Totally Biased Top 10: NFL Wide Receivers

A piece covering the best wide receivers in the NFL was a no-brainer for me. Justin, our friend Kris, and myself, recently dove into the subject a while back, and have continued to come back to it over the last couple weeks. Until now, I didn’t really hammer down a definite top ten, and my final list surprised even myself.
Of course, with any list, there comes criteria to judge everyone by. I based my decision on three factors: consistency, hands, and big play ability.  Having only one good season, or simply one huge game, doesn’t propel anyone to the top of such a list. Putting together multiple 1,200 yard seasons, or a few 80 catch campaigns is a sign that you are becoming a staple in the offense, and vital to your teams success. Hands, of course, are huge (get it?) when it comes to being an all-pro wideout. There have been many great wide receivers plagued with having less than stellar hands, and it often leads to an early departure from the league, or less targets from your quarterback.
Big play ability is so god damn important, that it gets its own freakin’ category. At first, I really didn’t think it was that important, as I usually find that big play receivers are one trick ponies. After thinking it over some more, I decided there was no way around it. With the passing game evolving so much, you begin to see that no lead is safe in this league, when you have guys with incredible speed, you can break open a game with a snap of the fingers.
Well, holy shit, let’s dive into this bad boy. Shall we?
#10) Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
Current 2011 Statistics: 27 rec, 427 yds, 4 TD’s
Best Season (2010): 75 rec, 1,162 yds, 15 TD’s
Bowe is putting together his second great campaign in a row, if everything stays on an even keel in Kansas City. Last year, he was the surprise of the league, and notched 15 scores. Bowe is a physical specimen, and is far and away Matt Cassel’s favorite target.
For Bowe to move up, he’ll have to keep stringing together successful seasons. Bowe has only been in the league for a few years, but he’s never had over 1200 yards, and will definitely have to work on his ability in the open field, and add some more YAC (yards after catch, ya rookies…).
#9) Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
Current 2011 Statistics: 27 rec, 609 yds, 3 TD’s
Best Season (2005): 103 rec, 1,563 yds, 12 TD’s
Steve Smith is having a complete break out year up to this point, thanks to the help of the fucking cannon that appears to have attached itself to Cam Newton’s right shoulder. Smith is leading the NFL in yards per catch, and will hit the 10,000 yard mark for his career later on in the season.

Cam Newton and Steve Smith have made Carolina fans believe there is sunlight over the horizon

As great as that is for Smitty, I couldn’t move him up higher than number nine. His two seasons prior to Newton coming into the league were subpar (for top ten standards), so here he sits. Of course, I’ll cut the guy some slack for dealing with Matt Moore, and Jimmy Clausen, but he isn’t moving up any higher for now.
#8) DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
Current 2011 Statistics: 21 rec, 410 yds, 2 TD’s
Best Season (2009): 62 rec 1,156 yds, 9 TD’s
Being a devout Giants fan, there is not a single human being I hate more than DeSean Jackson. Not Tom Brady, Tony Romo, or anybody else. Why? Because DeSean Jackson is an arrogant little punk bitch. But he’s fucking great.
Although DeSean, like Bowe, hasn’t notched a 1200 yard season yet, he is still young, and his potential is through the roof. One of the biggest deep threats in the league, Jackson is also without a doubt the best return man on this list, bar none. DeSean’s ceiling is way up there, and could move into the top five if he continues to progress.
#7) Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
Current 2011 Statistics: 28 rec, 412 yds, 3 TD’s
Best Season (2010): 79 rec, 1,052 yds, 11 TD’s
That’s right kids, the website is called Biased for a God damn reason.
I truly believe that Nicks is a complete specimen of a wideout. The guy wears XXXL gloves for Christ’s sake! His best season, last year, when he racked up a tick over a thousand yards, with 11 TD’s, was done in a shortened season, after he missed three games. Playing over a full season, he could be incredible.
Nicks was in the 2009 NFL Draft, which was loaded with fellow wideouts, for example: Percy Harvin, Darius Heyward-Bey, Jeremy Maclin, Kenny Britt, and Mike Wallace. Nicks and Wallace are by far and away the best in the class. If Nicks can stay healthy, and avoid the drops, he will be one of the best wide receivers the Giants have ever seen.
#6) Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
Current 2011 Statistics: 29 rec, 448 yds, 4 TD’s
Best Season (2010): 76 rec, 1,265 yds, 12 TD’s
Without a doubt, I think the best thing about Greg Jennings is how much he does in an offense loaded with offensive weapons. There are only so many balls to go around, even in a pass happy offense like the Packers.
Jennings is a fantastic deep threat, and has a second gear that is hardly matched. Not to mention, he’s no slouch in terms of size, and has fantastic hands. Only 28 years old, Jennings has nowhere to go but up, especially after supplanting Donald Driver as the #1 in Green Bay
#5) Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers
Current 2011 Statistics: 31 rec, 536 yds, 3 TD’s
Best Season (2010): 60 rec, 1,257 yds, 10 TD’s
Mike Wallace, another receiver taken in the 2009 NFL Draft, is perhaps the true definition of “deep threat”. If you check the box score and you see that Wallace reeled one in, you can place a pretty good bet that it was over 40 yards, and that Wallace made some pathetic cornerback look like a fool.

