A few days ago, I did an article similar to this one where I looked back at the 17 wide receivers selected before now Super Bowl Champion Tyreek Hill. I enjoyed working on that and seeing the multiple teams that missed out on the superstar receiver. Today I will be looking at another receiver this time from the 2012 NFL Draft in T.Y. Hilton.

Credit: Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

Hilton played college ball at Florida International University. He was a starter all four years, where he had 229 receptions, 3,531 yards, and 24 touchdowns. He was also used as a running back and punter returner at times as well, showing his versatility all over the field. Coming from a small school and small frame (5’10” 183lbs), Hilton was selected in the third round (92nd overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Since being drafted, Hilton has been a very productive wide receiver and often times has been one of the more underrated receivers in the NFL. In eight seasons, Hilton has had 552 career receptions, 8,598 career yards, and 45 career touchdowns. On top of that, he was named to the Pro Bowl four times (2014-2017), while surpassing the 1,000-yard receiving mark in five of those seasons (including a league-high 1,448 yards in 2016). It is safe to say that the Colts nailed that draft pick but who were the other receivers selected before Hilton?

12 different wide receivers were selected before T.Y. Hilton and while at the time the picks made sense, majority of the selections ended up not panning out, with only one of those receivers earning one Pro Bowl nod and none of the receivers have stayed with the team they were drafted on. Let’s take a look.

Justin Blackmon

Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
  • Drafted: 5th (1st Round)
  • Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Career Stats: 93 receptions, 1,280 yards, six touchdowns, 20 games (18 starts)

To say Blackmon was a beast in college was an understatement. In his final two seasons, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy hauled in 20 and 18 touchdowns on 1,782 and 1,522 yards during his final two seasons. There as no doubt that Blackmon was the top wide receiver heading into the 2012 NFL Draft.

He was selected 5th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in hopes to bring a huge spark to their offense. His rookie season had a lot of promise with 865 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He only played four games during his second season before his off the field troubles began.

Since 2013, Blackmon has been suspended by the NFL multiple times and will likely never play in the NFL again. It is a shame really as you saw glimpses of what could have been. No doubt if they had a re-do, Hilton would have been a better, consistent option.

Michael Floyd

Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA Today Sports
  • Drafted: 13th (1st Round)
  • Team: Arizona Cardinals
  • Career Stats: 266 receptions, 3,959 yards, 25 touchdowns, 102 games (51 starts)

Floyd was a consistent receiver during his time at Notre Dame and looked to be a perfect complement to Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona’s receiving core. He had an okay stint in the desert, including a 1,041 yard five touchdown season in 2013 but never fully developed into a star receiver.

A DUI arrest in 2016 ultimately led to his release. He had a stint with the New England Patriots (where he earned a Super Bowl ring that season), Minnesota Vikings, and Washington Redskins but played sparingly. He last joined the Baltimore Ravens training camp roster in 2019 but was released during the team’s final roster cuts. He currently is a free agent.

Hilton would have no doubt been a better option here. Imagine Fitz and Hilton in the lineup for Arizona?

Kendall Wright

Credit: Harry How/Getty Images
  • Drafted: 20th (1st Round)
  • Team: Tennessee Titans
  • Career Stats: 339 receptions, 3,858 yards, 19 touchdowns, 82 games (45 starts)

Wright had a productive four-year career at Baylor University, which included a 1,663 yard-14 touchdown senior season. The Titans drafted him 20th overall in hopes to be a vertical threat the offense desperately needed.

During his five seasons in Tennessee, his best season came in 2013 when he caught 94 balls for 1,079 yards and two touchdowns but never showed to be the top option in the offense. He played for the Chicago Bears in 2017 and has yet to play a regular-season down since. No doubt Hilton has had a better career than Wright.

A.J. Jenkins

Credit: Ed Szczepanski/USA Today Sports
  • Drafted: 30th (1st Round)
  • Team: San Francisco 49ers
  • Career Stats: 17 receptions, 223 yards, 28 games (three starts)

Jenkins was one the biggest question marks as the 49ers had some solid receivers at the time (Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, and Mario Manningham to name a few). He was pretty much a non-factor in his lone season in San Francisco, playing in only three games. He was on the field for 37 snaps and he dropped the only pass thrown to him.

He ended up getting traded to the Kansas City Chiefs after his rookie season and stayed with the team for two more seasons. He has not played a regular snap in the NFL ever again. Clearly, the team may have been better with Hilton.

Brian Quick

Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA Today Sports
  • Drafted: 33rd (2nd Round)
  • Team: St. Louis Rams
  • Career Stats: 114 receptions, 1,593 yards, 10 touchdowns, 84 games (27 starts)

Quick has the honor of being the highest drafted player to come out of Appalachian State. He played for the Rams during the first five years of his career and was a solid rotational receiver but was never the number one option.

From the 2017 and 2018 seasons, he had a tenure with the Washington Redskins where he was signed, released, and re-signed with the team. Safe to say Hilton would have been a better option for the then St. Louis Rams.

