The Top 50 Home-Run Threats in NFL History

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIMay 23, 2011

The Top 50 Home-Run Threats in NFL History

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs down field against Desmond Bishop #55 of the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pen
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Imagine that you're an NFL head coach and you have the ball with just a few seconds left before halftime. The field position isn't great and some may advise you to just take a knee and head to the tunnel. What do you do? 

    You call on your home-run threat—a player who can score at any moment. 

    A home-run threat in football is a great asset and a great quality to have on your offense. At any time, whether if it's a quarterback, running back or wide receiver, that player can score a touchdown—they're just that explosive. 

    Here are the top 50 home-run threats in NFL history. 

    Special note: I have excluded special teams. This is a purely offensive list. 

    This article was first seen at Be sure to follow Tony Santorsa on Twitter @ TonySantorsa.

50. Dokie Williams

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    Dokie Williams was a wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders for just five seasons. However, Williams made a name for himself as one of the league's deep threats. 

    In 1986, Williams scored eight touchdowns while averaging 19.6 yards per reception. 

49. Lance Alworth

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    Hall of Fame wide receiver Lance Alworth is certainly an all-time great.  

    While spending 11 years in the league, Alworth averaged a stellar 18.9 yards per reception while scoring 85 career touchdowns. 

48. DeAngelo Williams

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    NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 03:  DeAngelo Williams #34 of the Carolina Panthers in action during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on October 3, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Running back DeAngelo Williams is one of the NFL's most explosive players today.

    Williams has spent five seasons in the NFL and averages 5.0 yards per carry and has scored 31 touchdowns. 

47. DeSean Jackson

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17:  DeSean Jackson #10 of the Philadelphia Eagles scores a touchdown in the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons defends during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 17, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo b
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    DeSean Jackson has made a name for himself as one of the most feared deep threats in the NFL today.

    Through Jackson's three years in the league, he has averaged an incredible 6.0 yards after the catch and he's scored a total of 20 touchdowns—that's about seven per year. 

46. Haven Moses

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    Haven Moses spent a whooping 15 years in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills. 

    Moses averaged 18.1 yards per reception and scored a total of 56 touchdowns. 

45. Brian Westbrook

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    PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 15:  Brian Westbrook #36 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball against the Cleveland Browns on December 15, 2008 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Brian Westbrook is one of the greatest dual-threat running backs to play in the NFL.

    Westbrook is amazing in open space and is a real threat on screen passes. 

44. O.J. Simpson

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    JAN 1 1980:  O.J. Simpson of the Buffalo Bills in action during a game against the Denver Broncos at Rich Stadium in Buffalo, New York.  Mandatory Credit: Getty Images
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    O.J. Simpson was one of the sport's all-time great running backs.

    Simpson played 11 years in the league and averaged 4.7 yards per carry while scoring 61 touchdowns. 

43. James Lofton

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    8 Sep 1991: Wide receiver James Lofton of the Buffalo Bills scores a touchdown during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills won the game, 52-34.
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    James Lofton is agruably one of the greatest deep-threat wide receivers to ever play the game. 

    Lofton scored a career 75 touchdowns and averaged 18.3 yards per reception. 

42. Lenny Moore

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    Lenny Moore is one of the few great running backs to be just as good at receiving the ball as he is rushing the ball.

    Moore averaged 4.8 yards on the ground and a whooping 16.6 yards per reception. 

41. Jamaal Charles

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 24:  Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 24, 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Jamaal Charles is well on his way to becoming one of the most explosive running backs in recent history. 

    Charles has only played three years in the NFL, but he averages an amazing 6.0 yards per carry. Along with his great running ability, he's just as effective catching the ball as he averages 9.3 yards per reception. 

40. Warren Moon

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    26 Jul 1997:  Quarterback Warren Moon of the Seattle Seahawks looks to pass the ball during the Hall of Fame game against the Minnesota Vikings at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.  The Vikings won the game, 28-26. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Stockman  /Alls
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Quarterback Warren Moon played an incredible 17 seasons. 

