• July 3, 2022

The Top Ten NFL Wide Receivers

The future of the NFL remains in doubt thanks to an ongoing dispute between the league’s owners and the association formerly known as the Player’s Union.

While the labor talks and appeals processes are taking place, the NFL Network has put together a list of the leagues top 100 players.

It’s hard for me to discern the top overall football players because of the various positions. Even the different positions have different roles depending on which team a player is on.

As an Eagles fan, I would love to put a DeSean Jackson or a Jeremy Maclin in the Top 10. But, as I realist, I can’t.

With Jackson, you have possibly the most exciting and most dangerous big play threat in the league. Unfortunately, if you can eliminate the big play you eliminate DeSean as a factor. 47 receptions out of 96 targets isn’t a stat you want from your supposedly GreNo. 1 receiver.

I stated last year that Maclin would be the more reliable Eagles receiver. He could end up being a Top 5 receiver, but he has to prove that he’s continuing to improve. We’ll see how he progresses if and when the 2011 season begins.

Listed below are my current top ten NFL wide receivers

1. Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals): Before, during and after Kurt Warner, nothing but a rookie year and an injury shortened 2006 season has kept Fitzgerald from being a 90+ reception target. He almost single handedly brought Phoenix their first Super Bowl victory after the 2008 season. If the Cardinals acquire a quality starting QB, Fitzgerald will continue to dominate the league for quite some time.

2. Andre Johnson (Houston Texans): Johnson is ranks first in career receiving yards per game (79.7). The casual football fan likely wouldn’t know this because unlike the Cardinals, the Houston Texans have yet to make a playoff appearance. If the Texans defense improves, leading to even more offensive possessions and possibly wins, Johnson will easily lead the league in receptions.

3. Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions): The Lions got lucky when the Oakland Raiders decided to take QB JaMarcus Russell with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007. Johnson is almost the size of a tight end and also can stretch the field (15.5 career yards/catch). If Detroit can keep Matthew Stafford healthy, look out!!

4. Roddy White (Atlanta Falcons): It took a few years for White to prove he was worth a first round pick in 2005, but he hasn’t looked back. It helps to have Matt Ryan throwing him the ball and it’ll help even more to have rookie Julio Jones on across from him.

5. Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis Colts): As an Eagles fan, I can’t bring up Reggie Wayne without mentioning the fact that Philly chose Freddie Mitchell over him. With Peyton Manning passing to him, Wayne has produced seven consecutive 1000 yard seasons. His presence has helped young wideouts Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon become productive.

6. Brandon Marshall (Miami Dolphins): Marshall may fall off this list if his domestic problems interfere with his career. Nobody can deny his ability on the field though. He’s another playmaker who finds a way to produce no matter who the QB is.

7. Greg Jennings (Green Bay Packers): When you think of the Super Bowl Champions, obviously Aaron Rodgers is the first name to think of. Jennings immediately became Rodgers primary target in 2008, accounting for almost one third of his yards and touchdowns.

8. Wes Welker (New England Patriots): It helps to be Tom Brady’s favorite target, but three straight seasons of 100+ receptions is still an incredible accomplishment. In 2010, when Welker’s knee wasn’t 100%, he only had 86 catches. With his knee back to normal, Welker should hit the century mark again in catches.

9. Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City Chiefs): Bowe’s first two seasons were aided by the presence of future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. After Gonzalez’s trade to the Atlanta Falcons, Bowe became the primary aerial target and he hasn’t disappointed. Even as part of a run-oriented offense (No. 1 in the NFL), Bowe found a way to be on the receiving end of 15 TDs.

10. Marques Colston (New Orleans Saints): It’s very rare that a seventh round draft pick (2006) emerges as a top receiver and actually
stays there. Colston has been Drew Brees favorite target since both arrived in 2006. Outside of the 2008 season where he played only 11 games due to a broken thumb, Colston hasn’t failed to produce 1000+ yards in receptions.

