Tim Brown, Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Andre Reed.
Wide Receivers: Isaac Bruce (2020), Marvin Harrison (2016), Calvin Johnson (2021), Randy Moss (2018), Terrell Owens (2018).
Calvin Johnson replaces Tim Brown in regards to the last five Wide Receivers. This changed the averages from 2020. Games Played dropped by over 23m but Approximate Value only dropped by 10.2. AV/G rose by more than 0.03. Pro Bowls dropped by .6, but First Team All-Pros rose by the same amount. Receiving Yards dropped by nearly 600 Yards, but Touchdowns only went down by 3. Receptions dropped by 117.
Johnson replacing Brown brings overall accumulative numbers down though his stellar, though relatively brief career, shows the AV/G increase as a reflection of a higher standard.
Last Year’s Rank 5.
Fitzgerald enters 2021 looking for work, as the only team he ever played for, Arizona, opted not to resign him. He is second all-time in Receiving Yards and Receptions, behind only Jerry Rice, but to put in perspective regards to Receiving Touchdowns, he is still lower than the MPA, despite being sixth all-time. If Fitzgerald’s career is over, and he doesn’t add to his totals, he is still likely a First Ballot Hall of Fame inductee.
Last Year’s Rank 14.
After playing only nine Games in 2020 due to injury, Jones’ run in Atlanta came to an end when he openly sought a trade elsewhere. The seven-time Pro Bowl got his wish, and joins Tennessee this season, and if he is healthy, Pro Bowl number eight could be in his future. He is well over the AV/G in Modern Positional Average, but his cumulative numbers aren’t there yet, but that shouldn’t matter.
Last Year’s Rank 20
We have openly said that Antonio Brown may have acted his way out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with his shenanigans in Oakland and off-field accusations. He still had a lot of football left in him, but needed a miracle, which he got in Tom Brady. Brady recruited Brown, who had to serve an eight-game suspension to start the year, to join him in Tampa Bay, and he became a significant part of their offense, and even recorded a Touchdown in their Super Bowl win. Despite having the stats already, Brown is in a Terrell Owens position where he would have to add another 3,000 Yards and maybe a Super Bowl so that his detractors could not keep him out - unless another off-field scandal makes it impossible to put him in.
Last Year’s Rank #44.
Before last season started, the Texans made what everyone thought was a bonehead trade when they sent Hopkins to Arizona. Hopkins agreed, and went to his fifth Pro Bowl and cracked the 10,000 Yard mark. He is still under 30 and has a top QB in Kyler Murray, so there is still room to achieve the lofty expectations that a Wide Receiver needs to accomplish in this era.
Last Year’s Rank 32.
Green missed the entire 2019 season due to injury and it derailed not only a run of seven straight Pro Bowls, but possibly an All-Decade spot. In his comeback season, Green barely cracked 500 Yards, and he departed Cincinnati for Arizona. We will see what he can do with his new Quarterback, Kyler Murray, and he may have to go the role of compiler to get an induction. 2020 was a pivotal year and it didn’t go well. He still has time, but 2021 becomes more crucial for a bust in Canton.
Last Year’s Rank #53.
Hill might have had some off-field issues (and character matters more and more with the Hall) but when you perform well it washes away a lot of the criticism. Now a three-time First Team All-Pro (though one was a Returner) and All-Decade Selection (also as a Returner), Hill is over the MPA for AV/G, and has matched First Team All-Pros. He is clearly at his peak and is on the rise.
Last Year’s Rank #49.
In 2019, Thomas made history as the Wide Receiver (the first being Jerry Rice) to win the Offensive Player of the Year Award. A high ankle sprain kept Thomas to only seven Games in 2020, and he only had 438 Yards with no Touchdowns. This is a setback, but Thomas will be called on to do a lot in 2021, and still has a higher AV/G then the MPA, which says an awful lot.
Last Year’s Rank #73.
Evans has been the top Wide Receiver for the Buccaneers for the last few seasons, and the three-time Pro Bowl Selection now has Tom Brady as his Quarterback. He has quietly climbed over 8,000 Yards, is still young, and could keep piling up the stats, buy a First Team All-Pro would really help. Notably, Evans has never had a year where did not crack four digits in Receiving Yards.
Last Year’s Rank #58.
Hilton is coming off back-to-back average seasons and is well under the AV/G. He is a former leader in Receiving Yards (1,448 in 2016), but that seems like a generation ago. Hilton now has his third Quarterback in the past three years, and he has a lot of work to do just to get to 10,000 Receiving Yards, a mark he would have been projected to hit early last year.
Last Year’s Rank #63.
A member of the 10,000 Yard Receiving Club, Jackson has to take the path of a compiler as he was close to the top tier of Wide Receivers, but never really was one. It also does not help that he has only 395 Yards the last two years due to injuries. The Rams took a chance on him for 2021, and he needs a monster campaign to put his name back in consideration. After that, he will need another.
Last Year’s Rank #95.
Adams is on a four-year streak of Pro Bowls, and last year he led the NFL in Receiving Touchdowns (18), while earning his first First Team All-Pro. During the off-season, it looked like Adams would no longer be with his longtime QB, Aaron Rodgers, but the devastating combination will be back together in 2021, and that helps Adams immensely for his Hall of Fame resume.
Last Year’s Rank #82.
An eight-year veteran, Allen went to the last four Pro Bowls, has had four 1,000-Yard seasons, but he has never been a First Team All-Pro. He is in his prime now, but his “peak” needs to see higher production.
Last Year’s Rank #62.
OBJ’s three Pro Bowls were in his first three seasons, and while his last Pro Bowl was in 2016, Beckham’s did have1,000-Yard plus seasons in 2018 and 2019. He did not have a good 2021, playing only seven Games due to injury, and only accruing 319 Yards, but his popularity is still strong, which doesn’t hurt. Nevertheless, he needs to show what he once was, and at under 30, he still has time.
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Last Year’s Rank #71.
Landry has been named to the Pro Bowl five years straight (2015-19) but in that half-decade, the Wide Receiver was never considered the top shelf of wideouts. Regardless of that fact, Landry led the NFL in Receptions in 2017 (112), and is still considered a player who could emerge in the top group. He has never had a sub-par year, but never a top-three campaign either. Out of all the active Wide Receivers, Landry is the one that intrigues us the most.
Last Year’s Rank #84.
Cooper has been a Pro Bowl Selection in four of his six seasons, but has never been an All-Pro, be it First Team or Second Team. This appears to us that Cooper might have to go the route of a compiler, but that road has yielded Hall of Famers before.
Last Year’s Rank #Unranked.
After five good years with Minnesota, many pundits wondered how Diggs would perform in Buffalo, but they need not have worried. Last season, he led the NFL in Receiving Yards, Receptions and was a First Team All-Pro.
Last Year’s Rank #137.
After back-to-back Pro Bowls, Thielen had a poor 2019, though he rebounded in 2020, it was not as good as he had done before. He will have to get back to that level again for any fringe Hall of Fame hope to survive.
Last Year’s Rank #Unranked.
Brown had a breakthrough year in 2020 on an explosive Tennessee offense.
Last Year’s Rank #Unranked.
Metcalf has only played two years but he has emerged as the prime target of Russell Wilson. This can’t hurt him.
Last Year’s Rank #145.
Smith-Shuster is arguably more famous than his skill (that awesome name helps!), but this is the top Wide Receiver on a high-name team. Juju could easily rocket up this list as easy as he could fall completely off of it.