    Moon was a great passer as he threw for 291 touchdowns and was also very effective running the ball, as he averaged 3.2 yards per carry and scored 22 touchdowns. 

39. Marshall Faulk

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    ST. LOUIS - NOVEMBER 7:   Running back Marshall Faulk #28 of the St. Louis Rams runs upfield against the New England Patriots on November 7, 2004 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The Patriots defeated the Rams 40-22. (Photo by Elsa/Getty I
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Marshall Faulk spent 12 years in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts and the St. Louis Rams. 

    Faulk may not have had the most explosive numbers, but he was always a home-run threat. At any time, whether if Faulk received a hand-off or caught the ball off of a screen, he was a major threat to make a big play or score a touchdown. 

38. Eric Dickerson

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    ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 19:  Running back Eric Dickerson #28 of the Los Angeles Rams looks to make a move with the ball during the game against the Detroit Lions at Anaheim Stadium on October 19, 1986 in Anaheim, California.   The Rams won 14-10. (Photo by
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Eric Dickerson is a Hall of Fame running back and one of the fastest running backs to ever play the game.

    Dickerson played 11 productive seasons in the league and averaged 4.4 yards per carry, 7.6 yards per reception, and he scored a grand total of 91 touchdowns. 

37. Harold Jackson

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    Harold Jackson may not be a Hall of Famer, but he's certainly a home-run threat.

    Jackson played 15 seasons in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks. 

    Jackson averaged 17.9 yards per reception and nearly 50 yards per game. 

36. Steve Smith

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 20:  Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers pulls in a touchdown reception against Antoine Winfield #26 of the Minnesota Vikings at Bank of America Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. C
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Steve Smith's career in the NFL may be near the end, but he's one of the biggest home-run threats in the recent decade. 

    Smith has spent 10 seasons with the Carolina Panthers, and he's put up some big-time numbers. Smith has reeled in 620 balls while tallying up 8,884 receiving yards. 

35. LaDainian Tomlinson

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    SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Running back LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the San Diego Chargers runs with the ball against the New York Jets during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Over the past decade, LaDainian Tomlinson has made a name for himself as one of the all-time great running backs.

    Whenever Tomlinson gets the ball, he's always a threat to score a touchdown. 

34. Stanley Morgan

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    BUFFALO, NY - 1989:  Wide receiver Stanley Morgan #86 of the New England Patriots runs on the field during a 1989 NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Rich Stadium  in Buffalo, New York.  The Bills defeated the Pats 31-10.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty I
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    The former New England Patriot and Indianapolis Colt, Stanley Morgan was a four-time Pro Bowler and one of the league's elite deep-threat wide receivers. 

    Morgan has scored a total of 72 receiving touchdowns while racking up 10,716 total receiving yards. 

33. Bob Hayes

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    Bob Hayes was an all-around play maker.

    Hayes spent 11 seasons in the NFL, 10 with the Dallas Cowboys and one with the San Francisco 49ers. During those 11 years, Hayes was able to tally up 71 receiving touchdowns while averaging an incredible 20 yards per reception. 

32. Paul Warfield

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    The Hall of Famer Paul Warfield is one of the most explosive wide receivers to ever play the game.

    Warfield sported the No. 42 for the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins as he averaged 20.1 yards per reception, 54.6 yards per reception, and a stellar 85 receiving touchdowns. 

31. Chris Johnson

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    INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans is tackled by Jacob Lacey #27 of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  the Colts won 23-20.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Some of you may feel that Chris Johnson is way too high on this list, but he's arguably the fastest running back of all-time.

    Johnson may not be the strongest runner, but at any moment he can break away from defenders due to his amazing speed and elusiveness.

30. Gale Sayers

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    Gale Sayers may have only played to the age of 28, but he's considered to be one of football's best running backs.