Next position: Tight Ends

Haran Knight

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39 Comments

  • A difficult category with many good WR’s across the NFL..
    I do like the Giants Hakeem Nicks to move into the Top #10 in 2011 if he statys healthy.. D Bryant of the Cowboys has all the talent in the world but is still immature

    Paulman’s Top 10 List of WR’s in the NFL as of 2010/2011 Seasons

    #1) A Johnson – Texans
    #2) C Johnson – Lions
    #3) L Fitzgerald – Cardinals
    #4) R White – Falcons
    #5) G Jennings – Packers
    #6) R Wayne – Colts
    #7) D Bowe – Chiefs
    #8) B Lloyd – Broncos
    #9) S Johnson – Bills
    #10) M Wallace – Steelers

  • I can respect your Picks Haran and Paulman…….. With Haran…… I would take colston off the top 10 list reason why is because of Sean Payton’s coaching scheme….. Putting him in the slot is a big advantage for the saints team and I believe if D-Jax could do the same we’ll have an eagle on this top 10 list……. Nothing against what the man has done for the Saints he’s been clutch……… And nothing against your pick Haran…… Just my personal opinion……

    Paulman…. I think B. Lloyd is the Rick Astley of the NFL a one hit wonder……. 1-7 I can respect but Johnson and Mike Wallace as well could be a debate……. I would like to see D-Jax at perhaps 8-9 mark as far as explosiveness…….. It’s just Reids coaching style that makes him not be one of the elites in the game!!!!!

    D-Jax…….. 3 years playing in the league with a average of 18.3 yards per catch 17 tds. and with 3,124 yards receiving…….. With the limited amount of catches and he’s on a pace in his career to get 1000 yard season with half the catches the top 10 receivers make…….. Now thats saying something….. Only if he had 100 rec……… We’ll be seeing history……. But thats my opinion………

  • 1. Andre Johnson
    2. Calvin Johnson
    3. Larry Fitsgerald
    4. Roddy White
    5.Greggy J
    6. Reggie wayne
    7. Marques colston
    8.Brandon Marshall (dude is lazy at times)
    9.Sydney rice
    10. D Jackson

  • To Jroc757
    I admit that B Lloyd may never have the Season he did last year, but his #’s were off the charts in Receptions, YArdages and TD’s that I could not keep him off the List.. I chose both S Johnson and M Wallace for their durability and consistentcy.. D-Jax leads the world in big plays, but he was injured and missed a couple of games and there were a few games where he did very little..

  • I can agree paulman…….. Their were games that D-Jax was a non factor……. But his presence helps everyone else to get production…….. Again I think with Andy’s coaching scheme and everyone else knows what he’s doing makes D-Jax a real go to guy in my book……. I think with an affective balance scheme….. He would be top 5 or 3 in my eyes……

  • Sorry….. Makes D-Jax a real no go to guy in my book…….. If that sounds correct…. LOL!!

  • I too would rank Johnson and Johnson over Fitzgerald.

    I was surprised on the NFL Networks top 100 that Brandon Lloyd got ranked higher than Greg Jennings…

  • D. Bowe, and definitely not W. Welker are top 10, haran.

    Along with Bowe, S.Johnson and definitely not M.Wallace are top 10, for Paulman. If Wallace is top 10, then D-Jax is because D-Jax is better than him.

    I like Dawkplex’s list the most, but I don’t think I would put Colston in the top 10. I think he would just miss it in mine. A couple people that others didn’t list that would probably be in my top 10 are Miles Austin and and Vincent Jackson. I would be hard pressed to not put D-Jax in there, but if I wasn’t an Eagles fan, I probably wouldn’t so my list would look just like Dawk’s minus Colston and D-Jax and add in Austin and V-Jax.

  • Sydney Rice when healthy and with a QB who can get him the ball is a Top 10 candidate also..
    Lots of good young Receivers in the NFL these days where it’s time for older players like T Owens, R Moss, OchoCinco, A Boldin, TJ Howsyourmomma,
    Steve Smith (Panthers) S Moss, Lee Evans, to step aside and let the younger players take over..

