As glamour positions go in the NFL, it doesn’t get much better than the wide receivers. So how about it? Who are the best of the best?
#10 – T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts
People thought, with good reason that T.Y. Hilton would struggle to improve on his solid rookie year for the Indianapolis Colts when Reggie Wayne went down with a torn ACL. Instead the 5’9″ kid took his game up a notch, posting a 1,000-yard campaign and single-handedly carrying the Colts to one of the biggest comebacks in NFL playoffs history.
#9 – Victor Cruz – New York Giants
Missing two games last season robbed Victor Cruz of the chance to post his third-straight season with 1,000 yards. The former undrafted free agent has taken the Hollywood road from nobody to Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowler. As bad as the New York Giants have been the past couple seasons, Cruz has remained one of their bright spots.
#8 – Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys
These lists are about impact and production, not so much maturity. Otherwise Dez Bryant might be lower. As it stands the Dallas Cowboys receiver has developed into the star many thought he’d be when he was drafted. He has 25 touchdowns in just his past two seasons alone to go with 185 receptions and 2,615 yards. It doesn’t get much better.
#7 – Josh Gordon – Cleveland Browns
Strangely, Josh Gordon might be considered a combination of Cruz and Bryant. He started from humble beginning by going in the NFL Supplemental draft to the Cleveland Browns and continues to struggle with maturity problems. He faces a potential suspension for a repeat substance abuse offense. That belies the fact he was the best statistical receiver in football last season with names like Brandon Weeden and Bryant Hoyer throwing him the ball.
#6 – Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
He was on a tear last season before suffering an unfortunate injury that knocked him out the rest of the year. Honestly Julio Jones is the total package. He’s blazing fast, has strength and great hands to make the highlight reel catch and he’s 6’3″. There really isn’t much he can’t do on the field and his production reflects that when he plays.
#5 – Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos
The moment Peyton Manning arrived to pilot the Denver Broncos, people knew the vast potential housed by receiver Demaryius Thomas would be unlocked. He hasn’t disappointed. In two seasons he has posted over 1,400 yards each and scored double digit touchdowns. It doesn’t matter where he gets the ball on the field, he can take it the distance.
#4 – Andre Johnson – Houston Texans
His latest series of tantrums aside, Andre Johnson has not only embarrassed NFL defenders throughout his career, but he’s defied Father Time as well. At age 31 he posted over 1,400 yards in 2013 and that was with the hot mess the Houston Texans had going at quarterback. A seven-time Pro Bowler, his desire to win is understandable based on how hard he’s played.
#3 – Brandon Marshall – Chicago Bears
At least Johnson has tasted playoff football. Brandon Marshall can’t even make that statement and he’s been every bit as good. The Chicago Bears leader is one of the most consistent go-to targets in football. His only season without at least 1,000 yards receiving was his rookie year in 2006. This he’s done while playing for three different teams.
#2 – A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals
Not only has he made the Pro Bowl each of the three seasons he’s played in the NFL, his numbers have gotten better each year going from 1,057 to 1,350 to 1,426 in yards. A.J. Green carried the Cincinnati Bengals offense for a long time and even as it began to grow still managed to defensive game plans and improve. The scary part? He’s only 25.
#1 – Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions
What record is there left to conquer? Calvin Johnson owns almost all of them. He has the most yards in a game and the most yards in a season. “Megatron” can beat any coverage ever devised by defenses, he can play hurt and he can play in the clutch. There is nothing anybody can do to stop him and that is why he is unquestionably the best in the business.