The passing game has become as or more important for offenses in the NFL as the rushing game. Having a group of wide receivers and tight ends is very important to any quarterback in the league.
Good talented wide receivers are hard to come by. Some are lightning fast, but have hands of stone. Some can catch the ball, but do not like going over the middle.
Therefore, when a quarterback has at least one wide out that is quick, gets off the line easily, is not afraid to run routes to the middle of the field and can get deep, he does not want give him up.
Size is another factor in today’s game. The top 5 receivers in the game today are big, as far as receivers are concerned. Smaller players have great talent, with Wes Welker being a fine example.
Here is my Top Five
- Calvin Johnson is probably the easiest player to pick for this list. The Detroit Lions wide out is not only the league’s best receiver, but also one of the best overall players. He works harder than anyone works on his team and has what was mentioned earlier, size. Johnson is 6’5” and weighs 236 pounds, making him a huge target for quarterback Matthew Stafford. He can release well of the line and has learned to beat double coverage. He could stay at the top of this list and many others for years to come.
- Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals may have not had his best season last year, but remains high on the list. Last year he caught 71 passes, but was still consistently open through great pass routes and the ability to separate from defenders. Last season he did not have a quarterback who was able to get him the ball on a consistent basis. The addition of Carson Palmer as quarterback will help Fitzgerald this season.
- Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons came into the league with lots of hype and has lived up to it all. He was drafted sixth overall in 2011 and has been under the wing of Terry Robiskie the wide receivers coach for Atlanta who has helped him along. Big and strong, he will be at or near the top for many more years.
- A.J. Green at Cincinnati is one of the league best wide receivers to watch. He runs exceptional routes, has great hands and knows how to run after catching the ball. He has shown an art of adjusting to wherever the ball is thrown. Green has been the target of double teams and he knows how to separate himself from defenders.
- Demaryius Thomas from Denver became a lucky man when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning prior to last season. Thomas is a big, 6’3”229 pounds, wide out. He is a superb athlete that has become one of Manning’s favorite targets. Thomas is young, but his routes have become much better and he will benefit a great deal from playing with Manning.
Honorable Mention: Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Steve Smith, Percy Harvin