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Devin Smith: How Second Round Rookie Wide Receivers Perform

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Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations seem to be all over the place for Jets rookie wide receiver Devin Smith. To get an idea of what reasonable expectations are for Smith, I decided to look at the production of rookie wide receivers selected in the second round of the NFL Draft over the last five seasons.

Player Team Receptions Yards TD
A. Benn TB 25 395 2
A. Dobson NE 37 519 4
A. Jeffery CHI 24 367 3
B. Quick STL 11 156 2
C. Latimer DEN 2 23 0
D. Adams GB 38 446 3
G. Little CLE 61 709 2
G. Tate SEA 21 227 0
J. Hunter TEN 18 354 4
J. Matthews PHI 67 872 8
M. Lee JAX 37 422 1
P. Richardson SEA 29 271 1
R. Broyles DET 22 310 2
R. Cobb GB 25 375 1
R. Randle NYG 19 298 3
R. Woods BUF 40 587 3
S. Hill NYJ 21 252 3
T. Smith BAL 50 841 7
T. Young DET 48 607 6

This is an average of 31 catches, 423 yards, and 3 touchdowns.

The medians are 25 catches, 375 yards, and 3 touchdowns.

Statistically speaking, this is in the ballpark of where we might hope Smith ends up as a rookie. Our hopes are high for Smith, but player development is more a marathon than a sprint, especially once we get out of the first round. Just look. There are zero seasons with even 70 catches or 900 yards. Even names like Jeffery and Cobb were not lighting it up as rookies. Success might be more about steady improvement in technical aspects of his game as the year progresses more than rookie dominance.

The good news for the Jets is they are built in a way to handle Smith coming along slowly. From where we stand now, Smith would probably be the fifth option in the passing game behind Marshall, Decker, Kerley, and Amaro. He doesn't need to dominate as a rookie.