Size, speed, agility and explosiveness, all necessary traits of an elite wide receiver. If he possesses these, he is destined to be one of the best. He can be a quarterback’s best friend or his worst enemy. A great catch for big yards or a touchdown, he is a hero, he misses that catch, it could mean a lost game or even more.
Everybody will have favourite players including their favourite receivers. In this article, I am going to give you my top five. However, I am going to give you my top receivers that have been drafted since 2010, so not to go back too far. All stats shown are for the regular season only. In no particular order, here are my picks.
T.Y Hilton – Indianapolis Colts
Draft: 2012, Round 3, Pick 92 (Colts)
I might be slightly biased with this choice as I am a Colts fan, but for a few years now he has been that little ray of hope that we have needed.
Little indeed, Hilton stands at 5’9 but what he lacks in height, he certainly makes up for in speed.
That speed over the years has certainly proved a mis match for defences and certainly draws defenders too, creating space for other receivers to move into. After an injury ravaged 2019 he believes 2020 will be a better year, especially with Phillip Rivers under centre. The 30-year-old wants to finish his career with the Colts, no matter how long his next contract will be. Great news for Colts fans.
DeAndre Hopkins – Arizona Cardinals
Draft: 2013, Round 1, Pick 27 (Texans)
Having played under a few quarterbacks for the Texans over the years, Hopkins has always managed to stay consistent and entertaining. Personally, I have probably taken more notice of him since he has had DeShaun Watson playing, but none the less, he has always been one of the names that stands out for me with Houston.
I found him so impressive back in 2017 though, when he got his 13 touchdowns in 15 games, 1378 yards and led the league with 96 receptions. He is a great route runner and is so strong when it comes to making contested catches, making him especially dangerous as a RedZone target.
The First-Team All-Pro receiver starts a new chapter in Arizona in 2020 after the Cardinals made a trade this off-season with Houston. Young Kyler Murray needs to feel blessed now he has Larry Fitzgerald and Hopkins to throw too.
Antonio Brown – Free Agent
Draft: 2010, Round 6, Pick 195 (Steelers)
Antonio Brown to me, is a great all-round receiver. A player who can work the field but most importantly, the opposition defences. He is versatile too.
I like the fact that he can be relied upon to receive shorter throws and using his strength to break tackles and gain yards as well as being able to break downfield and catch deep passes. Having a big arm quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger being able to make those passes always made for some great catches to show on highlight reels.
This was a reason why I was a little disappointed that things didn’t work out with the Raiders or Patriots, because it would have been interesting to see him catching passes from Derek Carr or being a weapon for Tom Brady. Maybe, once he has managed to turn a corner on a personal level, the 31-year-old will return for another season.
Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints
Draft: 2016, Round 2, Pick 47 (Saints)
Michael Thomas is a very understated and productive player. He is not a player that is overtly flashy and making the spectacular catches one after another. Instead, he produces for the team, efficiently, but most of all, consistently.
This consistency is what is making him the highest paid receiver in the league and quite rightly so. I like a player that is not afraid to be in the mix and battling for every yard on the field. Thomas is just that and was immense for the Saints last season, 1725 yards on 149 receptions through the 16 games, and this was without Drew Brees for five of them.
Holding the record for the most receiving yards through the first four seasons in the league and the franchise record for the most receptions and receiving yards in a season, I feel the consistency and productivity of Thomas is going to lift him up into the all time greats of the NFL.
Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
Draft: 2011, Round 1, Pick 6
It is fair to say that Julio Jones has it all; the size, speed, strength, agility and explosiveness required to be an elite wide receiver. When he is on the field you feel and know something exciting is going to happen.
He’s another receiver who is an all-rounder that produces magnificently no matter how he plays the position. He can produce so many yards after the catch but his ability to make himself space to be open is outstanding.
He has so many records to prove how good he is, which includes most receiving yards in a single game (300), most games in a row with over 250 yards (3) and is the fastest player to reach 7,9,10,11 and 12,000 yards and is all within his 126 game career. The only thing missing from his list of achievements is a Super Bowl ring.
Agree with my list? Have I overlooked anybody? Who would you change? We would love to hear your thoughts.