Detroit Lions: Is Calvin Johnson a Potential Hall of Famer?
Whether you were born in 1942 or 1992, you know that the big plays on the football field are the ones that fire up a crowd. It could be a simple streak route or a screen pass that goes the distance; the more yards hauled in, the more fierce the crowd gets.
In recent years, there's been one young stud who, night after night, makes big plays for his team using his freakish athleticism and top notch hands. And those big plays have been paying off this season, as his team is now 5-0 and tied in their division with the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.
That young stud is the Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson Jr.
At 6"5', 236 pounds, Johnson's size immediately makes him a huge weapon. Add in a 43-inch vertical leap and about a seven-foot wingspan, and his measurables make him the biggest mismatch for any corner in the NFL not named Darrelle Revis.
But it's not just his frame that makes him unstoppable. Johnson posted a ridiculous 4.33 40-yard dash time and pushed the 225-lb bench press 22 times, making him an incredible mixture of size, speed and strength: essentially the LeBron James of the NFL.
Whether it be a quick slant to the middle, a post route or a streak downfield, Johnson's rightfully earned his nickname, Megatron, for being able to beat his man, the coverage or whatever else the defense throws at him, and making the catch.
But at 26-years-old and five years in the NFL, is it too early to write him into the Hall of Fame?
When you look at names like Jerry Rice, Randy Moss and Marvin Harrison—three of the greatest wide receivers in the history of the NFL—one big stat sticks out: 100-reception seasons; Rice and Harrison have four, and Moss has two.
While Megatron hasn't come close to eclipsing 100 receptions yet—his season-high so far being 78—he is on pace to crack it this year with 29 receptions in five games. He has, however, done something that no receiver has ever accomplished.
In Week 5, Johnson grabbed his ninth touchdown of the season against a renowned Chicago Bears defense, setting the record for most touchdowns in five games. He's already three shy of his 12-touchdown total from last season, and it's not even midway through the year.
If he continues at the pace he's been at, Megatron could find himself stealing Moss' crown and shattering his beloved single-season record of 23 touchdowns.
Johnson is also a threat, making him twice the headache for the defense. Last season, Johnson had seven rushes for 73 yards (a 10.4 yards per rush average), and has four rushes for 32 yards so far this season.
He also has 217 career first downs through four seasons and five games, putting him on pace to crack Marvin Harrison's 758 in 13 seasons.
Though he's got a long way to go, Calvin Johnson Jr. is certainly on the path to the Hall of Fame. He's nearly unstoppable in the red zone, as his ridiculous frame allows him to snag passes that shorter corners couldn't even reach, and it's nearly impossible to bring him down in the open field.
Megatron's already shown that trying to stop his goal line fade route is futile, making victims of several teams across the NFL. If he can continue this trend of dominating defenses left and right—a trend I'm sure won't go out of fashion for at least another decade—Johnson should start preparing his induction speech ahead of time.
For more about future superior wide receivers in the NFL, check out this piece about Notre Dame's Michael Floyd.
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