Dan Graziano of the ESPN NFC East blog put out his WR rankings today, and his order went:
1. Giants 2. Cowboys 3. Eagles 4. Redskins
I couldn’t possibly disagree more vehemently on the placement of the Cowboys’ receivers, as Graziano is giving far too much credit to Roy Williams, who has been nothing short of a disaster in Dallas, and not enough credit to what DeSean Jackson brings to the table. You can flip a coin between the Giants and Eagles.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to rank the players themselves, in order of who I would most want on my roster if I were starting a team. In other words, age and upside matter, although I left contract situations out of the equation, especially since a couple guys are slated to become free agents (Smith and Moss, with Moss’ contract having already voided). I’ll just get right to it.
|1||DeSean Jackson||Eagles||The premier playmaker in the NFL (apologies to Chris Johnson). TD distances of 85, 71, 64, 67, 57, 54, 48, 35, 72, and 60 (among other shorter ones) in 2009. TD distances of 91, 88, 61, 45, 34, 31, 65 (among other shorter ones) in 2010. True game-changing elite NFL player.|
|2||Hakeem Nicks||Giants||Very impressive 2nd season with 79-1052-11 in just 13 games. Most complete of the receivers on this list.|
|3||Miles Austin||Cowboys||81-1320-11 in 2009 despite 9 starts (although he played in all 16). Came down to Earth a bit in 2010 with 69-1041-7 in 2010, albeit with awful OL play and Jon Kitna at the helm. Really debated putting him #2, but ultimately I’ll take the younger Nicks.|
|4||Dez Bryant||Cowboys||Ugh. I’m gonna get heat for this one. Bryant and Maclin had very comparable rookie seasons, and while I can see Maclin steadily improving, having a great pro career, and never worrying about off-the-field issues… the upside with Bryant is just ridiculous.|
|5||Jeremy Maclin||Eagles||Just like Nicks, a very impressive second season with 70-964-10.|
|6||Mario Manningham||Giants||The lightbulb is coming on.|
|7||Steve Smith||Giants||I’ll probably take heat here too. Monster season in 2009 with 107-1220-7, but was already playing below that level in 2010 when he began suffering an assortment of injuries including a serious knee injury which required surgery. I guess it really all depends on his health, but it’s a big question mark. I’m not Smith’s doctor, so I don’t know. I’ll err on the side of the healthy player, and go with Manningham over Smith.|
|8||Santana Moss||Redskins||Holy crap… Did Santana Moss really go off for 93-1115-6 last year? Good player. Turns 32 on Wednesday of next week.|
|9||Jason Avant||Eagles||True pro, solid as they come. Great locker room guy. No upside.|
|10||Leonard Hankerson||Redskins||I’ll take my chances with the rookie over Roy Williams. I’d strongly consider Anthony Armstrong, too.|