  • reasons why paulmans list is retarded

    1. No Vincent Jackson.
    2. No Anquan Boldin
    3. Steve Johnson ??
    4. No Miles Austin
    5. No Hakeem Nicks or Brandon Marshall (both may be stretches, but less of a stretch than johnson, or lloyd)

    yes, you can base this off of last year, but when you rank receivers IN the NFL, you cant base it off of 1 year.

    All lists in my opinion should be based on if you were starting a franchise today, what WR’s would you choose to have on your team. If you tell me you would take steve johnson or brandon lloyd over any guy I listed, you are insane. I would also debate putting bowe or wallace on those lists as well, as by my “system” wayne may slide down my list a bit.

    remember… the NFL doesnt rank players like fantasy players rank players…

  • I’ll make a list (based on if I started a franchise, and could have any WR I wanted)

    1. A johnson
    2. L Fitzgerald
    3. Calvin Johnson
    4. Roddy White
    5. Greg Jennings
    6. Vincent Jackson
    7 Hakeem Nicks
    8 Reggie Wayne
    9 Miles Austin
    10 Desean Jackson… not being a homer… I wanted to put boldin here, because he is just a crazy good WR in my eyes.. but jackson is better than wallace, and I’d rank both over boldin.

  • Oh yeah, I missed that Paulman listed Lloyd. He shouldn’t be in the top 10 either.

  • I would put maclin over desean jackson.

  • “Unfortunately, if you can eliminate the big play you eliminate DeSean as a factor.”

    Not trying to put you down(cuz we all have our own opinions) but to me this is a classic statement from someone who does not know football. Eliminating the big play when it comes to Desean does in no way eliminate him as a factor. In my mind, no offensive player(other than QB) in the league makes a larger impact on a defense in the entire NFL than DJAX(and thats whether he catches 100 balls a year or 50 balls a year). His mere presence on the field is a factor that is always relevant until he gets off of it. Yea, a defense can shut down the big play but thats only because you have safeties and corners lining up 30 yards and beyond from the line of scrimmage which just opens everything else up inside. Just ask Vick why he could take off and run for all those yards? maybe cuz secondary players were no where in sight. Understand the game first before you just make judgments by looking at a stat book.

    My top 10 if I were going to be a GM for next year….

    1-A. Johnson:don’t get how anyone put a WR ahead of the guy
    2-C. Johnson
    3-Fitz
    4-Roddy White: could be top 3 by next year. Did it all even tho Ds knew ball was going to him on almost every play
    5-G. Jennings-maybe most underrated WR in league
    6-Marshall-can be unstoppable when he wants to play
    7-DJAX-Yea, he doesn’t have the size like the other guys above him but i bet they would all kill to have his speed, elusiveness
    8-Reggie Wayne-I could even put him lower. He is not the same guy he was. Also, plays with the best QB in the game. Who makes guys like Garcon, Collie look like ProBowlers which is all u need to know.
    9-Mike Wallace-doesnt just have blazing speed but goes over the middle
    10-Nicks

    Welker is not a top 10 receiver. He plays in the best offensive system in the league. Catches a tone of 4-5 yrd plays which load up his stats and reflect more on the position his coach puts him in then his overall ability.

    Miles Austin might not even be the best receiver on his team right now. I think i would put take Dez over him for next year.

  • Going by last years Stats and Durabilitry and reliability, like I stated in my Rankings Here a few observations

