Now that Reggie is swimming with the fishes we now have an open roster spot for someone to take in the draft bust discussion. I really don't think anyone else can fill this hole better than Robert Meachem. Meachem was drafted with the 27th overall pick (1st round) in the 2007 draft. I did not see this pick coming at all. My initial reaction was one of surprise and disappointment. I really thought the Saints would go defense with this pick and I didn't see any reason to take a wide receiver this high. I wanted a DB or a LB. There were no DB's worth taking with the 27th pick and I thought Paul Posluszny (LB) was the obvious choice. Three receivers were taken ahead of Meachem.....Calvin Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, and Ted Ginn. Two of the three being pro bowlers (I'll let you guess who) and there were two pro bowl receivers taken after Meachem.....Sidney Rice and Steve Smith. I ended up talking myself into liking this pick in the weeks that followed due to his deep threat capability and I thought that overtime it might payoff.....but it hasn't.
Meachem sat out his first year and watched from the bench due to being buried on the depth chart. His stats for the next three seasons are as follows:
Year Team Games Rec Yards Avg Yds/game Long TD
2008 NO 14 12 289 24.1 20.6 74 3
2009 NO 16 45 722 16.0 45.1 54 9
2010 NO 16 44 638 14.5 39.9 55 5
Now these aren't bad stats at all for an average wide receiver. But for a first round pick this just doesn't meet expectations. We could have gotten similar production a lot later in the draft and with our recent success with player evaluation, probably even with an UDFA. Now compare Meachem's career stats to other notable receivers taken AFTER him in the 2007 draft:
Robert Meachem: 101 Receptions-1,649 Yards-17 Touchdowns 1st Rd (27th Overall)
Sydney Rice: 146 Receptions-2,129 Yards-18 Touchdowns 2nd Rd (44th Overall)
Steve Smith: 220 Receptions-2,386 Yards-11 Touchdowns 2nd Rd (51st Overall)
Jacoby Jones: 96 Receptions-1,229 Yards-9 Touchdowns 3rd Rd (73rd Overall)
Mike Simms Walker: 122 Receptions-1,648 Yards-14 Touchdowns 3rd Rd (79th Overall)
Steve Breaston: 187 Receptions-2,528 Yards-7 Touchdowns 5th Rd (142nd Overall)
Chansi Stuckey: 102 Receptions-1,023 Yards-5 Touchdowns 7th Rd (235th Overall)
With all this in mind I just feel like it solidifies him as 1st Rd draft bust. Not because he hasn't performed or that he can't play, but just based on draft position, production, and production of (same position) players drafted after him. I considered Reggie Bush a draft bust considering the same criteria. Robert Meachem has failed to ascend on the depth chart and has had 4 years to achieve that goal. Some might say his stats have suffered from too much depth at WR or that Brees spreads the ball around. But Marques Colston had to battle to become the starting WR from being a 7th Rd pick. He wasn't given the luxury of being a 1st Rd pick but still climbed to the top of the depth chart. Colston has had over 1,000 yards seasons in 4 out of 5 seasons since being drafted. The only down season he had was in 2007 when he missed 5 games due to injury. Don't get me wrong, I like Meachem, I think he is a above average player, has great speed, and is a good fit for the team. Meachem has made big plays in the deep passing game and has had good games but my main memory from him isn't even on the offensive side of the ball. The strip-fumble-touchdown in the very very strange Redskins game in 2009 is my memory of Meachem that sticks out in my mind. (Yes Meachem caught a 53 yard pass at the end of the game but the defensive play is better imo) I hope Meachem finally steps up and pushes for a starting WR spot but I just don't see that happening unless injury occurs. Hopefully this will be his breakout year, but I said that last year, too. I guess you could ask yourself two questions to determine if he is a draft bust. Did we spend a 1st Rd pick on a 4th string receiver? If Payton and Loomis knew then what they know now about his production, would they still draft him?