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Az-zahir Hakim career statistics
What do we know about Az Hakim? Well, he's entering his fourth year in the league. At least numbers-wise, he hasn't accomplished anything yet in his career. But he's entering a situation this year where he has a chance to make some noise. Very roughly, that describes a lot of guys; Corey Bradford and Patrick Johnson, to name two.
But there's a big difference between Hakim and others in the same situation. Namely, we don't know what Hakim's ceiling is. As much as it's possible to "know" this kind of thing, we know that Corey Bradford isn't as good as Bill Schroeder and Antonio Freeman, and we know how good those two are, so that gives us a very rough upper bound for what to expect out of Bradford. Likewise, we have a fairly high degree of confidence that Patrick Johnson isn't as good as Qadry Ismail, and is no better than Brandon Stokley and Travis Taylor. Again, that gives us a rough idea of Johnson's ceiling.
All we know about Hakim, though, is that he's not as good as Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. But if that's a crime, then almost every receiver in the NFL is guilty. The point is: Hakim turning out to be a great receiver is not inconsistent with any data we currently have on him. For Joe Jurevicius or Patrick Johnson or Corey Bradford to turn into a great receiver, on the other hand, would require something unforeseen -- and probably something unforesee-able -- to take place.
But Hakim won't come as cheap as those others, you say. And you're right. Unfortunately, Hakim has been riding three years of Ram hype, plus all the publicity that comes with a 16-million-dollar contract. All but the most serious of leagues will have some bonehead who, drunk on the mental image of a horn-helmeted Hakim blazing down the sideline, will take Az too early. In serious leagues with competitive and knowledgeable owners who pride themselves on seeing beyond the hype, though, I think Hakim will be a bargain. In other words, there's a chance that you'll think I'm the bonehead.