By: Carter Melrose
Before we start, let's make this one thing crystal clear: you, me, Mel Kiper, Warren Buffet - nobody knows which prospects will boom or bust. We all just flex our tongues and spout out grandiose guesses for all to hear.
George Santayana once said this overused but underappreciated quote:
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
History is our only tangible connection to the future.
So, in efforts not to repeat history, the Miami Dolphins should be very wary of drafting a wide receiver in the 1st round.
Now you are wondering, Carter does history really tell us that? And my answer is ‘it depends’. I scoured through all of the wide receivers drafted in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round from 2011-2020 (10 years) (which took me hours to do) and here are the data points I decided to highlight:
Let's break this conversation down into 4 separate conversations points:
1. Yards Per Game
This is where the 1st round picks stand out as the obvious alpha dogs. And when comparing a 1st round wideout to a 3rd rounder, the stats even get more skewed and obnoxiously apparent. Though, I have a theory to write-off this discrepancy. 1st round talent, however disappointing in camp, get snaps - and not only snaps, they often get plays specifically engineered to get them the ball. This is because of the overall value the team has pumped into this player; both in compensation and draft capital. Sitting a disappointing 1st round pick on the bench admits to the media, plain and clear: I messed up drafting John Ross (for example), and I am just as clueless as the rest of the world. This low-balls a coach's ego; something most alpha-male coaches would rather die than endure.
2. Receptions Per Game
This conversation is a dull one and mirrors the YPG discussion from moments ago. Let's get to something much juicier:
3. Touchdowns Per Game
Jarvis ‘Juice’ Landry is one of my favorite Dolphin’s of all time. And even that won’t stop me from spraying vitriol all over his reputation. In his best two seasons with Miami, Juice was able to snag a historic 204 receptions. Problem was? He was clearly incapable of being a number 1 wide receiver and unable to produce the one stat that could ever make him one; touchdowns. Over those two seasons, Juice had a laughable 8 touchdowns (scoring a touchdown every 25.5 times he touched the football).
I know, I know, Juice was a 2nd round pick - but that's not even my point. My real intentions were to set the precedent that touchdowns are the most important statistic in all of football. And when comparing 1st rounders to 2nd rounders in this crucial category? There is almost no visible or comprehensible deviation. Zero point one is the tiny variance that separates a 1st round and 2nd round wideout when it comes to the most important stat in football.
Zero point one.
4. Pro Bowlers
This is where the argument will turn some heads.
In the past 10 years, the 1st round has only produced 7 Pro Bowl caliber wide receivers.
The 2nd round?
Almost double, at 13.
To be fair, a couple of these 2nd rounders are special teams based Pro Bowlers - and to be even more fair, some of these 1st rounders are elite border-line hall of fame players. Players like Julio Jones and AJ Green who, since their rookie year, have been a Pro Bowl staple. However, my argument remains potent: unless you are drafting a generational talent, your wide receiver has a much worse probability to make the Pro Bowl comparably to 2nd rounders.
Jaw dropping, right?
Don’t DM me hate. I, too, like Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle - they seem very talented and maybe even special. My goal with this article is to put a little fear into the draft equation. Many believe the Dolphins could draft Smith, Waddle, Chase, or Bateman and none of them even have a small chance of busting.
Odds are? One of these guys will be a total disappointment.
Odds are? Not even one of them will ever be a Pro Bowler.
Humble yourself Dolphin’s Nation. Humble yourself enough to learn from history and from the statistics that connect us to history.