Top 10 in 2014: The best wide receivers in the NFL today

Credit: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

Typically speaking, sports fans tend to worry about two things – the past and the future. They’ll debate who was the greatest player of all-time, while also spending hours discussing whether or not a rookie is going to be develop into an All-Pro.

Both are fun exercises, things that keep fans engaged and the beer flowing at the local tavern. But they miss out on what is most important – the present.

Forget about yesterday. Never mind tomorrow. Let’s talk about today.

Who are the best players in the NFL right now? Who can help a team win the Super Bowl this season? Who is writing a legacy with each passing week?

Those are the questions the editors at cover32 seek to answer in this series, “Top 10 in 2014.” In the coming weeks, every positions – as well as head coach, general manager and other off-field areas – will be graded, evaluated and ranked.

The series continues with a position that is deeper than any other in the NFL – wide receiver. As teams pass the ball more and more, they are stacking their rosters with more and more people to catch the pigskin; it results in an abundance of great wideouts. Narrowing it down to the top 10 was a tricky proposition.

Let the debate begin!


10. Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown
Brown put up monster numbers in relative anonymity

Few people would guess that the Steelers wide receiver finished second in the NFL last year in both receptions and receiving yards, an impressive feat for any pass catcher. Given the fact that Brown toils in Pittsburgh, a place typically associated more with defense and running the football than aerial attacks, he tends to slip under the radar a bit. But entering his fifth season, the 5-foot-10, 185-pounds wideout is one of the game’s best pass catchers.

9. T.Y. Hilton

T.Y. and Luck have formed a dynamic duo

In a world all-too-often dominated by fantasy stats, which tend to over-inflate the value of some players while diminishing others, Hilton isn’t typically considered an upper-echelon receiver. That’s what comes with only scoring five touchdowns in 2013. But as Andrew Luck gets more and more comfortable at the pro level, it’s becoming obvious that Hilton is his go-to wideout. Last year, with Reggie Wayne injured, he stepped up and proved he was a No. 1 guy.


    • I figure Gordon was left off due to the threat of suspension. The title is “Top 10 of 2014”, so if he’s not on the field it’s hard to be top 10.
      I see your point on the other two though, if Fitzgerald makes the list as a lifetime achievement award, why doesn’t Johnson?
      Antonio Brown is a good receiver, but really, Big Ben makes his receivers look better than they are.
      I figure Cruz will draw the ire of some people, but he almost had 1,000 yards last year in the Giants garbage offense, and had almost 1,500 each year prior. He is somewhat of a slot specialist, but I think one can make a decent argument for his inclusion. What about Welker though, he’s the best slot receiver in the league, and yeah he’s played with Brady and Manning, but still.
      I’d put Dez at 4 because he’s got a much better QB than Green or Gordon (who I think will miss some time, but like Von Miller last year will avoid getting suspended for the year), and of course Megatron is the man.

      • i agree that Gordon is off this list for suspension but no way I would put AJ or Marshall behind Julio and Dez. Julio drops too many passes and Dez isn’t always there when you need him but they would fit in nicely at 4 and 5 unless you argue D. Thomas is in the argument. I like that top 5. I’m a big fan of A Johnson and Fitzgerald but they’re getting older but both should be there on this list. TY? not yet. this list isn’t that bad though.

      • Gordon is deff a top3wr after what he did in Cleveland last year, and as much as I don’t like the steelers Antonio brown is a great WR without him the steelers would have been really bad last season. hard not to put andre Johnson on this list with how he plays every season and no good QB. I would like to see AJ Green ahead of Julio Jones their both amazing but I think green does a lot more with all the attention on him the falcons have had roddy white Tony G even hary douglas and Matt Ryan at QB who is head and shoulders above Andy Dalton.

    • Once I saw Hilton on there I saw that it’s another way to kill a day before Football starts. Hey these guys do pretty well trying to be creative and keep us reading. Every once in a while you read a list with T.Y. Hilton and you see they can’t always post a great article. T.Y. Hilton…Good One!!!!!!

      • Nick, keep your post putting T.Y.Hilton down and read it again in a couple of years. You might be in for surprise. This guy is the best kept secret in the NFL. The guy is a phenomenal wide receiver, but few people follow his progress.

        • Artie, ss it clearly stated in the article description, we aren’t talking about who’s better in 2-3 years, this is a discussion about the present. and there is NO WAY anybody who knows football could POSSIBLY sound credible saying T.Y. Hilton is better than Josh Gordon or Andre Johnson or even Pierre Garcon. This is a bogus list. Just ask yourself, if your in a 2014 single season fantasy pool, are you REALLY gonna take T.Y. Hilton over any of those 3?? if you’re answer is yes, then you’re either clearly illogically rooted in your position or you don’t mind donating your money to the pool.

