NFC West: Dane Sanzenbacher
June, 21, 2012
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
NFC West teams landed the second (Michael Floyd), fourth (A.J. Jenkins) and fifth (Brian Quick) wide receivers selected in the 2012 NFL draft.
ESPN's fantasy analysts, gathered in the video above, mentioned Floyd just long enough to dismiss his rookie prospects based on the Arizona Cardinals' quarterback situation. They mentioned nothing of the others, instead focusing on what production Jenkins' teammate in San Francisco, Randy Moss, might provide this season.
I wondered, however, to what extent our perceptions about quarterbacks match up with the production rookie receivers actually provide. Eleven rookie receivers caught at least 27 passes last season. Several, including undrafted Seahawk Doug Baldwin, fared well without benefiting from what anyone would have called an ideal quarterback situation.
A year ago, we might have downgraded Cincinnati's A.J. Green based on the Bengals decision to go with a rookie quarterback. Baldwin was largely unknown, and critics were questioning Seattle's decision to go with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback. In Cleveland, Greg Little caught 61 passes despite the Browns' obviously deficient quarterback situation.
In 2010, Brandon LaFell and David Gettis ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, among rookies in receptions despite playing in Carolina, where Jimmy Clausen and David Moore were the starting quarterbacks.
Receivers benefit from solid quarterback play, obviously, but they don't always need it to produce.