Dec 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (88) reacts on the field before playing the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 20-7. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

New Denver Bronco Emmanuel Sanders Compared To Ex-Bronco Eric Decker

Five years from now, scratch that, from this day forward, new Denver Bronco wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will be compared to the individual he is replacing – Eric Decker.  John Elway pulled the free agency trigger again and signed Sanders to a three-year deal worth $15 million.  There is no time like he present, so please continue reading for a comparison between Sanders and Decker over the first four years of their pro careers.

Like Eric Decker, Emmanuel Sanders has just completed his fourth season as a wide receiver in the NFL.  Sanders was the eighteenth pick in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Decker was taken five picks later in the same round by the Denver Broncos.  Both receivers were relatively quiet their first two years in the league and then Eric Decker was the recipient of Peyton Manning becoming a Denver Bronco.  Decker’s numbers skyrocketed thanks to the addition of an all-pro quarterback and a high octane offense.  While Decker will be a stable receiver with the New York Jets, my assumption is that his numbers will decrease.  Sanders, on the other hand, likely will see his offensive numbers improve, assuming he adapts well to the Broncos offense and is able to stay healthy.  The expectation is that he replaces the production that Decker brought to the table the last two years, if not exceed it.

Emmanuel Sanders

Year

Games

Receptions

Yards

Touchdowns

Yards/Reception

Yards/Game

2010

13

28

376

2

13.4

28.9

2011

11

22

288

2

13.1

26.2

2012

16

44

626

1

14.2

39.1

2013

16

67

740

6

11.0

46.3

Total

56

161

2030

11

12.6

36.3

 

Eric Decker

Year

Games

Receptions

Yards

Touchdowns

Yards/Reception

Yards/Game

2010

14

6

106

1

17.7

7.6

2011

16

44

612

8

13.9

38.3

2012

16

85

1064

13

12.5

66.5

2013

16

87

1288

11

14.8

80.5

Total

62

222

3070

33

13.8

49.5

 

Not only is the pressure on Sanders to fill the hole left with Decker’s departure, pressure will also be on Manning to make another receiver shine.  The task will not be hard for Manning, who has already proven it with his current receiving corp; it will be more challenging for Sanders who enters into a situation where the expectations are high and mediocre will not be accepted.  One thing is for sure, Sanders will have to adapt to change very quickly because I don’t see Demaryius Thomas giving up his jersey number to Sanders, who also wore number 88 in Pittsburgh.

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