If a team wants to be an offensive powerhouse in the NFL, they first need the ammo to pull off some big plays. In other words, if you want to strike fear in the heart of defenses everywhere, you need a weapon who can take a team down with one fell swoop. Enter – the No.1 wide receiver.
For those who need reminding – Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Dez Bryant are some of the names out there that can damage, instantly. Could Kelvin Benjamin have possibly put the Panthers over the edge in super bowl 50? You betcha.
In the past few drafts there have been some stellar picks at wide receiver. These guys have become instant playmakers from day one. This is usually not the case for other positions in the NFL. Players need ‘time to develop’, and so on. Not the No.1s – they come in and next thing you know they are Madden cover worthy. Barring serious injury, wide receivers also have more shelf life than other players in the NFL.
For a first round perspective, consider that Dez Bryant went 24th overall, Odell Beckham Jr. was selected 12th, and Julio Jones was 6th (in a fluke, Antonio Brown was selected 195th overall, and is one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL). There are many decent players that came before them, but not a lot of game breakers.
The perfect example in this article comes from the 2014 draft – the Lions could have drafted ODB, but instead got Eric Ebron. The Browns could have gotten him too, but instead they chose Justin Gilbert. The Titans would have looked better with ODB and Marcus Mariota – Taylor Lewan was a good pick, but ODB would have had much more impact and put fans in the seats.
In this year’s draft, there are only two names that come up with first round potential. NFL general managers should be targeting Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss) who is without a doubt a No.1. Most analysts seem to think that the top 10 is too high, and many are projecting a fall to No. 16 to the Detroit Lions. Seriously?
The Lions desperately want to replace Calvin Johnson (which, if you think about it next to impossible), but it is wishful thinking that a No. 1 receiver would be on the board that far down in the first round. For example, why wouldn’t the New York Giants sign him? They have already boosted their defense through free agency. Imagine Eli Manning, ODB, *and* Treadwell. Their offense would be unstoppable. How about Chicago, who franchise tagged Ashlon Jeffery? It is increasingly unlikely they will sign him again next year, and Treadwell could be their insurance plus. Oakland is another team that crushed the free agency market – they could go any which way in the draft. Tread well could further boost their high powered offense and spread things out for both himself and Amari Cooper (who went 4th in the first round, by the way).
In reality, Treadwell will most likely go somewhere between 10th and 16th, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go earlier, unless several teams trade up to get their future QB, thereby moving all other players down, which is a distinct possibility. In a pass happy NFL, having an excellent receiving corps combined with an above average QB is a formula for success. Look for a lucky coach to go for the glory, and come up big this 2016 draft.