Predicting the top wide receivers headed into 2017
NFL Columnist Brendan Young continues his ‘Top 5: 2017 Preseason Edition’ series by evaluating the top wide receivers headed into the new season.
5. Amari Cooper / Oakland Raiders
Surprise surprise, a former SEC wide out makes it onto the list, you’ll start to see a trend. Cooper is at 5 now, but there’s no reason he can’t rise to 2 by the end of the season. Entering his prime, with an offense and team on the rise, the sky is the limit for our boy Amari.
4. A.J. Green / Cincinnati Bengals
Green is just another one of those guys that has that perfect combination of size and skill and that’s what makes him so scary. Yes, last year was a little bit of a down year for him BUT he missed 6 games and still caught 66 passes and almost eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the 6th time in his career. I expect him to bounce back if healthy.
3. Odell Beckham Jr. / New York Giants
OBJ has been nothing but a freaking human highlight reel since he’s entered the NFL. I’m sure everyone remembers the catch against the Cowboys his rookie season or the catch against the Skins this past season, or the 100 other insane catches he’s made. I could go through and name all of the records he has so far or the one’s he’s probably going to break, but I’m not going to. What I can tell you is, there’s at least 10 of them. I’ve never seen a guy run a slant so fast and simply outrun the whole defense for a 50 plus yard touchdown like he can.
2. Antonio Brown / Pittsburgh Steelers
A former 6th round draft pick established himself as a top WR very quickly. I couldn’t tell you the last time he caught under 100 balls (it was actually 2012 but seriously that was five years ago). Last season he caught 106 passes for 1,284 yard and 12 touchdowns. I can see some of his targets dropping off due to Martavis Bryant returning and drafting JuJu Smith-Schuster but that doesn’t mean he’s going to slow down.
1. Julio Jones / Atlanta Falcons
Julio is nothing short of a freak of nature, at 6’3 220 pounds (also running a 4.39 when he came out of Alabama in 2011) he is a mismatch in every way possible. In 2016 he averaged 17 yards per catch and ended the season with 83 catches, 1,409 yards and 6 touchdowns. With an MVP at QB, and being in his prime, those numbers are going to be up even more.
Mike Evans (TB)
Jordy Nelson (GB)
T.Y. Hilton (IND)
Dez Bryant (DAL)
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)