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Do the Giants Already Have a Number One WR On Their Roster?

As a Giants fan I have really one solid worry about the Team next year and it’s the most documented position for the Giants of late and that of course is the Wide Receiver position because the Giants lost both of their starting Wide Receiver last year-one to old age (amani toomer) and one to gun shot wound to the leg.

The Giants though have tried to address this in the draft so I was wondering what is the likelihood that they will succeed.

I decided to attempt something that would make my math teachers proud and use math in a way that my teacher would be right when he said “You’ll have to use this later in life!”

Hopefully I remembered correctly how this math is done.

Let’s take a look back over a four year sample size (becuase thats when the Giants have done the drafting of all their recent Wide Receivers),

Here’s a color key to indicate how successful I think players have been since being drafted.

S-T-U-D-S Green
Multiple 1,000 yard receiving seasons Blue
Serviceable Purple
BUST (Red)

Other (Orange)


Round 1

2005

#3 Braylon Edwards
#7 Troy Williamson
#10 Mike Williams
#21 Matt Jones
#22 Mark Clayton
#27 Roddy White

2004

#3 Larry Fitzgerald
#7 Roy Williams (believe it or not only ONE 1,000 yard receiving season)
#9 Reggie Williams (jacksonville)
#13 Lee Evans
#15 Michael Clayton
#29 Michael Jenkins
#31 Rashaun Woods

2003

#2 Charles Rogers
#3 Andre Johnson (Sorry Lions just missed out)
#17 Bryant Johnson (Arizona Cardinals)-for a 1st round pick he’s a bust. But he’s serviceable.

2002

#13 Donte Stallworth
#19 Ashley Lelie
#20 Javon Walker-A S-T-U-D if completely healthy, but not usually healthy. In either case he does have Two great seasons.

Round 2

2005

#35 Reggie Brown
#39 Mark Bradley (Chicago Bears)
#55 Roscoe Parrish-He gets the blue color becuase, to me, he is THE best punt returner in the Natoinal Football League-remember Devin Hester lost some return duties. That counts for something.
#58 Terrance Murphy (Green Bay Packers)
#61 Vincent Jackson-only ONE 1,000 yard receiving season so far, BUT looks like a lock for more to come.

2004

#50 Devery Henderson (new Orleans)-serviceable as a deep man.
#54 Darrius Watts (Denver Broncos)
#62 Keary Colbert (Carolina Panthers)

2003

#44 Taylor Jacobs (Washington Redskins)
#45 Bethel Johnson (New England Patriots)
#54 Anquan Boldin
#60 Tyrone Calico (Tennessee Titans)

2002

#33 Jabar Gaffney (Houston Texans-better known for his play with the Patriots)
#36 Josh Reed (bills)-a solid possession receiver.
#46 Tim Carter (Giants)
#47 Andre Davis (Browns)
#48 Reche Caldwell (Chargers)
#62 Antwan Randel El
#63 Antonio Bryant (Cowboys)
#65 Dieon Branch (Patriots)

Round 3

2005

#68 Courtney Roby (Tennessee Titans)
#83 Chris Henry
#96 Brandon Jones (Tennessee Titans)

2004

#77 Derrick Hamilton (San Francisco 49ers)
#78 Bernard Berrian (Chicago Bears)
#82 Devard Darling (Baltimore Ravens)

2003

#65 Kelly Washington (Bengals)
#71 Nate Burleson (Vikings)
#74 Kevin Curtis (Drafted By rams-now with Eagles)-only 1,000 yard receiving season thus far, but he’s better than serviceable I think-if healthy
#95 Billy Mcullen (Philadelphia Eagles)

2002

86 Marquise Walker
#87 Cliff Russell
#95 Eric Crouch

Final Results

From a time period that beings with the 2002 draft and ends with the 2005 draft there had been 51 Wide receivers drafted during that time in the first three rounds of their respective drafts.

During that time there Six players that have already become absolute S-T-U-D-S.

Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Roddy White, Lee Evans, Braylon Edwards and Andre Johnson.

Of these players ONLY Anquan Boldin was drafted out of hte first round- And Jonhnson/Edwards/Fitzgerald were all drafted third. Lee Evans was drafted just out of the top 10 (11th) and Roddy White was at the end of the first round.

So if you draft a WR based on this small sample size there is roughly a 12 percent chance that they become an absolute stud.

Multiple 1,000 yard Receving seasons (or solid number Twos). The six listed above though were not the only very WR drafted during this four year stretch, just the elite.

There are a number of other really good players.

I Think there are five (maybe six) more players that stand out as number 1 WR’s (for weak receiving corps) or good number twos.

They are: Bernard Berrian, Antonio Braynt, Vincent Jackson, Kevin Curtis, and possibly Roy Williams-we’ll see what he does this year.

Roscoe Parrish is not an elite WR, but he is an elite Return man. There can be a case made against Kevin Curits as well, but I think he’s a solid number two and has the ability to be a number 1-if healthy which he hasn’t been.

That’s another 6 players out of the 51 WR’s drafted.

So there is roughly a 25 percent chance that if you draft a WR in the first three rounds of your draft-he could be a number 1 for your team.

But this does not count a few of the “orange” players who have great talent, but for whatever reasons have not worked out, even though they have been productive. Matt Jones showed flashes this year but he likes drugs too much, Javon Walker is hurt too often, and Chris Henry is always in trouble. But make no mistake take away the off-field problems and distractions for these guys and you have some pretty good Wide receivers.

As should be expected there are many players who are merely average, but that’s what it’s called average. This is no knock in my mind-being average in the N.F.L. still means you’re better than nearly everyone in the world, but just not better than the very best.

I marked 11 players as “serviceable” or average. I think there should be special attention paid to three of these players though. I’ve already talked about Roy Williams-he only has 1,000 yard receiving season, but he’s a step above average-just not last year. The true test is this year. I also think that WR Michael Jenkins of the Falcons, with Matt Ryan and Roddy White and now Tony Gonazlez playing along side him could prove to be very good because he’s fast enough to get by single coverage. And I think Dieon Branch could have been better than average if not for a few injuries and attitude problems. Had he just stayed in New England who knows how good we would think he is playing with Tom Brady. But he didn’d and he’s just been average since leaving New England.

All lin all I count about 11 players who are average-as opposed to 12 who were possible number ones or about 22 percent.

Now Busts.

I count 26 Busts, which is a lot of players that have been unproductive- I was a little more harsh on 1st round picks as Bust as opposed to latter round picks. For Example Bryant Johnson has put up decent numbers, and you would use him on your team and be O.K. but as a high first round pick he’s a bust. Ashley Lelie had a few good seasons with Denver, so he might not be a Bust, but the last three years he was awful and I don’t see a bounce back anytime soon.

All in all though it’s to be expected. Not every team can have a true number one WR because there just aren’t enough Star players in the sporting world. Just like not every team has a true ace in baseball or not every N.B.A team has a superstar. And not every player can be serviceable just becuase they are athletic it just doesn’t make any sense.

I know the sample size is relatively small, but I think it would be fairly accuarate stretched out over a long period of time.

There is about 12 percent of players who are studs. 12 percent of players who are not studs but are number one WR’s. There’s about another 21 percent who are serviceable players- 5 percent of players are derailed by injuries/off-field problems. And about 50 percent of those drafted in the first three rounds are not successful in the N.F.L.

This would seem to comply with the common held belief that there are a lot of busts at W.R in the N.F.L.-and that it’s one of the toughest positions to transition too.

So How do the G-men Stack up at Wide Receiver?

I”m using this method becuase the Giants are in a very unique position in the N.F.L. The New York Giants have essentially NO veteran Wide receiver, with the lone exception being 29 year old standout special teams player and Super Bowl Hero David Tryee.

BUT over a four year period the Giants have drafted a load of Wide receivers in the first three rounds.

