WR Movers (Post Draft)
By Sigmund Bloom
May 3rd, 2011

Moving Up

  • Mike Thomas, Jason Hill, Jarett Dillard, Jacksonville - This isn't exactly what a team wants to see at the top of their depth chart at wideout, but it's what the Jags have and they still waited until the third day to take a receiver. Small school product Cecil Shorts probably won't challenge to start this year, so unless the team goes out and gets a starting quality veteran in free agency, Thomas will be the #1 and Hill/Dillard will duke it out to be the #2. Some member(s) of this group will also benefit from playing with new franchise QB Blaine Gabbert sooner or later in dynasty leagues.

  • Brandon Tate, Taylor Price, New England, Deion Branch, FA - The Pats never really filled the deep threat void left by Randy Moss last season, and they didn't use the third-round pick they acquired for him (or any others) on a wide receiver in the draft. That is a tacit endorsement of Tate and Price as possible starters and Branch as a potential returning free agent. Odds are one of these three will start in one of the best pass offenses in the league this season and maybe beyond.

  • Jerricho Cotchery, NY Jets - When your previous years' starting receivers (Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes) are both free agents, getting a prospect or two to groom in the draft is a good idea. The Jets instead completely neglected the position (save for a pick of return man/slot receiver Jeremy Kerley to replace free agent Brad Smith), leaving Cotchery as the top incumbent receiver at this moment. The former starter recently had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back in February, which could explain his uncharacteristically unreliable hands and why the Jets may trust him to start again this season. Santonio Holmes is a decent bet to return as the #1, but Cotchery should have value as the #2.

  • Kenny Britt, Tennessee - Britt made the wrong kind of offseason news (again), but the league may not be able to punish him because it happened during the lockout. His team can certainly punish him, and the Titans could have taken a wide receiver somewhat early as a shot across Britt's bow. Their lack of action at the position could indicate a good feeling about 2010 third round pick Damian Williams, but it also shows a lack of deep worry about Britt as a bad apple who will need to be cut loose soon. Britt also gains a potential franchise QB in Jake Locker who can keep plays alive with his feet and uncork deep balls on the run.

  • Danario Alexander, Donnie Avery, St. Louis, Mark Clayton, FA - The Rams have admitted that their lack of an RB pick wasn't due to lack of need, so maybe we shouldn't read too much into the team not taking a wideout in the first or second round. Still, they revealed they were trying to trade up for a running back, but not Julio Jones or a second-round receiver like Torrey Smith or Greg Little. Sam Bradford gained a versatile pass catching tight end in Lance Kendricks, Justin Gage-esque possession receiver in Austin Pettis, and an Austin Collie-esque reliable slot guy in Greg Salas during the draft, but there is still plenty of opportunity for one of this trio to emerge as the #1 wide receiver in the new souped-up Josh McDaniels offense.

  • Unchanged

  • Roddy White, Atlanta - Last year dynasty owners asked "is Dez Bryant bad for Miles Austin?" and some thought the answer was yes. Even though Austin had a down year, he was on a season-long pace for over 100 receptions and 1500 yards in the five games Tony Romo started and finished. Bryant's development will only free up coverage from Austin, and Jones will do the same for White. It's hard to go up from a top five ranking, but White certainly shouldn't be pushed down.

  • Moving Down

  • Jordy Nelson, Green Bay, James Jones, FA - The Packers made another savvy second-round wide receiver pick. Randall Cobb is a tough guy who overcomes having no exceptional physical gifts with an outstanding all-around game in a similar fashion to Hines Ward. Jordy Nelson was a fantasy darling coming out of the Super Bowl, but I suspect Cobb will be the heir to Donald Driver's starting spot.

  • Jerome Simpson, Jordan Shipley, Andre Caldwell, Cincinnati - Everyone had a favorite young Bengal receiver to fill the vacuum likely left by Ochocinco and TO, but the correct answer was not on the roster until the draft, and what an answer it was. Simpson and Caldwell will fight to start opposite #4 overall pick and all-world talent A.J. Green, and Shipley will be part of a three-way fight in the target pecking order with the winner of the first battle and last year's first-round pick TE Jermaine Gresham. At least the team drafted Andy Dalton to ease the long-term QB woes.

  • Mo Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, Cleveland - Draft pick Greg Little is the kind of wide receiver who can emerge as a #1 from the second round. Massaquoi and Robiskie are not. At this point, you have to wonder if the either of the 2009 second round duo is even a possible #2 with their lack of development and the positive buzz around 2010 sixth-round pick Carlton Mitchell.

  • Dexter McCluster, Kansas City - There was already talk that McCluster was going to become more of a third-down back, and the first-round selection of Jonathan Baldwin basically ensures that McCluster will remain marginalized in the passing game for the time being. He could emerge later if Dwayne Bowe walks in free agency next year, but the short-term picture is bleak for the Chiefs 2010 second-round pick.

  • Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, Miami - Hartline failed to seize the opportunity that starting opposite Brandon Marshall offered him last season, so the Dolphins took an even speedier receiver in the fourth round this year - Edmond Gates from Abilene Christian. The school produced Bears starter Johnny Knox and Gates could be a similar deep threat in the pros. Bess will stay a slot receiver in the long term as long as Gates hits, so his outlook is dinged a bit in dynasty leagues.

  • Michael Jenkins, Atlanta - Can you go down from no value? Julio Jones arrival means Jenkins becomes irrelevant, if he wasn't already.

  • Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to bloom@footballguys.com.

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