Stephen Hill

Credit: Thomas E. Franklin/The Record/MCT/Sipa USA
  • Drafted: 43rd (2nd Round)
  • Team: New York Jets
  • Career Stats: 45 receptions, 594 yards, four touchdowns, 23 games (19 starts)

The 6’4″ receiver out of Georgia Tech finished his final season with 49 catches for 1,248 yards and nine touchdowns. The New York Jets moved up a few draft spots to take Hill in hopes he would be the big-bodied receiver the team needed in the offense.

Injuries and inconsistent play led him to only have 594 yards in two seasons with the Jets. He was released after the 2013 and was on the Carolina Panthers for two more seasons but was a non-factor. No doubt the Jets would have benefited a lot more if they had Hilton on their roster.

Alshon Jeffery

Credit: Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo
  • Drafted: 45th (2nd Round)
  • Team: Chicago Bears
  • Career Stats: 469 receptions, 6,671 yards, 45 touchdowns, 102 games (95 starts)

Jeffery was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bears and formed a solid receiving duo with Brandon Marshall at the time. During his time in Chicago, he amassed 4,549 receiving yards, which places him third all-time in Bears history. He was considered one of the best wide receivers in the league while with the Bears before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. Much like his time in Chicago, he has been a solid receiver in Philadelphia, helping the team win Super Bowl 52.

This is one of the cases where Chicago might have been happy with their selection, although they would have been better if he was able to stick around longer.

Ryan Broyles

Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
  • Drafted: 54th (2nd Round)
  • Team: Detroit Lions
  • Career Stats: 32 receptions, 420 yards, two touchdowns, 21 games (six starts)

Broyles was an absolute beast at the University of Oklahoma. During his four years with the Sooners, he caught 349 balls for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns. The Lions drafted him in hopes that he and Calvin Johnson would form a dynamic duo.

We know what Johnson has done but Broyles never lived up to the hype as he never developed a connection in the offense and was released before the start of the 2015 Season. He retired from the NFL and it looked that he was coming back into the game of football as he was drafted by the Dallas Renegades in the recent XFL Draft but recently announced his retirement. Selecting Hilton here would have been a better option for them.

Rueben Randle

Credit: Brad Penner/USA Today Sports
  • Drafted: 63rd (2nd Round)
  • Team: New York Giants
  • Career Stats: 188 receptions, 2,644 yards, 20 touchdowns, 64 games (33 starts)

Coming off their Super Bowl 46 victory, the Giants were looking to add more weapons to their offense in hopes of another deep playoff run. Randle was a solid receiver during his time in New York but never the number one option. His best season came in 2014 when he caught 71 balls for 938 yards to go along with three touchdowns.

After his four-year rookie contract was up, he joined the division rival Philadelphia Eagles but did not make the final roster. He made two more attempts to play pro football again but never made the opening day roster for the Chicago Bears and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. He has yet been signed by a team since. Looking back at it, Hilton would have been a better option for the G-Men.

DeVier Posey

Credit: Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports
  • Drafted: 68th (3rd Round)
  • Team: Houston Texans
  • Career Stats: 22 receptions, 272 yards, 26 games (one start)

Posey was selected in the third round by the Houston Texans in hopes to be a contributor right away in the offense. He played in 11 games his rookie year but was a non-factor, only recording 87 yards on six receptions. He improved slightly in his second season with 155 yards but injuries took a toll later on during his tenure.

He had a few preseason stints with the New York Jets, Denver Broncos, and Baltimore Ravens but never made the final roster. He has had some success in the CFL, winning the 2017 Grey Cup while earning MVP honors in the process. Imagine Hilton being on the same roster when the team drafted DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson? That would be a scary lineup.

T.J. Graham

Credit: Jason Bridge/USA Today Sports
  • Drafted: 69th (3rd Round)
  • Team: Buffalo Bills
  • Career Stats: 61 receptions, 794 yards, four touchdowns, 47 games (18 starts)

Graham was a solid rotational receiver during his time in Buffalo but made more a contribution to the Special Teams department. He lasted only two seasons with the team before having stints in Tennessee, New York (Jets), New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Carolina. He last played for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League in 2019 and is currently a free agent.

No doubt Hilton would have been a better option here for Buffalo.

Mohamed Sanu

Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports
  • Drafted: 83rd (3rd Round)
  • Team: Cincinnati Bengals
  • Career Stats: 403 receptions, 4,507 yards, 26 touchdowns, 118 games (92 starts)

The final wide receiver taken before Hilton. Sanu had a solid career at Rutgers, which included a 115 reception, 1,206 yard and seven touchdown junior season. He was looked at to be a solid starter alongside A.J. Green. In four seasons in Cincinnati, Sanu racked up 1,793 yards along with 12 touchdowns while also working in at quarterback when the team lined up in the Wildcat formation (going 4/4 for 177 yards and two touchdowns).

He signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2016 and had an increased role with the team but never surpassed 1,000 yards in a single season (his best was 838 yards in 2018). He was traded to the New England Patriots during the 2019 season but had his struggled, only having 26 receptions for 207 yards and a touchdown in eight games. A solid role receiver for his career but Cincinnati missed out on a potential Hilton/Green duo.

You can make the argument for the Chicago Bears in Alshon Jefferey but it is safe to say that Hilton has had a better career than the previous 12 receivers drafted before him.

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