    Sayers spent his entire seven-year career with the Chicago Bears and scored an amazing 39 touchdowns

29. Buddy Dial

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    Wide receiver Buddy Dial is a two-time Pro Bowler that made a name for himself at catching the deep ball during the 1960s.

    Dial suited up for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys as he caught 44 touchdowns and averaged 20.8 yards per reception in just eight seasons. 

28. Warren Wells

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    Warren Wells may have only played five years in the league as an Oakland Raider and Detroit Lion, but he was a speedster running along the numbers.

    Wells played in a total of 65 games and scored an impressive 42 touchdowns while averaging an incredible 23.1 yards per reception. 

27. Daunte Culpepper

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    PHILADELPHIA - JANUARY 16:  Quarterback Daunte Culpepper #11 of the Minnesota Vikings scrambles against the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC divisional playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 16, 2005 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defe
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Daunte Culpepper's career may have ended roughly, but he was one of the most dynamic passers in the early 2000s. 

    Culpepper was known for his huge arm that averaged 12 yards per reception and averaged an incredible 5.2 yards per carry. 

26. Charlie Trippi

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    Charlie Trippi is definitely an old-time great as he played quarterback and running back during the late 1940s and early 1950s. 

    Trippi averaged 5.1 yards on the ground, 10.2 receiving, and 12.4 yards per completion for the Chicago Cardinals.  

25. Joe Perry

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    SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 15:  49ers Hall of Famer, Joe Perry, attends a game between the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park on November 15, 1992 in San Francisco, California.  The 49ers won 21-20.  (Photo by George Rose/Getty I
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Joe Perry is arguably the most athletic and explosive fullbacks ever. 

    Perry played 16 seasons in the NFL, 14 of them being with the San Francisco 48ers. Perry ran for an incredible 5.0 yards per carry while scoring 71 touchdowns. Perry has had several runs well-over 50 yards during his career. 

24. Steve McNair

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    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 30:  Ed Jasper #95 of the Oakland Raiders misses a tackle on Steve McNair #9 of the Tennessee Titans during their game on October 30, 2005 at the Coliseum in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo By Streeter Lecka)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Steve "Air" McNair was one of the most exciting quarterbacks to watch.

    McNair was known for his rocket arm and his bulldozing running ability. During his 13-year career, McNair threw 174 touchdowns and ran for 37 touchdowns. "Air" McNair averaged 11.5 yards per completion and 5.4 yards per carry. 

23. Michael Irvin

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    8 Dec 1996:  Wide receiver Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys carries the football after making a catch during the Cowboys 10-6 win over the Arizona Cardinals at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr.  /Allsport
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin is not just one of the best Dallas Cowboys of all-time, but he's one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play the game.

    Irvin had an amazing 74.9 yards per game and also reeled in 65 touchdown passes. 

22. Dan Towler

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    Fullback Dan Towler is a hard-nosed runner who had the ability to break any run for a touchdown.

    Towler averaged 5.2 yards per carry and also scored an impressive 43 touchdowns in just six seasons in the league. 

21. Dan Marino

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    29 Nov 1998:  Quarterback Dan Marino #13 of the Miami Dolphins in action during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the MCI Center in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Saints 30-10. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Laforet  /Allsport
    Vincent Laforet/Getty Images

    If you want to have an explosive offensive that can score at will, chances are that you'll want Dan Marino as the quarterback.

    Marino was nothing less than a play maker. The Hall of Famer averaged 12.4 yards per completion, 253.6 yards per game and scored an unbelievable 420 career touchdowns through the air. Thanks to Marino's cannon of an arm, he could make any throw imaginable.  

20. Randall Cunningham

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    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    At times, Randall Cunningham was a run first quarterback—and he was extremely good at it. 

    Cunningham could do it all as he averaged 6.4 yards per carry on the ground and 12.3 yards per completion. 

19. Joe Montana

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    SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 12:  Quarterback Joe Montana #16 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball as he looks down field for a receiver during the 1990 NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Washington Redskins at Candlestick Park on January 12, 199
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Joe Montana is arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time.

