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The Rookie Report: WR Edition

Welcome everyone to the third installment to the 2008 Rookie Report. Each week during the regular season, the report will cover trends, news items and analysis of notable performances by the NFL’s 2008 Rookie Class to assist in your pursuit of dynasty championship gold.

During the preseason, the plan is to give a tiered analysis of rookies by position each week. The preseason is crucial for evaluating rookies’ long-term fantasy values as they are given the opportunity to gain valuable playing time and experience, two factors they likely will not get the opportunity to gain during the regular season.

This week’s edition will focus on breaking down the 2008 WR rookie class. Overall, the 2008 rookie class of wide receivers is average compared to previous years, as there is a lack of elite talent at the position in this year’s class. There will certainly be some surprises when all is said and done; however, it is a good bet that most of these wide receivers will take some time to develop over a few years.

Before we go any further, the following is a breakdown of the 2008 wide receiver rookie class:

Tier 1

James Hardy,

Buffalo Bills

Positives:

Great size (6’6″), good speed, and in a good position to get playing time in Buffalo his rookie year.

Negatives:

Hardy still needs to develop his route-running abilities and work on his hands.

Outlook:

Hardy is still a project that needs to develop; however, he should begin his career as a nice red zone option for the Bills due to his size. A hamstring injury early in camp has reduced the number of reps in training camp practices, and he has reportedly struggled some in camp. Despite these struggles, Hardy projects to start alongside Lee Evans in the future.

Malcolm

Kelly,

Washington Redskins

Positives

: Another big athletic WR with great leaping ability. Kelly also has great hands and has a physically imposing style that is perfect for the red zone.

Negatives:

Kelly’s lack of break away speed is a concern. He will miss two weeks of training camp after undergoing a cleanup procedure in his knee.

Outlook

: It is unlikely that Kelly will make an impact in 2008 after missing so much time in training camp; however, long-term Kelly’s prospects are good as he fits coach Jim Zorn’s West Coast Offense well. Kelly looked very good early in camp before the injury slowed him down.

Jordy Nelson,

Green Bay Packers

Positives

: Reliable, productive and smart are all words that best describe Nelson’s game. Nelson is great at getting separation and finding openings in opposing defenses.

Negatives:

Nelson lacks break away speed; however, he knows how to get separation at the line which more than makes up for it.

Outlook

: Nelson is a decent bet to succeed Donald Driver whenever Driver decides to hang up the cleats. He will likely not make any impact in his rookie season; however, long-term Jordy Nelson could end up the best wide-out in this year’s rookie class.

Devin

Thomas,

Washington Redskins

Positives

: Good size and very athletic. Thomas has good hands and leaping ability as well.

Negatives:

Much like Hardy, Thomas needs to develop his route running as he is still very unpolished after one year of starting experience.

Outlook

: Thomas is in a West Coast system, which will highlight his skill-set well. He has missed a lot of time in training camp so far with a hamstring injury; however, he is scheduled to return to practice after the 2nd. It is unlikely that Thomas will make an immediate impact in his rookie year; however, his future remains bright if he is able to refine his skills in the NFL

preseason game.

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