A few weeks ago, the NFL Network released their top 100 players, voted on by some NFL players.
Antonio Brown made it onto the list, finishing as the 23rd best player of 2013.
Only four receivers were voted ahead of Brown (Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Josh Gordon, Andre Johnson).
I disagree with their rankings some, so I decided to see where Brown falls for me, based on a few different tiers.
A few notes before I start—I based my rankings off a few different things: Pedigree, stats, and how hard each receiver is to defend.
Let the debate begin!
TIER 1: Megatron
Megatron. Don Mega. CJ. The man of many names, Calvin Johnson has been the best receiver in the league for the past half-decade.
At 6’5. 240 pounds, Johnson can out-physical most cornerbacks and run by them with his 4.3 speed.
If you were to build the prototype wide receiver in a science lab, Johnson would the model. He can do it all and has.
I don’t need to waste any more time telling you about how good Johnson is. You already know.
The Young Studs : Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, A.J. Green, Julio Jones
The 2010 and 2011 infused the NFL with young wide receiver talent. In those two classes alone, it produced Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Randall Cobb, Torrey Smith, Eric Decker and many more.
But those first four names are the ones who crack this tier.
Between Bryant, Thomas and Green, they racked up 283 catches for 4,089 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2013.
And yet, Julio Jones started his 2013 year off even hotter than those three before he was sidelined for the year due to a foot injury.
These four players are bona fide number one receivers are the young guns who are going to dominate the league for the next 10+ years.
Ole Reliable: Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Vincent Jackson, Roddy White
Between these five wide receivers, they have caught well over 300 touchdowns and been selected to 27 Pro Bowls.
All five of these wide outs have been solid, robust number one targets for their teams for years.
Although a few are on the back-nine of their career, they are still some of the best in the game.
Mixed Bag: Alshon Jeffery, Josh Gordon, Jordy Nelson
For Antonio Brown fans, this will probably be the most debated group.
Alshon Jeffery and Josh Gordon both broke out in 2013, posting career highs in catches, yards and touchdowns.
Both Jeffery and Gordon profile as elite “X” wide receivers who must be game planned for.
As for Jordy Nelson and his new fat contract, he has always put up high yardage totals and has 30 touchdowns over the past 3 seasons, despite missing four games.
Nelson is an elite wide receiver who rarely gets mentioned with guys like Brandon Marshall and Andre Johnson, but he is a difference maker at the receiver position.
Tiny Terrors: Antonio Brown, Victor Cruz, Randall Cobb
Finally, we get to Antonio Brown. Is this too low for Brown?
Maybe, but all three of these receivers have put up big yardage years once are still looking to do so again.
Brown also fits in this tier well because of his height and play-style. Brown, Cruz and Cobb can all line up in multiple spots, but all do their best work out of the slot.
If Brown has another similar year to 2013, he will be considered an elite wide receiver by me and everyone else.
Agree with my rankings? Who is too high and who is too low? Comment below or contact me @Marcus_Mosher on Twitter. Football season can’t come soon enough!