Dec 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a touchdown pass with one arm over Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook (20) in the third quarter of the game at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals beat the Minnesota Vikings by the score of 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Top Five NFL Receiver Projections for 2014

No position dominates the NFL like the wide receivers.  So which names will fight to the top five in 2014 for bragging rights?

#5 – Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers

Hopes and expectations are that Aaron Rodgers will make it through a full season for the Green Bay Packers in 2014, which is great news for Jordy Nelson.  The soft spoken receiver remains their most reliable target and managed over 1,300 yards last season despite not having Rodgers for seven games.  At age 29 he is reaching a career peak.  A full season with A-Rod could catapult him into the top five.

#4 – Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions

The arrivals of Golden Tate and Eric Ebron will certainly help in the Detroit Lions off-season goal, which was to draw attention away from Calvin Johnson.  Megatron got his yards last season but the constant weight of the Lions passing game sitting on his shoulders has taken a toll on his body, as emphasized by him missing two games last season.  Tate and Ebron should take some catches away from him, but Johnson will find a way to post his typical NFL numbers.

#3 – A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals

While the offensive roster of the Cincinnati Bengals has deepened in terms of talent, nothing has changed at the top.  A.J. Green is still the best in the locker room and one of the best in the NFL.  His quarterback, Andy Dalton, is maturing as well and for the time being remains the starter.  That means Green is going to see a lot of balls thrown his way because Dalton simply knows what he can do, which is almost anything.

#2 – Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos

How will the Super Bowl hangover affect the Denver Broncos?  It’s a good question.  Another one is how the loss of Eric Decker will impact the passing game.  One thing is for sure.  Peyton Manning may feel the need to lean a little more heavily on Demaryius Thomas, especially in the early part of the season as recent additions like Emmanuel Sanders and Cody Latimer get acquainted with the playbook.  Such a strategy can mean 50/50 on wins, but also a huge stats surge for Thomas.

#1 – Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys

Despite his somewhat explosive personality and outspoken nature, there is no denying the Dallas Cowboys have a star in Dez Bryant.  His 2013 NFL campaign was just another reminder.  Tony Romo is due back from back surgery and will have what many perceive will be an improved offensive line in front of him.  Better protection will mean more chances for Romo to find Bryant down the field.  Throw in the lingering problems on defense, that means Dallas might have to play from behind a lot, which in turn will mean throwing the football.  That only means good things for Bryant.

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Tags: Cincinnati Bengals Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers NFL

  • David A Maupin

    And the best duo in the NFL is Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. This is a team sport therefore i will take that over having the 1 best receiver in the NFL any day.

  • Don Andrew Halvorson

    You left off every 100+ reception receiver for Jordy. No way he beats both Bears and Antonio Brown. Your bias is showing.

    • Don Andrew Halvorson

      I wouldn’t be mad if it were top seven to see him, but you clearly shut out the Bears on purpose.

      • Erik Lambert

        Not at all. I went in fully realizing I’d get nagged for not including those two but I did it for a reason. They play together. They will steal catches from each other which will make the Bears offense better but their own individual stats decrease. Kind of weird that way. Jordy meanwhile has only Randall Cobb to deal with as a primary target for Rodgers, which means he should see more action.

    • Yusuf Rafle

      Just think about it Nelson had 1300 yards with Matt Flynn throwing the ball to him for half the season

  • Old Frog

    Articles like this aren’t doing the Cowboys any favors. We need to find reasons for not paying Bryant too much money rather than confirming his agent’s agenda.

    • Don Andrew Halvorson

      No. You gotta pay the man. Bite the bullet, and pray for defense resurgence within the Romo-Murray window.

  • trinity

    I like 1-4, but 5 gets a little murky for me. I think jordy is a good pick. I think Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, and Julio Jones would have been equally nice in that slot as well.

    • Erik Lambert

      Believe me, I knew I was going to get heat for excluding B.Marsh and Alshon but you have to remember neither of them were in the top five last year despite their dominating the league. I feel those two will steal catches from each other, which will diminish their individual stats. Julio was a scratch because I’m not sure how he’ll return from injury but he could easily make it.

      • trinity

        I could see both of them putting up more than jordy, but I see your point. I expect big things from Julio. Sleeper pick: TY Hilton.

        • Erik Lambert

          YES. Hilton was a sleeper for me as well. I just don’t know how the return of Wayne and arrival of Nicks will affect that situation.

          • trinity

            I think he will be the top reciever this year. Reggie is still kicking, but at his age I don’t think he will be the same. Nicks will get his fair share, but I’m really looking for TY to emerge even more.

          • Erik Lambert

            Given what he did against the Chiefs, he seem on the verge of a breakout.

  • Bob Pfeffer

    Are you flippen kidding Bryant aged of Johnson. LOL. For that matter anyone ahead of Johnson is a joke

    • Erik Lambert

      Including the guys who finished ahead of him last year?

      • Michael Stenger

        Except you forgot to mention the only two players who finished ahead of Megatron….Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown. Gordon is an obvious scratch, Brown is certainly no slouch. The huge difference between these “other” receivers: they aren’t double and triple teamed EVERY down, and still catching the ball like Megatron. How can anyone forget Megatron destroying 3 Bengals? Or single-handedly raping the Cowboys….*cough* Dez Bryant?

  • Branden Burke

    I thought the jordy nelson pick was a little high, but then started to do some research on the offenses. J Jones was injured so i wont include him because rarely do injuries like that translate into top production the following year.

    Brandon marshall caught a ton of balls, had a lower ypc and about 150 yards less than alshon, even though Marshall caught 15 more balls.

    Comparing alshon to jordy, Alshon is the more physically gifted of the two. A little bit faster. A little better explosion. They are both big receivers. The thing i like about jordy is that when you watch tape, he is as polished of a receiver as there is in the game. He uses every inch of the field. He looks effortless. Alshon keeps you on the edge of your seat. I don’t know how but it seems like every ball he catches is on his head in some strange fashion but he gets it done. Looks like he uses a lot more energy than he needs to also.

    But when you compare quarterbacks and account for injuries, Jay cutler projected to throw for just over 3800 yards in 2013. The bears actually threw for a little over 4250, or about 450 yards more than cutler was projected to throw for.

    green bay also threw for about 4250 yards. Aaron rodgers projected to throw for just under 4500 yards for 2013.

    so due to injury, the bears passing offense statistically overachieved and green bays underachieved for a difference of about 700 yards based off of the starters averages.

    Jordy sticks on the list sir. Good selection.

    • Erik Lambert

      Thanks for doing the math, Branden.