Inside Slant: Rookie WR progress

One of the annual challenges of the NFL draft is projecting immediate impact from receivers, who in many cases face a steep adjustment period to schemes and the speed of defenses. So as we approach the midpoint of the season, it's worth taking a look at who is producing, who is not and the extent to which they're getting opportunities.

The chart lists the 13 rookie receivers who have played enough to put up significant numbers. You'll see that Buffalo Bills rookie Robert Woods has gotten the most snaps, but the Dallas Cowboys' Terrance Williams and the Houston Texans' DeAndre Hopkins have been the most productive receivers. A few additional thoughts:

  • Hopkins has overshadowed the other two receivers picked in the first round, Tavon Austin (St. Louis Rams) and Cordarrelle Patterson (Minnesota Vikings). Woods was a second-round pick, while Williams was drafted in the third and was the seventh receiver selected overall.

  • It's notable that Austin is not yet a full-time player for the Rams, and that Patterson is an offensive afterthought. Austin has been on the field for 50 percent of the Rams' plays, while Patterson's 98 snaps works out to 23 percent. The Vikings said they would bring Patterson along slowly, and he has contributed two touchdowns on kickoff returns. You can only assume his playing time will increase as the season continues. For context, consider that the Green Bay Packers' Myles White has more snaps (100) even though he has played in only two games.

  • The New Orleans Saints' Kenny Stills is averaging 25.2 yards on 13 receptions thanks to catches of 69, 67 and 34 yards. Stills was a fifth-round draft pick from Oklahoma.