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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Ranking the Receivers of ’96

Apparently Nunyo Demasio of Sports Illustrated is pretty tight with Marvin Harrison because he’s been writing quite a few pieces on the notoriously reticent receiver throughout the season. In the January 8th issue of SI (not available online), Demasio wrote an another piece about Harrison – this one titled “The Marvelous and Mysterious Marvin Harrison.” While I’m a huge fan of Marvin Harrison and consider him the best receiver in the game, it’s something else Demasio mentions that interests me most. Towards the end of the article, he says about Harrison

“The Colts selected him 19th in the 1996 draft, which had the best wideout class in NFL history, including Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn, Eddie Kennison, Terrell Owens, Muhsin Muhammad, Eric Moulds, and Joe Horn.”

After skeptically perusing the list I knew he was right – there is no way to top that class – not a chance. But my question is, how would you rank them? I also added Amani Toomer to the list – because well, he should be on it. Let’s embark the difficult debate:


  1. Marvin Harrison 1st rd, 19th overall – The consistent excellence is remarkable; 8 straight years of at least 80 catches, 1,100 yards, and 10 touchdowns. NFL record with 142 receptions in ’02. 4th all-time in receptions, 3rd all-time in receiving TDs, and 6th all-time in receiving yards.
  2. Terrell Owens 3rd rd, 89th overall – Quite a draft-day steal when you think about it – for all the distractions, he’s still a damn good play-maker. 5 straight years of at least 75 catches, 1,100 yards, and 9 TDs. Led the league in receiving touchdowns 3 times – also 4th all-time in that category.
  3. Keyshawn Johnson 1st rd, 1st overall – Never really became the play-maker/game-breaker he told us he was going to be, but none-the-less, respect is still due for his career accomplishments. 814 career receptions, 10,571 career yards, but a little light in the TD department with just 64. He’s tied for 15th and is ranked 23rd all-time in receptions and receiving yards, respectively.
  4. Eric Moulds 1st rd, 24th overall – Maybe fallen into anonymity with the Texans, but before that, he was a stud with the Bills. 4 times had over 80 catches and 1,000 yards in a season. 23rd all-time in receptions with 732, and 29th all-time with 9,648 receiving yards.
  5. Joe Horn 5th rd, 135th overall – A JC draftee, Horn put together a string of 5 pretty awesome years with the Saints, at least 75 catches, 950 yards, and 7 touchdowns in each. Over 8,000 career yards and 57 touchdowns. Not as consistent, but more of a game-breaker than the next guy.
  6. Muhsin Muhammad 2nd rd, 43rd overall – Model of consistency like Keyshawn, but also had 3 90+receptions, 1,100+ yards, 6+ TD seasons. His best year was in ’04 when he impressively led the league in both yards and touchdowns. Surprisingly 26th all-time with 702 receptions and 32nd all-time with 9,364 receiving yards.
  7. Terry Glenn 1st rd, 7th overall – Studly rookie of the year but vanished into a cloud of inconsistency after that. He still has amassed 4 1,000 yard seasons, and he’s tied for 46th all-time in receptions (593) and 45th all-time in receiving yards (8,823).
  8. Amani Toomer 2nd rd, 34th overall – 5 straight 1,000 yd seasons with 5 or more TDs. 3rd in the league with 1,343 yds in ’02. 8,157 career receiving yards and 47 career touchdowns.
  9. Eddie Kennison 1st rd, 18th overall – Taken by the Rams the pick before the Colts took Harrison, but guess things turned out OK when they grabbed Torry Holt. More of a home-run type of guy, only 2 1,000 yard season. Pretty good career numbers – 8,244 receiving yards and 42 TDs.
  10. Bobby Engram 2nd rd, 52nd overall – nothing special, but still making it happen as a solid possession receiver. Credit where it’s due – still has a decade in the league with over 6,000 receiving yards and nearly 30 TDs (29).
  11. The amount of quality receivers this draft put out is astounding in hind-sight. I think we might actually be challenged to find a draft that was more productive at any given time. Any thoughts on my rankings, or another draft more productive at a particular position 

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