    #1) Vince Jackson didn’t play in 9 of the Chargers games last year
    #2) A Boldin is not the “Elite” receiver he was 2-3 Years ago, He just isn’t
    #3) Miles Austin did not have big year last year with a lot of Drops, maybe losing QB Romo is part of it, but Austin was about 10-15 lbs heavier and a step slower
    #4) Anyone not putting B Lloyd in their Top 10 is not a true fan,… All he did was catch 77 Passes for 1450 yards and 11 TD’s Receptions for the lowly Broncos who had a poor season, no running game and other WR’s out injured last year (2010 #1 Draft Pick,Demarius Thomas,Stokley, & Eddie Royal) Plus he even had QB T Tebow throw him a couple of those TD’s late in the season.. As typical Philly Fans, if an Eagle had this kind of a Season, everyone would be ga-ga about that player and an All-Pro/HOF PLayer, but since no knows about him, he’s a bum… Typical Philly Fans
    #5) Steve Johnson of the Buffalo BIlls is the most underrated WR in the NFL
    Everyone will be hearing about this players for years to come.. He and young QB R Fitzpatrick/RB F Jackson make nice building blocks for the future of the BIll. Steve Johnsons #’s 82 Receptions (61 of which resulted in 1st downs), 1,075 yards and 10 TD Receptions and didn’t become a full-time starter until after week 4 which makes these States even more impressive…

  • Paulman finally admitted that he isn’t a Philly fan……. “Typical Philly Fans”, quote by him. He is basically suggesting that he isn’t one. Also Paulman, D-Jax is better than Lloyd, and I believe only 2 people put him in the top 10, and only 1 put him higher than 10th. Yeah, “Typical Philly Fans”. You failed.

  • One last Stat about D-Jax–
    In last Years 17 Eagles Games, D-Jax missed 2 games due to concussion
    leaving 15 Gamesd in which he played (including the Playoff games)
    In 6 Games out of the 15 Games in which he played, D-JAx had 2 Catches or less…This is not the performance of a #1/Elite WR and I don’t care what anyone says, the Other top WR’s get double teams all the time, they make plays for they will give up themselves to make the tough coatches in the Red-Zone and in the middle of th eField.. D-Jax is unable to do this, so when gets pushed around by a Physical Corner, or a tough Safety, he hangs his head down and usually ends up with a poor game.. I admit, hitting him around is easier said then done but the Good Defenses,D/C’s and Teams with Good Secondaries with not allow him to run free thru the Secondary….

  • D-Jax last 3 Games of the 2010 Season

    NY Giants – 3 Catches for 52 Yards and Zero TD’s
    Vikings – 2 Catches for 32 Yards and Zero TD’s
    Packers – 2 Catches for 47 Yards and Zero TD’s

    These are not performances that legends are made out of or worthy of a teams #1 WR who happens to think he’s an “Elite” WR… D-Jax is an exceptional talent and the NFL most exciting/dangerous player with the ball in his hand, but he is not an Elite WR .. If I wqere the Coach, I would have him run Punts/Kick-offs Full-Time and play WR about 30 Snaps a game when there is a big field to play to cover and deep routes available ..
    Once the Offense crosses 25 Yard line approaching towards the Red-Zone
    Then he’s on the sidelines watching… I bet this use of him would prolong his carreer by 3-4 Seasons and he still will make about the same amount of big plays…

  • I usually harp on you about all your post Paulman, but you just said 1 thing that I really agree with……. D-Jax should probably be on the bench when they are inside the 15-10 (I don’t know about 25, he could still be really valuable with 25 to go). At least he shouldn’t be lined up at WR within that range, unless he is catching a WR screen, because he will be pretty useless running any real routes inside that range.

  • For the Record SPorts Bum
    I consider myself an educated sports fan… There is a difference I believe, Anyone can be a homer and simply love their home town team without knowing their own team,their competitors or eve the Sport that weel for that matter… Being a “casual fan” who revels in supporting their home teams when teams are good is fine with me.. I prefer to learn more about and keep up with the Teams,Players & Coaches, Injuries, Minor Leaugers,Drafts, Player Contracts, Off-Season Acquisitions, Team Payroll, etc,etc.instead of relying on Talk Radio or the local media telling me what to think….

  • All you do is talk negative about the Philly teams. That isn’t being educated. They aren’t ALWAYS gonna be bad, but the way you act, they will. You think that being educated in sports means not talking good about your team and giving other teams respect?

