In today’s article I’m going to be building the perfect NFL wide receiver by breaking down a variety of skill sets and selecting the best NFL wide receiver at each skill set to create an unstoppable receiver.
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Size: Mike Evans has the perfect size for an NFL receiver. At 6’5 and 230 lbs, Evans has the height to go up and catch the football and the ability to ward off defenders using his big frame. That’s why Evans’ size is a perfect mismatch nightmare for defenders.
Best Hands: DeAndre Hopkins is known for his hands. They allow him to catch the football anywhere on the field, in any coverage, and in any situation. Thus, having DeAndre Hopkins’ hands is a dream for any wide receiver.
Red Zone Effectiveness: In 2019, Michael Thomas ranked first in red zone receptions and third in touchdown catches. The perfect wide receiver has to be an elite red zone machine and Michael Thomas is just that. His strength, physicality, and drive make him perfect in short yardage situations. Those assets would make any receiver elite, and they certainly make Thomas a force in the red zone.
Speed: Tyreek Hill is a game breaker. Although he isn’t the record holder for the fastest 40 yard dash time, that doesn’t mean he’s not an elite speed guy. Hill is constantly clocked as one of the fastest wideouts in the NFL, and that speed helps take the top off the defense, space defenses out, and spread the field, which are all essential for modern day offenses.
Route Running: Davante Adams is one of the NFL’s best route runners. In 2019, he ranked 12th in average yards of separation per target between him and the nearest defensive player. Adams ran a 40 time in the high 4.5s, which shows just how good Adams is at creating space for himself using timing, footwork, and creativity.
Athleticism: Julio Jones is an athletic freak. There’s no denying that for his size he’s got great speed and athletic ability. That athleticism has kept Jones at the top of the NFL’s wideouts for the past decade. Jones’ athletic ability makes him nearly unguardable because he can beat you with speed, size, and physicality. Who doesn’t want that in an NFL wideout?
Strength: DK Metcalf is ridiculous. When it comes to pure muscle, Metcalf is the first guy to come to mind. Supposedly with less than 2% body fat, Metcalf is able to break through tackles and simply outmuscle defenders. Those skills would be good with any receiver.
50/50 Catch Potential: Kenny Golladay is one of the best 50/50 jump ball wideouts in the NFL. In 2019, Golladay ranked seventh in coming down with contested catches and first in receiving touchdowns. Just throw the ball up to Golladay and that’s not a 50/50 ball, it’s a Lions touchdown.
Body Control: OBJ is one of the most athletic players in all of football. Yet, his greatest assets are his one handed catch potential and his insane ability to control his body while in the air. Throughout OBJ’s career, he’s been able to make a great play on the football and still have the awareness and physical ability to control his body and come down with two feet in bounds for a highlight reel toe tap catch. Being able to control your body while airborne is a great skill to have, and nobody’s better at it than OBJ.
YAC Ability: Robert Woods last season ranked second in yards after the catch. Woods isn’t a flashy receiver, but what he lacks in swag, he makes up for in consistency, efficiency, and yards after the catch ability. When Woods catches a simple slant for seven yards, he’s able to be slippery in open space and make guys miss to pick up a crucial first down. Adding yards after the catch is a nice luxury to have in any receiver, and Woods is a guy who’s certainly up there among the NFL’s best at it.
Durability: Larry Fitzgerald has only missed five games in the first sixteen years of his career. When you have a true number one receiver on your team like Fitzgerald has been for Arizona, the most important thing is for them to be on the field week in and week out, year in and year out, for years and years. Being healthy in a league filled with injuries and having the longevity to play for over ten seasons are both vital for any team looking for a long term player at not just wide receiver but any position.