This year’s rookie receivers can be broken down into three categories. One is receivers that will make an immediate impact. Two is receivers that will be vying for a spot in training camp to make an immediate impact. Three is receivers that have some potential in future years to replace some aging players and make an impact.
Dez Bryant — Dallas Cowboys
Bryant, many believed, was the best WR talent in the draft. He goes to a team with a solid young QB (a wide receiver’s best friend). Yes he will have to compete for balls against Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Felix Jones and Marion Barber. It is conceivable though that he does catch 5 balls a game. That would put him in 75-80 catch range with about 1,100 to 1,200 yards and probably 6 TDs in his rookie season alone. You have to like him as a solid WR2 option in most draft formats.
Demaryius Thomas — Denver Broncos
Out steps Brandon Marshall, in steps Thomas. He was a solid playmaker in college and should be able to establish himself as a solid go to receiver in the Denver offense. His prospects are even more improved with the team drafted Tim Tebow to develop as the quarterback of the future. Thomas should be a WR2 option as well in most draft formats.
Arrelious Benn — Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Benn steps onto the field easily as the top receiving option in Tampa. With that being said though, his options are limited until Josh Freeman can develop more as a quarterback. I see Benn as a WR3 option.
Golden Tate — Seattle Seahawks
Tate figures to play in that Percy Harvin-type role for Seattle. I would project him to have a similar rookie season to Harvin.
Possible Immediate Impact
Damian Williams — Tennessee Titans
Word out of Titans offseason workouts this year is that Coach Jeff Fisher has not been too enamored with last year’s first round pick Kenny Britt. He appears to have been slacking in the offseason and not coming to work prepared. This may open up an opportunity for Williams in training camp. That is something to keep an eye on over the summer months.
Brandon LaFell — Carolina Panthers
LaFell will compete against Dwayne Jarrett in camp for the WR2 slot in Carolina opposite Steve Smith. Jarrett hasn’t impressed so far, so LaFell has a definite shot at cracking the starting lineup.
Mardy Gilyard — Saint Louis Rams
Gilyard is in a similar situation to most of the guys on the possible impact list. He needs to beat out Laurent Robinson and Brandon Gibson for a starting spot. That’s a task he could easily do.
Mike Williams — Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yes it is conceivable the Bucs also go with Williams at the other WR slot. He only has veteran reject Reggie Brown and holdovers Maurice Stovall and Sammie Stroughter for competition.
Marcus Easley — Buffalo Bills
Easley could slide into a starting role with the Bills. His main competition is James Hardy and Steve Johnson for the WR2 slot opposite Lee Evans. You would have to think he has an outside chance at it.
Carlton Mitchell — Cleveland Browns
Even though Mitchell was drafted in the sixth round, he still possesses enough talent to challenge receivers in Cleveland for a starting spot. I could even see him turning into the go-to receiver there if Massaquoi and Robiskie don’t develop fast enough.
I will just merely list these players along with the potential player they may replace once the veteran player moves on.
Jordan Shipley — Cincinnati Bengals (Antonio Bryant)
Eric Decker — Denver Broncos (Jabar Gaffney)
Taylor Price — New England Patriots (Randy Moss)
Dezmon Briscoe — Cincinnati Bengals (Chad Ochocinco)