Calvin Johnson: The Best Receiver in the National Football League

Nicholas KratzContributor IJanuary 21, 2009

Calvin Johnson, standing 6'5" and weighing 239 pounds, has the frame to be a dominant force in the National Football League. Some say he may even be one of the best wide receivers ever one day.

But they're wrong.

He already is the best wide receiver.

After being injured for the majority of his rookie season, many sports analysts believed he would enter into a sophomore slump.


Johnson had a breakout season.

He caught 78 balls for 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also had an average of 17.1 yards per catch. Johnson ranked in the top five in each of these categories and led the entire NFL with 12 touchdown catches.

But statistics only take one so far in this league.

What makes up the other part is the team that surrounds the player.

Saying Johnson did not have much to work with is an understatement. He did not have the luxury of an All-Pro quarterback, or a consistent one for that matter.

He played with five—yes, FIVE—different quarterbacks throughout the season, and lacked a complimentary receiver for the majority of the season.

Larry Fitzgerald, who also had 12 touchdowns, had an All-Pro quarterback, as well as a Po Bowl complimentary receiver in Anquan Boldin.

Steve Smith had a solid quarterback in Jake Delhomme and one of the top running games in the entire league to draw attention away from him.

But would these receivers do as well in Johnson's situation?

I think not.

This season Calvin Johnson was double and even triple-teamed throughout the entire season, being that he was the only threat the Lions had. He still finished with a season that should have earned him a Pro Bowl selection. He even caught a 96-yard touchdown, which was the fourth longest reception of the entire decade.

Calvin Johnson has the ideal speed, size, and strength, which he used to dominate defenders. I do not believe that any other receiver in the National Football League could have produced like he did.