He's already supplanted Ward as Big Ben's favorite target, nowhere to go but up for the NFL's best deep threat

Even in Wallace’s rookie year, in which he played second fiddle to Hines Ward , he still had over 700 yards, with a handful of scores. After his breakout last season, Wallace is even more vital this year. He has reeled in 31 of the 38 balls thrown his way, for a crazy 81.5 percent. Building on his chemistry with Big Ben, Wallace is staple in the top ten.
#4) Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Current 2011 Statistics: 27 rec, 427 yds, 2 TD’s
Best Seasons (2005, 2007, and 2008): 103-1,409-10 TD’s, 100-1,409-10 TD’s, 96-1,431-12 TD’s
Fitzgerald is not only one of the NFL’s best wide receivers, he is also one of the classiest. He has notched five 1000 yard seasons, and also five seasons with over 90 catches. He is regarded as one of the best in the league at getting the ball at the very peak of his jump, and has without a doubt, some of the best hands in the league.
Fitzgerald has also had the displeasure of working with a carousel of quarterbacks, from Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner, to Derek Anderson and now Kevin Kolb, and he has continued to put up ridiculous numbers. In 2010, Fitz was challenged with catching passes from Anderson, John Skelton, and even Max Hall. If you’re putting pro-bowl numbers with QB’s like that? Shiiiiiiiit, get up on my list, sucka.
#3) Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Current 2011 Statistics: 25 rec, 352 yds, 2 TD’s [Only played four games so far due to Hammy]
Best Season (2008 and 2009): 115-1,575-8, 101-1,569-9
If Johnson had been healthy for all 16 games last year, he would definitely have had a shot at three straight seasons of 1,500 yards, with at least eight touchdowns. When all is said and done, Andre will definitely end his career with 1000 catches and roughly 13,000 yards barring a big injury.
Andre is also, far and away, the prototype for a perfect receiver. He is enormous on the field, and could probably beat the living shit out of most NFL cornerbacks. Just ask Cortland Finnegan. Then again, can’t blame Finnegan, what with Johnson being 6’ 3” and 225 pounds, there’s a solid chance he could double as a bodyguard, or bouncer of some sort. For now, however, he’ll stick to snagging balls and scoring TD’s.

There's not a bad thing you can say about him. And I fucking HATE it.

