Tuesday, 19 May 2009

2008 class any indication as to Butler's potential impact?

Recently we've been discussing the potential impact Deon Butler could have as a rookie in Seattle. One reader got in touch and posted the number of receptions posted by 2nd and 3rd round rookies in 2008:

Eddie Royal* - 91
DeSean Jackson* - 63
Donnie Avery* - 54
Jordy Nelson* - 33
Harry Douglas** - 23
Devin Thomas* - 15
Early Doucet** - 14
Andre Caldwell** - 11
James Hardy* - 9
Limas Sweed* - 6
Mario Manningham** - 4
Malcolm Kelly* - 3
Jerome Simpson* - 1
Earl Bennett** - 0
Dexter Jackson* - 0

* Denotes 2nd round pick
** Denotes 3rd round pick

It probably needs to be pointed out that these were the first receivers taken off the board - none went in the first round in 2008.

Harry Douglas (Atlanta) was the most productive third round selection. He only caught 23 passes as a rookie. His first real impact didn't come until week 6 against the Bears when he caught 5 balls for 96 yards. He scored his only touchdown reception in week 12 against the Panthers.

Douglas did manage two further scores - an end around rush again against Carolina and also returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown during the season.

None of the other third round receivers had much impact. That's probably to be expected though, Early Doucet was competing for time with Fitzgerald, Boldin and Breaston whilst Andre Caldwell was stuck on one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL (Cincinnati).

It may be wise to temper expectations of Butler if this evidence is anything to go by. He could still have a statistical line comparable or even better than Harry Douglas in Atlanta. However, it would be unfair to expect much more. His value as a potential kick returner and deep ball threat remains, but the learning curve associated with most rookie receivers will likely register with the former Nittany Lion.


Misfit said...

I think Wilson will continue to return kicks, as he was among the best in the league. Butler, as noted by Pro Football Weekly, could be used to return punts. As good as Burleson was at this, returning from injury and potential for re-injury to me is reason enough to pass the PR duties to a youngster - an explosive guy like Butler or Devin Moore.

Andrew said...

I think that if our core receivers stay healthy and he get the stats of Harry Douglas I would be very happy. I think to some extent he may be used for his speed to stretch the field and will be doing his job by opening the field underneath.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if that was taken in Camp Randall or at Beaver Stadium but what a great pic that is..look at that crowd in the back ground.

Just wow! Gotta have huge cahones to be able to perform in front of that massive crowd..

akki said...

Actually even in Douglas' situation, he partially got playing time because WR#3 Laurent Robinson missed most of the year, and old friend WR#4 Brian Finneran was coming off two years out of the league injured. Douglas's production is about what I'd like to see out of Butler - a few catches, special teams contribution, attracting deep coverage better than Kent could, and a flash or two to excite us for the future. And should he only catch 5 passes next year while the top 3 are healthy, we shouldn't go calling Ruskell an idiot for drafting him.

Ethan said...

Agreed on the last point, akki. I think fans have a tendency to have knee-jerk reactions with eyes on short-term results. I also think this gets coupled with a belief that draft picks somehow can get a team the Holy Grail of football or something, since in some ways it represents potential and almost nothing at all material. Or maybe I'm just far too disillusioned with fair weather fans...heh.