In today’s pass-happy NFL, where Dan Marino’s passing yards record is within reach by Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady one has to wonder; who are the guys these quarterbacks are throwing the ball to? Let’s count down the Top 5 Wide Receiving Corps in the NFL today:
5. New York Giants
Studs: Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz
Role Players: Mario Manningham, Jake Ballard
Welcome to the offense, Victor Cruz. This guy has developed into a beast, and is now a Top 5 WR in the league. Hakeem Nicks is a proven playmaker, and they give Eli Manning legit downfield threats every play. Jake Ballard has more than done his part replacing Kevin Boss at tight end. Don’t forget Mario Manningham, who has been solid but marred by injury as well this season. Now if only they had an offensive coördinator that had a clue how to use this potentially dangerous unit.
4. New Orleans Saints
Studs: Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham
Role Players: Robert Meachem, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson
Drew Brees knows how to spread the ball around. And he has one hell of a group to throw to. Just look at his crazy stats this season. Jimmy Graham, for all intents and purposes, is the best tight end in football. Marques Colston has been Brees’ go to guy for years, and Lance Moore and Devery Henderson can line up anywhere and make plays on any route. Henderson could be a solid 2 on any other squad, and his numbers are way down. That’s saying something about how good this offense is.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Studs: Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown
Role Players: Hines Ward, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Heath Miller
In my opinion, “Young Money” is deep as any team in the league in terms of targets for Ben Roethlisberger. They have slowly become a pass-first team, which is a trend I see continuing. Mike Wallace is a Top 5 wideout, and Antonio Brown has exploded onto the scene. Coupled with a healthy Emmanuel Sanders (who many say is better than Brown), consistent slot-man Cotchery, underrated tight end Miller, and future Hall of Famer Hines Ward, and I see Roethlisberger’s stats elevating him into élite status in the coming years to go with his winning legacy.
2. Dallas Cowboys
Studs: Dez Bryant, Miles Austin
Role Players: Laurent Robinson, Jason Witten
As long as Tony Romo stays consistent, this unit can be lethal. Laurent Robinson has been an absolute touchdown machine throughout the duration of Miles Austin’s unfortunate injury, and Dez Bryant may be the most physically freakish receiver in the league behind Calvin Johnson. Jason Witten is still a top tight end as well. However, they will only go as far as Tony Romo’s right arm will take them. But there is no lack of talent in Arlington.
1. Green Bay Packers
Studs: Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson
Role Players: James Jones, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver
MVP front-runner Aaron Rodgers is the master of spreading the ball around, so some of these guys haven’t even reached their full potential, namely tight end Jermichael Finley. And where the hell did Jordy Nelson come from? I find it amazing that James Jones barely gets 3-4 catches a game, and seems to score every time he touches the pigskin. Jennings is Rodgers’ go to guy, can successfully execute any route, and has hands of glue. Throw in reliable veteran Donald Driver and it’s no surprise Green Bay’s offense has been unstoppable, literally.