In the first of the "10 for 2010" lists, I'll breakdown the 10 best receivers in the NFL, entering this season.
As the NFL season approaches, many NFL players are making their push to the top of their position, either on the team they play for, or the NFL as a whole.
This, of course, applies to the wide receivers as well. What young studs will push into the top 10 for the first time in their careers? Who has fallen from previous year's dominance?
The 10 Best Receivers in the NFL.
"Eli, rolling left, looking deep...he's got Smith at the 20! Smith one-hands the ball, hits the ground running, and it's a Giants touchdown!"
I think every Giants fan could get used to hearing those words. This season, you can expect something like that probably 10 times.
Eli is making his own name from under the Peyton Manning shadow. He's got a Super Bowl victory, but now he needs to establish himself as a premier passer in the NFL. Who better to throw to than Steve Smith to make that happen?
Smith has excellent ability at the WR position, and is getting better each and every game, learning how to be more effective as he goes.
Smith is a top 10 receiver for 2010, as he builds on his breakout 2009, during which he totaled 107 catches, 1,220 yards, and seven touchdowns.
Aaron Rodgers enjoys throwing to Greg Jennings. A lot. 14 of his 59 career passing touchdowns have been received by Jennings, and the duo is just starting to heat up.
Jennings, 26, statistically had a down 2009, dropping from 80 to 68 catches, 1,200 to 1,100 yards, and from nine to four touchdowns, but with the emergence of tight end Jermichael Finley, he'll be given more single coverage and opportunities to bust out for a big rebound year.
He's the top option in Green Bay, with a quarterback in Rodgers who really knows how to spread the ball well. Jennings will get his fair share of targets in 2010.
Lets do some math!
Ok. Let X=Marques Colston's vertical leap. Let Y=40. Solve X-Y=Z. Let Z=my vertical leap...
Well, I'm not too sure if that math equation checks out, but Marques Colston's game sure does.
He's one of the best receivers in the NFL because of his ability to go up for the ball, and he gives Drew Brees more room to work with. Brees knows he's got more room for error, since Colston can cover so much ground and distance with his leaps.
Colston isn't just a vertical clinic, though. He's put together four solid years, totaling 4,074 yards, 285 catches, and 33 touchdowns. The reigning Super Bowl champs will depend on Colston's very open game to continue their success into 2010-11.
Miles Austin and Tony Romo have something special going on in Dallas.
They're the NFL version of PB and J.
Without both, the other is just...not the same.
Nobody's ever turned down a PB and J for just a peanut butter sandwich, and I've seen very little of what Miles Austin can do without Tony Romo.
I'd like to see this winning combo stick around for a long time in Dallas, where they can light up the scoreboard and stat charts as they play.
Austin is a premier option at wideout, as he showed last season during his breakout year (and he nabbed Kim Kardashian, the Armenian hottie in the process). What numbers get you a Kardashian?
81 catches, 1,320 yards, and 11 touchdowns, I suppose.
Look for more of the same, if not an improvement, by the Dallas Star. (Excuse the pun)
What do I like about Roddy White? He keeps his position on the ball as good as any receiver in the NFL.
He keeps in front of defensive backs, shutting off their routes to the ball, which he claims as rightfully his when he leaps into the air.
Matt Ryan aka, "Matty Ice," is only going to improve going into his next season as an NFL starting quarterback, and Roddy White is in his prime.
At just six-foot-one, White isn't the biggest target on the field, but his route running and ability to get open were enough to slot him in with 85 catches, 1,153 yards, and a career-high 11 touchdowns.
2009 was a down year from his 85/1382/7 year, but with his increase in scoring, he's upped his value. Could we nickname this one-two punch "White-Ice"? In 2010, we'll see.
I wonder how many visitors to "Revis Island" come away with a receiving touchdown.
Well, we can add Reggie Wayne's name to the guest book.
Manning to Harrison. Manning to Wayne. Manning to Clark. Manning to Garcon. Manning to Gonzalez. Manning, to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
The key to Reggie Wayne having such a great run for his career is the help he has.
Don't get me wrong, stick him with Jake Delhomme's Panthers the last nine years, and he'd be a very capable, probably Pro-Bowl-level player.
Give him Peyton Manning and he's deadly.
Wayne finds ways to get open, and even when he's not too open, Manning finds a way to hit him. Just over the shoulder, or on his outside shoulder so only he can catch it, Manning sends the ball to Wayne plenty of times a game.
Last season, Wayne again had a great season, with 100 catches, 1,264 yards, and 10 touchdowns.
Can he match his 2009 season in 2010? I'd put money on it.
Have we seen a career resurrection like Randy Moss' before?
I really can't remember a player who completely fell off the earth, was cast off by all of the analysts, and then came back to play Hall of Fame-level football, silencing all critics along the way.
It's amazing, the turnaround Moss has had in New England. Imagine where his career numbers would be if he was on a better team those seasons in Oakland.
Moss broke Jerry Rice's single-season record for receiving touchdowns (22) in 2007, with 23 of his own, starting anew with the Pats and Tom Brady.
Moss' 2009 season of 83 catches, 1,264 yards, and 15 touchdowns was nothing to sneeze at, but even Moss has to be wishing he could recapture the 16-0 run he and the Patriots were on in 2007.
Moss is a year older, and thus a year slower, combining that with the emergence of young New England receivers, including Julian Edelman and Sam Aiken, Moss may only have a few more years at the top with this group.
Note to Jordan Babinaux: It's going to take more than a barely-there extended arm to take down one of the most explosive and physical receivers in the NFL.
What word can't be used to describe Andre Johnson?
Weak, and all it's synonyms, are the only words I can think of that do not, in any way, describe Johnson.
Johnson has over 3,000 yards, 216 catches, and 17 touchdowns in his last two seasons, cementing his place as one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL today.
Wes Welker has been the "do anything and everything" guy for New England the last three seasons, averaging at least 110 catches, 1,100 yards, and four or more touchdowns each year.
He cleans up the slot quite nicely, leaving Moss open down the sidelines for Tom Brady.
What makes him so special in the slot?
The kick return specialist turned New England top wideout has done it all, and it's all because of his determination and will to win. No one has ever challenged Welker's toughness over the middle, or his fight for an extra yard to keep a drive alive. It's because of that, that Welker is able to put up the top three WR numbers he does.
And finally, little surprise here, Larry Fitzgerald leads the pack again. No, I don't mean the Packers' secondary into the endzone, I mean the pack of top-tier wideouts in the NFL.
Fitzgerald has been the standard receivers have been set against for years now, with his dominance unquestioned over the last three years, having scored 35 times, to go with his 3,900-plus receiving yards for Arizona.
Larry Fitzgerald is going to have some adapting to do, however, going into 2010.
He'll be without his tandem receiver in Anquan Boldin (who now is in Baltimore) and without future Hall of Famer, quarterback Kurt Warner, but I'm sure Matt Leinart can be serviceable with Fitgerald, Breaston, and Doucet at his disposal.
Look for Fitzgerald to have a great 2010, possibly greater than 2009 with the increased amount of balls being thrown his way with the absence of Boldin.