I've been waiting for so long for Calvin to finally break out and have that season that would finally justify his status as one of the best receivers in the NFL. He's a physical specimen to say the least, standing 6'5 240 pounds and can run a 4.3 40 and a 42 inch vertical leap. In my opinion inconsistent QB play and Matt Stafford inability to stay healthy are the only reasons we haven't seen a great season from him up until now. Calvin has completely developed into a complete WR and his game lacks flaw. He can run all the routes and is one of the toughest in the league going across the middle. He also has very big strong hands and when you combine that with his height and jumping ability all you really gotta do is throw it up and let him go get it. I felt like when he got drafted he could be the next Randy Moss maybe even better and he showed flashed that maybe he could this year. He can do all the things Randy can do, though he's not quite as fast, plus go across the middle and run block. When Calvin decides to really get after it corners really don't stand a chance against him in the running game. Calvin is also extremely deadly after the catch as it's hard to bring him down once he's got the catch. He's got the footwork and body control to make all the sideline and endzone catches with limited space as well. Barring injury Calvin should be in this spot for years to come.
2. Larry Fitzgerald
Larry Fitzgerald in my opinion has the best hands in the NFL. Fitzgerald was targeted 153 times and only had ONE drop. That's insane. If you throw it his way and the ball is catchable best believe if he gets his hands on it its going to be a completion. Fitzgerald is also is a big physical WR at 6'3 220 who can go across the middle strong or go up win on the jump ball. He's an amazing route runner probably top 3 in the league in that regard as all of his routes are usually very precise. Larry is also incredibly durable as he's played and started all 16 games now 4 years in a row. Ever since Kurt Warner retired I think people have somewhat forgot about Fitzgerald because the Cardinals haven't been a good team since. But that's whats impressive to me. Fitgerald has been playing with some of the lowest quality QB talent you can have over the past couple seasons and not once have his numbers suffered. Even without a great playmaker to take some of the attention off of him he still can't be stopped.
3. Andre Johnson
It needs to be stated that this guy was the best WR in the league probably the last 3 seasons coming into this year but unfortunately he only got to play in 7 games this year and even in some of the games he played in he was still limited by injury. I personally believe fully healthy he can give CJ a run for his money for the top spot and it'll be interesting to see if he can bounce back and stay healthy next year. Andre Johnson was the perfect WR to me he did it all and had great size. He's 6-3 about 225 and runs a 4.4 40 with a 39 inch vertical leap. Not elite speed but still fast enough to burn defenders at times and jumps high enough combined with his height to usually win that jump ball battle. He's a terrific possession WR and can really hurt defenses doing his work on crossing patterns or working back to the ball. He's another fantastic router runner and an extremely intelligent player. We'll see next year if he's on the decline or if he still has it.
4. Roddy White
Here's a guy that had everyone talking last season, had some even throwing him into the best WR in the league convo. Then this season the Falcons and he himself got off to a slow start. Still White had a 100 receptions and over a 1000 yards last year and was the go to target for Matt Ryan who had another good season in large part to White. White does alotta things well, he can run all the routes, he's got solid speed and quickness, and can run after the catch. His hands are a little questionable though. He led the NFL this past season in drops with 15, but then again one of the best WRs of all time is Terrell Owens and he was always among leader in drops so it's not a complete knock.
