1. To unlock all of features of Rams On Demand please take a brief moment to register. Registering is not only quick and easy, it also allows you access to additional features such as live chat, private messaging, and a host of other apps exclusive to Rams On Demand.

Ranking true No. 1 pass-catchers

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by RFIP, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. RFIP Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,569
    Likes Received:
    897
    The term "No. 1 receiver" is often thrown around loosely, but to me, there certainly are not 32 No. 1 receivers in the league just because every team has a favorite target. (In fact, the Chicago Bears have two No. 1 receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.) This came up during the DeSean Jackson trade and free-agency discussions; as good a player as Jackson is, I don't consider him to be a No. 1 pass-catcher.

    Defining this term isn't a cut-and-dry thing. But I look at it this way -- a No. 1 receiver needs to be able to do everything well in the passing game:

    • They need to have the ability to separate from man coverage, understand how to find the soft spots in zones and have very strong athletic traits.
    • They need to be strong, fast and play big, which often -- but not always -- can eliminate shorter wide receivers from this equation.
    • They must be productive, even when opposing defenses are scheming to take them out of the equation; No. 1 receivers can be uncoverable and never come off the field.
    • They must display the above traits with consistency.

    Below is my list of players that I consider to be No. 1 pass-catchers (there are a couple of tight ends on the list), ranked in order from 1-14.

    Stands alone at the top

    1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
    This is just a special player in all areas of his immense game. Already an all-time great, Johnson is the epitome of what a No. 1 receiver truly is. He is one of a kind.

    Who can match up with these two?


    2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
    If healthy, Gronk is the perfect tight end, and frankly, he could be the most impressive tight end who has ever played this game. However, he must stay healthy. He has outstanding size, strength and power. Gronkowski is incredibly versatile, including as a blocker.

    He is the best red-zone weapon in football, scoring 42 touchdowns in his 50 career games; that is a truly astonishing rate.


    3. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
    As evidenced by his league-leading 16 touchdown grabs in 2013, Graham is an absolute scoring machine. He gets in the end zone on deep routes in which he outruns linebackers and safeties, or in close quarters by just being bigger and more gifted than those around him.

    Not much of a blocker, Graham is anything but finesse with the ball in his hands, often initiating contact. This is a great player who was unstoppable last season despite foot issues, and is only getting better.

    Freaks of nature, but a step below Calvin Johnson

    4. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
    Green is a very special player. Long and lean but possessing highly explosive traits, there are few like him throughout the history of this league. And wow, is he smooth. Green isn't the most physical wideout in the league, but the things he does so well are just incredibly difficult to find.

    With a quarterback who was a better deep passer, Green might be the best deep-ball receiver in the league.


    5. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
    This 25-year-old has been a simply dominant player for two seasons now. Only Demaryius Thomas and Graham caught more touchdowns than Bryant last year, despite Bryant being less than 100 percent for much of the campaign. He is also outstanding after the catch and extremely physical with the ball in his hands.

    Dallas' offense should be outstanding in 2014, and let's just say that its defense still needs a lot of work. Expect the Cowboys to be in plenty of high-scoring games. You know what that means? Get Bryant on your fantasy team.


    6. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
    Jones came to the league very raw, but he has a rare combination of size, physicality and power. His movements are aggressive and violent, and he has become a complete receiver. Although he missed much of the year with a foot injury, only Josh Gordon averaged more receiving yards per game in 2013 than Jones.

    He might be noticeably higher on this list one year from now. His time is now.


    7. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
    Despite highly suspect quarterback play, Gordon was the breakout receiver of 2013, accumulating 1,646 receiving yards -- after being suspended for the first two games of the season. He has it all: size, deep speed and great body control. What is frightening -- for opponents -- is that Gordon is only 22 years old, making him the youngest player on this list.


    8. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
    Thomas might be the best receiver in the league after the catch, where he instantly turns into a physical ball carrier with home run abilities. His supporting cast sure helps, but Thomas is a top option on any team, and only Graham caught more touchdowns than Thomas last year.

    He is both a great deep threat as well as a player who can do tons of damage in the screen game. Put him in Oakland or Jacksonville and Thomas is still one of the best wide receivers in the league.


    9. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
    Jeffery didn't eclipse 51 receiving yards in Chicago's first three games and also had three other outings in which he had fewer than 60 yards receiving, but he was utterly dominant against the Saints and Vikings. Still a little up-and-down, the 24-year-old has rare size and body control for such a big man. He also has very strong hands.

    Only Gordon and Calvin Johnson average more yards per catch than Jeffery in 2013. Jeffrey was the Bears' most feared receiver by the end of his second NFL season.