In 2006 the Giants drafted Sinorice Moss in the second round with the number 44th overall selection. In 2007 out of U.S.C. The Giants drafted in the second round with the number 51 overall selection Steve Smith. In 2008 with the Giants drafted in the third round with the number 95 overall selection out of the University of Michigan Mario Manningham. In 2009 the Giants selected with the number 29th overall pick out of U.N.C. Hakeem Nicks. In the third round with the #85th round pick the Giants selected out of Cal-Poly the 6’6 ultra productive Ramses Barden. And with the 100th pick in the third round (compensatory pick) the Giants selected WR/H-back/TE Travis Beckum. Who is more of a split end/WR or receiving half back than he is a Tight End because he’s 6-3 and 243 pounds which is a very big WR or pretty small tight end.

So what are the chances that the Giants have a number one Wide receivier sitting on their roster already? (I’ll discount Domink Hixon for the moment becuase he was selected in the fourth round by the Denver Broncos).

Well out of 51 Wide receivers there were roughly 12 number one Wide receivers and Six studs in our sample survey.

In the four years since our survey there have been 56 Wide Receivers taking in the first three rounds including this year. If the Giants have Six of these players that are drafted what are the chances that they have a number one WR in the waiting already?

If 12 percent of all WR’s drafted in the first three rounds are S-T-U-D-S and there are 56 possible candidates-Seven of them will be S-T-U-D-S in the N.F.L.

If another seven will be number ones, but not studs (12 percent again) then there are 14 players who are number one WR’s taken out of the 56. Which is 1 In Four or 1 in 8 for absolute S-T-U-D receivers.

The Giants have Six Wide receivers on their roster from this time period and 1 in could be a number one Wide reciever and 1 in 2 will proably be a bust.

That means the Giants have the lieklihood of ONE number one Wide receiver, Three Wide receivers who are busts (I’m looking at you Sinorice Moss) and Two Wide receviers who are serviceable players in the N.F.L.

Do the Giants have one? I’m Not sure, but if the percentages stay equal through the other experiment that the Giants have a good chance that they have at least three guys who will be serviceabel in the N.F.L. one of which could be a number one WR

A quick look at their componets

Sinorice Moss is all of 5-8 maybe a 160 pounds of pure shiftiness and quickness. The Giants hoped that Sinorice Moss would become a player similar to Steve Smith in Carolina or perhaps more like his brother Santana Moss with the ability to run good routes create seperation and rack up the Y.A.C., but unfortunately Moss has spent most of his time with the Giants being ineffective or injury riddled. Moss has not shown the ability to procduce yet, though there are Giants fans who hold out hope. Moss has 403 career receving yards and has had really one standout game this past season vs the Seahawks when he caught 4 passes for 45 yards and two touchdowns, which isn’t spectaular to being with.

The Giants also hoped Moss could be an explosive returner, whcih he is not. This is probably Moss last chance at breaking out with the Giants.

Forecast: Bust

Steve Smith

Steve Smith was drafted in the second round out of U.S.C and is another small receiver, but he’s one who plays big. He’s pretty shifty, but not yet has he been the kind of receiver you would expect a 5-10 195 pound player to be. He has very good hands, but has averaged only 9.8 yards per reception as a NFL player: the question is does that come from just the way he is used as a third down possession receiver or is it more indicative of something else. One thing for sure is his route running and ability to catch the big pass on third down.

Forecast: He’s already shown he can be serviceable at the N.F.L. Level if he’s going to be a number 1 or 2 WR though, he has to be able to catch more passes in the Red Zone and be able to go vertical sometimes, or get some yards after the catch. I think he can be a great number 3 WR and perhaps more.

Mario Manningham

Anyone who reads what I write regularly nows that I fully believe (and can show) that Jerry Reese prefers productive players from big time programs (and BCS Schools) in the first three rounds and then will take chances on plyaers from lower schools in later. rounds. He has also shown a penchant for drafting defense early, as well as Small WR (is that because he was looking for someone to compliment Plaxico Buress though) and BIG defensive backs. Manningham again fits the mold of a small explosive Wide Receiver. At 5-11 and roughly a 180 pounds Manningham is not a big man.