5. Wes Welker
Alot of people under value and underestimate Wes Welker and for years I was one of those people. Something that former football coach Eric Mangini said on ESPN about Welker really made me re evaluate my stance on Welker. He said that the good WRs are the ones that every week when the coaches are developing a defensive game plans they are trying to stop that WR and that the ones that are elite are the WRs that still dominate despite a team keying in on them to stop them. And back when Welker 1st started putting up numbers Randy Moss was around, but that wasn't the case but after Moss left. Welker still continued to put up numbers at elite level so what does that mean? These days teams are keying in on Welker and trying to stop him and they still can't. All I hear is that Welker is a product of the system and that he's not really that talented or that he benefits from Brady. Well my counter argument to that is why can't anyone stop him. If you watch Pats games alot of the throws Brady makes to Welker don't require much difficulty because he's always beating his man and getting open which is what elite WRs do. As far as this Pats system makes great WRs argument goes I think that's ridiculous to because the Pats never even had a WR make a pro bowl until Randy Moss got there so what is this great system that makes great WRs people are talking about? The Pats have had 2 pro bowl WRs in the Bellicheck era and that's Moss and Welker. If Brady and Bill make avg WRs pro bowlers why did non of the WRs pre Moss ever put up the numbers Welker is putting up? They didn't because their not as talented as Welker. Welker might not have great speed, but he has good quickness in short spaces and is one of the best route runners if not the best in the league. Him and Brady's timing is usually always on point because of how well he runs routes. Also despite that drop in the Super Bowl he still has some of the best and most dependable hands in the league. Ultimately you can say whatever you want about Welker but he puts up elite numbers just like the other elite WRs so in my opinion that makes him elite.
6. Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall is one of the most physically gifted WRs in the league. He's 6'4 230 pounds. He's fast and can really jump. Also Marshall might be the best WR at running after the catch in the NFL. He's so big and strong that it's harder for the smaller players in the secondary to even get him down. Marshall will drop the ball at times as well as he's usually among the league leaders in drops as well. His game is very comparable to one Terrell Owens to be honest he just hasn't had the luxury of playing with much talent at QB since he left Denver. He's really good running the inside and crossing patterns and can go up and snatch the ball as well. He's extremely valuable in the redzone.
7. Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace has become one of the fastest receivers in the NFL and maybe the most dangerous deep threat in all of the league. He has phenomenal speed and quickness and the ability to run all routes with that speed and quickness. This year for the Steelers another receiver by the name of Antonio Brown came out of nowhere to deliver a 1000 yard season due in large part to the excessive attention that Mike Wallace draws. If you watched Steeler games this year you'll notice the opposing corners lined up over him normally playing 5 yards sometimes further off. The safety on his side is often further back than normal as well and some times teams will bracket him using a zone where a corner and safety are all looking at him with a line backer dropping underneath in the flat area as well. With one receiver commanding all that attention it really opened the door for the Steelers other receivers. Unlike alot of WRs with his caliber speed he can do more than just out run people as he's excellent running short and intermediate routes as well and he can really run after the catch as well. I didn't have him in my top 10 last year but after multiple years of consistency I couldn't deny him any longer he's one of the best WRs in the league.
8. Hakeem Nicks
9. Greg Jennings
I had to make some changes to my list after thinking it over. The Giants run got me caught in the moment and I think I over rated Victor Cruz who I had on this list at 1st but I've decided he's not a top 10 WR. Nicks was the reason for alot of Cruz success as teams were giving him alot of attention all year. Nicks is a big strong physical WR that can go up snag the ball on anybody and is very comfortable as a possession WR as he has no problem running routes across the middle of the field. He can also run block and he's extremely hard to jam at the line of scrimmage.
9. Greg Jennings
Greg Jennings missed essentially the last month of the regular season and when he was out the Packers offense wasn't quite the same, especially in their 1 loss to Kansas City. Jennings has great hands some of the best in the league and is also one of the best in the league at running that back shoulder fade route that he and Rodgers hook up on so often. He's a very good route runner overall and is really good at finding holes in the zones and giving Rodgers windows to throw into. He's not Mike Wallace but I'd still classify him as fast and he can definitely get behind defenses.
10. Steve Smith
The last WR to make my top 10 is a re-entry, Steve Smith. Usually when a WR hits 30 and has back to back declining seasons like Steve Smith did that means it's time to write them off. But at the age of 32 Steve Smith bounced back and had another pro bowl season and was explosive as ever. Smith was explosive again, looked quick again, and got behind the defense often as he did in his prime years. Smith averaged 17.6 yards per catch the 2nd highest of his entire career which is incredible. I highly doubt with all the young talent in the league on the come up and with Smith being 33 next season he'll ever see this list again but he's had a good career and for a period was a top 5 WR. I don't think he'll get in the hall of fame but he'll be remembered as one of the most explosive WRs of his time.