    Oldies but still very goodies

    10. Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
    Drops were a problem for Marshall in 2013, which has been a recurring theme throughout his career, but he caught 100 passes (for the fifth time in his career) and scored 12 touchdowns. Marshall attacks the football in the air and is a very aggressive ball carrier once it is secured.

    Marshall just turned 30 years old, but his style of game should translate for some time, and he is showing zero signs of slowing down.


    11. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
    When I bring up Johnson as a Hall of Fame wide receiver, I get many mixed reactions. I see this guy as a Hall of Famer without question, but also feel that he hasn't quite gotten his proper due over his illustrious career. While Johnson is getting up in age and has never been a big touchdown producer, only five players had more receptions of 20 or more yards than Johnson this past season.

    Obviously, the Texans were awful and the quarterback play was poor in 2013, but Johnson still had a great year. He still has it.


    12. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
    Fitzgerald, a future Hall of Famer, will turn 31 before Week 1, and while he might not be as explosive as he once was or possess blazing speed, he is a master at the position in terms of route running, using his strong frame. It doesn't hurt that Fitzgerald has the best ball skills and hands in the league.

    He is also much tougher than some think, missing just four games in his 10-year career.

    Just ask their quarterbacks if they are No. 1 receivers

    13. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
    With great size for the position, he is often mistaken for a possession weapon, however only three receivers converted more receptions of 20 or more yards last year. His deep speed and big-play ability is vastly underrated, but Nelson also is Aaron Rodgers' go-to target when Rodgers needs a first down and has always proven to be reliable.

    Nelson had his best season in 2013, accumulating over 1,300 receiving yards, and bear in mind that he was playing without Rodgers for much of that time. He isn't a product of the system or his surroundings and would be great in any environment.


    14. Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers
    This is Colin Kaepernick's guy, and the Niners' passing game suffered quite a bit with Crabtree out of the lineup for the first 11 games. But even after that point, Crabtree wasn't himself this past season.

    While he isn't much of a deep threat, Crabtree catches everything and possesses a fantastic "My Ball" mentality. He is also quite effective after the catch. Although he is going into his sixth NFL season, Crabtree is only 26 years old. Expect a huge season from Crabtree in 2014, now that his Achilles tendon is fully healed.

    Close but not quite (alphabetical): Keenan Allen, Antonio Brown, Randall Cobb, Victor Cruz, Vernon Davis, Pierre Garcon, Percy Harvin, DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson, Torrey Smith, Roddy White.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/stor...-johnson-tops-ranking-true-no-1-pass-catchers
     
    #1
    Ramrocket, Prime Time and crazyhorns like this.
  2. jrry32 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Messages:
    6,646
    Likes Received:
    3,355
    IMO, a #1 WR is any WR capable of consistently winning on an island, dictating coverage, and being their team's "go to guy". And they must be capable of doing all this while lined up outside at the X or Z.

    The players I'd consider #1 WRs are...in no order:
    1. Calvin Johnson
    2. Andre Johnson
    3. AJ Green
    4. Josh Gordon
    5. Brandon Marshall
    6. Alshon Jeffery
    7. DeMaryius Thomas
    8. Julio Jones
    9. Dez Bryant
    10. Pierre Garcon
    11. Antonio Brown
    12. Jordy Nelson
    13. Torrey Smith
    14. Reggie Wayne*
    15. Roddy White*
    16. Larry Fitzgerald*
    17. Vincent Jackson
    18. Michael Crabtree

    * - Denotes players that are likely to fall off the list soon due to their age and declining skill-set

    Potential Up and Comers
    1. Justin Blackmon
    2. Keenan Allen
    3. Michael Floyd
    4. T.Y. Hilton
    5. Cecil Shorts
    6. DeAndre Hopkins
    7. Terrance Williams
    8. Marvin Jones
    9. Stedman Bailey
    10. Kenny Stills
     
    #2
    Ramrocket, Prime Time and crazyhorns like this.
  3. Mojo Ram On double secret probation

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    Messages:
    6,003
    Likes Received:
    3,783
    Good posts fellas. Well written and hard to argue with. It's a polarizing but interesting subject(#1 WR talk).
     
    #3
  4. V3 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    892
    I feel a #1 demands the defense to double team them and they are still able able to win. This allows your other WRs better opportunity to be open or with an easier matchup. By having a #1, you make your other WRs much better.
     
    #4
  5. LumberTubs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    296
    Likes Received:
    227
    A #1 WR makes a QB look better too. Think Andy Dalton throwing to AJ Green.
     
    #5
    Mojo Ram likes this.
  6. MerlinJones Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    850
    Likes Received:
    576
    A #1 receiver is nice, but no guarantee for success.

    Other than Reggie Wayne, have any of those receivers played on a championship team?
     