What I like about Manningham is that he improved every year at University of Michigan and that he was able to stretch the field vertically. He averaged at least 16 yards per catch in each season and in his final season had 72 receptions for 1174 yards and 12 touchdowns. Last year he battled some injuries and (hopefully) studied the playbook. Manningham is very young still as he just turned 23 yesterday (May 25th) . Manningham is an intruging prospect becuase he was thought of by some (most notably in my mind Todd McShay) to be a 1st round talent, but slipped to the Giants into the third round.

Manningham is an intruging prospect who hopefully can become a productive player for the Giants.

Forecast It’s way too early to tell, but he’s the ultimate boom or bust prospect and since I can’t favorites too much I’ll just guess bust. (Hoping I”m wrong of course)

Hakeem Nicks

I stated that the Giants seemed to prefer smallish/explosive WR’…until this past draft. I wonder if they were just trying to find someone to pair Plaxico but then did a 180 once Plaxico did himself in?

Anyone, Hakeem Nicks is very, very intriguing player.

One thing to note about Hakeem Nicks are is HUGE hands.

Here’s something I wrote for giantsgab.com:

Ifve seen that Hakeem Nicksf hands measured at 10.5 inches.

Here are some other hand measurements.

Jason Smith OT 6Œ5 Hands measure at 9.75 inches.

Andre Smith OT 6Œ4h hands measure at 9.75 inches

Michael Oher 6Œ5 10 and 3/8 inches hand measruements

Phil Loadholt 6Œ8h hand span of 10 inches

Only Eugene Monroe of the OT selected in the first two rounds has bigger hands than Hakeem Nicks. Monroefs hands are 11 1/8 inches.

Hakeem Nickfs hands are HUGE. He has hands bigger than the average 6Œ5 guy. That has to be a reason why he catches everything so well.

Some WR comparisons:

Kenny Britt 9 inches

Michael Crabtree 9.25 inches

Darrius Heywar Bey 9 inches

Jeremey Maclin 9.25 inches

Brandon Tate 9.25 inches

Ramses Barden 10.75 inches if big hands=good catching abilitly the Giants are set there.

That’s what I wrote at giantsgab.com.

Now Big Hands doesn’t automatically mean anything, but it is very interesting to note and it’s curious that nicks has such large hands becuase he is listed only at 6’1”.

But Nicks has shown a penchant for making great catches.

Most notably the one vs West Virigina behind his back, but watch that video you’ll see some other ones.

I initially was a BIG fan of Kenny Britt (I still like him), but the more I read and watch about Nicks the more I like.

here’s what I also find interesting about Nicks: this season Hakeem Nicks averaged 18 yards a reception. NIcks’ biggest knock is supposed to be that he isn’t a big play kind of Wide Receiver, but he seems to play much faster than you’d be led to believe.

I recognize that I am eternal Giants optimist, but I think the Giants might have got this one right.

Forecast: Number One Wide Receiver.

Ramses Barden

Ramses Barden’s only knock is that he succeeded against inferior competition. But he absolutely DOMINATED that competition. Barden had 1,257 yards receiving (18.8 yards per reception) and 18 touchdowns this season and 1467 yards receiving (averaging 25.6 yards per reception) last season with 18 touchdowns. In his college career he had 50 touchdowns.

Barden is the most Plaxico Buress look-a-like. He’s listed at a TRUE 6-6 and weighs 230 pounds.

In limited time against BCS schools he did all right. At Wisconsin he had 83 receiving yards (13.8 avg) and a touchdown. But that’s about all he played against as far as top competition goes.

The thing I LOVE about Barden is his tenacity as a blocker. NFL.com’s scouting reports say this: “Uses his hands well while blocking on the outside, will be an asset in the run game.”

