This list is the best wide receivers of the past decade. It is considering the overall statline and accomplishments of each top wide receiver from the 2010 to 2019 season. If you want to follow along with new lists and join in on fan voting, follow me on instagram @sogfootball.
#10 – Mike Evans
I was trying to talk myself out of putting Mike Evans on this list due to recency bias, but I have to be real with myself. Mike Evans deserves it.
He has only been in the NFL for 6 seasons and each season he has recorded 1000+ receiving yards. These aren’t just your regular receiving numbers either. He has never had consistent, reliable play at the Quarterback position and still finds was to produce. Mike Evans has made some of the most spectacular acrobatic catches of our time and at 26 years old can still make a move to become one of the best ever.
It was 2014 that Mike Evans entered the NFL as a rookie and 7260 later people recognize the talent he is. I may be a little lower on Evans compared to the fans, but that is relative to the players listed ahead of him.
#9 – DeSean Jackson
For every dominant passing attack is a burner who can take the top off the defense. That is Desean Jackson. He is one of the fastest players in NFL history and we all know that speed kills. No matter what team he was on he found ways to stretch the defense with his long touchdown catches.
This wasn’t just a one-dimensional player either. Unlike those straight line speed guys, DeSean Jackson was as quick as he was fast. This led to not only a successful career as a returner (sorry Giants fans), but a tremendous yards after the catch receiver. He would frequently turn catches behind the line of scrimmage into big gains. To no surprise he has the highest yards per catch than any other player on this list.
#8 – T.Y. Hilton
I was shocked to see T.Y. Hilton so low in the fan voting. Number 17 is disrespectful in my opinion!
This man was an instant hit for Indianapolis. With only 50 receptions in his rookie season, he recorded 861 yards and 7 touchdowns. Andrew Luck was also a rookie at this time and Hilton was exactly the deep threat he needed.
Hilton soon developed into more than just a deep threat and in the conversation for top 10 wide receivers. He produced with or without Luck because his route running combined with speed and quickness were next level.
Injuries put into question whether or not he can keep that explosiveness, but I think he can still do it. Regardless he recorded just under 9000 yards over the past decade which is more than a player later on this list.
Honorable Mention – Dez Bryant
THROW UP THE X! I know this won’t be the popular opinion only including Dez Bryant as an honorable mention but hear me out.
Dez Byrant had one of the best 3 year stretches ever from 2012-14 with 3935 receiving yards and 41 touchdowns. He earned his catch phrase throw up the X from being outspoken and being able to back up his talk. Creating separation wasn’t his game, but there was no receiver as physical as Dez Bryant and he wasn’t afraid to let you know.
The reason he isn’t on this list is after this 3 year stretch. Peoples perception of you quickly change when you’re outspoken and not producing. As impressive as those 3 seasons were, they were also the only 3 of his career in which he topped 1000 yards receiving. He didn’t completely fall off a cliff, but he was clearly not the same receiver late in his 20s.
If only they counted that catch Dez… if only.
#7 – Demaryius Thomas
Another player that I was very shocked to see so low on the fan voting. Demaryius Thomas was a pass catching machine who was at an elite level whether it was Peyton Manning or Tim Tebow throwing to him. He had a massive frame and moves much faster than someone his size should. Combine that with very reliable hands and this is your prototypical #1 receiver.
Give a receiver like this Peyton Manning at the helm and this is what follows. 1,434 yards in year 1 then 1,430 in year 2. Cap that off with 1,619 yards in year 3 and the 35 touchdowns throughout and it was clear Thomas was an alpha dog.
The production fell off post Peyton Manning but that happened for everyone at the beginning of the Brock Osweiller era. Demaryius Thomas is severely slept on.
#6 – DeAndre Hopkins
Imagine if Hopkins had a Quarterback like Deshaun Watson his entire career? His resume is already impeccable as it is, but I think he could have been on a Jerry Rice-like pace statwise in today’s NFL.
I’m not like Bill O’Brian. I recognize DeAndre Hopkins for who he is. This is a top dog. An alpha. He wants to be targeted and I don’t blame him. Last season marked his third straight all-pro nomination as he continues to best the top cornerbacks in the NFL.
