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Photo via Keith Allison/Flickr

It is often said that wide receivers break out in their third season. Everyone knows that A.J. Green and Julio Jones have already hit it big, but the ability to uncover third year sleepers is critical to winning your league. Let’s find out what happens if we re-visit the wide receiver class of 2011 which will be entering its third season this fall. We will evaluate these players through the Eric Decker filter .

As a refresher, we’re looking for guys who surpassed these marks:

· 9.5 yards/target

· 30%+ market share of yards in final season

· 40%+ market share of touchdowns in final season

· 35%+ TD rate on red zone targets

Meet the contestants who are all about 6’2’’ and 210 lbs.

  • Austin Pettis, Rams
  • Greg Little, Browns
  • Greg Salas, Eagles
  • Jon Baldwin, Chiefs
  • Leonard Hankerson, Redskins
  • Torrey Smith, Ravens

First things first, let’s eliminate anyone below 9 yards/target in their final season. Adios, Greg Little and Jon Baldwin.

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In round two, we look to cut anyone who has not acquired 30% market share of their team’s receiving yards. Nice knowing you, Austin Pettis.

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In round three, we weed out players who have less than 40%+ market share of their team’s touchdowns. Happy trails to you, Greg Salas.

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Down to the final two, we look for player with a 35% TD rate…no blood.

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The last two men standing are Leonard Hankerson of the Washington Redskins and Torrey Smith of the Baltimore Ravens. You probably already know about Smith, who was a stud receiver during the Ravens’ Super Bowl run. In each of his first two seasons he caught at least 800 yards and seven touchdowns. He seems primed to become a star in this league

But what about this Hankerson kid? In the Decker article we named Hakeem Nicks, Jordy Nelson, and Dwayne Bowe as prototypes for the ideal #1 receiver. We’ve just established that Hankerson can produce at an elite level, but does his athleticism match up with those studs? See for yourself:

Player Height Weight 40 Vertical Broad Shuttle 3 cone
Leonard Hankerson 73.5 209 4.4 36 117 4.21 6.94
Hakeem Nicks 72.7 212 4.51 36 DNP 4.43 6.96
Jordy Nelson 74.6 217 4.51 31 123 4.35 7.03
Dwayne Bowe 74.3 221 4.51 33 125 4.35 6.81

 

In 2011 Hankerson became the first Redskins rookie receiver to top 100 yards in a game since 2001. Unfortunately he sustained an injury in that same game that cost him the rest of his rookie year. Last season he quietly hauled in 543 yards, which finished third on the team and just 90 yards behind leading receiver Pierre Garcon. Now, consider that he will catch passes from RG3 for the next few seasons. The warning signs are there. Does he have your attention?

(Want to compare Hankerson to other recent prospects?  Try our Wide Receiver app!)

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