#2) Wes Welker, New England Patriots
Current 2011 Statistics: 45 rec, 740 yds, 5 TD’s
Best Season (2009): 123 rec, 1,348 yds, 4 TD’s
Without a doubt, the hardest decision to be made, was between Wes Welker, and our number one, Calvin Johnson. Every time I wrote this article in my head, Megatron was always my number one, with White Wes as my number two. Sitting down and finally voicing my ideas, I had Welker as my new number one, and I thought I would never change that stance.
Then, of course, the second I finished Andre Johnson’s outlook, I put Welker down at number two. I feel it’s unfair to judge Welker only as a slot receiver. A receiver is a receiver. It doesn’t matter if they line up against a team’s number one corner or not.
Welker is without a doubt the best possession receiver in the National Football League. That is not up for debate whatsoever, so if you’re spittin’ something else, get the fuck off this page. Welker has incredible hands, and moves so nasty it leaves defenders trying to find their jocks on the 40 yard line as Welker skips 60 yards towards pay dirt. If I was a cheap, scumbag of an author, I would’ve made Johnson and Welker 1A and 1B, except I have a ball sack, so that isn’t gonna fly.
What really separated the two for me was a little nit-picky, but when it comes down to dividing the best wide outs in the game, that’s what it boils down to.
Welker didn’t do much in Miami, but it was still extremely early into his career, and rookie struggles are typically common at the wide out position. That being said, Welker has been dominant since being with the Pats, and this year especially, has distanced himself from the rest of the field. Most recently, he was able to snag 16 balls in the Buffalo game, and exceed 200 yards. Welker is without a doubt the best slot receiver in the NFL, and has revolutionized the position.
The best way to describe Wes Welker is that if I needed a wide receiver for ONE drive, to win the Superbowl, with QB-WR chemistry NOT a factor, I’m taking Wes every time. If I’m taking a receiver, 40 yards from the endzone, with 45 seconds left, I’m taking Megatron. If I had the first pick in a draft of WR’s, with everyone at the ripe age of 24, I’m still taking Megatron.
#1) Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
Current 2011 Statistics: 29 rec, 459 yds, 9 TD’s
Best Season (2008 and 2010): 78-1,331-12, 77-1,120-12
Calvin Johnson and Steve Smith are neck and neck for the “Happiest Wide Receiver in the NFL”
award. Smitty for his new friend Cam Newton supplanting the short bus riding Jimmy Clausen, and Megatron for his partner in crime Matt Stafford returning from a painful shoulder injury.
What really separated Johnson and Welker, though as I warned, as ticky tack as it might be, is the QB situation. Wes Welker has been blessed with the talents of Tom Brady, and more importantly, he has worked with only one Head Coach, and one that makes sure his offensive coordinators follow the same schemes.
Another key focus is other offensive weapons. Welker was aided with Randy Moss taking up deep routes and Welker being able to own the middle of the field. Again, that’s not a knock on Wes, it’s just a fact. Fast forward to 2011, and the Patriots are again loaded with Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Deion Branch, and the underperforming Chad Ochocinco. Relax Pats fans, still not a knock on Wesley, but it is what it is.

Straight. Up. Beast.

Megatron, however, is in a completely different situation. The best offensive weapon on ANY Lions team that Johnson has been a member of is… umm… Brandon Pettigrew? Nate Burleson? This basically guarantees that the number one corner for a team, and most likely the better safety, are both going to have all eyes on Johnson when he lines up outside. He has yet to have a QB for all 16 games, and he still has found a way to overcome the odds and put up big numbers.
When all is said and done, Wes Welker and Calvin Johnson are both on pace to put up absolutely incredible numbers, and almost certainly will have busts in Canton within 20 years. That being said, Calvin is a 6’ 5”, 230 pound coiled, hissing Cobra, and Wes Welker is a 5’ 9”, evasive and evasive Caucasian mongoose, so you be the judge.

– Travis –

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  1. […] Considering all that, as Travis previously stated, it’s been an ongoing debate as to who the Top 10 receivers really are. I argue the case of W³ and all he’s been able to accomplish in his time spent […]



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