    #6
  7. Memphis Ram Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,812
    Likes Received:
    1,069
    Using their list

    1) Calvin Johnson - 6050, 239 lbs., 33.375 arms, 4.35/40 42 1/2 vertical jump.
    2) Rob Gronkowski - 6062, 258 lbs. 34 1/4" arms, 4.68/40, 33 1/2 vertical.
    3) Jimmy Graham, 6062, 260lbs. 35" arms, 4.53/40, 38 1/2" vertical jump
    4) A.J. Green - 6035, 211 lbs., 34 3/8" arms, 4.48/40, 34 1/2" vertical jump.
    5) Dez Bryant - 6020, 224lbs. 34" arms, 4.52/40, 38" vertical jump
    6) Julio Jones - 6026, 220 lbs., 33 3/4" arms, 4.34/40, 38" vertical jump.
    7) Josh Gordon - 6031, 224, 4.52/40, 33 1/4" arms, 35 1/2 vertical jump.
    8) Demaryius Thomas - 6032, 224, 33" arms, rumored sub 4.4/40
    9) Alshon Jeffrey - 6027, 216, 216, 33" arms, 4.48/40, 36 1/2" vertical jump
    10) Brandon Marshall - 6044, 229, 4.52/4033 32 3/4" arms, 4.52/40,
    11) Andre Johnson- 6020, 230 4.41/40, 41" vertical jump
    12) Larry Fitzgerald - 6027, 225, 4.48/40, 42" vertical jump
    13) Jordy Nelson - 6025, 217, 32 1/2 arm length, 4.51/40, 31" vertical jump
    14) Michael Crabtree - 6013, 215, 34 1/4" arms, unknown 40 and vertical jump

    Comparison
    Sammy Watkins - 6005, 211 lbs, 32" arms, 4.43/40, 34" vertical jump.
     
    #7
  8. V3 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    892
    Very true.
     
    #8
  9. V3 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    2,424
    Likes Received:
    892
    Pretty much all tall WR's. Crabtree(who I'm not sure I'd classify as a #1) is under what I'd call tall but that's subjective.

    Height isn't the end all, be all, but it sure helps if you want to be a #1.
     
    #9
  10. RFIP Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,569
    Likes Received:
    897
    FINALLY we agree!

    Oh and you forgot one name; SAMMY WATKINS

     
    #10
  11. LumberTubs Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    296
    Likes Received:
    227
    You've been banging the drum for Watkins but, genuine question, who would be your second choice if the Rams choose to go in a different direction?
     
    #11
  12. iced Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    4,252
    Likes Received:
    967
    or Josh Gordon and *insert Brown QB here*
     
    #12
    Ramrasta likes this.
  13. tbux Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    369
    Likes Received:
    123


    Not on list that def should be- Welker, S Smith, D Jack,A Brown, Roddy WHite,Garcon

    Watkins then becomes a little more comparable.

    Height is surely an asset- but the 7 I listed have been highly productive without elite height. Every expert out there considers Watkins a top 10 talent for a reason- he can ball!
     
    #13
  14. NJRamsFan Cocaine Cowboy

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Messages:
    1,484
    Likes Received:
    1,307
    Michael Crabtree is a #1 and Desean Jackson isn't? Can't agree with that
     
    #14
    rhinobean and tbux like this.
  15. tbux Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    369
    Likes Received:
    123
    agreed- or S SMith? or Roddy White? Garcon? Welker? A Brown? be real
     
    #15
    NJRamsFan likes this.
  16. RamsFan14 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2013
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    279
    Vincent Jackson and Victor Cruz deserve to be on the list too, but I agree with the subject.

    Having a Sammy Watkins or a Mike Evans would be nice. I think if we want to get one of these guys, best case scenario would be for the Texans to take Clowney and we trade down somewhere in the 5's. Idk, we're 1 month away today!
     
    #16
  17. NJRamsFan Cocaine Cowboy

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Messages:
    1,484
    Likes Received:
    1,307
    Yup. Outside the obvious wrs ( Calvin, etc) this list seems to value measurables more than production
     
    #17
  18. RamsFan14 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2013
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    279
    110 catches out of 165 targets?!?! WOW Big Ben and Antonio Brown are really on the same page! That's really impressive! Makes me feel better that a good WR doesn't have to be at least 6'2. The guy is 5'10 and 25 years old. Pretty impressive.
     
    #18
  19. Mojo Ram On double secret probation

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    Messages:
    6,003
    Likes Received:
    3,783
    It'll be interesting to see how Erick Decker does in NY...and also Demaryius Thomas when Manning retires.
     
    #19
    RamsFan14 likes this.
  20. iced Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    4,252
    Likes Received:
    967
    crabtree is not a #1
     
    #20
    NJRamsFan likes this.