Cris Carter: Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant ‘may have the highest ceiling’ of all NFL wide receivers

Cris Carter, one of the newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, caught 1,101 passes for 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns during his 16 seasons in the NFL. He obviously knows a little about the wide receiver position.

The former Eagle, Viking and Dolphin is currently an NFL analyst for ESPN. One of his recent tasks was compiling a list of the NFL’s 10 best wide receivers. And it was no surprise that Dallas Cowboys wide out Dez Bryant made the cut.

Carter ranked Bryant sixth, behind Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Cincinnati’s A.J. Green, Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Chicago’s Brandon Marshall.

“You’re always going to have a Dez Bryant somewhere in the league, somebody who has to go through some off-the-field problems in order to reach his potential,” Carter wrote. “I know exactly what that feels like. What I love about Dez is that everything you’re starting to hear about him is encouraging. He’s making good decisions. It’s clear that football is important to him. He’s getting into better shape. He played at a Pro Bowl level last season (92 receptions, 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns), and he should be even better this season. Of all the players on this list, he may have the highest ceiling.”

After his first three NFL seasons, Carter, an eight-time Pro Bowler, had 1,450 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns. Through Bryant’s first three seasons, he has 2,871 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Carter has talked at greater length about Bryant over the last 14 months. In June 2012, Carter discussed Bryant entering that “critical third year where you start to see tremendous strides in young receivers.” In August 2012, Carter, who battled off the field issues early in his career, talked about Bryant’s talent being like a lottery ticket that he was struggling to cash in.

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