And Sportingnews in an article I saw said that Barden was the “best blocking WR in the draft”.

I think this year at 6’6 and a great blocker Barden will contibute in the Red Zone and hopefully much more as time goes on.

Forecast: At least Serviceable eventually could be a number one.

Travis Beckum

Beckum I discussed earlier, but basically considered a first round talent by some (especially before his injury) and a player that is still learning the position having been recruited by Wisconsin as a linebacker. He’s an intruing player the Giants will use as a H-back and split end I don’t know what Beckum can be. I don’t love Kevin Gilbride the Offensive Coordinator who I think often time lacks creativity, but hopefully I’m wrong and he will be able to use Beckum well.

Forecast: Again all these players are too early to tell what they will be, but I can’t guess they’ll all be great that’s what I’ll go with serviceable for Beckum as a “change of pace” kind of player in the N.F.L.

The X Factor.

Domenik Hixon

Domenik Hixon is a player that is very interesting. Drafted by the Broncos in round four of the 2006 draft out of Akron, Hixon is a player that has height (6-2) and great speed. He’s very wiry, and in fact he led the Giants in receiving yards last year, despite playing only a handful of snaps compared to most number 1’s on other teams. He averaged 13.9 yards per reception, which for 600 yards receiving isn’t terrible and showed flashes of brillance except against philly where he was held and check and had a few big drops. Hixon has learn how to find the end zone more andplay better against Philly, but I yhink he can be an Elite number 2 WR like tj whosyourmamma good, and perhaps an average number one WR, but he has to continue to improve.

The problem is that Hixon must become indispensible as a WR otherwise the Giants need to move him back to Kick Returning, which could hurt his progress both ways.

The decision should be made to either use him as great return specailist and limited WR, or don’t use him in the return game and hope he becomes a very good WR.

Time will tell.

Final Analysis

The Giants are in a unique position becuase they have a lot of very young promising WR’s and no veteran leadership to speak off. Chances are that the Giants have 1 WR on their roster who can become a Quality number one WR, and they probably have two or three more playes who will be serviceable as number two’s. Chances are also that three of the young promising WR’s will not work out.

Who becomes good and who gets left behind is tough to tell this early, but it’s sure to happen.

I think the most likely to be number ones are Hakeem Nicks or Domeinx Hixon. I think Steve Smith wll be more than serviceable. I also think Barden will eventually have plenty of playing time becuase he’s good in the red zone and he can block, and that’s important for the Giants because they like to run. I think Beckum will have 5-6 plays developed for him a game and I think Manningham and Sinorice Moss worry me.

I want to say they’ll all be number one WR’s and fantastic and the Giants will have the best WR coprs in the history of the football. But that’s not likely to happen. Perhaps the Giants pulled an Arizona and found three gems the way Arizona has Fitzgerald/Boldin/Breaston.

This is Eli Manning’s team for sure now. ALL of the big personalites and long standing veterans are gone now (especially on offense): Shockey, Strahan, Barber, Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer. This is a very young team and I have unwavering faith in Eli, but he has to step it up even more and make these WR’s good.

If Eli’s an elite QB (I think he’s up there) He has to show it this year, with this influx group on offense that should have a Great defense to complement it.

Have a nice day, everyone.


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6 Responses to “Do the Giants Already Have a Number One WR On Their Roster?”

  1. I think Barden, the only Jint pick I correctly predicted in my mock, will be fine…but maybe not this year?

    he may get the slow development treatment…spotted in the red zone most likely

    Beckum could make a big impact in the slot in 2 TE sets…he isn’t physical..but good athleticism…and he might help Boss get open

    this is the year I expect Manningham to show if he is a #2 guy or just a roster player

    he can make the great catch, but was known to drop the e-z ones in college

    you know I like Nicks

    he finally put it all together last year at UNC

    dunno if he is a #1 in the classic sense, because he isn’t real fast

    but the guy has glue on his fingers and is pretty tough…he’s kinda like a bigger version of Ahmad Rashad, ect…that type

