By Ryan of The Sportmeisters
It has been a while since this series continued, but with NFL training camps getting into full swing, it's time to continue building the perfect NFL players.
Today, we will be building the perfect wide receiver. This one took a lot of time, as all The Sportmeisters came in with their opinion on it, but in the end, here is the final product.
Remember, this is only using players on active rosters.
Legs: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Since he ran his 4.5 40 in the 2004 combine on his way to getting drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald has run fast, and isn’t showing any signs of stopping.
As the consensus No. 1 receiver in Arizona, Fitzgerald has turned in two 100-catch seasons, and has broken the 1,400 receiving yard mark three times already. In every year he has had a catch of at least forty yards, including a career long 78 yard touchdown catch in 2008. In five seasons, he has 92 career catches of longer than 20 yards.
Finally, we all remember his catch during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl when he took an inside route and turned on the jets. Fitzgerald cannot be slowed down by anyone.
Hands: Randy Moss, New England Patriots
Hands are one of the most important aspects for a receiver, and since his recent resurgence into the NFL elite, Randy Moss’s hands are the greatest in the game today.
With an average of 84.3 catches a year in his career (including the two down years in Oakland), Moss has had nine 1,000 yard receiving seasons, and has caught 100 passes in a season twice.
He set a QB/WR combo for most touchdowns in a season when he and Tom Brady connected for 23 of them during the 2007 campaign.
Moss also knows how to hold onto the ball, with only ten career fumbles (three in 2008). In four of his ten NFL seasons, Moss went without a fumble the entire year.
When Moss wants to play, as has been obvious the past two seasons, he makes catches that others could not handle.
Body: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
When you are 6'5'' of pure speed and muscle, you have the body of a perfect NFL receiver. As the only star on a horrible Detroit Lions team, Calvin Johnson has taken advantage of his opportunities to show off his 4.33 40 yard dash speed that made him the No. 2 pick in the 2007 draft.
After a solid rookie campaign, Johnson exploded in 2008 with 78 catches for 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns (including an amazing 96 yard touchdown catch-and-go).
Johnson now has some additional weapons surrounding him in Detroit, from RB Kevin Smith to rookie QB Matt Stafford, so look for this deadly combination of size, strength, and speed to be a nightmare for defenses in 2009.
Vision: Wes Welker, New England Patriots
This was a tough one, as a lot of factors play into having the right head for a receiver, but the reason Wes Welker shines is that no one runs better routes.
While arguments could be made that his hands are the key ingredient for the perfect NFL receiver, his ability to see the ball while running over the middle as a slot guy makes his head invaluable for NFL teams.
Originally overlooked coming out of Texas Tech, where QBs and WRs come off of a factory line, Welker signed on with the Dolphins, and has blossomed beautifully into his role since becoming the No. 3 receiver since his trade to New England in 2007.
In the past two years, he has caught 233 balls for over 2300 yards. As a slot guy, Welker constantly subjects himself to getting leveled by opposing middle linebackers, which would cause most to keep their hands in and run different routes, but not Welker.
He has been Tom Brady and Matt Cassel’s top targets over the past two seasons, running crisp, beautiful routes, and always having a head for getting the chains moving (10.5 yards per catch average the past two seasons). Simply put, Wes Welker has the vision an NFL coach could only dream of.
Intangibles: Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers
When coming up with this list, Ward fit perfectly into the intangibles role. As the brash, outspoken leader of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ward does whatever it takes to get the win.
Despite having only one 100 catch season, Ward has grinded out five 1,000 yard receiving seasons, and twice came within 25 yards of 1,000.
He is not afraid to draw double teams, or go over the middle. He even will come across and lay out an opposing defender, risking his body for the betterment of the team.
He has paid the price by missing games in three of the last four seasons, but, like a true leader and champion, he fights against the pain to lead his team to victory every Sunday. In a world of hot-shot, me now receivers, no one puts the team mentality first better than Hines Ward does.
Five different wide receivers, each with a key ingredient that makes them the best at one particular piece of the receiver puzzle.
Separately, they do fantastic jobs for their teams on Sunday, but if able to combine the legs of Larry Fitzgerald, the hands of Randy Moss, the body of Calvin Johnson, the head of Wes Welker and the intangibles of Hines Ward, then an NFL secondary might want to consider triple-teaming the perfect NFL Wide Receiver.
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