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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Ranking the top 10 wide receivers in the NFL

Antonio Brown

The NFL has no shortage of quality wide receivers. Whether they use their size and strength to get the job done or their speed and agility — or both — you can turn on virtually any game on Sunday and see great talent at the wide receiver position.

But who are the best? Here are ten players who should be considered the top receivers in the National Football League.

10) Davante Adams, Packers

Aaron Rodgers’ return should do wonders for Adams, who was very successful even without him last season. Despite missing two games and his starting quarterback, Adams caught 10 touchdowns and came close to his first 1,000-yard season. If he and Rodgers both stay healthy, the duo should be in store for a huge season, especially now that Jordy Nelson has departed Green Bay.

9) Stefon Diggs, Vikings

This spot could have just easily gone to teammate Adam Thielen, but Diggs is a gifted playmaker who can make big plays any time he’s on the field. He’s another guy in line for a 1,000-yard season, especially with new quarterback Kirk Cousins in the fold. He’s already shown what he can do in big games, as he was the man behind one of the most memorable plays in recent NFL playoff history as well.

8) Mike Evans, Buccaneers

In four NFL seasons, Evans has four 1,000-yard campaigns. Twice he’s grabbed double-digit touchdowns. He’ll have to overcome some uncertainty at the quarterback position this season, but given his size and athleticism, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for any signal-caller to find the 6-foot-5 Evans, particularly in the red zone. Still just 24, it wouldn’t be shocking to see him rise on wide receiver lists in years to come.

7) Michael Thomas, Saints

Thomas proved in 2017 that his breakout rookie season was no fluke, and in fact, he surpassed most of the numbers he’d put up in 2016. His touchdowns fell from nine to five, but his yardage increased, and he eclipsed the 1,200-yard mark for the first time. He’s a versatile threat who has quickly become a favorite of Drew Brees, which is a really good role to hold. Expect another good season out of him as he continues to solidify himself as a top receiver.

6) Keenan Allen, Chargers

After losing 2016 to injury, Allen finally had the long-anticipated breakout year last season. His 1,393 yards were easily a career high, and he added six touchdowns as well. He can get more scores than that, but as long as he remains healthy, he’s going to have the chance to put up even bigger numbers in 2018, especially if fellow receiver Mike Williams can contribute and take some heat off him.

5) Odell Beckham Jr., Giants

Beckham would be higher on this list, but there are question marks around him. Health is one, as it pretty much hindered his entire 2017 season, limiting him to only four games. There have also been concerns over his dedication and ability to avoid off-field drama. Those questions still linger, but there is no questioning the talent. Beckham remains an athlete with every physical gift you would want in a wide receiver who can make the spectacular look ordinary. A contract year should bring out the best in him.

4) A.J. Green, Bengals

Green’s numbers have dropped over the last few years as the Cincinnati offense has eroded a bit, but it has little do with the man himself, who’s still a reliable 1,000-yard guy if healthy. He has great playmaking ability and the size to torment opposing defensive backs, and manages to succeed even with one of the league’s lesser quarterbacks throwing to him. With 57 career touchdown catches, he is still the figure that makes the Bengals’ offense go.

3) DeAndre Hopkins, Texans

Hopkins led the league with 13 touchdowns last year, and that was in spite of an unsettled quarterback situation in Houston. Entering the prime of his career with an established quarterback in Deshaun Watson, we could really see Hopkins take off and establish himself as a truly elite NFL receiver. You could argue he’s already there. He stormed back after a down 2016 to rack up 96 catches for 1,378 yards. There’s much more to come from the Clemson product, who only just turned 26.

2) Julio Jones, Falcons

He may not lead the league in touchdowns, but it’s hard to find a more productive receiver than Jones. He has a rare combination of size and athleticism, and he’s racked up four consecutive seasons with at least 1,400 yards receiving. He has shown no signs of slowing down, and two years ago you probably would’ve argued he was the best at his position. He hasn’t fallen far, if at all. The only lingering question is when he’ll join his team this year.

1) Antonio Brown, Steelers

Brown is such a threat to hurt defenses in every way that it’s easy to forget how good of a pure receiver he is. Despite being viewed as undersized, he led the NFL in receiving yardage in 2017 for the second time in his career, adding nine touchdowns to his haul. The most incredible fact about his 2017? He missed two games and still racked up 1,533 yards receiving. If he stays healthy, he could push his career-best mark in 2018, and maybe even threaten the 1,700-yard mark.

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