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Do NFL preseason stats mean anything for wide receivers?

How many receivers who stood out last year in the preseason went onto success in the regular season?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The second week of the preseason gets underway Thursday night. This is invariably the time of year where we all develop highly unreasonable expectations for our team's young "breakout" player(s) based on ugly, unschemed exhibition games. Are those expectations that unreasonable, though?

Earlier in the week, we looked at preseason numbers for running backs. This time, let's take a look at the wide receivers.

Eagles fans likely already believe that Nelson Agholor will step in seamlessly for Jeremy Maclin to catch 85 passes and post 1,300+ yards this year. And, hell, they might be right. Preseason stats are tough to rely on, and there are many variables that can come into effect that make the "preseason standout" to "regular season breakout" correlation hard to nail down.

Let's take a look at some players who looked primed to break out last year, then lived up to that hype once the season rolled around. Conversely, let's break down a few players who couldn't match their preseason performances once the games started counting.

For context, I'll put the bar at eight catches or 100+ yards receiving for preseason performance.

Benchmarks: 8 receptions or 100+ yards

Fifty-six receivers had either eight catches or 100 yards receiving in the 2014 preseason (and obviously, some had both). Of those 56, I'd classify 17 as "established veterans," leaving 39 rookies or inexperienced players who stood out. Of those 39 upstart performers, 12 went on to catch 30 passes in the regular season. Just five receivers in this group caught more than 50 balls. Based on my eight-catch, 100-yard benchmark, those odds aren't excellent for translation to regular season success.

That 30 catches threshold is not a huge bar, though, so let's first look at a few receivers who truly broke out.

Lived up to the hype

WR Jordan Matthews, Eagles

Preseason: 15 catches for 134 yards (8.9 YPC), 0 TD
Season: 67 catches for 872 yards (13.0 YPC), 8 TD

Matthews showed quickly that he fit into Chip Kelly's system, racking up nine catches for 104 yards in a Week 2 preseason matchup with the Patriots. He used that strong performance to earn himself snaps during the regular season, and worked his way into the offense as the year went on. He had three games with 100 yards or more and his eight touchdowns ranked fourth among all rookie receivers.

WR Allen Hurns, Jaguars

Preseason: 14 catches for 232 yards (16.6 YPC), 1 TD
Season: 51 catches for 677 yards (13.3 YPC) 6 TD

Hurns came out and looked strong for the Jags as an undrafted rookie out of Miami, making waves with a seven-catch, 113-yard performance in preseason Week 3 against the Lions. He made the team and went out and caught 51 balls for a team-high 677 yards and six touchdowns. Jacksonville's highly touted duo of receiver draft picks -- Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee -- combined for three touchdowns, for comparison. Not shabby.

WR Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers

Preseason: 12 catches for 173 yards (14.4 YPC), 1 TD
Season: 73 catches for 1,008 yards (13.8 YPC), 9 TD

Benjamin didn't take too long to live up to his first-round billing, catching a touchdown pass in his first preseason game. He finished with a strong, consistent preseason for the Panthers, then became a go-to guy for Cam Newton, racking up three 100-yard games while catching nine touchdowns, third among the rookie receivers. Unfortunately, his sophomore season has been cut short with an ACL tear.

WR John Brown, Cardinals

Preseason: 10 catches for 165 yards (16.5 YPC), 1 TD
Regular season: 48 catches for 696 yards (14.5 YPC), 5 TD

Brown wasted little time in impressing Cardinals coaches in his rookie preseason, then went on to become a very explosive deep threat in Bruce Arians' downfield passing offense. The diminutive speedster set a nice pace with 14.5 yards per catch and caught five touchdowns, not shabby for a third-round pick.

Fools gold

WR Brittan Golden, Cardinals

Preseason: 18 catches for 129 yards (7.2 YPC), 0 TD
Season: nada

Relative journeyman receiver Brittan Golden caught an NFL-high 18 passes in the 2014 preseason for the Cardinals, but it was not enough to earn him a roster spot. He was elevated to the Arizona roster late last season though, and he'll get his second shot this thing year.

WR Brice Butler, Raiders

Preseason: 13 catches for 206 yards (15.8 YPC), 4 TD
Season: 21 catches for 280 yards (13.3 YPC), 2 TD

The second year receiver looked poised to become a major weapon for the Raiders last preseason as he caught an NFL-high four touchdown passes (tied with Corey Washington, who appears just below), including two against the Packers and one against the Seahawks. While it did help him earn a roster spot, he didn't live up to his team-leading 13 preseason catches and finished with just 21 in 2014.

WR Corey Washington, Giants

Preseason: 10 catches for 155 yards (15.5 YPC) and 4 touchdowns
Season: 5 catches for 52 yards (10.4 YPC) and 1 touchdown

Washington co-led the NFL in preseason touchdown catches and this helped the undrafted free agent receiver out of Newberry earn a roster spot with the Giants, but that success didn't translate to regular season red zone prowess.

