Calvin Johnson and the 5 Most Talented Receivers in NFL History

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIIDecember 23, 2012

Calvin Johnson and the 5 Most Talented Receivers in NFL History

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    Breaking Jerry Rice's single-season receiving yards record only helps to solidify the fact that Calvin Johnson is one of the most talented receivers in NFL history.

    BREAKING: Calvin Johnson just broke Jerry Rice's all-time record for most receiving yards in a season, with 1,871.

    — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 23, 2012

    Johnson is the modern prototype for what a wideout can be. He can beat defenders vertically, over the middle of the field and generate offense in unique ways.

    What other guys join Johnson in the most elite of rankings?

    Let's take a look at the five most talented receivers in NFL history. 

5. Larry Fitzgerald

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    The battle for the fifth spot on this list was a tight one, but Larry Fitzgerald's athleticism deserves recognition.

    Fitzgerald stands at an imposing 6'3", 225 pounds and has made the most difficult catches look routine over the course of his nine-year career.

    His talent was obviously best utilized when Kurt Warner was throwing passes in the desert, but Fitzgerald has found ways to flourish regardless of who is playing QB.

    Drag routes, curls, slants, posts, fades... Fitzgerald is capable of running any route to perfection and creating space against defenses that game-plan to stop him.

4. Don Hutson

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    The black and white picture may throw some people off. Others may have never heard the name "Don Hutson."

    If this applies to you, then you would be wise to look up some grainy video of Mr. Hutson.

    He spent his entire career with the Green Bay Packers during the 1930s and '40s, racking up 99 touchdowns and 7,991 yards receiving in an era where such statistics were completely unheard of.

    Hutson was a player ahead of his time, able to burst off the line of scrimmage, juke out would-be defenders and fly by them on his way to the end zone.

3. Randy Moss

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    There is a lot that can be said about Randy Moss' attitude, work ethic, desire, etc...

    However, there is no denying his skill on the field.

    There is perhaps no bigger deep-ball threat in NFL history than Moss. He scored 156 total touchdowns and had a reception of at least 50 yards in 12 consecutive seasons.

    Moss was never adept at going into traffic and catching passes between defenders, but his pure speed meant that he could catch up to any throw.

    At 6'4", 210 pounds, Moss has been able to win many end-zone jump balls over the course of his career. When Moss gives 100 percent, there are few (if any) more talented.

2. Calvin Johnson

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    At 6'5", 236 pounds, few receivers have ever possessed the physical attributes of Calvin Johnson.

    His combination of size, speed, agility and strength are comparable to any receiver from any era of NFL history.

    Johnson draws consistent double and even triple-teams, but he still finds ways to get open and catch passes. He is a threat both vertically down the sidelines and over the middle of the field in high traffic areas.

    Johnson's career is still relatively young, but the fact that he is already breaking records held by Jerry Rice shows how bright "Megatron's" future is.

1. Jerry Rice

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    What can be said about Jerry Rice other than the fact that no wide receiver list would ever be complete without him.

    Rice is undoubtedly the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T.) for a reason. He had 197 touchdowns, 1,549 receptions and 22,895 yards over the course of his career,

    Still, the stats almost don't say enough about the skill set that Rice possessed. Dropped passes were non-existent. He ran routes more precisely than any player before him and could shake even the most skilled of defenders.

    Rice's 6'2", 200-pound frame was not the most imposing, but the way he could maximize his ability is legendary.

    That is why Rice goes down as the most talented receiver in NFL history.