The NFL regular season opener is one week away, just a little reminder to keep you guys foaming at the mouths. In exactly 5 days we'll get the beginning of what I believe will be an amazing season, orchestrated by some of the most talented players that we have come accustomed to viewing. So in a celebration like mood, I will be ranking the best offensive skill players by position in the NFL. However this is not the same old simple 1-10, the rules are different. So here is the criteria for Gold and Silver players.
Gold Players: Plays at an elite-championship level, determines the outcome of a game based of his performance, creates mismatches for multiple players, is a premiere weapon on the field, & is rated in the upper level of his position.
Silver Players: Plays at an elite-championship level, impacts a game based of his performance, can't be eliminated by 1 vs 1 coverage, is a featured weapon on the field, & is rated in towards the mid-level of his position.
Gold Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Wes Welker, Brandon Marshall, & Roddy White
- Calvin Johnson was a beast last season, and will be a beast this season. His numbers were a reflection of his great play with 1,681 yds, and 16 tds. With young gun slinger Matthew Stafford looking primed to repeat the success he had, look for Megatron to make double and triple coverages look silly again.
- Larry Fitzgerald is breathing down Megatron's neck for the title of best receiver. Fitz is one of the most dominant players the NFL has to offer, and without a cemented QB in Arizona since Kurt Warner he still puts up big numbers. Last season he had another good season with 1,411 yds, and 8 tds. If the Cardinals fix the QB situation expect another pro-bowl year from Larry Fitz.
- Andre Johnson had a down season last year with only 492 yds, and 2 tds. Injury plagued his season, and also his QB Matt Schaub. However when healthy he also rivals the likes of Megatron, and Larry Fitzgerald. If his health can stay on the positive side along with Matt Schaub look for him to have a great year.
- Wes Welker isn't 6-3, with a vertical that rivals most prime time NBA players like the others on this list. However at 5'9, reliable hands and arguably the quickest moves of any receiver Welker is one of the best the NFL has to offer. Last season Tom Brady's favorite target had 1,569 yds, and 9 tds. Along with those nice numbers he led the NFL in receptions with 122. Welker will without a doubt have another pro-bowl season.
- Brandon Marshall is and has been one of the best wide receivers the NFL for quite some time now. He like Fitz had a shaky QB situation last season in Miami. Despite that he had a pro-bowl type year with 1,214 yds, and 6 tds. Now that he is reunited with gun slinger Jay Cutler in Chicago look for his numbers to greatly increase. Which is something the NFC North should fear.
- Roddy White is one of the more consistent receivers in the NFL. He had another pro-bowl season last year as he racked up 1,296 yds, and 8 tds. He was second in the NFL in receptions with 100. He may take a hit in production with the development of fellow wide receiver Julio Jones, but with Matt Ryan at the helm look for White to have another positive year.
Silver Wide Receivers: Marques Colston, Victor Cruz, Jordy Nelson, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, & Vincent Jackson
- Marques Colston uses his big frame to his advantage, and that is what makes him a top notch receiver in the NFL. Last season Drew Brees's top target racked up on 1,143 yds, and 8 tds. This season he will be the top target for Brees once again, and with the absence of Head coach Sean Peyton it'll be interesting to see how that affects the connection.
- Victor Cruz shocked the NFL universe last season. Not only did he burst unto the scene but he solitified himself as a top wide receiver, broke New York Giants records, and helped form one of the deadliest wide receiver combos in the NFL with fellow receiver Hakeem Nicks. Cruz instantly became a fan favorite, and alot of that had to do with his 1,536 yds, and 9 tds. Look for the Eli Manning to Victor Cruz connection to flourish even more this season as he tries to prove he is more than a one hit wonder.
- Jordy Nelson had a great season last year being MVP Aaron Rodger's top target. With his great route running, and exceptional moves in the open field Nelson racked up 1,263 yds, and 15 tds. With Aaron Rodgers looking like himself, and no threat of facing double coverage due to the presence of fellow receiver Greg Jennings I have no doubt in my mind Nelson is going to have another great season.
- Steve Smith has been one of the most dynamic receivers the NFL has to offer for quite some time. However he's never had a franchise QB...until now. With the arrival of talented Cam Newton last season Smith saw a big upgrade, and benifited greatly. Last season the speedster had 1,394 yds, and 7 tds. It'll be interesting to see more of the Cam to Steve connection this season.
- Hakeem Nicks is the talented second half of the deadly combo for the New York Giants receiving core. Last season he had 1,192 yds, and 7 tds. With an almost instant connection with Cruz that benifited QB Eli Manning greatly, especially in the playoffs where Nicks was arguably the most productive receiver. Going into this season Nicks will go right back at it, and should have another pro-bowl season under his belt.
- Vincent Jackson had a rough off season in regards to his contract last season. Despite some missed early mishaps Jackson had 1,106 yds, and 9 tds. He's one of the strongest receivers in the NFL, and his play making ability is top shelf. Now on a new team with a young QB in Josh Freeman he'll look to get things going in a positive way. All indications point to them making a nice start in their new connection.
Thanks for reading the Gold & Silver rankings for the WRs. Tomorrow will be the last skill position rankings on offense concluding with the Tight Ends.
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