Calvin Johnson and the top receivers taken in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Calvin Johnson will go into the Hall of Fame as one of the NFL’s all-time greatest wide receivers. But who were the next ten wide receivers taken in a supposedly loaded 2007 NFL Draft at the position?
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Calvin Johnson was taken second overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. After that the next ten receivers were …
My analysis at the time: “The best all-around prospect in the draft with almost no negatives, he’s 6-5, 235 pounds, and runs a 4.4. He has it all, and that includes the right attitude and mental makeup. Don’t expect Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens – he’s not going stir any pots or call attention to himself. If you’re looking for the pimple on the beauty queen, while he’s a true football player and a great competitor, does he have the Johnson/Owens fire that’ll demand the ball like a top Number One receiver? He didn’t always have it at Georgia Tech when he went through stretches where he didn’t do much – partly due to having Reggie Ball at quarterback. Then again, it’s not like Marvin Harrison is going to be hosting The Tonight Show any time soon.”
1. Ted Ginn, Ohio State, taken by Miami in the 1st round, 9th pick overall
He wasn’t quite the total bust many made him out to be with Miami, catching 128 passes with five scores in his three years, but he was hardly worth the reach at the nine. Always a dangerous kick and punt returner, he’s been far more of a factor on special teams. After seeing time at San Francisco, he wrapped stints with Carolina around one year with Arizona, finally breaking through as a wide receiver in 2015.
My analysis at the time: “Can he actually play wide receiver? He’s one of the fastest players in the draft and a heck of a return man, but he was only above-average as a pass catcher at Ohio State. He’ll be great when he gets in the open field, but he might not get there too often. Bigger, physical defensive backs will shove him all over the place. While he might emerge as a dangerous deep threat in time, he’s not Joey Galloway or Terry Glenn.”
2. Dwayne Bowe, LSU, taken by Kansas City in the 1st round, 23rd pick overall
There was a time when he looked the part catching 72 passes for 1,162 yards and 15 scores in a Pro Bowl 2010 season, and following it up with 81 grabs the following year. But he mainly hovered around the land of the very good, catching 532 yards for 7,155 yards and 44 scores in his KC career.
My analysis at the time: “One of the hot all-around prospects as soon as the season ended, Bowe is a big, physical receiver who can make the big play and catch the deep ball. While he’s not polished and could use a little coaching, he does everything well, and that includes blocking. Don’t expect him to be Terrell Owens with the ball in his hands on the move, but he’ll hit more than his share of home runs.”
3. Robert Meachem, Tennessee, taken by New Orleans in the 1st round, 27th pick overall
While he was good, he was hardly great for the 27th overall pick. Okay for his first four years with the Saints, he caught 155 passes with 23 touchdowns in four years before going off to San Diego for a year and coming back to the Saints for two more seasons.
My analysis at the time: “A yards-after-the-catch receiver who made Erik Ainge look great last season, he’s great on the move and as fluid as anyone in the draft. He’s a phenomenal athlete, but he might have trouble when he gets pushed around by the more physical NFL defensive backs.”
4. Craig Davis, LSU, taken by San Diego in the 1st round, 30th pick overall
While he hung around for four years, he was a huge bust – he just never progressed. Davis ended up seeing time in 25 career games for the Chargers catching 51 passes for 558 yards and two scores.
My analysis at the time: “A tremendous athlete with size and speed, he has the potential to be the great receiver value pick in the draft. Don’t be shocked if he turns into a number one target faster than fellow Tiger Dwayne Bowe does. He’ll work his way into a great pro.”
5. Anthony Gonzalez, Ohio State, taken by Indianapolis in the 1st round, 32nd pick overall
He went to the perfect spot, but he was always dinged up catching 94 passes in his first two years as a nice part of the high-octane Colt offense. He couldn’t stay healthy, catching five passes in 11 games over his final three seasons.
