No need to get excited over most young WRs

September, 16, 2009
9/16/09
11:21
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


The Cardinals' performance in Week 1 and subsequent decision to release receiver Lance Long should be instructive, particularly within the NFC West.

Each summer, young receivers flash their potential, leaving hopeful fans to fret about which one of these future stars the team might not be able to keep. Except the receivers rarely become future contributors, let alone stars. For every Jerheme Urban, there are multiple Courtney Taylors and Jordan Kents and Dominique Zeiglers and Lance Longs.

Teams get into trouble offensively when injuries force them to rely too heavily upon fringe receivers. The Seahawks demonstrated this spectacularly last season. Their promising young receivers weren't so promising when they had to play extended snaps in real games.

Long played extensively as the fourth receiver in the Cardinals' offense Sunday. Quarterback Kurt Warner did not appear comfortable with the arrangement.

These players tend to be suited for very limited roles. Long became the latest one to clear waivers, meaning none of the other 31 NFL teams immediately had a place for him on its 53-man roster. Taylor, Kent and Zeigler also cleared waivers. That doesn't mean these were bad players without futures in the NFL. It does mean we shouldn't equate training-camp promise with regular-season production, particularly for receivers.

Update: The Chiefs signed Long to their practice squad.

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