners Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch haveoutshone many vets. Next draft, when it comes to WRs, remember that many are onthe three-year plan. Last year Lee Evans, Jerricho Cotchery and Bernard Berrianbroke out, each in his third season. This year it's Braylon Edwards. Can youguess how long he's been in the league?

Calvin Johnson

SUNDAY'S GAME inChicago typified his stop-and-start progress. After powering a second-quarterTD drive with two long catches and an end around, he didn't touch the ballagain.

Dwayne Bowe

LIKE JOHNSON, theLSU alum has gotten by on size and playground-style plays—such as when he stolea TD from teammate Tony Gonzalez in Week 2.

Ted Ginn Jr.

AFTER SEVENbustlike games he caught his first TD pass on Sunday. But it's hard to becalled an impact player when you start and attract only two throws, as he didagainst the Giants.

Craig Davis

EVERYTHING youneed to know about the other LSU alum's progress can be gleaned from the factthat his team, San Diego, traded next year's second-round pick for Miami'sChris Chambers.

Second-Half Stalwarts Page F10


HURT ALERTS

Read Will Carroll's analysis of the latest injuryreports, every Thursday at SI.com/fantasy.

PHOTORICHARD CARSON/REUTERS (GONZALEZ)POINT BLANK
Gonzalez has yet to snag his first NFL touchdown.
PHOTOJAMES LANG/US PRESSWIRE (JOHNSON) PHOTOANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES (GINN)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)