Every NFL season there’s always a debate about who’s the best wide receiver. There’s a slew of options to choose from and not since “Megatron” Calvin Johnson was there a number one consensus on who is the best. 2016 is no different from Antonio Brown to Julio Jones to Odell Beckham Jr. A few honorable mention players that didn’t make my list include Dez Bryant, Jordy Nelson, Amari Cooper, and Mike Evans. I will do a rundown of each wide receiver in the discussion and give you my pick for the best!
5. Deandre Hopkins:
Houston Texans’ receivers always have a hard time producing with the mediocre QB talent they continually have. Deandre “Nuk” Hopkins is no different. Since the signing of QB Brock Osweiler, there’s been a significant drop in Hopkins numbers. Through 12 games in 2015, he had 5 100+ yard receiving games and 10 TD’s. This season Hopkins only has 1 100+ yard game and only 4 TD’s. Hopkins is still an elite receiver worthy of the mention. He has top-tier route running, superior hands, and enough speed to get past elite DB’s. At only age 24, time will tell if one day he can reach that superior level.
4. Odell Beckham Jr.:
Many of you reading this may believe Odell Beckham Jr. is the best in the league but let’s pump the brakes. Beckham has all the talent to be the best in the game but he’s only 24. He needs a couple more years of consistency to reach the upper top three echelon. Never having a season with less than 1000 receiving yards is an amazing feat alonghe fastest wide receiver ever to reach 200 receptions and 3,500 receiving yards. By just looking at the numbers, he’s a future Hall of Famer. With his blazing speed and quickness plus his incredible hands, he will become a top 2 wide receiver. It’s only a matter of time before his name is ringing through the ears of every sports pundit.
3. A.J. Green:
Adriel Jeremiah Green is the most underrated wide receiver on this list. He is a 6’4 wide receiver that runs a 4.50 in the 40. Since being drafted in 2011, Green has the numbers to back up his status. There’s never been a season where he’s had less than 1000 receiving yards. The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver making five straight Pro Bowls since entering the league is also not something you see every day. Green is mainly a deep ball guy but don’t underestimate his route running underneath. Rarely, will you ever hear his hands being questioned. Without AJ Green lining up to the right of Andy Dalton, I’m not sure how successful of a career Dalton actually has. Personally, I don’t think Green has done enough to reach top two but his career has been stellar so far and deserves recognition.
2. Julio Jones:
Julio Jones has all the requisite skills and talent for the title of best Wide Receiver in the league. Jones is a 6’3 Wide Receiver who ran a 4.39 40 which is better than a lot of running backs. Julio is more than just speed, he also has elite hands and physical enough to bully smaller defensive backs. Last season Julio Jones put up career numbers catching 136 passes for 1,871 receiving yards with 8 touchdowns. The home run potential he has really stood out. To never have a season where he didn’t have at least have a 70-yard reception is just stunning to me. At times Julio Jones route running can use some work as he isn’t always as crisp and quick coming out his breaks as needed but that never slows down his production. At 27, the 3-time Pro Bowler has consistently been at the top of everyone’s list but in order for him to surpass my number one, Atlanta has to take that next step.
1. Antonio Brown:
Yes, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Wide Receiver Antonio Brown is the best wide receiver in the league. There are no flaws in the game besides the constant celebration penalties but let’s blame that on the No Fun League. Antonio Brown has top-level speed and quickness, the best hands for my money in the league, can execute every route on the route tree and can jump with the best of them for his small stature. Being only 5’10 is normally a detriment for an all-time great wide receiver but AB is just gifted. Through his last 4 years in the NFL, he’s accumulated 42 receiving touchdowns, 6,083 receiving yards with 463 receptions leading the league that span. At the age of 28, there’s no doubt he will hit a decline but it doesn’t look like that’ll be happening anytime soon. Antonio Brown being the best wide receiver just comes down to consistency.