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Revisiting the 1996 NFL Draft (1 Viewer)

David Yudkin

Footballguy
I was tooting around and noticed that Terrell Owens was the 12th WR selected in his draft class (1996) and had to see just who was taken before him, expecting to see a bunch of nobodies and guys you never heard of. But that's not what I found. In digging deeper into the 1996 class of WRs (both guys drafted and undrafted free agents), that group of receivers has gone on to put up incredible total numbers.

There were 35 WR from that rookie year that went on to catch at least one pass in the NFL and the career totals for those 35 players to date amount to:

8606 receptions, 118356 receiving yards, and 763 receiving TD. TEN of those players (counting just WRs) went on to catch 500 receptions over their careers. ELEVEN went on to have at least one 1,000 yard receiving season (with a total of 45). There were 29 Pro Bowl nods given to this group including 10 All Pro selections.

For those that are interested, here's a breakdown of the more noteworthy guys:

1-1, Keyshawn Johnson, Jets, USC (814-10571-64)

1-7, Terry Glenn, Patriots, Ohio State (593-8823-44)

1-18, Eddie Kennison, Rams, LSU (548-8345-42)

1-19, Marvin Harrison, Colts, Syracuse (1102-14580-128)

1-24, Eric Moulds, Bills, Mississippi State (764-9995-49)

2-4, Amani Toomer, Giants, Michigan (668-9497-54)

2-13, Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers, Michigan State (807-10857-61)

2-22, Bobby Engram, Bears, Penn State (645-7690-35)

3-28, Terrell Owens, 49ers, Tennessee-Chattanooga (951-14122-139)

5-3, Joe Horn, Chiefs, Itawamba C.C. (603-8744-58)

5-21, Jermaine Lewis, Ravens, Maryland (143-2129-17) Better known as a KR/PR

5-27, Patrick Jeffers, Broncos, Virginia (98-1563-14)

I'm not sure if this would be considered the greatest WR crop ever. Maybe Doug can run some numbers and see how this year compares to others.

NOTE FOR DOUG: I used rookies as guys drafted in 1996 or unsigned free agents that debuted in 1996. I only counted players that played WR, not guys that were TE conversions.

 
By any reasonable measure, I think 1996 will come out as the best crop of WRs ever.

1985 is close, but is has a bit of an asterisk, as it includes USFL "rookies" like Gary Clark and Anthony Carter.

1985 = Jerry Rice, Andre Reed, Gary Clark, Eric Martin, Anthony Carter, Eddie Brown, Al Toon, Vance Johnson, ...

1988 = Tim Brown, Michael Irvin, Anthony Miller, Sterling Sharpe, Brett Perriman, Brian Blades, Michael Haynes, Quinn Early, ...

2001 is obviously not there yet, but could conceivably challenge. 2001 = Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Steve Smith, Chris Chambers, Santana Moss, T.J. Houshmandzadeh

 
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I was tooting around and noticed that Terrell Owens was the 12th WR selected in his draft class (1996) and had to see just who was taken before him, expecting to see a bunch of nobodies and guys you never heard of. But that's not what I found. In digging deeper into the 1996 class of WRs (both guys drafted and undrafted free agents), that group of receivers has gone on to put up incredible total numbers.There were 35 WR from that rookie year that went on to catch at least one pass in the NFL and the career totals for those 35 players to date amount to:8606 receptions, 118356 receiving yards, and 763 receiving TD. TEN of those players (counting just WRs) went on to catch 500 receptions over their careers. ELEVEN went on to have at least one 1,000 yard receiving season (with a total of 45). There were 29 Pro Bowl nods given to this group including 10 All Pro selections.For those that are interested, here's a breakdown of the more noteworthy guys:1-1, Keyshawn Johnson, Jets, USC (814-10571-64)1-7, Terry Glenn, Patriots, Ohio State (593-8823-44)1-18, Eddie Kennison, Rams, LSU (548-8345-42)1-19, Marvin Harrison, Colts, Syracuse (1102-14580-128)1-24, Eric Moulds, Bills, Mississippi State (764-9995-49)2-4, Amani Toomer, Giants, Michigan (668-9497-54)2-13, Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers, Michigan State (807-10857-61)2-22, Bobby Engram, Bears, Penn State (645-7690-35)3-28, Terrell Owens, 49ers, Tennessee-Chattanooga (951-14122-139)5-3, Joe Horn, Chiefs, Itawamba C.C. (603-8744-58)5-21, Jermaine Lewis, Ravens, Maryland (143-2129-17) Better known as a KR/PR5-27, Patrick Jeffers, Broncos, Virginia (98-1563-14)I'm not sure if this would be considered the greatest WR crop ever. Maybe Doug can run some numbers and see how this year compares to others.NOTE FOR DOUG: I used rookies as guys drafted in 1996 or unsigned free agents that debuted in 1996. I only counted players that played WR, not guys that were TE conversions.
It's a great group of talent - throw in Derrick Mayes who I remember some analysts touting as the best of the group, but he never worked out in Green Bay - and you had an auspicious group of prospects.
 
Doug Drinen said:
By any reasonable measure, I think 1996 will come out as the best crop of WRs ever.

1985 is close, but is has a bit of an asterisk, as it includes USFL "rookies" like Gary Clark and Anthony Carter.

1985 = Jerry Rice, Andre Reed, Gary Clark, Eric Martin, Anthony Carter, Eddie Brown, Al Toon, Vance Johnson, ...

1988 = Tim Brown, Michael Irvin, Anthony Miller, Sterling Sharpe, Brett Perriman, Brian Blades, Michael Haynes, Quinn Early, ...

2001 is obviously not there yet, but could conceivably challenge. 2001 = Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Steve Smith, Chris Chambers, Santana Moss, T.J. Houshmandzadeh
It's not quite there, but 2004 has potential. IMO, the most impressive thing is there were no 1st round busts at WR in 96. How many drafts have 5 players taken in the first round of the same position, with no busts?

 

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