    Montana is the definition of clutch—whenever the San Francisco 49ers needed a score, Montana would make it happen.

    The Hall of Fame passer averaged 12.4 yards per completion and five percent of his passes thrown were touchdowns. 

18. Mal Kutner

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    Mal Kutner may have only played five seasons with the Chicago Cardinals, but he averaged an incredible 21.1 yards per reception as he scored 31 career touchdowns. 

17. Terrell Owens

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    SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 7:  Wide receiver Terrell Owens #81 of the San Francisco 49ers moves the ball   during the game against the Chicago Bears on September 7, 2003 at Candelstick Park in San Francisco, California. The 49ers defeated the Bears 49-7. (
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Terrell Owens may not be known as a deep threat, but his amazing play-making ability in open space made him on the greatest home-run threats ever.

    Owens currently averages 5.3 yards after catch and has snagged 153 career touchdowns—and his career is not quite over. 

16. Marion Motley

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    The Hall of Fame fullback, Marion Motley certainly had a nose for the big play and the end zone, as he scored 31 touchdowns on the ground.

    Motley spent nine seasons in the league as he averaged an astronomical 5.7 yards per carry. 

15. Greg Landry

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    Greg Landry wasn't just a solid passing quarterback, he was electric running the ball.

    Landry averaged 12.6 yards per completion and he averaged an even more impressive 6.2 yards per carry. 

14. Peyton Manning

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 26:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts passes against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December  26, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Peyton Manning is nothing short of unstoppable—when Manning needs to score a touchdown, he'll make it happen. 

    Manning currently averages 263.6 yards per game and averages 11.7 yards per completion—impressive is an understatement. Along with Manning's amazing yardage, he has thrown a career 399 touchdown passes—watch out Dan Marino, Manning's catching up awfully fast. 

13. Mercury Morris

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    Mercury Morris may have only played eight years in the league, but he definitely made himself known to be a home-run hitter. 

    Morris averaged 5.1 yards per carry as he scored a career 31 touchdowns. Morris wasn't just solid at running, he was also great at receiving as he averaged 10.1 yards per reception. 

12. Homer Jones

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    Homer Jones isn't a Hall of Famer, but he's one of the greatest home-run threat receivers to ever play the game.

    Jones played just seven seasons in the league and he averaged an incredible 22.3 yards per reception. Jones was always a home-run threat, as he could score at any time—he even scored a 98-yard touchdown. Now that's unbelievable. 

11. Bobby Douglass

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    Bobby Douglass may not have been a great passer, but he was an unbelievable runner.

    Douglass ran for 2,654 yards and averaged an incredible 6.5 yards per carry. During his 11-year career, Douglass scored a career 58 touchdowns. 

10. Jim Brown

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    Jim Brown wasn't just one of the greatest running backs to ever play, but he was one of the greatest home-run threats. 

    Brown ran for 12,312 yards and averaged an amazing 5.2 yards per carry. He could score at any time as he scored a career 126 touchdowns in just nine years in the league. 

9. Bo Jackson

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    LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 13:  Running back Bo Jackson #34 of Los Angeles Raiders breaks free on the open field against the Cincinnati Bengals defense during the 1990 AFC Divisional Playoffs at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 13, 1991 in Los Ange
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Bo Jackson may have only played four years in NFL, but he'll go down as one of the greatest running backs. 

    Jackson ran for an average of 5.4 yards per carry and scored 18 career touchdowns—we can only imagine how great Jackson could have been if he never suffered that serious hip injury. 

8. Randy Moss

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    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Randy Moss #81 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers during their game at Gillette Stadium September 16, 2007 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Wide receiver Randy Moss may be the greatest deep threat to ever play the game—just take a look at the 2007 season for proof. 

    During the '07 season with the New England Patriots, Moss broke the single-season NFL record for touchdown receptions at 23 as he averaged 15.2 yards per reception. Just looking back at that season, Moss simply was unstoppable and beat not only single and double coverage, but he beat triple coverage. 

