Biggs: Rookie receivers are off to good starts

Percy Harvin is the NFL’s most exciting rookie wide receiver.

Michael Crabtree is the most talked-about rookie wide receiver.

And Johnny Knox might be the most surprising rookie wide receiver.

The Bears’ fifth-round draft pick from Division II Abilene Christian has quickly emerged as one of Jay Cutler’s preferred targets a year after the quarterback turned Eddie Royal into a star in Denver with 91 receptions as a rookie. Only Darrius Heyward-Bey was faster than Knox at the Combine, and the Bears took a smart approach with Knox by just giving him one of the three wide receiver positions to learn. He’s picked things up quickly and is pushing starter Earl Bennett for more playing time each week. Knox and Harvin are tied with two touchdown catches each to lead the 35 wide receivers who were drafted in April.

It should be noted that Julian Edelman has done a good job filling in for Wes Welker as a slot receiver in New England, a nice find for the Patriots in the seventh round. Edelman was a quarterback at Kent State.

A year after Royal, DeSean Jackson and Donnie Avery had fine rookie seasons, there are a handful of players off to promising starts:

Player Team Catches Yards TD

Percy Harvin MIN 12 128 2
Mike Wallace PIT 12 147 0
Julian Edelman NE 11 118 0
Kenny Britt TEN 10 166 0
Johnny Knox CHI 9 159 2

Hakeem Nicks has recovered quickly from a foot injury and is expected to be back in the mix for the New York Giants quickly. Austin Collie is getting some playing time in Indianapolis, and Louis Murphy’s numbers might be better if he didn’t have to play with JaMarcus Russell in Oakland. Mohamed Massaquoi might benefit from the quarterback change in Cleveland, so there are plenty of first-year wideouts making an impact at a position that’s sometimes hard to get early production from.

Follow me on Twitter: BradBiggs

Upcoming Games