Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Recent risk-reward of drafting receivers in the first round

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: April 9, 2013 - 12:31 PM

Even though Greg Jennings has traveled west to collect quite the pile of Zygi Wilf's cash, the Vikings still need another elite receiver if they want to reintroduce Bill Musgrave's offense to the perfectly legal downfield pass and catch. (Jennings is good, but not quite as effective while wearing two and three defenders in passing situations).

By all accounts, this draft is crammed full of elite receivers (warning: Williamson, T., also was considered elite many an April ago) and the Vikings have the 23rd and 25th overall picks. So, bingo, problem solved, eh?

Well ... 

There's something about receivers and the first round of the draft that scares fans, coaches, general managers and owners more than a 250-yard carry over water to a small green. Whether receiver truly is the riskiest position to gamble on in the first round hasn't been mathematically confirmed, but those who have been through Troy Williamson being taken seventh overall in 2005, Matt Jones being taken 14 spots later, or Charles Rogers being taken second in 2003 will swear the chances of slicing one into the water well short of the green are higher when swinging for a receiver.

"The receivers tend to be high profile anyway," said former longtime NFL executive Bill Polian. "So when they fail, it's a big issue."

The same could be said for any other position in the first round. All of those players, even the quarterbacks now, are expected to start immediately.

But, yes, it is possible to clear that water and reach the green with the right swing. Even one at No. 23 (Dwayne Bowe) or lower (Roddy White, No. 27).

Here's a look at the receivers taken in the first round of the past 10 NFL drafts. There have been 38 receivers taken. Eleven of them have played in at least one Pro Bowl. Eight of them -- Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, White, Calvin Johnson, Bowe, Percy Harvin, A.J. Green and Julio Jones -- are among the best receivers in the league today. Five of them became busts, although more could follow:

2003 draft

First-round picks: 3.

Pro Bowlers: 1. Andre Johnson, Houston, No. 3 overall.

Busts: 1. Charles Rogers, Detroit, No. 2 overall.

2004 draft

First-round picks: 7.

Pro Bowlers: 2.  Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona, No. 3; Roy Williams, Detroit, No. 7.

Busts: 1. Rahaun Woods, San Francisco, No. 31.

2005 draft

First-round picks: 6.

Pro Bowlers: 2. Braylon Edwards, Cleveland, No. 3; Roddy White, Atlanta, No. 27.

Busts: 2. Troy Williamson, Vikings, No. 7; Matt Jones, Jacksonville, No. 21.

2006 draft

First-round picks: 1. (Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh, No. 25).

Pro Bowlers: 0.

Busts: 0.

2007 draft

First-round picks: 6.

Pro Bowlers: 2. Calvin Johnson, Detroit, No. 2; Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City, No. 23.

Busts: 1. Craig "Buster" Davis, San Diego, No. 30.

2008 draft

First-round picks: 0.

2009 draft

First-round picks: 6.

Pro Bowlers: 1. Percy Harvin, Vikings, No. 21.

Busts: Too early to tell (Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland, No. 7).

2010 draft

First-round picks: 2.

Pro Bowlers: 1. Demaryius Thomas, Denver, No. 22.

Busts: None.

2011 draft

First-round picks: 3.

Pro Bowlers: 2. A.J. Green, Cincinnati, No. 4; Julio Jones, Atlanta, No. 6.

Busts: Too early to tell (Jonathan Baldwin, Kansas City, No. 26).

2012 draft

First-round picks: 4.

Pro Bowlers: 0.

Busts: Too early to tell (A.J. Jenkins, San Francisco, No. 30).

 

 

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Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 4
Miami - LP: C. Hatcher 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 5
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 6 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 7 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll 1
Texas - WP: S. Baker 13 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: N. Ramirez 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: P. Neshek 2
Colorado - LP: R. Brothers 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: B. Ziegler 5
Oakland - LP: J. Lester 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 4
Los Angeles - LP: K. Correia 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 3
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 8 FINAL
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 3
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 13
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 0 1st Qtr 8:55
UCF 0
Troy 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 3 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 71 FINAL
Phoenix 85
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
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Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
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Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
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Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
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