NFL: Ranking the 10 Best Wide Receivers

Brandon WhalenCorrespondent ISeptember 6, 2011

NFL: Ranking the 10 Best Wide Receivers

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    Right now the NFL is filled with physically talented receivers, maybe the most in league history. There are receivers of many skills; some big and strong, some small and quick and even those who are big, strong and fast. With the sudden rise of the passing game receivers are putting up numbers like never before.

    This is my third list in three days, Sunday was the 10 best quarterbacks and yesterday was the 10 best running backs. After you read this, check out my others and see if you agree or feel there should be some changes.

    Tomorrow check my page for the leagues top 10 defensive ends.

10. Miles Austin

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    Miles Austin was the breakout player of 2009, and last season he showed he's more than just a one hit wonder.

    He spent the first three seasons of his career as a kick returner/fifth-string receiver. After Terrell Owens went to Buffalo, Austin became a starting receiver. His breakout game came in week five against the Chiefs. He grabbed 10 balls for 250 yards and caught a 60-yard game winning touchdown in overtime. Austin finished the season with 1,320 yards, 11 touchdowns and was selected to his first Pro Bowl.

    Last season he picked up right where he left off. In three of the first four games he totaled over 140 receiving yards. Then his starting quarterback went down in week six and he caught balls from struggling QBs the rest of the year. Austin still finished with over 1,000 yards and made his second straight Pro Bowl.

9. DeSean Jackson

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    DeSean Jackson is one of the most explosive players the league has ever seen.

    He is a fantastic return specialist, but is also one of the league's top receivers. He's played three seasons in the NFL and has twice been selected to the Pro Bowl.

    In his second season Jackson had over 1,000 receiving yards and nine touchdown receptions. Last year he again had over 1,000 yards and averaged a league leading 22.5 yards per reception. In three seasons he has 3,135 receiving yards, 17 touchdown receptions and averages 18.2 yards per reception (highest average in that span).

8. Dwayne Bowe

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    Dwayne Bowe is a receiver with a lot of up side.

    Last year was his first season where he was both healthy and had good play from his quarterback. In his first two seasons he played for terrible Chiefs teams who had below average quarterbacks (Tyler Thigpen, Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle). The next season Matt Cassel came to Kansas City and brought quarterback stability.

    Last season Bowe was healthy and built up chemistry with Cassel, and it showed. He had 1,162 receiving yards and a league leading 15 touchdown receptions. He had a three game stretch from week nine to eleven that was unreal. Bowe had 32 receptions, 465 yards and 13 touchdowns, good for 88 fantasy points in three weeks on ESPN.com.

    Bowe made his first Pro Bowl last season, expect that to become a habit.

7. Greg Jennings

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    There is a lot of hype surrounding Jennings after his performance last postseason and his brand new Super Bowl ring. Well, he may not be quite as great as many fans think he is, but he's still one of the best in the game.

    He's a fast, big play receiver, much like DeSean Jackson. Over the past four seasons he averages 16.6 yards per reception and has several receptions over 80 yards.

    Each of the past three seasons Jennings has had over 1,100 yards and has a total of 25 touchdowns. Last year he made his first Pro Bowl while catching 76 balls for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns.

6. Reggie Wayne

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    There are consistent receivers, and then there's Reggie Wayne.

    He has totaled at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past seven seasons and made the Pro Bowl in five consecutive years.

    In 2007, Wayne had a career high and league leading 1,510 receiving yards, adding 104 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Last season he had 1,355 yards and a Pro Bowl, and was selected a first team All-Pro receiver for the first time in his career.

5. Brandon Marshall

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    Brandon Marshall is one of the most athletically talented receivers in the NFL.

    He didn't get much action his first year in Denver (2006), but over the next three years he established himself as an elite player. Here are his stats from those three years:

    • 2007: 102 receptions, 1,325 yards and seven touchdowns.
    • 2008: 104 receptions, 1,265 yards and six touchdowns.
    • 2009: 101 receptions, 1,120 yards and 10 touchdowns.

    That's a crazy good three year stretch, but due to issues with the team he was traded to the Dolphins before the 2010 NFL Draft.

    His first year with Miami was sort of shaky. He went from catching passes from Jay Cutler, who was a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback, to Chad Henne—who struggled in his second year as a starter. Marshall played in 14 games and had 86 receptions, 1,014 receiving yards and only three touchdowns.

4. Roddy White

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    Roddy White might not be the most flashy receiver in the league, but he's consistent and extremely hard working.

    White has been in the league for six years and each of the past four seasons he has gained at least 1,100 receiving yards.

    Last season he led the NFL with 115 receptions for 1,389 yards and 10 touchdowns. White made his third straight Pro Bowl and was named a first team All-Pro receiver for the first time of his career.

    Over the past four seasons he has 371 receptions, 5,126 yards and 34 touchdowns.

3. Larry Fitzgerald

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    Since his rookie season in 2004 Fitzgerald has been one of the league's best receivers.

    He's made the Pro Bowl five times (2005, 2007-10) and was named a first team All-Pro receiver in 2008. In five seasons he has caught at least 1,000 yards, three of them being over 1,400. In four seasons Fitz has grabbed 10 or more touchdowns, leading the league in 2008 and 2009.

    Last season he had 1,137 receiving yards and six touchdowns, despite Arizona's quarterback struggles.

2. Calvin Johnson

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    Calvin Johnson might be the most talented player in the NFL, at any position. He has the potential to be the league's best receiver, but he's been a victim of inconsistent quarterback play.

    At 6'5" 240 pounds he's the biggest receiver on this list, and the strongest. At the combine Johnson benched 225 pounds an astonishing 29 times. So he's probably one of those physical receivers that's not to fast, right? Wrong. At the combine CJ ran a 4.33 40 yards dash at the combine, which makes him one of the league's fastest receivers (DeSean Jackson ran a 4.35). His vertical leap at the combine was 44 1/2 inches, and most surprising of all was his Wonderlic score. He had one of the top scores in 2007 regardless of position, he scored a 41 out of 50. That might be one of the most impressive lines ever at the combine and pro day.

    In 2008 Johnson had 1,331 receiving yards and a league leading 12 touchdown receptions, but was snubbed from the Pro Bowl. Last season he had 1,120 yards, 12 touchdowns, and was selected to his first Pro Bowl.

    Johnson is one of the biggest, strongest, fastest, and smartest receivers in the NFL today.

1. Andre Johnson

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    Since joining forces with Matt Schaub in 2007 Andre Johnson has established himself as the league's best receiver.

    Despite inconsistent play from the quarterback position, Johnson had good success over the first four years of his career (Pro Bowl in 2004 and 2006).

    In 2007, Schaub's first year with the Texans, Johnson played in only nine games due to injury, but had 851 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. 2008 and 2009 would be his best seasons to date. He had over 100 receptions and led the league with over 1,500 receiving yards in each season, making the Pro Bowl and being named a first team All-Pro receiver.

    Last season Johnson suffered an injury and missed three games, he had 1,216 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

    Johnson is the all-time leader with an average of 79.7 receiving yards per game (minimum 50 games).