Cobb might not have the resume of other wideouts, but his versatility and explosiveness makes him an appealing option. Cobb is coming off a breakout season in which he caught 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. What’s more impressive is Cobb’s ability to convert receptions into first downs – something he did 71 times (third best in the NFL) last season.
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Packers WR Jordy Nelson
Entering last year, some wondered if the former Kansas State wide receiver should be considered an ‘elite wide receiver.’ One year later, it’s clear that Nelson should be talked about as a top-10 player at his position. The 6-foot-3, 217-pound wide receiver clearly benefits from having one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the game piloting his offense, but it’s hard to overlook Nelson’s awareness on the field coupled with his toe-tapping feet and soft hands. Last season, Nelson had 98 receptions (seventh best in NFL) for 1,519 yards (fourth best in NFL) and 13 touchdowns (second best in NFL).
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Jets WR Brandon Marshall
Marshall will be playing for his fourth team this season and Geno Smith has referred to him as a “quarterback’s best friend.” Marshall is coming off a season in which he broke two ribs and punctured his lung, but still was able to catch 61 balls for 721 yards and eight touchdowns. Before last season, Marshall eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark seven straight years – something Randy Moss, Terrell Owens or Michael Irvin can’t say.
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Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas
The NFL’s most-targeted wide receiver of 2014 is currently in a highly public contract dispute. Thomas, who reportedly is seeking “Calvin Johnson-type” money, has been exceedingly productive over the last three seasons. Over that span, Thomas has caught at least 90 balls for over 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns in every season. That's not even something Megatron has done.
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Bengals WR AJ Green
Green is coming off an injury-riddled 2014 campaign, but was still able to surpass the 1,000-yard mark. It’s something the 26-year-old receiver has been able to do in each of his four seasons. Green might be doing more with less than any other premier playmaker in the business.
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Giants WR Odell Beckham
Beckham’s spectacular rookie seasons was overshadowed by the three-fingered catch on Sunday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys, he said recently. While he has enjoyed his newfound stardom, his talent on the field should not be ignored. Beckham, often facing double teams, caught 91 balls for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games last season.
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Falcons WR Julio Jones
Jones said he felt like he was the best wide receiver in the league last summer. The Falcons’ No. 1 pass catcher backed up that statement by hauling in 104 balls for 1,593 yards and six touchdowns. Jones sustained a foot injury in 2013, cutting his season short. Before the injury he was on pace to have a historical campaign. While Jones’ numbers are impressive during his four-year career, he has had the added benefit of having Roddy White opposite him. It’s no secret that he’s the league’s premier deep threat, catching 31 passes over 20 yards or more last season, best in the NFL.
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Cowboys WR Dez Bryant
Bryant has had at least 88 receptions and 1,200 yards in each of the last three seasons. Over that time, Bryant has hauled in 41 touchdowns. Bryant, 26, is entering the prime of his career and could potentially have the highest ceiling of any receiver on this list.
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Steelers WR Antonio Brown
Big Ben’s go-to threat might be the most complete receiver in the game. Despite a 5-foot-10, 186-pound frame, Brown is an electrifying talent leading the entire NFL with 129 catches for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns, setting franchise single-season records and catching the second-most passes in a season in league history. After a great season, Brown is only getting better, working out with Randy Moss and newly converted receiver Terrelle Pryor this offseason. It shouldn’t be ignored that Brown’s true value is his ability to move the chains. Brown led the NFL in first downs with 85.
Aside from being the fastest wide receiver to 10,000 yards, Megatron has been named to the Pro Bowl the past five seasons. Johnson battled injuries in 2014, playing in only 13 games but still caught 71 balls for eight touchdowns and 1,077 yards, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the sixth time in the past seven seasons. Ask No. 1 CB Darrelle Revis and the greatest WR of all-time Jerry Rice who is the current best pass catcher in the game and they’ll tell you it’s Johnson.