    I think he and Hixon start, with Smith as a solid #3

    Unless Manningham is ready to push one guy down a notch

    I’m not too worried that none of the G-Men WR’s are speed merchants

    that OL is excellent, so they can give Eli an extra second or so to wait for a guy to get open

    IF Moss helps – it would be big

    they need a guy who can stretch the seam to open up the underneath junk

    that is a big if

    I’m in agreement with you that dude’s a bust

    this is said under the assumption all the guys stay healthy, which isn’t likely in the NFL

  2. Natalie says:

    A few thoughts. It is an interesting idea, but I think oversimplified based on some of what I learned in a statistics class.

    1) We are projecting rates for receivers in the top 3 rounds regardless of where they are picked. So, in part, we are basing Travis Beckum’s probability of success on the percentage of success for receivers drafted 3rd overall, like Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, which is obviously irrational.

    2) There is no distinction for scouting abilities. We are counting Jerry Reese and Matt Millen equal in their ability to select players, which is obviously absurd.

    3) I see 2 issues related to time.

    a) Most football people seem to think that wide receivers take on average 3 years to develop, if I am not mistaken. So that means some receivers will take longer than 3 years and those guys labeled busts or serviceable could turn out to be more than that.

    b) What we are really interested in as Giants fans is their chances of success in the first year (or second or third year, depending). If Hakeem Nicks or Mario Manningham becomes a stud in their third year out of the draft the Giants will still lack a number 1 this year.

    It’s an interesting thought, but I think it would probably take a high level of statistical expertise to draw really meaningful results. That said, I hope you are right about their receivers.

  3. Natalie says:

    Also, after accounting for differences in draft position or scouting ability, we probably lack a sample that is statistically significant. What kind of program they played at (Rameses Barden) would also make differences as well, as what kind of coach they played for or system they played in (Hakeem Nicks – Butch Davis) or what kind of team drafted them (I would bet it’s easier to excel on a team with an established qb, ol, and rb’s like the Giants). There is also always a risk that the context has changed, especially in a league that changes as often and quickly as the NFL.

  4. bigbluewreckingcrew says:

    Some good work in this article. I think the one thing lacking would be an analysis of the team each WR played for including the QB stats. That would be exhaustive but it would probably shed some light on why so many WRs have been disappointments.

  5. Bartolis says:

    Natalie-

    You’re a smart gal.

    Agreed to most of your points. It is an insuffecient sample size for sure. It should probably be over the last 10 years-which would give strength to numbers and a bigger sampling size.

    Draft positiong MIGHT matter, but perhaps it does not. There would have to be a seperate study to see if it does. Players who are drafted higher have more physical abilities, but persumably they are heading into worse situations with teams that underperform consistently.

    For exmpale Hakeem Nicks goes to a team with established QB, good line, better work ethic etc, etc etc. Who knows. Generally speaking a team drafting in the top 10 is there because they are routinely not succeeding in the N.F.L. whereas a team drafting lower should have higher quality componets.

    It’s tough-Football is such a complicated game where so many factors are based on other factors that it’s definitely tough to use statistics.

    I want you to know that I know there are definitely flaws in it, but I was trying to simplify it just to see at it’s basic level what might happen, knowing that it would need much more statistical analysis than I was prepared to do.

    Thanks for the intelligent comment.

  6. Bartolis says:

    BigBlueWreckingCrew

    Agreed. It would be exhaustive hence why I did not do it.

    Also to take into consideration is opposing talent’s on defensive teams.

    Is it easier to play WR on the West Coast (in Arizona) then it is to come and play WR in the N.F.C. East

    Would these players succeed in another venue?

    Who knows?

    Surely not me.

    3rdstonefromthesun-

    Nice to see you stop by, Judson.

    I agree with a lot of what you said.

    I hope you’re right about the WR’s, I’m not that worried about them anymore.

    I’m looking forward to Football-and to passing you this week in fantasy baseball.

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