The Fierce Five: NFL’s Top Five Wide Receivers

Many of us grew up watching Randy Moss and Terrell Owens and was sure it was as though nobody would ever see anything like them again. Those guys were arguably two of the most talented players in league history. It was a special time to watch football.

But now, players with elite talent like those two are coming along more frequently than ever before. And as with any sport or any time period, fans become nostalgic. They lose touch with reality and put their stars on an unreachable pedestal. Fans also tend to overlook what’s going on right in front of them. They don’t realize how special the talent is that is in front of them. The NFL right now is going through a period where talent is more abundant than ever before. With that being said we are going to look at the top 5 NFL wide receivers of right now.


1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

136 catches, 1,834 yards and 10 touchdown. Yes, that is for one season. Antonio Brown has proven that little men can be successful in a position dominated by goliaths. The wide receiver has been forever revolutionized. Slot receivers are becoming game changers and Antonio Brown is far and away the better slot receiver in the NFL. What makes him so special is not his stickum hands, exceptional route running or elite first step; what makes him great is what he can do after the catch. Put the ball in Brown’s hand and get the fireworks ready. Brown can change the game in so many different ways. Whether he’s catching passes, running reverses or returning punts; Brown will get the ball and there is always potential for 6 points.


2. Odell Beckham Jr, New York Giants

Almost like an Antonio Brown clone, OBJ is a member of the new breed of receivers. A little man that dominates the game in a variety of ways; Beckham commands respect. Odell Beckham Jr. was the fastest player to 100 and 150 receptions. He also holds the record for the most receptions through the first two seasons of an NFL career (where he only played 27 games rather than 32). Odell is looking rewrite every record book and if his career continues on its current path, move aside Jerry Rice.

3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Julio Jones is exactly what the Falcons were expecting when picking him 6th overall in the NFL Draft. A matchup nightmare, the only time Jones shouldn’t be double teamed is when he’s on the sidelines. Jones, unlike Brown and OBJ, is not a slot receiver, he plays on the outside and is consistently matched up with the opposing defenses number one cornerback. Jones doesn’t hide in the slot, he doesn’t rely on pre-snap motions; Jones lines up and goes to work. That’s why he is so special. He had more yards than any other player and matched the receptions of Antonio Brown for the league lead. Jones is a one of a kind player and the closest thing to Randy Moss and Terrell Owens that we have in the league today.


4. Deandre Hopkins, Houston Texans
When I think of Deandre Hopkins, one part of me feels genuinely sorry for him. He was cursed with one of the worst quarterbacks in football, only to have that quarterback benched for an even worse one. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, they cut the replacement and go back to the starter. Yes, I know this was a little harsh on Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, but is it wrong? Hopkins had 111 receptions, 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns on 192 targets and only 3 drops. That means that 78 passes were presumed as uncatchable balls. If just half of those passes were thrown more effectively (resulting in catches); Hopkins stat-line could be estimated at 150 catches, 2,055 yards and 15 touchdowns. Sure, these numbers are extremely speculative, but it just proves his sky-high potential.


5. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets

Brandon Marshall has been one of the most talented, but troubled receivers for years. He was never able to truly find a home, but New York might be perfect for him. After an extremely down year, Marshall was traded to the Jets for a measly 3rd round pick. Whether that was motivation, or he’s finally just comfortable, Marshall set the league on fire. He was top 5 in the league in both receptions and yards, and tops in the league in touchdowns with 14. At 6’4” Marshall dwarfs the corners that are typically covering him which makes him near uncoverable. The amazing thing is, like Hopkins, Marshall made the most of a bad quarterback situation, with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to him.

–Michael Hersey