  • Though I like him, DJax is in no way a top-10 WR. He can work only in space, either a breakdown in the defense or his speed gets him behind or clear of coverage. He’s not durable enough to have a long career in the league. Really hoped this would not be case and gave him benefit of doubt in first two season… no longer. I’d use him as trade bait in pkg if there was any way possible to bring in ascending top starting defensive player.

  • I try to be realistic and tamper down the “Seeing everything thru Rose Colored Glasses” anmd Drining that Philly Koolaid that many in the Philly Local Media and Fans would have the fans believe, Now most fans follow their teams and know better and will come to their own conclusions.. I do have to say the Philly Fans/Local Media tend to overrate their Athletes and their Teams a little more so than just about everywhere else in the Country and especially since they don’t have a long history of Championships in any sport, it boggles my mind, I would think the Media/Fans would be a little more more on guard and cautious for all the past failings and shortcomings…
    I think the NFL Network ranked the Eagles as the #8 Best Team in the NFL for the Upcoming Season (on how the team is comprised as of now) and I think that’s pretty realistic, does this mean I hate on the Eagles, of Course not, I may hate some of the personnel,coaching moves that they make or that the Phils/Flyers/Sixers make from time to time, but not the teams themselves…

  • Desean is top 5 Easy lets be honest. Dont look at receptions look at what he opens up for the offense. He is 4th best behing Johnson, Fitz and C. Johnson. Desean strkes fear in every secondary. Why else would the commentators keep pointin out why the opposing safety is 20-25 yards off the line of scrimage. Macklin needs to thank Desean along with the rest of the offense! He is the ultimate weapon. Stop looing at potential and size and look at production and what a WR creates. Desean creates and makes nig plays weekly. Realize what we have!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Put White, Bowe, Wayne, Jennings, Ect on the Eagles we are not as potent. real talk early!

  • Question: What if the Cardinals wanted Kolb and DJax in a trade. The Eagles get Fitz. and a 3rd round pick. I love DJax in the open field, but he isn’t a factor in the red zone. I make the trade.

  • Desean top #5 WR come on man..LMAO…I love the dude but he is in no way a top 5 …he isn’t better than anyone of the WR’s on the list….maybe Wes but we can debate that too….Now I will say that he is exciting but he can be eliminated from a game….Those dudes on the list have this in common EVERYBODY IN THE BUILDING KNOW THAT THEY ARE GETTING THE BALL and they STILL MAKE THE CATCH

  • Let me jump into the D-Jax fray here. I agree with Pman. Yes, he opens up the offense and yes I am glad that he is on the Eagles, but he doesn’t put up numbers every week. All of the other guys on the list have double teams every week too and they still seem to put up huge numbers. The fact is that he gets taken out of games too easily and he can’t do anything inside the red zone because of his size. I know what he does on punt returns, but I am not factoring that into this discussion.

    I do have to say that it is funny that Zoltek said that you can’t just look at it for 1 years worth of production and then he had Miles Austin and Hakeem Nicks on his list. Also, how can you discount a player like Wayne or Welker because they play in the “best offenses” with the best qbs and then rate Greg Jennings so high? Is Jerry Rice now not considered the best WR, because he played with the best qb of all time?

    There are a lot of inconsistencies with people’s list because everyone is looking at it differently. Some are looking at careers, some at actual production, some at potential based on 1 season and some at what they do overall for their offense.

  • #1) Vince Jackson didn’t play in 9 of the Chargers games last year… That just means he is more fresh for this year… and when healthy, hes easily a top 6-7 wr in the league… hands down.

    #2) (boldin) He is not… but he is big, runs good routes, goes over the middle, and has good hands, he didnt make my top 10 because of his downfall the last 2 years… but he should be considered.

    #3) Austin… on a BAD year, with NO qb, had 70 catches for almost 1100 hards, and 7 tds… not bad for an off year… brandon lloyd had like 10 more catches for 400 more yards, and he is in the top ten, but austin is not ?

