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Not easy to separate elite from ordinary

3/23/2007 - NFL

Productive NFL wide receivers come in many different sizes, shapes and speeds. Just take a look at the wide receivers who led the NFL in catches last season. Sure, Houston's Andre Johnson fits the mold as the league leader with 103 receptions. After all, the former No. 3 overall pick (2003) checks in at 6-foot-3 and 219 pounds with 4.4 speed. But how do you explain Mike Furrey, a former undrafted free agent in 2000, hauling in the second-most passes (98) in 2006?

Other productive NFL receivers who slipped in recent drafts include Carolina's Steve Smith (third round, 2001), Seattle's Deion Branch (second round, 2002), Arizona's Anquan Boldin (second round, 2003), the N.Y. Jets' Jerricho Cotchery (fourth round, 2004) and New Orleans' Marques Colston (seventh round, 2006). Meanwhile, David Terrell (2001), Ashley Lelie (2002), Charles Rogers (2003) and Reggie Williams (2004) all looked the part as high draft picks coming out of college but haven't come close to matching production for investment.