A Disappointing Rookie Year Showing for the Wide Receivers Drafted in 2015

By Chris Malumphy

Had it not been for the Oakland Raiders' Amari Cooper, the output of the wide receivers selected in the 2015 NFL draft would have been extremely disappointing. There were 35 wide receivers drafted in 2015, including six taken in the 1st round. Only five of the 35 gained 500 yards receiving during their rookie seasons. Cooper was by far the most productive, catching 72 passes for 1,070 yards, a 14.9 yard average and six touchdowns after being selected with the fourth pick in the draft. No other receiver drafted in 2015 gained more than 720 yards. Thinking of it another way, Cooper was the only wide receiver drafted in 2015 that averaged more than 45 receiving yards per game

Two of the wide receivers drafted in the first round (Kevin White of the Bears and Breshad Perriman of the Ravens) failed to get on the field due to injury. The injury to White was particularly devastating for Chicago which had selected him with the 7th pick in the draft and had high expectations that he would help the offense and quarterback Jay Cutler rise to another level.

DeVante Parker, the 14th pick in the first round, had limited impact but showed big play potential with 26 catches for 494 yards, three touchdowns and a 19 yard average. The production of the Eagles' Nelson Agholor, the 20th selection overall, was far more pedestrian with 23 catches for 283 yards, a 12.3 yard average and one touchdown. The final wide receiver selected in the first round was Phillip Dorsett, taken by the Colts with the 29th choice, who had 18 receptions for 225 yards, a 12.5 yard average and one touchdown. Overall, the combined statistics (67 catches, 1,002 yards and 5 touchdowns) of the five wide receivers drafted in the first round after Cooper did not even match the numbers achieved by the Raiders' newest star.

Three wide receivers were taken in the 2nd round, with the Jets' selecting Devin Smith with the 37th pick overall. Smith disappointed, catching only 9 passes for 115 yards, a 12.8 yard average and one touchdown before going down with a knee injury in mid December. But the two other 2nd rounders showed some promise with Dorial Green-Beckham catching 32 passes for 549 yards, a 17.2 yard average and four touchdowns for the Titans and Devin Funchess catching 31 passes for 473 yards, a 15.3 yard average and five touchdowns for the Panthers.

But most productive receivers drafted in 2015 other than Cooper were Stefon Diggs (5th round, Vikings, 52 receptions, 720 yards, a 13.8 yard average and four touchdowns), Tyler Lockett (3rd round, Seahawks, 51, 664, 13.0, six) and Jamison Crowder (4th, Redskins, 59, 604, 10.2, 2).

Of the 35 wide receivers drafted in 2015, 13 did not catch a single pass during the season. Five others caught just one or two. The 11 receivers drafted in the 6th and 7th rounds combined for just 7 receptions and 62 yards receiving.

Unless Kevin White and Breshad Perriman can make an impact after returning from injury, the crop of wide receivers chosen in the 2015 NFL Draft may be among the most disappointing groups ever.

Wide Receivers Drafted In 2015
Amari CooperRaiders144AlabamaRaiders72107014.96
Kevin WhiteBears177West Virginia          
DeVante ParkerDolphins11414LouisvilleDolphins2649419.03
Nelson AgholorEagles12020USCEagles2328312.31
Breshad PerrimanRavens12626Central Florida          
Phillip DorsettColts12929Miami (FL)Colts1822512.51
Devin SmithJets2537Ohio StateJets911512.81
Dorial Green-BeckhamTitans2840MissouriTitans3254917.24
Devin FunchessPanthers2941MichiganPanthers3147315.35
Tyler LockettSeahawks3569Kansas StateSeahawks5166413.06
Jaelen StrongTexans3670Arizona StateTexans1416111.53
Chris ConleyChiefs31276GeorgiaChiefs1719911.71
Sammie CoatesSteelers32387AuburnSteelers11111.00
Ty MontgomeryPackers33094StanfordPackers151369.12
Jamison CrowderRedskins46105DukeRedskins5960410.22
Justin HardyFalcons48107East CarolinaFalcons211949.20
Vince MayleBrowns424123Washington State          
DeAndre Smelter49ers433132Georgia Tech          
Rashad GreeneJaguars53139Florida StateJaguars19934.92
Stefon DiggsVikings510146MarylandVikings5272013.84
Tony LippettDolphins520156Michigan State          
J.J. NelsonCardinals523159Alabama-BirminghamCardinals1129927.22
Kenny BellBuccaneers526162Nebraska          
Keith MumpheryTexans539175Michigan StateTexans141299.20
Kaelin ClayBuccaneers68184Utah          
Geremy DavisGiants610186ConnecticutGiants22110.50
Evan SpencerRedskins611187Ohio State          
Bud SasserRams625201Missouri          
Darren WallerRavens628204Georgia TechRavens2189.00
Neal SterlingJaguars73220Monmouth          
Andre DeboseRaiders74221Florida          
Da'Ron BrownChiefs716233Northern Illinois          
Dezmin LewisBills717234Central Arkansas          
Mario AlfordBengals721238West VirginiaBengals11515.00
Tre McBrideTitans728245William & MaryTitans284.01