Food For Thought: The Forgotten One

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

We tend to love the players that stick out in our most recent memories. Because of this, we also tend to forget about those who caught our eyes before our current affairs... Marqise Lee, anyone?

We all have fallen victim to the hype train at least 100 times in our life, and will continue to do so, again and again.. It's inevitable, but you can always admit to your mistake. So as I sit here thinking back on a previous post I remembered, when Frank "Dubs" Dobozy mentioned that Marqise Lee should probably be higher on my previous top 10 receiver rankings.

In my initial receiver rankings, I listed Marqise Lee as No. 7 out of 10. I later posted a big board with rearranged rankings all over. Lee was the No. 4 receiver listed on a board of 50 players - which contained 11 receivers. I am now thinking back to two years ago, and how I felt then. So I went back and watched Lee's freshman and sophomore seasons. It seems - once again - the hype bug has bitten. Much like the rest of the country, I was smitten with Lee. To some he could do everything except walk on water. I now feel even No. 4 may be too low.

Why, do you ask? Simple, let me explain...

If players were allowed to enter the draft after two seasons, where would Sammy Watkins rank? I found that I had a hard time putting him above Marqise Lee. After going back and doing a different top ten that removed the players production from the 2013 season, there was only one receiver who still stayed in the top two of my rankings from this year, and that was Jordan Matthews, but it was Marqise Lee that I ranked number one.

In all three of his seasons while at USC, Lee demonstrated nice route running ability, with quick and razor sharp cuts. In his first two seasons, he was explosive, elusive, and consistent. One could easily make the argument he was more explosive and more elusive than Sammy Watkins. In his third season, he lost his quarterback to the NFL, and dealt with injuries for much of the year. Needless to say, in his third season he saw his production drop.

As a freshman, Marqise Lee caught 73 passes, for 1,143 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Some pretty good numbers, until he topped them - and then some - as a sophomore. In 2012, Lee recorded 118 receptions, 1,721 yards, and 14 touchdowns.

Sammy Watkins as a freshman recorded 82 receptions, 1,219 yards, and 12 touchdowns. Pretty good freshman year numbers. But as a sophomore Watkins recorded 57 receptions, 708 yards, and 3 touchdowns. He did miss two games due to suspension, but even if those are averaged in, he still doesn't even hit 900 receiving yards.

After reviewing the first two seasons, I couldn't help but wonder if these two players were coming into the NFL after only their first two college seasons - and not three - would Watkins still be considered the No. 1 receiver in the draft? Are these two players projections just a result of lucky or unlucky timing? Did these two players just switch places between 2012 and 2013? All valid questions, and just a little more food for thought to consider when talking about the draft's top receivers this May...

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