Article by Antwon “Smitty” Smith
The wide receiver position in the NFL has evolved over the last 20 years and it may be one of the most important positions other than quarterback. The position usually consists of speed, physicality, hands and playmaking ability. It usually is what separates the good from the elite. These are my top 10 receivers heading into the 2019 season.
1. Julio Jones
Julio Jones is an athletic freak of nature, which why he comes in at the top spot. He’s has all the tools wrapped up into one. Jones is the most dangerous football player on the field whenever he lines up. Matt Ryan has to get him more red zone targets and maximize his ability to its full potential. He may be the biggest factor to the Falcons making another Super Bowl run.
1,677 receiving yards (448 YAC)
2. Deandre Hopkins
Deandre Hopkins may be the Larry Fitzgerald of this generation as far as putting up numbers despite who’s under center. He separates himself because of his ability to get to the football. Hopkins has a knack for catching contested passes, which makes him tough to cover. If Watson throws it up, there’s a legit 50/50 change Hopkins will come down with the pass. What’s more amazing he played 99% of the offensive snaps last season, meaning he one of the most durable backs in the league.
1,572 receiving yards (348 YAC)
3. Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown moved to the bay area in the offseason and there will be questions as to how he will adjust to a new QB not named Ben Roethlisberger. However, all you have to do is get him the ball in open space and his run after catch ability will do the rest. He could bring the best out of any QB in the league if he can just focus on football only.
1,297 receiving yards (503 YAC)
4. Odell Beckham Jr.
OBJ is probably the most explosive receiver in the NFL and other than Tyreek Hill he can play just about any receiver position. He has even thrown passes for touchdowns. Now that he’s got a younger, more mobile QB and another receiver, he could be at the top of this list in a year or two. He just has to stay out of his own way.
1,052 receiving yards (332 YAC)
5. Michael Thomas
Michael Thomas could be in the top 3 easily but I still think he’s a year or two away from the top. He somehow finds a way to get open, making him a tough cover for defensive backs. The way the Saints run their offense is amazing at how he still led the league in receptions with 125. He also caught nearly 83% of his passes which led all receivers in the league.
1,405 receiving yards (502 YAC)
6. Tyreek Hill
Tyreek Hill has to be the most unique talent on my list because he can hurt a defense in so many ways. Whether it’s lining up in the slot, outside the numbers or in the backfield, Hill is a pure threat to score anytime he touches the football. He has a young strong-armed quarterback in Patrick Mahomes that can push him to have an even better season than his franchise record-breaking 1,479 yards in 2018. If he can get back in the lineup in 2018 look for the Chiefs to be contenders again.
1,479 receiving yards (489 YAC)
7. Mike Evans
Mike Evans has been one of the most productive receivers in the league since he was taken in the 2014 draft. He started his career off with five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, which is remarkable considering the inconsistent quarterback play of Winston and Fitzpatrick. He lost his top two running mates in Jackson and Humphries, so his workload may increase, causing more double teams, which means his numbers may take a slight dip.
1,524 receiving yards (256 YAC)
8. A.J. Green
Green was well on his way to another spectacular season before a season-ending toe injury. He was on pace for 90 catches for 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns, before the injury. Green has carried the Bengals and Andy Dalton, but it’s time to get him some help to unleash the beast the league knows he can become as a player.
694 receiving yards
9. Davante Adams
Davante Adams finally broke through last season with his first 1,000-yard season and tied for second with 13 receptions. He’s been one of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets the last two seasons, so let’s see can he continue to climb the top 10 ladder. Adams plays in the black and blue division against tough teams and that’s no easy task.
1,386 receiving yards
10. Juju Smith-Schuster
Juju Smith-Schuster is finally the man in Pittsburgh, with Antonio Brown changing area codes, it’ll be interesting to see how he stacks up against elite defensive backs. Yes, he had more receptions and yards than Brown, but it was due to Brown drawing double coverage.
1,426 receiving yards (617 YAC)
These are my top 10 receivers going into next season, comment your top 10 in the box below! Who would you add/omit? Let’s debate and have fun.
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