By Avery Wilks
The NFL preseason's arrival got me thinking about how poorly teams seem to make decisions each spring.
Every year, franchises seem to psych themselves out of a stud prospect or two.
Back in 2012, we saw it happen with former South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Jeffery left South Carolina a year early to enter the draft, but not before catching 183 career passes for 3,042 yards - a school record - and 23 touchdowns.
His 88 catches and 1,517 yards as a sophomore in 2010 are both single-season school records.
But when it came time for the draft, teams were antsy about taking him. Six teams selected other wideouts instead before Jeffery was taken in the second round. Let's see how that worked out.
Round No. 1, pick No. 5. - Jacksonville Jaguars selected Justin Blackmon. The former Oklahoma State star has 93 catches, 1,280 yards and six touchdowns to his name, all respectable numbers for a young wideout. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, Blackmon has been in some trouble with the NFL, and is currently serving an indefinite suspension that caused him to miss the final eight games of the 2013 season. He can apply for reinstatement after week nine of the upcoming season.
Round No. 1, pick No. 13. - Arizona Cardinals selected Michael Floyd. The Notre Dame standout has been no slouch his first two NFL seasons, catching 110 catches for 1,603 yards and seven touchdowns. He's played in every game of the past two seasons, and it's hard to argue with the Cardinals' pick here.
Round No. 1, pick No. 20. - Tennessee Titans selected Kendall Wright. The former Baylor wideout has caught 158 passes for 1,705 yards and six touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons. It's also hard to argue with this pick, as Wright - known for catching short passes and running with them - has the most receptions of any of the first seven receivers taken in the 2012 draft.
Round No. 1, pick No. 30. - San Francisco 49ers selected A.J. Jenkins. This is where things stop making sense. The 49ers made a first round pick out of Jenkins, who played his college ball at Illinois. But Jenkins appeared in just three games with the 49ers (failing to catch a pass) and was shipped to Kansas City, where he's racked up eight catches for 130 yards and no touchdowns.
According to the latest reports, Jenkins isn't providing the Chiefs' No. 2 receiver, Donnie Avery, with much competition this preseason.
Round No. 2, pick No. 33. - St. Louis Rams selected Brian Quick. The Rams saw fit to pick the Appalachian State wideout with the first pick of the second round. Quick has rewarded them with 29 catches for 458 yards and four touchdowns in two seasons.
Round No. 2, pick No. 43. - New York Jets selected Stephen Hill. Hill caught 49 career passes in three seasons at Georgia Tech, but that was enough for the Jets. (Note: Jeffery caught 49 passes in his senior season). Since then, Hill has hauled in 45 receptions for 594 yards and four touchdowns. It's worth noting that he hasn't had the greatest quarterbacks throwing to him.
For those of you just tuning in, Alshon Jeffery was selected two picks later at No. 45 by the Chicago Bears, who then watched him catch 113 passes for 1,788 yards and 10 touchdowns over the next two seasons, despite having a fellow Pro Bowl receiver lining up opposite him.
He has the most yards and touchdowns than any wideout taken ahead of him, and also one more Pro Bowl appearance than all six of them combined.
Check back again in 2016, when we may be discussing some of the cornerbacks drafted and signed before Victor Hampton got his shot with the Bengals.