It is no secret that the quarterback position has taken a dip over the past few years. With more attention given to running backs, wide receivers have had to learn how to adapt and shine in new ways. This ranking will give an overview of five legends who not only made their mark on NFL history but also helped redefine what it meant for them at each of their respective positions.
The “best wide receivers of all time” is a list that ranks the top 5 wide receivers in NFL history. The list includes Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.
After 22 illustrious seasons in the NFL, Tom Brady is contemplating retiring. The GOAT and his family are seriously contemplating retiring after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Divisional Round of the NFC Playoffs and playing like an MVP for most of the season.
Brady will, in fact, retire, according to various sources. However, the great quarterback has yet to make an official announcement, and there have been some contradicting stories. Perhaps the information was released a little too soon. Perhaps he’ll continue to play indefinitely.
In any case, what better opportunity to reflect on Brady’s career and recall some of his best wide receivers? These five guys are legends in their own way because of what they were able to achieve with Brady, whether he retires this summer or next.
Deion Branch, No. 5
The New England Patriots’ Deion Branch #84 celebrates a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Tom Brady’s favorite wide receiver was Branch | Getty Images/Gregory Shamus
Deion Branch was selected in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots primarily to be a weapon for Tom Brady, who had just won his first Super Bowl with the team the previous season.
Branch proved to be a regular downfield target for Brady and eventually one of his favorites, particularly in big games, at a period when high-flying offense wasn’t Bill Belichick’s style.
In New England’s Super Bowl 38 victory against the Carolina Panthers, Branch was targeted 13 times and caught 10 catches for 143 yards and a score. Brady targeted Branch 12 times in Super Bowl 39, and the shrewd wideout hauled in 11 passes for 133 yards and Super Bowl MVP honors.
Branch played with the Patriots for seven seasons, with a stop in Seattle in the midst of the first four and the final three. Brady threw him 28 touchdown passes, four of which came in the playoffs.
Julian Edelman is number four.
Julian Edelman was one of Brady’s most reliable targets, and although he’ll never be considered an all-time great statistically, the bond he and Brady built was both memorable and legendary.
Edelman spent his entire 11-year career with New England, and he spent 10 of those seasons with Brady as his quarterback. He never made the Pro Bowl, but he did win three Super Bowls with Brady, the most recent of which was in Super Bowl 53, when he caught 10-of-12 targets for 141 yards and Super Bowl MVP honors.
In all, Edelman caught 580 passes for 6,311 yards and 41 touchdowns from Brady. For a previous seventh-round selection out of Kent State, that’s not terrible.
Wes Welker is number three on the list.
Wes Welker of the New England Patriots makes a grab before their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. There was evident connection between Tom Brady and Welker. Getty Images/Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe
Ironically, Edleman’s time in the slot with Brady may have prompted people to overlook the importance of Wes Welker in the similar spot for the Patriots. Before Edelman, he was Brady’s Edelman. He has played for a few other teams, including a brief run with the Miami Dolphins before joining the Patriots and two seasons with the Denver Broncos after leaving New England.
Overall, what he accomplished with Brady and the Patriots was remarkable. He was his generation’s finest slot receiver.
He caught 672 receptions for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns in six seasons with the Patriots, with all but three of those touchdown passes coming from Brady. In five of his six seasons with the Patriots, he surpassed 1,000 yards receiving and was nominated to five Pro Bowls. He’s still the team’s top receiver all-time.
Welker never played on a Super Bowl-winning team in New England, which is quite surprising.
Mike Evans is number two.
With the Patriots, Brady won six Super Bowls, so it’s only natural that this list would include largely players from that era. That said, his famous tenure in New England shouldn’t obscure the reality that he won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers in his first season, and his friendship with Mike Evans played a key role in that.
Evans, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 231 pounds, is physically talented and seems to have been created in a lab to be a big-time wide receiver.
He and Brady hit it off immediately away, and their relationship never seemed to fade. Evans had six touchdown receptions in his first five games with Brady, and he concluded the regular season with 70 receptions for 1,006 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2021. He concluded the season with 15 touchdown passes from Brady, including the Super Bowl run.
Evans followed it up this season with a season in which he improved even more. He has 74 receptions for 1,035 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2021. In the playoffs, he grabbed two touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, raising his total to 16.
Evans hasn’t had the time with Brady to put up the sort of statistics that the other wideouts on this list have, but he deserves to be right behind the #1 wideout on the board based on sheer skill and productivity.
Randy Moss is number one.
The New England Patriots’ Randy Moss (81) and Tom Brady (12) pose for official Pro-Bowl photographs at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, during the 2008 Super Bowl Media Day | Cliff Welch/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images
Randy Moss is one of the all-time great wide receivers, so it’s no wonder that he’s at the top of this list. It’s crazy to believe that all Belichick and the Patriots had to do to get Moss was give a fourth-round selection to the Oakland Raiders.
Moss, formerly seen as a thorn in Oakland’s side, rose like a phoenix from the ashes in New England, owing to his immediate bond with Brady.
In 2007, he put up his finest stats of his career and led probably the greatest offensive in history. During the regular season, he caught 98 receptions for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns, guiding the Patriots to a 16-0 record and a Super Bowl berth. Eli Manning and the New York Giants spoiled their perfect season, but Moss’s performance as a receiver that season was spectacular.
Moss never won a Super Bowl with Brady and the Patriots, but he was a key member of one of the greatest quarterback/wide receiver combinations in NFL history.
Moss caught 39 touchdown catches from Brady in only three seasons and a half. There hasn’t been a combination like Moss and Brady’s in New England in terms of sheer skill and output, and there may never be one like it again.
ESPN and Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
RELATED: Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians Explains Tom Brady’s Conflicting Retirement Reports
The “nfl wide receiver rankings” is a ranking of the top 5 wide receivers in the NFL. These rankings are based on stats and player contracts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the best WR in 2021?
A: Th3D0rF, he has a 15.4 WR and is the best in 2021
Who is the greatest wide receiver of all time?
A: Michael Thomas has been selected as the greatest wide receiver of all time.
Who is a better QB Brady or Rodgers?
A: That is impossible to answer. Both Brady and Rodgers have won 2 Super Bowls, so you could say they are equally talented.
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