Written by LaShawn Encarnacion aka The Dark Knight of Sports
The conversation is always in the media and on internet radio shows. Names like Steelers Antonio Brown, NY Giants Odell Beckham Jr., Lions Calvin Johnson, Falcons Julio Jones and Bengals A.J. Green. The question remains the same, “Who is the Best WR in the NFL today?” For this particular argument, it will come down to overall effectiveness and that is why tight ends will NOT be included. Play-making ability, effectiveness vs competition, overall production and catch ability. For full list of stats provided by NFL.com click on the following link:
Falcons WR Julio Jones:
The number one WR for the Falcons lead not just his team but the entire NFL is yards per game. At 1,426 yards total, Jones is heavily relied upon to get those necessary yards to keep his team in the game. His 109 catches also are tops both with his team AND the NFL as a whole. His touchdown numbers however is the alarming number. With just six touchdowns this season, that is 1/2 the number of touchdowns as the league leaders (12). The overall numbers would say that Jones is the definition of being the best WR in the NFL. Those touchdown numbers though are the question mark. Is it due to Jones himself or due to the team and usage of Jones in the red zone? No question Jones is the best player on his team and one of the elite WRs in the NFL. A case definitely be made best WR in the NFL for Julio Jones.
Steelers WR Antonio Brown:
Leading his team in catches and yards per game, Antonio Brown is the main guy for his Pittsburgh Steelers since drafted by the team in 2010. His 100 catches and 1,397 total is second in the NFL (behind only Julio Jones). His touchdown numbers are also on the relative low end to the NFL leaders (7). Which begs the similar questions that were posed with Julio Jones as well. Big Ben’s number one target obviously and Brown is relied on to make those key plays to keep drives alive. But come red zone time, other players are getting those touches as Brown seems to be forgotten. So Brown at times takes it upon himself to get the attention he deserves hence the “spider-man” move on the goal post after a huge punt return for a touchdown a couple of weeks ago. Oh and brings up another point on Browns behalf. He not only makes plays at the WR position but is also counted on at times to make key plays in the special teams as a returner. This adds yet another dimension and piece of value to Brown and his role in the Steelers game-plan.
NY Giants Odell Beckham Jr.:
Tied in the NFL with 12 touchdowns, arguably the most electrifying player in the NFL, Odell Beckham Jr. continues to light up the NFL with his Sportscenter highlight reel catches and play making ability. Third in the NFL with 1,320 total while catching 80 balls, OBJ in just his second season is making a serious case as the best WR in the NFL. Lets also remember that his first season, he was out the first four games and STILL managed to finish with over 1,000 yards receiving and caught 12 touchdowns. His one-handed catches are becoming routine for him and are becoming more of a trend as other receivers are picking up and using the one-handed catch in their game. Defenses have to game-plan against OBJ so is lowered numbered of catches are suffering. Other players are getting those touches, players like Ruben Randle and former now returning Giant Hakeem Nicks. Obviously the game-plan of Tom Coughlin which has OBJ working at times as a distraction until its time to unleash the human highlight reel and watch him work. OBJ makes the plays, is involved in the offense heavily and defenses are always on the hunt for where he is located. If the Giants fail to utilize him, their entire game-plan falls apart. Another solid candidate for best WR in the NFL is this young man named Odell Beckham Jr.
Bengals A.J. Green:
With the emergence of tight end Tyler Eifert, the numbers for A.J. Green have tumbled a smidgen, especially in the touchdown department. His 1,169 total is sixth in the NFL and his eight touchdowns are tied for 14th in the NFL. His usage during games is reliant on who is at quarterback as it stands today. When Andy Dalton was at quarterback, the chemistry was undeniable between he and Green. When the Bengals needed that big play or that elusive first down, it was Green that Dalton would look for. As stated previously, due to the emergence of Eifert, Greens numbers have been impacted but his reliability and value to the Bengals team should not be ignored because of that. If Green was targeted as much as some of the other WRs in this discussion, his numbers would rival theirs. While the numbers this season may not give Green a solid case, the overall career cannot be ignored and why Green is in the conversation for best WR in the NFL.
NY Jets Brandon Marshall:
So here’s the question, “How can a wide receiver who makes obvious mistake can be considered one of the best WRs in the NFL?” Hence the numbers provided by one Brandon Marshall. His 1,187 total is fifth in the NFL and his 11 touchdowns are tied for fourth in the NFL, tops his team. Marshall is a match up nightmare. a 6’4″ player who has the speed of a 6’0″ player like Antonio Brown and the elusiveness to go with it. Marshall has the hands that can rival those of Odell Beckham Jr as well. Granted Marshall does make a bonehead play here and there but considering working with a second-tier quarterback like Ryan Fitzpatrick, the numbers and the value to the Jets Marshall carries is unforgettable. With the reemergence of Eric Decker, Marshall looks to become even more valuable during these last games of the season. Every player makes a mistake here and there. But its overall that counts and Brandon Marshall definitely has proven he is in the conversation for best WR in the NFL.
Others that have a legitimate case are the following:
Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson
Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald
Houston Texans DeAndre Hopkins
Denver Broncos Demaryius Thomas
Miami Dolphins Jarvis Landry
New Orleans Saints Brandin Cooks
Indianapolis Colts T.Y. Hilton
Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant
Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson (IR for 2015 season)
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