AFC South: Michael Clayton

Justin Blackmon was the best receiver available in the draft for a Jaguars team with a desperate need at the spot.

Kendall Wright was the sort of receiver the Titans were still missing as they look to become a more modern offense.

I like the additions for the Jaguars and the Titans, and at this point I’d certainly expect both guys to have good careers.

But I think early expectations for the two are unreasonably high.

Blackmon, still unsigned, is unlikely to pop in, learn the offense and make a bunch of plays for Blaine Gabbert on Sept. 9 at Minnesota.

Wright, just signed, is unlikely to take Kenny Britt's place if Britt isn’t ready or is suspended for the Titans Sept. 9 game against New England and produce like Britt could.

A.J. Green's 1,000-yard rookie year last season was the first for a receiver since Michael Clayton's for Tampa Bay in 2004.

Julio Jones made a big debut too, falling just 41 yards short of 1,000.

But receiver isn’t a spot where even highly-rated rookies generally get plugged in and make monstrous, immediate impacts. Maybe Green and Jones signified some sort of switch. But at this point I’m still inclined to see them as the exceptions rather than rewriters of the rule.

Per Keith Hawkins of ESPN Stats and Info, 16 first-round receivers who played as rookies in the last five years have averaged 44 catches, 615 yards and 3.8 touchdowns. That’s nice production from Green, Jones, Jonathan Baldwin, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, Britt, Calvin Johnson, Ted Ginn, Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis and Anthony Gonzalez -- but hardly phenomenal.

That’s as many catches as Mike Thomas had for the 2011 Jaguars.

It’s not far off the stat line of 2010 third-rounder Damian Williams for the 2011 Titans -- 45 catches, 592 yards and five TDs.

Can Blackmon and or Wright be impactful players for their teams this year?

It probably depends on your definition of impactful.

Comparably valued players have provided roughly three catches for 38 yards with a score once every four games in their first year in the league.

Certainly it’s possible Blackmon and Wright do more. Are they going to be Week 1 fantasy football MVPs because of the monster numbers they put up early?

If I was making a bet, it wouldn’t be on yes.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Continuing our periodic look at the history of the AFC South-relevant first-round draft slots ...

We've already hit on No. 30, where the Tennessee Titans will pick Saturday, and No. 27, where the Indianapolis Colts sit.

Here's a look at the last 10 picks in the No. 15 slot owned this time around by Houston.

The No. 15 Pick Since 1999
Year Pos. School Player Team Comment
2008 G Virginia Branden Albert Kansas City As a rookie, started 15 games at left tackle
2007 LB Florida State Lawrence Timmons Pittsburgh Has appeared in all 32 games,
had five sacks in second year
2006 CB Clemson Tye Hill St. Louis Not a big factor; hurt in the last two years
2005 LB Texas Derrick Johnson Kansas City Has started 58 of possible 64 games for Chiefs
2004 WR LSU Michael Clayton Tampa Bay Has dropped off since giant rookie year, but Bucs re-signed him
2003 DE Miami Jerome McDougle Philadelphia Just three sacks in 37 games; currently a free agent
2002 DT Tennessee Albert Haynesworth Tennessee Just signed monster deal with Washington
2001 WR Clemson Rod Gardner Washington Seven seasons, four teams, 242 catches, 3,165 yards, 23 TDs
2000 CB California Deltha O'Neal Denver 34 interceptions with Cincy, Denver and New England
1999 DT LSU Anthony McFarland Tampa Bay Recorded 22.5 sacks in 109 games in nine seasons

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