My analysis at the time: “Almost as overrated as fellow Buckeye, Ted Ginn, Gonzalez has the speed, he has the quickness, and he has the hands. Now he has to prove the national title game against Florida was a fluke. With Ginn out, Gonzalez became the Number One receiver and was never, ever, ever able to get open. Love him as a No. 3, hate him as a No. 2.”
6. Sidney Rice, South Carolina, taken by Minnesota in the 2nd round, 44th pick overall
Just as it seemed like he was about to blow up into a star, he got hurt and never regained his form. He caught 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight scores in a Pro Bowl 2009 season, but left for Seattle two years later catching 97 passes for the Seahawks. He made 243 career grabs for 3,592 yards and 30 scores.
My analysis at the time: “Bad, bad move coming out early. He would’ve generated a first round type of buzz had he come back to the loaded Gamecocks and turned into a mature, consistent playmaker. While he’s big and is able to come up with highlight reel grabs in the red zone, he mostly dominated the weak and the sad last season – five touchdown catches came against Florida Atlantic – although he had a nice day against Arkansas. He needs a lot of work – a lot of work – to become a polished NFL route runner; don’t expect him to be open.”
7. Steve Smith, USC, taken by NY Giants in the 2nd round, 51st pick overall
Outstanding in his third year with the Giants, he caught 107 passes for 1,220 yards and seven scores in 2009 on the way to the Pro Bowl. He caught 220 career passes for New York before going to Philadelphia and St. Louis – he was out of the league two years after leaving New York.
My analysis at the time: “While not a blazer and not all that big, he was tremendously productive whenever he got the chance to be a number one target. He’s going to be pushed around by stronger defensive backs and he’s going to have problems making the deep play, but he’s going to be a great underneath target. He’ll be a terrific number two.”
8. Jacoby Jones, Lane, taken by Houston in the 3rd round, 73rd pick overall
A solid complimentary receiver for the Texans, he caught 179 passes for 1,820 yards and three scores. An outstanding kick returner for Baltimore – he went to the 2012 Pro Bowl – he turned in a nice, steady career as a decent receiver and great special teamer for the Texans and Ravens.
My analysis at the time: “One of the surprises in the post-season all-star games, he’s big and fast blowing past the top senior corners in practices. He’ll need a lot of work and he has to learn how to catch the ball on a consistent basis, but there’s plenty of upside.”
9. Yamon Figurs, Kansas State, taken by Baltimore in the 3rd round, 74th pick overall
Several teams tried him as a kick returner to take advantage of his tremendous speed, but he only caught two passes for Baltimore for 79 yards and a score. He had a great rookie year as a kick and punt returner, but that was it.
My analysis at the time: “Lightning fast with the type of open-field ability to become a killer kick returner, he’ll have to overcome his lack of size and inconsistent route running to make the roster. On speed alone he’ll be tough to cut.”
10. Jason Hill, Washington State, taken by San Francisco in the 3rd round, 76th pick overall
Hill lasted just three years with the 49ers making 40 catches for 413 yards and four scores. He went on to see time with Jacksonville and the New York Jets, finishing up with 78 grabs for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns for his career.
My analysis at the time: “A touchdown-maker who went unnoticed playing up in Pullman, he’s a strong, physical receiver who’ll fight for the ball and is tremendous when he gets a chance around the goal line. He’s not going to run past NFL corners, but he’ll quickly turn into a reliable receiver and a great value pick.”
By the way …
11. James Jones, San Jose State, taken by Green Bay in the 3rd round, 78th pick overall
12. Mike Walker, UCF, taken by Jacksonville in the 3rd round, 79th pick overall
13. Paul Williams, Fresno State, taken by Tennessee in the 3rd round, 80th pick overall
14. Johnnie Lee Higgins, UTEP, taken by Oakland in the 3rd round, 99th pick overall
15. Ryne Robinson, Miami University, taken by Carolina in the 4th round, 118th pick overall