The current NFL has a plethora of young, talented WRs. Out of all of them, there were really 10-12 that caught my eye after excluding players like Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson because of their age. With so many young WRs with great potential, it will be difficult to justify taking anyone over the age of 27.
The oldest prospect on this list, Larry Fitzgerald, showed the NFL what he could truly do when Kurt Warner was at the helm for the Arizona Cardinals. Everyone likes to say that Warner made Fitz look good but I think it went both ways. Many plays involve Warner throwing the ball up and putting his trust in Fitz and his hunger for the ball. The current QB situation in Arizona would have destroyed the stats of almost any other WR. Fitz still manage to break the 1000 yard mark and haul in 90 receptions. His game is not built on speed so he could foreseeably have a long career like Jerry Rice. Rice's attention to detail is what kept him in the game so long and I think Fitzgerald has the drive to play in the NFL until he is at least 36.
The more I think about Brandon Marshall, the more I dislike him. To be fair, he has been relatively quiet lately despite playing for a Dolphins offense that really couldn't seem to find itself. His stats as a Bronco, with Jay Cutler, are undeniable. Over 100 receptions for three years straight is not an easy task and his work in Miami is similar to what Fitzgerald had to do in Arizona (except the Cards QB situation was much worse). I do not have the same confidence in Marshall to succeed as I do in Fitz.
At 25 years old, Megatron has not actually lived up to the lofty expectations that everyone had for him when he got drafted. Johnson and Stafford have played quite well together when they actually get the chance but the Lions' O-Line has allowed Stafford to be beat up every game. He still managed to score 12 TDs and have a mediocre year in terms of yards and receptions. Calvin is a monstrous wideout with a rare combination of size and speed. With a tough guy like Aaron Rodgers at the helm of this team, Megatron would have the time of his life.
Desean Jackson, 24, only had 47 receptions in 14 games this year but he always seemed to make the most of them. Every pass to Jackson has the potential to be a game breaker because of Jackson's speed and agility. The Eagles offense really took off this year with Vick at QB because defenses had to respect his running ability as well as the home run capability of Maclin and Jackson. Desean is one of the best players with the ball in his hands but he still needs to work on his route running. In the next few years, Jackson will either become one of the best WRs in the NFL or he'll just be a better version of Devin Hester. With the way he has already progressed, I can see the former possibility as the more likely option.
Holy Hakeem Nicks! This guy is only 23 years old but he still managed to get into the end-zone 11 times despite defenses really keying in on him near the end of the season. Nicks is part of an extremely talented WR corps with the NY Giants although they all seemed to take turns being injured last year. Nicks proved that he could still get the job done when he was not the product of opposing defenses double covering Steve Smith.
Really? Kenny Britt is only 22 years old? Wow, does anyone else remember when he single-handedly destroyed the Eagles defense? Britt's numbers do not truly reflect his skill or potential. Due to injury, he missed nearly half the season (including games where he got injured or played injured). The half that he did play, Britt was one of the few bright spots on the Tennessee Titans. Out of all of the players on this list, I believe Britt may have the most untapped potential.
1st Wideout: Larry Fitzgerald
2nd Wideout: Calvin Johnson
3rd Wideout: Desean Jackson
High Risk Option: Kenny Britt