The Eagles just waived Dorial Green-Beckham, who is headed for his third team in as many seasons in the NFL. Green-Beckham was chosen 40th overall in the 2015 draft by the Titans, but he’s been woefully ineffective no matter who’s been throwing the ball to him. He has just 68 catches for 941 yards and 6 touchdowns, with a catch rate below 50%.
The current failures of Green-Beckham represent a broader picture that doesn’t paint the top of the 2015 wide receivers class in a particularly positive light. Seahawks fans should be thrilled that this team drafted Tyler Lockett, because these are the nine receivers who were taken ahead of him:
Amari Cooper (4th overall, Raiders) - Easily the best WR of the bunch. He’s had some issues with drops but otherwise has caught 155 passes for over 2,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cooper’s DYAR and DVOA were both well below Lockett in 2015, but in 2016 he ranked 13th in DYAR and 28th in DVOA.
Kevin White (7th overall, Bears) - Literally didn’t play a game in his rookie season due to injury. Only appeared in four games last season before fracturing his left leg. White hasn’t caught a touchdown yet nor has he caught 20 balls.
DeVante Parker (14th overall, Dolphins) - Parker didn’t really make much of an impact as a rookie, with just 26 catches for 494 yards and three touchdowns. He had a better sophomore campaign, as he more than doubled his reception total, had 250 more yards, and increased his catch rate from 52% to 64.4%. Parker has established himself as Miami’s second-best receiver behind Jarvis Landry.
Nelson Agholor (20th overall, Eagles) - Yeah. He is currently averaging two receptions per game. Chances are he’d probably have more if he didn’t have bricks for hands.
Breshad Perriman (26th overall, Ravens) - Like Kevin White, Perriman saw zero snaps in 2015 due to injury. He wasn’t a particularly productive contributor last season, with 33 receptions (on 66 targets) for 499 yards and 3 touchdowns. Baltimore has a poor wide receiving corps, so the presumptive trio heading into 2017 consists of Perriman/Mike Wallace/Jeremy Maclin.
Phillip Dorsett (29th overall, Colts) - He didn’t make a single start as a rookie and caught just 18 passes for 225 yards and a single touchdown that year. Dorsett was better in 2016, snagging 33 balls for 528 yards and 2 touchdowns. He led all Colts WRs in yards per reception, just edging out T.Y. Hilton, who is far and away #1 on the roster. These still are’t particularly impressive statlines and frankly tight-end Jack Doyle is Andrew Luck’s preferred target over any Colts receiver not named Hilton.
Devin Smith (37th overall, Jets) - Torn ACL in 2015 ended his rookie year prematurely. He was on the PUP list and missed much of 2016, and only made 1 catch for 20 yards in four games. Smith is now without a team after re-tearing his ACL, which obviously puts him out for all of 2017. The former Ohio State Buckeye has just 10 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown to his name.
Dorial Green-Beckham (40th overall, Titans) - We’ve already gone through his story. His DVOA and DYAR were both in the 80s last year out of 93 qualified receivers.
Devin Funchess (41st overall, Panthers) - Funchess should’ve assumed a bigger role in the absence of Kelvin Benjamin in Carolina’s Super Bowl runner-up season, but he ended up with just 31 catches for 473 yards and 5 touchdowns. Corey Brown and Jerricho Cotchery were more viable (and statistically more effective) options than Funchess, which is pretty damn bad. Funchess didn’t fare much better last year, as his reception total dipped to just 23, his yards down to 371, but he did get 4 touchdowns. Not like Cam Newton is some otherworldly accurate QB, but Funchess’ catch rate was a ridiculous 39.7%, worse than any other receiver on the team apart from Brenton Bersin, who only had 2 catches on 6 targets and honestly shouldn’t count.
Lockett has more catches (92), catches per game (roughly 3), and receiving yards (1,261) than all non-Cooper receivers who were chosen before him. He also has more total touchdowns (10) than everyone except Cooper, who has 11. His 68.1% catch rate is the highest among everyone in this aforementioned group group, Cooper included. Lockett also was 3rd in DVOA in 2015, along with 15th in DYAR, before dropping off to 52nd and 37th respectively in 2016.
That isn’t to say the entire class has been a dud. Jamison Crowder, Ty Montgomery, Stefon Diggs, and JJ Nelson are all mid-to-late round selections who have been productive for their respective teams to varying degrees. Diggs is definitely the best of the bunch and is on his way to being one of the premier players in the league. But overall, the top-half has been overwhelmingly underwhelming (brilliantly worded, I know), while Lockett has been a gem for the Seahawks. As long as Russell Wilson is healthy and Lockett is not a drastically different player after last years broken leg, he’s on course to further establish himself as one of the best picks of 2015.