    Moss' success wasn't just with the Patriots, as he's had some amazing seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.

    As of right now, Moss averages 15.6 yards per reception and nearly four yards after the catch. 

7. Ken Kavanaugh

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    Ken Kavanaugh may be the perfect example of what a home-run threat is.

    During his 11-year career with the Chicago Bears, he only averaged 1.8 receptions per game, but he averaged 22.4 yards per reception—which is good enough for second all-time. 

6. Michael Vick

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 02:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball against the Houston Texans at Lincoln Financial Field on December 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Michael Vick may be the greatest scrambling quarterback ever to play the game. 

    Vick is known for his amazing running ability, as he averages an NFL all-time best 7.1 yards per carry and he's developed into quite the solid passer over the past few seasons.

    Whenever Vick is under center, he's able to score at will—that's how dominating Vick is. 

5. Jerry Rice

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    17 Dec 2000:  Jerry Rice #80 of the San Francisco 49ers runs during the game against the Chicago Bears at 3Com Park in San Francisco, California. The 49ers defeated the Bears 17-0.Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn  /Allsport
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Jerry Rice, arguably the greatest football player of all-time. 

    Rice is certainly the greatest wide receiver of all-time as he was many quarterbacks go-to man due to his ability to score at any moment. 

    The Hall of Famer played an unbelievable 21 seasons in the NFL and averaged 14.8 yards per reception, and he has caught an incredible and unimaginable 197 touchdown passes. 

    With just a few seconds left in the half or even the game, Rice is the first receiver that comes to mind that I'd want to throw the ball to. 

4. Tom Brady

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    FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 06:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass in the first half against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Tom Brady is not only the best quarterback in the recent decade, but he's arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play football. 

    Brady has always been a home-run threat, whether if it's with mediocre wide receivers or with receivers like Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Troy Brown.

    Brady's performance in 2007 was the greatest season to ever be played by a quarterback. Brady threw a record 50 touchdowns and averaged an astronomical 12.1 yards per reception. 

    Some may believe that Brady isn't the explosive quarterback some othersare , but one notable stat is that 5.5 percent of his passes have gone for touchdowns—how can you beat that? 

3. Barry Sanders

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    6 Sep 1998:  Running back Barry Sanders #20 of the Detroit Lions in action during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 38-19. Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck  /Allsport
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    When it came to Barry Sanders, he was known for either running for a five-yard loss or breaking away for an 85-yard touchdown—he was that explosive and that much of a home-run threat. 

    Sanders is agruably the best running back to play the game as he averaged an incredible 5.0 yards per carry—which is considerably phenomenal as he played with such an inconsistent offensive line. 

2. Bobby Mitchell

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    Bobby Mitchell could simply do it all.

    The Hall of Famer lined up as a half-back and as a flanker during his 11-year NFL career.

    Mitchell played during the early days of football (198-'68) and was known for his great play-making ability.

    When running the ball, Mitchell averaged a stellar 5.3 yards per career, and when he was receiving, he averaged a phenomenal 15.3 yards per reception.   

1. Steve Young

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    12 Sep 1999:  Steve Young #8 of the San Francisco 49ers moves with the ball during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Alltell Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars defeated the 49ers 41-3. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons  /Allsport
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The biggest home-run threat in NFL history is a quarterback—believe it or not.

    Steve Young is one of the greatest pure athletes to play the game of football. Young's athleticism allowed him to be extremely elusive. Along with his elusiveness, don't forget his rocket arm. 

    Young averaged an incredible 12.4 yards per completion as he threw for a career 33,124 yards.

    When Young wasn't throwing the ball, he'd be making plays with his feet. Young may not be the greatest running quarterback, but he sure knew how to make plays in open space. Whenever Young tucked the ball and ran, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry as he ran for a career total of 4,239 yards.

    Young retired after 15 years in the NFL as one of the sport's all-time great scorers with 275 total touchdowns.