WR Justin Hunter, Titans

Preseason: 10 catches for 217 yards (21.7 YPC), 2 TD
Season: 28 catches for 498 yards (17.8 YPC), 3 TD

Hunter looked like he was ready to live up to his draft billing when he posted four catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2 of the preseason vs. New Orleans, but was not able to take his game to the next level once the regular season started. A felony assault charge in July hangs over his head this season.

Late bloomers

WR Mike Evans, Buccaneers

Preseason: 5 catches for 96 yards (19.2 YPC), 1 TD
Season: 68 catches for 1,051 yards (15.5 YPC), 12 TD

Evans had a relatively unassuming first preseason with the Bucs, catching just five balls and getting into the end zone just once. However, he turned it on once the real games started up, and quickly emerged as a top-tier talent. He tied for the lead in rookie touchdown receptions with Odell Beckham Jr. (12), was fourth among rookies in receptions, and his yards per catch average was third in that group in receivers with more than 20 catches.

WR Martavis Bryant, Steelers

Preseason: 6 catches for 68 yards (11.3 YPC), 1 TD
Season: 26 catches for 549 yards (21.1 YPC), 8 TD

Bryant's preseason was yawn inducing so it was no surprise that he couldn't sniff the lineup until Week 7 of the regular season. A lightbulb went on though, and he quickly became a dangerous deep-ball threat for Ben Roethlisberger. Bryant posted a ridiculous 21.1 yards per catch and reached pay dirt eight times, the same number of touchdowns that Calvin Johnson reeled in, if we're keeping score.

WR Sammy Watkins, Bills

Preseason: 3 catches for 21 yards (7.0 YPC), 0 TD
Season: 65 catches for 982 yards (15.1 YPC), 6 TD

Watkins had a quiet preseason and was injured in the Bills' final game, but bounced back to have a very strong rookie year considering some of the quarterback play in Buffalo. He posted four games of 100+ yards receiving, and grabbed six touchdown passes.

Here's the table for all the upstart receivers from the preseason last year and their regular season results.

Name Preseason catches Preseason yards YPC Preseason TD Reg. season catches Reg. season yards YPC Reg. season TD
Allen Hurns 14 232 16.6 1 51 677 13.3 6
Justin Hunter 10 217 21.7 2 28 498 17.8 3
Brice Butler 13 206 15.8 4 21 280 13.3 2
Robert Woods 15 204 13.6 1 65 699 10.8 5
Bryan Tyms 11 188 17.1 2 8 82 10.3 1
Joseph Morgan 11 181 16.5 0 4 92 23.0 0
Dontrelle Inman 7 176 25.1 1 12 158 13.2 0
Kelvin Benjamin 12 173 14.4 1 73 1008 13.8 9
John Brown 10 165 16.5 1 48 696 14.5 5
Ryan Grant (WAS) 14 165 11.8 2 7 68 9.7 0
Corey Washington 10 155 15.5 4 5 52 10.4 1
Ryan Broyles 11 144 13.1 0 2 25 12.5 0
Josh Bellamy 7 140 20 0 0 0 0 0
Mike Brown (JAC) 9 140 15.6 0 7 88 12.6 0
Jordan Matthews 15 134 8.9 0 67 872 13.0 8
Brittan Golden 18 129 7.2 0 0 0 0 0
Taylor Gabriel 10 128 12.8 0 36 621 17.3 1
Josh Morgan (CHI) 8 125 15.6 0 10 70 7.0 1
Bruce Ellington 12 121 10.1 1 6 62 10.3 2
Preston Parker 8 119 14.9 1 36 418 11.6 2
Andre Holmes 7 118 16.9 0 47 693 14.7 4
Jermaine Kearse 6 118 19.7 1 38 537 14.1 1
Cordarrelle Patterson 8 118 14.8 1 33 384 11.6 1
Brenton Bersin 7 116 16.6 1 13 151 11.6 1
Clyde Gates 6 116 19.3 2 0 0 0 0
Cody Latimer 5 116 23.2 1 2 23 11.5 0
Jamar Newsome 8 115 14.4 1 0 0 0 0
Jaron Brown 5 110 22 1 22 229 10.4 2
Kamar Aiken 8 103 12.9 0 24 267 11.1 3
Jeff Maehl 8 103 12.9 0 5 46 9.2 0
Brandin Cooks 9 101 11.2 1 53 550 10.4 3
Chris Hogan 9 99 19.8 2 41 426 10.4 4
Adam Thielen 8 99 12.4 1 8 137 17.1 1
Marqise Lee 8 94 11.8 2 37 422 11.4 1
Marcus Harris 9 93 10.3 0 0 0 0 0
Griff Whalen 8 77 9.6 1 2 23 11.5 0
Keshawn Martin 9 76 8.4 0 6 78 13.0 0
Andrew Peacock 8 74 9.3 0 0 0 0 0
DeVier Posey 10 62 6.2 1 1 30 30.0 0

The preseason can tell us some things, but it certainly can't tell us everything. Scheme, philosophy, depth charts and injuries can have major influences on regular season statistics, so if you're finding yourself excited about some late-round or UDFA type receiver that's standing out for your team this preseason, don't feel bad. The odds might not be in that player's favor for success, but weird things happen every year.