Evaluating wide receivers and holdouts

Something to consider as Jeremy Maclin readies for his first training camp practice as researched by Ed Barkowitz ...

In the five drafts before 2009, 10 wide receivers have been taken in the mid-to-late first round. Five of those had holdouts as rookies, similar to the Eagles' Jeremy Maclin, the 19th pick this year. Here's a look at those players:

2004
MICHAEL CLAYTON, Buccaneers

15th pick; did not holdout.
Rookie year: 80 catches, 1,193 yards, 7 touchdowns.
Evaluation: A stud as a rookie, but hasn't come close since thanks to injuries and inconsistency with himself and the Bucs' passing game.
Grade: D.

MICHAEL JENKINS, Falcons

29th pick; did not holdout.
Rookie year: 7 catches, 119 yards, 0 TDs.
Evaluation: After a slow start, he has had 50-catch seasons each of the last two years and is a decent No. 2 receiver.
Grade: C.

RASHAUN WOODS, 49ers

31st pick; held out one day.
Rookie year: 7 catches, 160 yards, 1 TD.
Evaluation: Missed sophomore season with an injured thumb and never played another NFL game.
Grade: F.

2005
MATT JONES, Jaguars
21st pick; held out three days.
Rookie year: 36 catches, 432 yards, 5 TDs.
Evaluation: Converted from college quarterback to wide receiver. Showed potential, but couldn't stay off police blotter. Had career-best 65 catches last year. Currently a free agent.
Grade: D.

MARK CLAYTON, Ravens
22nd pick; held out five days.
Rookie year: 44 catches, 471 yards, 2 TDs.
Evaluation: Production has dipped since 2006, when Steve McNair was the Ravens QB. Hurt ankle in spring minicamp and will miss a few weeks after straining hamstring Sunday.
Grade: C.

RODDY WHITE, Falcons
27th pick; held out for six days.
Rookie year: 29 catches, 446 yards, 3 TDs.
Evaluation: After mediocre campaigns first two seasons, he has become Falcons primary receiver. So good the last two seasons he's holding out for a new contract.
Grade: A.

2006
SANTONIO HOLMES, Steelers

25th pick; did not hold out.
Rookie year: 49 catches, 824 yards, 2 TDs.
Evaluation: Has had share of legal issues, including a bust for pot possession last year, but is growing into Hines Ward's replacement as the No. 1. Catch at the end of Super Bowl 43 earned him MVP honors and will go down as one of the best grabs in history.
Grade: B+.

2007
DWAYNE BOWE, Chiefs

23rd pick, held out for nine days.
Rookie year: 70 catches, 995 yards, 6 TDs.
Evaluation: Has been best receiver on bad Chiefs teams. Has a bit of a swagger, which isn't necessarily bad. Will be interesting to see the effect new coach Todd Haley has on him.
Grade: B+.

ROBERT MEACHEM, Saints
27th pick; did not hold out
Rookie year: Did not play (knee injury).
Evaluation: A crucial year for Meachem, who hasn't played a much for a team deep at wide receiver.
Grade: D. An incomplete would be fairer, if the guy wasn't collecting a paycheck every two weeks.

CRAIG DAVIS, Chargers
30th pick; did not hold out
Rookie year: 20 catches, 188 yards, 1 TD.
Evaluation: Groin injuries have prevented Davis from getting on the field with any regularity.
Grade: D.

ANTHONY GONZALEZ, Colts

32nd pick; did not hold out.
Rookie year: 37 catches, 576 yards, 3 TDs.
Evaluation: Solid his first two years as a fourth option in Indy's powerful offense. Figures to be even more productive as Marvin Harrison's replacement.
Grade: B.

2008
No wide receivers selected from Nos. 15 to 32.
 

Some other tidbits from around the league

* Anquan Boldin did an interview with KTAR in Phoenix about his offseason and the trade rumors that seemingly persisted daily. The Arizona wide receiver says he was not disappointed about not being traded, because he never thought he would be dealt.

"Honestly, I know of 15 teams - this is a league where everyone communicates," Boldin said, according to sportsradiointerviews.com. So you have players everywhere - guys that I work out with in Florida, guys that I’m friends with - and they talk to their GMs, and they relay messages back and forth. So, I know of 15 teams that were willing to do exactly what it took to get me and make a trade happen. But the Cardinals were never specific about what they wanted. They only said if the right deal came along. But what is the right deal if you’ve never said it? But I never thought once that I’d be traded and I wasn’t disappointed that it didn’t happen.”

One of those teams was the Eagles, by all accounts. What Boldin is saying is similar to a sentiment expressed by Andy Reid during a radio interview this spring -- that he never thought the Cardinals really intended to trade Boldin.

* A veteran Jacksonville Jaguars observer whose opinion we respect said that first-round pick Eugene Monroe had a chance to unseat former Eagle Tra Thomas as the starting left tackle on opening day. That seems unlikely now as Monroe, chosen eighth overall, remains a holdout.

*

To read what Jeremy Maclin had to say upon his arrival at Lehigh, click here

To read Paul Domowitch's take on Andy Reid and the injury report, click here.

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