SI’s Peter King says he ran into Dallas Cowboys brass Stephen Jones, and they discussed wide receivers. Jones apparently told him that wide receivers are the toughest position to get players from the draft to come in and produce right away.
King did some unnecessary research, because we already know Jones is right. But, King reviewed the last eight rounds of this decade and made this conclusion:
Of the 34 first-round wide receivers since 2000, only three have caught at least 60 balls in their rookie seasons. Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City, 2007) had a 70-catch season last year. Michael Clayton (Tampa Bay, 2004) made 80 catches in his first year. Andre Johnson (Houston, 2003) caught 66 passes as a rookie.
Some great receivers have developed out of the first round, but not early. Reggie Wayne is terrific now, but he had a 27-catch, 345-yard rookie year. Roddy White‘s first two Atlanta seasons netted 59 catches, far from his third season total of 83 in 2007. Plaxico Burress caught 22 passes as a rookie. He’s averaged 64 a year since.
Dallas picks 22nd and 28th in the first round, and the last 10 picks of the first round have produced some god-awful wide receivers. R. Jay Soward … Sylvester Morris … Michael Jenkins. Dallas would be more than smart — especially in a year that owner Jerry Jones told me is a “now” draft year — to deal for a receiver, not draft one. If they can.
The Cowboys passed on Bowe in last year’s draft. King also believes there is tread left in the Roy Williams (Detroit) trade. But then in another article, King says he talked to Jerry Jones, who said he has never believed in throwing money at players in free agency to develop a Super Bowl-caliber team. The Cowboys first Super Bowl in the 90s was the second-lowest paid team in the NFL that year.
I hope the Cowboys brass treads lightly in these matters because the future largely depends on their actions.