As always, these are my selections for the top 5 receivers in the NFL right now. I heavily weighted these guys in terms of their performances in 2011. Enjoy.
5. Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace is one of the most exciting young receivers in the NFL. His blazing speed creates huge mismatches in the secondary, and he opens up the Steelers running game as well as stretching the defense both vertically and to the sidelines. He’s a quickly rising star, and I see no reason why he won’t continue to climb higher on this list. It seems doubtful that he’ll be with the Steelers beyond 2012. Watch out for him on the open market in 2013.
4. Victor Cruz
Victor Cruz really did come out of nowhere for the Giants in 2011. This was a guy that most of us hadn’t even heard about before the season started, and now there’s very few well-informed football fans that don’t know who he is. He demands immediate attention from the opposition, and like all the guys on this list, his contribution isn’t limited to just catching passes. He’s the type of athlete that keeps defensive coordinators up all night long.
3. Andre Johnson
The final three on this list are all very close, and I put them in the order I think they belong right now. As I said, this list heavily favors guys that performed well in 2011, and Andre Johnson only made it on the field 7 times in 2011. Even so, Johnson should be getting back to his former standing in 2012, and a guy with the size and talent that Johnson has will always cause big problems for the opposition.
2. Larry Fitzgerald
If this list was about the five best receivers over the past 5 years, Fitzgerald would be number one without a doubt, but it’s about who’s the best right now, and Larry Fitzgerald ranks behind one other guy in my mind. Still, Fitzgerald is a great combination of speed, quickness (yes, separate from pure speed), and talent. He doesn’t drop passes, and we don’t hear about him turning the Cardinals locker room into a media circus. In short, he’s the perfect type of guy you want on your team.
1. Calvin Johnson
The best wide receiver in the NFL today is without a doubt Calvin Johnson. He led the league in receiving last season with 1,681 yards to go along with his 16 touchdown receptions. He has all the size you could ever want as a receiver, and he uses it to his full advantage. Calvin Johnson is living proof that even a general manager as terrible as Matt Millen can get a pick right occasionally.