Wide Receiver is one of the most important positions on the football field. Which ones are the best ones in the league, and who comes out on top?
1. Deandre Hopkins
Hopkins has always gone under the radar as a player. He has always produced for the Texans, no matter the quarterback. Hopkins has had to play with Tom Savage, T.J. Yates, Brock Osweiler, and Brian Hoyer in the past. No matter what, Hopkins delivered.
Now with Deshaun Watson as his quarterback, he gets way better throws to him. His long frame and electric speed make him impossible to guard. Hopkins runs fantastic routes and just turned 27. Expect him to get even better from here.
2. Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown might be No. 1 for a lot of people, and it makes sense. Brown has consistently proven to be an amazing player. His speed is still top-tier, regardless of age. Brown always has a knack for getting open as well. Even though he is short, he always catches the tough throws. No one can cover him, in man or zone coverages.
The problem with Brown is his off-field antics. Brown has shown to be a horrible leader, who tears up locker rooms from the inside. He only ever thinks of himself and throws tantrums when he doesn’t get enough praise. He is the modern day Terrell Owens. Still, Brown’s on-field talent is immense, and he will be a huge piece for the Raiders.
3. Julio Jones
Jones is possibly the most consistent player on this list. Every year of his career, he has produced. His long frame makes him impossible to cover in man, and he has enough speed to get vertically very quickly. Jones is a fantastic route runner, and Matt Ryan always finds a way to get him the ball.
Jones’s only issue is that he doesn’t catch many touchdowns. Part of that blame could go to Ryan, but Jones always gets a lot of yards, but no touchdowns. For him to reclaim the top spot, he needs to catch more touchdowns this season.
4. Michael Thomas
This is what I would consider the second tier of receivers. The first three are on a tier of their own. Michael Thomas leads the second tier. What is special about Thomas is that he isn’t super fast or big, but he just knows how to get open. He has fantastic hands and runs great routes.
Drew Brees and Thomas connected on 90 percent of their targets in 2018, and it didn’t matter how he got the ball. He is too physical for man coverage but understands the weaknesses of zone coverage well. He is just always open. With more help coming to the Saints in 2018, Thomas will continue to produce.
5. Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell should be No. 1. His hands are the best in football, able to catch any pass, even one-handed. His runs fantastic routes and is a track star. There is nothing Odell can’t do on the football field.
There are just two things that drive me crazy about Odell; injuries and his behavior. In his first five seasons, Odell only has had one season of playing 16 games. His smaller frame makes him way get injured way easier. His behavior is terrible as well. Odell has cost his teams many games by letting his anger get the best of him. Odell needs to clean up his act in the future, or he will just continue to get moved around.
6. Mike Evans
Evans is the most underrated player in the NFL. Everyone always forgets his name when talking about the best receivers in the league. Evans has a great body, tall and very fast. No one can cover him in the NFL, and he always produces.
Evans has no weaknesses; he just needs to play with a better quarterback. Hopefully, the Buccaneers find him one, since Evans is nowhere close to hitting his peak. He will only get better.
7. Adam Thielen
This would be the start of my third tier of receivers. Adam Thielen leads off the third tier. Thielen emerged as one of the best receivers in the league last season. He quickly became Kirk Cousins’s favorite weapon and was on pace to have one of the best seasons for a receiver ever. He did slow down as the season progressed but still had an amazing season.
Thielen needs to stay consistent. He has to be able to produce for 16 games to go up in these rankings. If he can do that, expect him to be in the top five next year.
8. Tyreek Hill
The fastest player in the NFL, Hill has quickly become one of the best receivers in the league. Considering he has only played receiver for three years, he has made drastic improvements. He obviously is very fast, but his tracking ability is amazing. His route running has significantly improved over the past three seasons. Hill has quickly become Patrick Mahomet’s favorite weapon, and that should improve.
The only problem with Hill is that he is a horrible person off the field. He has been in multiple issues with the law, and you never know if he will play or not. This is obvious, but Hill must become a better man. You can’t be a top receiver if you aren’t dependable to be on the field.
9. A.J. Green
Green should be higher on this list. Even though he has gotten older, he hasn’t declined at all. Green still has great burst and runs amazing routes. Even though he has never played with a great quarterback, he always produces at the top of the league.
Green’s problem is health. He hasn’t been able to play a full 16 games for a few seasons. His foot problems haven’t gone away. Honestly, for Green’s next phase of his career, he needs to leave Cincinnati. He is getting older and needs to find a better quarterback to finish his career with. Green still has many years of his prime left, and should only continue to be a Pro Bowler.
10. Stefon Diggs
The last receiver on this list, Diggs has been great since coming into the league. Diggs was always a great athlete, but his route running has been top-notch. There isn’t a route Diggs can’t run. Diggs also has fantastic hands, which makes him a reliable target for Kirk Cousins.
Diggs doesn’t really have a weakness, and if he continues to improve, he should only go up on this list. He is very young and will get better if he can stay healthy.