AFC North: Best Wide Receivers in the NFL?
After all the recent wide receiver signings of Antonio Bryant, Antwaan Randle El, and Anquan Boldin, the AFC North has some of the best pairs of wide receivers in the league. This slideshow will outline some of these newest signings and explain why the AFC North has the best receivers in the league. I will also outline the teams situation with their tight ends.
For the past few years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had one of the best receiver duos in the league. With Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward, the Steelers are the only team in league history to have 2 Super Bowl MVPs as their starting wide receivers. Both gained over 1000 yards last season in Pittsburgh's new high powered aerial attack, Holmes with 1246 yards and 5 TDS and Ward with 1167 yds and 6 TDs.
Backups: Mike Wallace is an outstanding third wide reciever, gaining 756 yards, 6 TDs and leading the league in YPC. With the additions of Antwaan Randle El and Arnaz Battle, Pittsburgh can replace their only receiving liability, Limas Sweed. Antwaan Randle El is a threat at Punt and Kick returner and throwing the ball, as well as catching it. Battle is a great special teamer, an area that the Steelers struggled in last year, and decent wide reciever.
Tight End: Heath Miller, after flying under the radar his last few seasons, really emerged in this one, gaining 789 yards and 6 TDs. The Steelers also resigned Matt Spaeth, and tight ends David Johnson and Sean McHugh (who was injured last season) will be back.
Cincinnati had a decent passing game last season, gaining 3134 yards, but never really found someone to replace TJ Houshmandzadeh alongside, who left as a free agent to Seattle after the 2008 season. This year, they've found someone. Antonio Bryant, who was recently signed, is a talented wide receiver, who should fit into the number two spot. Troubled by knee problems last year, he only gained 60 yards, but with a great QB like Carson Palmer throwing him the football, he should bounce back. Playing alongside Chad Ochocinco, who gained 1047 yards and 9 TDs, the Bengals have a great receiving duo.
Backups: After the injury to Chris Henry, Andre Caldwell stepped up, gaining 432 yards and 3 TDs, two of those TD's being last second comebacks. Without Chris Henry, and after the Bengals released Laveranues Coles, he will have to step up even more as Cincinnati's 3rd Wide Receiver. Matt Jones, after being suspended last season, was added to the Bengals roster. His most recent season, in 2008-09 saw him gaining 761 yards and 2 TDs. They also added Chris Davis from the Tennessee Titans.
Tight End: The Bengals are weak at the tight end position. Their #1 TE, Daniel Coats, only gained 150 yards and 0 TDs last season.
Another big Free Agent signing was Anquan Boldin. Complimenting Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona last season, Boldin gained 1024 yards and 4 TDs. Complimented by a resigned Derrick Mason, who gained 1028 yards and 7 TDs, Baltimore's receiving duo is one of the best in the league.
Backups: Mark Clayton, who gained 480 yards and 2 TD's is a capable 3rd option for QB Joe Flacco, and Kelley Washington is emerging as a threat to take the #3 spot.
Tight End: Todd Heap is a very good tight end, with 593 yards and 6 TDs last season.
After trading talented, but inconsistent (he led the league in drops 2 years in a row) WR Braylon Edwards to the Jets, the Browns have a very raw group of wide receivers that could emerge in 2010. Mohamed Massaquoi, a rookie last year, was the teams leading wide reciever, with 624 yards and 3 TDs. After that, Chansi Stuckey, which the team got in the trade with NY, had 318 yards and 2 TDs. Only 198 of these yards were with Cleveland. These numbers will probably improve with the addition of newly signed veteran QB Jake Delhomme.
Backups: Behind these two, the field is wide open. Josh Cribbs and Mike Furrey are the leading canidates, but Brian Robiskie, also a rookie last year, could emerge after only having 108 yards and no TDs last year.
Tight End: Recently signed tight end Benjamin Watson is a great addition to this team, replacing Kellen Winslow. Watson had 404 yards and 5 TDs last season.