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Sizing Up Wide Receivers
David M. Dorey
July 28, 2004
Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Wide Receivers
2004 WIDE RECEIVERS
Team Player    Ht       Wt    Age Exp
ARI Boldin, Anquan 6'1'' 215 24 2
ARI Fitzgerald, Larry 6'2" 223 21 R
ATL Finneran, Brian 6'5'' 210 28 6
ATL Price, Peerless 5'11'' 190 28 6
BAL Johnson, Kevin 5'11'' 195 28 6
BAL Taylor, Travis 6'1'' 200 25 5
CAR Muhammad, M. 6'2'' 217 31 9
CAR Smith, Steve 5'9'' 179 25 4
CHI Booker, Marty 6'0'' 210 28 6
CHI Terrell, David 6'3'' 215 25 4
CLE Davis, Andre' 6'1'' 193 25 3
CIN Johnson, Chad 6'2'' 192 26 4
CLE Morgan, Quincy 6'1'' 209 27 4
CIN Warrick, Peter 5'11'' 195 27 5
DAL Johnson, Key. 6'4'' 212 32 9
DAL Glenn, Terry 5'11'' 195 30 9
DEN Lelie, Ashley 6'3'' 200 24 3
DEN Smith, Rod 6'0'' 200 34 10
DET Rogers, Charles 6'2'' 202 23 2
DET Williams, Roy 6'2" 212 23 R
GB Driver, Donald 6'0'' 185 29 6
GB Walker, Javon 6'3'' 210 26 3
HOU Bradford, Corey 6'1'' 197 29 6
HOU Johnson, Andre 6'2'' 221 23 2
IND Harrison, Marvin 6'0'' 178 32 9
IND Wayne, Reggie 6'0'' 198 26 4
JAX Smith, Jimmy 6'1'' 205 35 11
JAX Williams, Reggie 6'3" 223 21 R
KC Kennison, Eddie 5'11'' 192 31 9
KC Morton, Johnnie 6'0'' 190 33 11
MIA Boston, David 6'2'' 240 26 6
MIA Chambers, Chris 5'11'' 212 26 4
MIN Moss, Randy 6'4'' 204 27 7
MIN Robinson, Marcus 6'3'' 215 29 7
NE Branch, Deion 5'9'' 191 25 3
NE Givens, David 6'0'' 215 24 3
NO Horn, Joe 6'1'' 206 32 9
NO Stallworth, Donte' 6'0'' 200 24 3
NYG Hilliard, Ike 5'11'' 205 28 7
NYG Toomer, Amani 6'3'' 202 30 9
NYJ McCareins, Justin 6'2'' 218 26 4
NYJ Moss, Santana 5'10'' 185 25 4
OAK Porter, Jerry 6'2'' 220 26 5
OAK Rice, Jerry 6'2'' 196 42 19
PHI Owens, Terrell 6'3'' 226 31 9
PHI Pinkston, Todd 6'2'' 170 27 5
PIT Burress, Plaxico 6'5'' 228 27 5
PIT Ward, Hines 6'0'' 200 28 7
SD Caldwell, Reche 5'11'' 194 25 3
SD Dwight, Tim 5'9'' 180 29 7
SEA Jackson, Darrell 6'0'' 201 26 5
SEA Robinson, Koren 6'1'' 205 24 4
SF Lloyd, Brandon 6'0'' 188 23 2
SF Wilson, Cedrick 5'10'' 179 26 4
STL Bruce, Isaac 6'0'' 188 32 11
STL Holt, Torry 6'0'' 190 28 6
TB Galloway, Joey 5'11'' 197 33 9
TB McCardell, K. 6'1'' 191 34 12
TEN Bennett, Drew 6'5'' 203 26 4
TEN Mason, Derrick 5'10'' 188 30 8
WAS Coles, Lavernues 5'11" 196 27 4
WAS Rod Gardner 6'2" 217 27 3
 

Common knowledge is that receivers take time to develop and that they are typically the least likely position for injury. Let’s take a look at what the best had in common last season.

Top 20 Fantasy Wide Receivers - 2003 
Rnk Team Player   Ht     Wt   Age Exp
1 MIN Moss, Randy 6'4'' 204 26 6
2 STL Holt, Torry 6'0'' 190 27 5
3 CIN Johnson, Chad 6'2'' 192 25 3
4 ARI Boldin, Anquan 6'1'' 215 23 R
5 IND Harrison, Marvin 6'0'' 178 31 8
6 PIT Ward, Hines 6'0'' 200 27 6
7 NYJ Moss, Santana 5'10'' 185 24 3
8 TEN Mason, Derrick 5'10'' 188 29 7
9 SEA Jackson, Darrell 6'0'' 201 25 4
10 MIA Chambers, Chris 5'11'' 212 25 3
11 SF Owens, Terrell 6'3'' 226 30 8
12 TB McCardell, K. 6'1'' 191 33 11
13 WAS Coles, Lave. 5'11" 196 26 3
14 NO Horn, Joe 6'1'' 206 31 8
15 CAR Smith, Steve 5'9'' 179 24 3
16 CIN Warrick, Peter 5'11'' 195 26 4
17 NYG Toomer, Amani 6'3'' 202 29 8
18 SD Boston, David 6'2'' 240 25 5
19 STL Bruce, Isaac 6'0'' 188 31 10
20 GB Walker, Javon 6'3'' 210 25 2

Height - The NFL has long drafted tall receivers on the premise they are easier to find in traffic and better able to bring down jump balls in a crowd. The reality as it has played out suggests that is not the biggest criteria for success. Seven of the top eleven receivers were 6’0” or less.  Factor in that Randy Moss and Terrell Owens are known exceptions and only Chad Johnson did well in spite of his height.

Possession receivers are good for consistency; it is just evident that really tall ones are not consistently great. It is a game predicated more on route running and speed than just the ability to dunk a basketball.

Weight - Typically a function of height, the wide outs are the lightest players on their team in order to keep that needed speed. Top receivers almost always tip the scales at less than 200 pounds and it is certainly not unheard of for official listed weights to be a bit higher than reality.

Age/ Experience - Anquan Boldin was a tremendous exception to the rule last season. He excelled in only his first season (having 168 passes thrown at him was a big aid). This is a position where talent reigns supreme for the very best players, so age has less to do with what happens for the position.

It is notable that the magic 3 year mark still holds true, with five of the Top 20 being in their third season. Because of that phenomenon, most successful receivers are peaking around the age of 25-27 years old and hold on for a few years before tailing off.

There is a dramatic disappearance of receivers after they reach 30 years of age. Only the very best hold on after that mark, and only Keenan McCardell and Marvin Harrison managed to excel beyond the age of 31. The historically hot receivers of Owens, Harrison, Horn and Bruce should all be looking at a decline starting now.