    #4) IF you were indeed a football fan, you would know that brandon lloyd was supposed to have these types of seasons with the niners, bears and redskins… but he has done nothing but underachieve in his career… I think you are following your “TYPICAL PHILLY FAN” mold, by making a superstar out of a disappointing player that has had 1 great season. He had 77 catches last year… in his last 5 seasons he had 107 catches… 26 total TDs in 8 season.. 11 last year. Cant put him top 10 yet.

    #5) (Steve Johnson) Just because someone is “underrated” it does not make him a top 10 player… he has had 1 good year, you dont put nicks in here, but nicks missed 3 weeks and had 3 less catches, 20 less yards, and 1 more touchdown than steve johnson… so the fact that youre ignoring that states ignorance. Let him do something 2 years in a row, then you can talk about him, nicks at least performed last season, and was a high draft pick… you could be ranking the next peerless price in your top 10.

  • Zoltek, Give us your own list and stop worrying about mine…
    I chose based the players based on their perfomance of 2010 plain and simple
    Yes B Marshall/M Austin/V Jackson all have better upside than B Lloyd,
    But B Lloyd outperformed them in 2010 and I think Steve Johnson on the BIlls is going to break out and be an All-Pro Player for the next 3-4-5 seasons over some of these older WR’s who are on the way down (Boldin/Wayne,OchoCinco,TO)…

  • Id put Djacx at about #8 or so but I’m with you Haran- i said the day he was drafted that he will have more catches in the long run. The problem with this list is that youd have to take into concideration the players and systems around the players. What would Djax stats look like if teams had to worrk about a run game? What would they be if he played the slot in NO? What would they be if he had Welers job in NE? Welker’s stock went through the roof when he changed towns.

    For sure… Ajohn is at the top.

  • D-Jax wouldn’t last a 1/2 a Season lining up in the Slot in the Saint’s System or Welker’s position in the Patriorts Offense.. He’s not big or strong enough and would end up injured. .

  • 1- A. Johnson (1 & 2 are pick-ums).
    2- Fitzgerald (See above).
    3- C. Johnson
    4- Jennings (undervalued/ under appreciated).
    5- V. Jackson
    6- R. White
    7- D. Bowe (gonna be great for years).
    8- M. Colston
    9- R. Wayne (on his way down).
    10- B. Marshall
    Please with the DJax crap.He makes an explosive play & disappears for two games. I would never give him the money he thinks he deserves. Maclin is better than him anyway (IMO). No stinking Cowboys on my list.

  • Godson, come on man, White, Bowe, Wayne, Jennings are all bigger & stronger than DJax. White, Bowe are monsters. Can you imagine our red zone offense with either, WOW! Jennings is the most under appreciated in the league. Fast, great hands & hard to tackle. I love DJax, but come on now! He’s explosive, but drops too many balls, does not go over the middle anymore & disappears for games at a time. Not worth the money he wants & thinks he deserves.

  • Haran, if your a “REALIST” why isn’t Vincent Jackson on your list? And in no way is Welker a top ten WR.

  • Jennings has 3 straight seasons over 1100 yards? Who is underrating him? And Wayne is really on his way down. 111 catches and 1355 yards. That dude has really lost a step.

  • I already gave my list… and you cant base how good a player is based on one season… unless it is his rookie season, then it becomes debatable.

  • I can base anyone on anything, It’s what Fans do…You may not like or agree with it, but I tend to live in the “now” on player rankings, not what they did 2-3 years ago, but what are they doing this Season…Anyone who does not think that Brandon Lloyd had a Top 10 Season last year at the WR position is just plain foolish.. look at the #’s.. they are outstanding …

  • yeah but your list makes NO sense… the article is about the top 10 wrs in the NFL, not about just last year. Even if you ignore that, you have brandon lloyd 10th… he led the league in receiving yards last year, and had 11 tds and dwayne bowe had 15 tds… so why wouldnt they be higher on your “last year list” ? Fitz had by far the worst season of anyone on your list, and he is 3 ????

    there is no rhyme or reason to it… you just put WRs in a list, in no particular order. Lloyd had a better year than your number 1 !!! in yards and TDs !!!

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