    • I agree about Gordon. Everyone is forgetting that Gordon was suspended for two games before beginning his reign as the best receiver in the 2013/2014 season. Add that to the fact he had Weeden, Campbell and Hoyer throwing him the ball, he should definitely be considered top five.

  1. No way Julio, even considering this a Falcon pub, he barely makes the top 10. Best of the best, Calvin, AJ, A Brown, Gordon, Alston, A Johnson, Dez, Fitz, then Roddy or Julio. Nice try, no go

    • Julio is top 3 for potential but one healthy season doesn’t make a top 10 receiver in my book. Probably not even top 15.

    • No way Julio? He is probably the best wide receiver in football other than Calvin. He’s better than Dez and a but better than AJ Green in my opinion. He was hurt last year but will come back this year and finish in the top 3 in nearly every category. Guy is a monster. TY Hilton is good too but I agree not better than Andre Johnson . I also agree Welker gets on in front of Cruz. I like but Welker is better

    • sorry got that wrong there’s no way Jordy Nelson is above Brandon Marshall or even a ashlon Jeffrey at this point of time

      • Considering B Marshall had 15 more catches and 4 more touchdowns last year than Jordy NelsonAnd Jordy had more yards per catch more yards per game more total yards more 20+yards receiving plays higher catch per attempt less drops per attempt .I would say he is way better than Jefferies and slightly better than Marshall oh yeah did I mention all while playing 4 less games with his starting QB.

        • Brandon Marshall had more catches and touchdowns, Nelson had more yards all the rest is you saying the same stat just in different ways its like me saying Brandon Marshall had more “receptions per game” and more “TDs per game” yes Nelson had more yards and fewer receptions, so yes he had more yards, more yards per game, more yards per reception… But if you value yards over TDs and recptions… Jeffery had more catches, yards, and more yards per reception than Nelson (and only one fewer TD). Jordy Nelson was the Packers on option at WR, he had a good year, but he isn’t better than Marshall (who had a better year than Nelson last year, and has done it year after year after year) or Jeffery who if you want to make it only about last year, even with splitting receptions with Marshall beat Nelson in almost every measurable stat.

    • Seriously, Jordy never gets the recognition he deserves. He’s probably not No.3, but I would definitely take Nelson over Brown and Hilton. No questions.

    • 1 Calvin Johnson 2 aj green 3 dez 4 Gordon 5 Wes welker 6. Larry Fitzgerald 7 Andre Johnson 8 bowe 9 stieve Johnson 9 brown

      • So Andre, Bowe lol, and Stevie wtf Johnson are better than Demaryius and Julio? Would love to be in your fantasy league

  2. Desean and Jordy should both be on the list based on a highly productive 2013. I see no reason why they wouldnt be able to duplicate, or at least come close to last years production. Also, TY Hilton should not on this list.

  3. 10.Larry Fitzgerald
    09.Reggie Wayne
    08.Jordy Nelson
    07.Julio Jones
    06.Dez Bryant
    05.Anquan Boldin
    04.Andre Johnson
    03.AJ Green
    02.Brandon Marshall
    01.Calvin Johnson

    My list is based on not just stats, but intangibles and who I would want playing for my team.

  4. 10. Alshon Jeffery
    9. Andre Johnson
    8. Larry Fitzgerald
    7. Dez Bryant
    6. Anquan Boldin
    5. AJ Green
    4. Reggie Wayne
    3. Julio Jones
    2. Brandon Marshall
    1. Calvin Johnson

    The list should be based on career totals not last season

  5. The only thing that seem to be consistent in Calvin Johnson is #1 and I guess everyone else is debatable where they fall. Go Cowboys !

  6. Last time I checked Gordon hasn’t been suspended for any games – so to leave him off even for 2014 is premature (if not stupid). It destroys any legitimacy of the list.

    • Umm.. what? Gordon missed the first two games of last season because of a suspension. This season he may not even take the field. Player availability plays a factor into considering who the best players are.

      • Gordon missed 2 games and still was the leading receiver in the league. Also, he did not have an NFL quality QB throwing to him all season. Oh yeah, and the Browns did not even have a running game. But Gordon is not one of the top 10? If it wouldn’t be for the possibility of suspension, he should be at the top of this list

      • Gordon missed 2 games and still was the leading receiver in the league. Also, he did not have an NFL quality QB throwing to him all season. Oh yeah, and the Browns did not even have a running game. But Gordon is not one of the top 10? If it wouldn’t be for the possibility of suspension, he should be at the top of this list. And if player availability was factored in, why was Gronk #2 on the tight ends top 10 list?

  7. How is it the Vincent Jackson is not on here but, victor Cruz, t.y.Hilton, and Antonio Brown is. come off of the juice people. He makes everyone around him better, not like these others. It goes to show that who ever is in the slot for NY is going to get the ball. remember Steve Smith. everyone thought he was the best as well, then he left NY and took a nose dive off the deep end. We will see what this list looks like come next year. or come fantasy league draft time. I’m a Buc’s fan, but I thought this way about Vincent Jackson when he played for the Chargers….. time will tell… Go BUC’s

  8. There are going to be a whole lot of surprised sports reporters out there – – if you are talking 2014 Percy Harvin will be one of the top 3 wide receivers – – now that reporters have labeled Seahawks receivers as “pedestrian” they will be putting on a show!

    • Riley Cooper will surprise a lot of folks and be #1 in 2014, Jordy Nelson is the most physically gifted, but he lacks Cooper’s passion and should be #2. Wes Welker slips in at #3, Edelman is #4 and Joe Jacoby rounds out the top 5. After that it’s anybody’s guess.

  9. Seems like every time I see Dez he makes one great catch and two easy drops. If you make more than 4-5 easy drops in a season you do not belong on this list.

  10. any list where Antonio Brown is no lower than 5th is a farce. Name the other starting WR’s on last years team. We will see how Jordy Nelson, Riley Cooper and a few other guys do when they are double teamed and schemed against in every game.

  11. percy harvin has potential to be on this list and very high but I wouldn’t put him on there yet only reason I want him to shut everyone up about not being able to stay healthy if I was confident with that he is either 2nd or 3rd on my list obviously behind the king megatron

  12. I do not know why D. Bowe is miffed about not being on the list–what exactly has he done to deserve it anyway? One more year to prove himself, or he probably parts ways with the Chiefs (given his off the field stuff; not a good distraction for the team)

  13. Back to back 200 yd games receiving. Huh. Any the guys on the list manage to ever do that? I guess Gordon needs to rape or kill somebody to play in the NFL. Oh and Lance Armstrong also sucked as a bicycle racers. Pete Rose couldn’t play baseball.

  14. Andre Johnson was 3rd in receptions only 4 behind the leader…He was 7th in yards…He did this with absolute trash at qb…Insane to say he isn’t top 10 right now…

  15. What kind of credible 2014 list could possibly leave out Josh Gordon… until he’s officially suspended for the season, he should be top 5 on EVERYBODY’S list. 1) Megatron 2) Dez Bryant 3) Julio Jones 4) AJ Green 5) Josh Gordon. BAM!

  16. Josh Gordon hello? If he gets suspended for marijuana I hope and pray some of us will revolt against that policy. Not a performance enhancing drug — if the NFL is going to force us to watch homosexual make-out sessions (as in they’re moving into the 21st Century) then time for the NFL to stop the madness with the use of a plant designed by God.

  17. Andre Johnson is the best receiver in the state of Texas. Bryant is ranked way too high on this list. Maybe top 10, but no way should he be ahead of Julio Jones, AJ Green or Demaryius Thomas.

  18. 1. Calvin
    2. AJ
    3. Marshall
    4. Dez
    5. Gordon
    6. Demaryius
    7. Julio (could be #2, but injury sets him back for now)
    8. Welker
    9-11. Alshon, Jordy, Antonio Brown (no order)

  19. Every once in a while I take a look at a sports article to view the comment section and see what has all the fake men in our country so uptight. Today its about ranking NFL receivers. You guys do realize people are dying overseas fighting illegal wars, the privately owned Federal Reserve is stealing from you through the income tax system, the federal government is illegally collecting data on you and can indefinitely detain you under NDAA just under the suspicion of domestic terrorism. I could go on but hey lets move on to more pressing matters and rank the quarterbacks now. The reason this nation is circling the drain is because you guys are waaaaay too distracted with mindless, meaningless sports fantasies. Man up.

  20. Andre Johnson is a top 5, how can you leave him out of a top ten list? Alshon Jeffries is also one of the best. T Y is good, but not top ten yet.

  21. the one thing I see consistent in all of these comments are that Andre Johnson should be on this list. I agree not just because im a fan but because the truth is the truth no legit QB all these years and he still gets his numbers and impacts the game. jennings , nelson and some of the others that you guys are blurting out dont come close to top 10 especially when you follow them the whole season as a fantasy player, those guys are hit and miss. Andre is a sure thing 90% of the time still.