It was only a season ago he became the first player to ever be recorded by PFF to not have a single drop and he did so with 115 catchable targets. He routinely caught the ball through contact with his freakishly sized hands.
I can’t wait to see what he can do in Kliff Kingsbury’s air raid offense.
#5 – A.J. Green
Here is one I was pleasantly surprised to see voted highly in the fan voting. I thought much like the recently injured T.Y. Hilton, recency bias would take another victim. Not this time.
People forget that A.J. Green recorded 8000 yards in only 7 seasons. That’s including a 10 game season with injury as well as the fact the Bengals have never had a consistent offense this past decade. A.J. Green is that good.
He is not overly athletic, but is a master of using his size. Contested catch after contested catch allowed people to show Green the respect he deserves.
It’s been over 20 games since we have seen A.J. Green on the field. It’s easy to forget with all these big names emerging, but not me. He enters the 2020 season at 32 years old which is just around that production cliff for receivers. I believe he has another season or 2 as a great wide receiver before he hangs up the cleats.
#4 – Calvin Johnson
I know i’m going to receive a lot of hate for this one, but I have to stay true to my list criteria. This is the best wide receivers of the decade.
Best receiving season of the decade? That easily belongs to Calvin Johnson. In 2012, Johnson broke the single season record for receiving yards with 1964 on only 122 catches.
If we’re talking best Wide Receiver on this list, it’s without a doubt Calvin Johnson. He was an instant fan favorite torching top cornerbacks on the lowly Lions team. It hadn’t been since Randy Moss since we saw a big bodied receiver as talented and athletic, but Megatron fit that build. So why isn’t he higher?
The reason Calvin Johnson just missed the top 3 is because of timing. 2010 was his 4th season in the NFL and we all know what happens to legends when they retire in Detroit. He only lasted until 2015 with a clearly immaculate resume to show for. If you look at the above stats they only account for 6 of 9 of his seasons, yet most WRs playing over a decade can’t touch these stats.
#3 – Larry Fitzgerald
Frank Gore was around here for my top 10 running backs of the decade list and Larry Fitzgerald is a very similar player at a different position. Consistent, effective and most importantly everything you can ask for in a leader. Larry Fitzgerald is the perfect teammate and should be a first ballot hall of famer.
Even a revolving door at Quarterback can’t stop Larry Fitzgerald from producing. He was never putting up unanimous best seasons by a Wide Receiver, but he was always one of the best. No matter what kind of offense he was operating under, Fitz was a lock for 1000+ yards which led to his 10,000+ yards in 10 seasons as a Cardinal.
When you give him a Quarterback like Kurt Warner, that’s when he does the real damage. With multiple clutch late game heroics, Larry Fitzgerald was just as dominant in the playoffs. He was just shy from his only Super Bowl win thanks to one of the best super bowls ever against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
#2 – Antonio Brown
As a person, my opinion of Antonio Brown is simple. He is a selfish douche. As a player though, I have to give this man his props. It’s clear he loves football and his worked his entire life on mastering his craft. This man is a surgical route runner and developed into ones of the quickest players in the NFL after an underwhelming combine performance.
Just look at these stats. His stats compete for the number 1 spot and his 2019 season was pretty much a wash. Again, you can think what you want about him as a person, but the stats and the tape tell the tale. Antonio Brown was the most well rounded wide receiver of the decade.
He was nominated as first team all-pro 4x throughout the decade which is two more than Julio Jones. They also both led the league in receiving yards twice.
If you’re one of the people who say Julio Jones is far better than Antonio Brown, you’re wrong. It’s closer than you think.
#1 – Julio Jones
The Falcons payed a high price to move up and get Julio Jones in the 2011 NFL draft and they haven’t looked back. It didn’t take long for him to overcome Roddy White as the alpha receiver for the Falcons. No disrespect to Roddy White, but Julio Jones is a different breed. A true alpha.
He has more receiving yards than any Wide Receiver from the decade with 12,407. People can call out his touchdown totals all they want, but no Wide Receiver has demanded attention from a defense like Julio Jones.
Speaking strictly in terms of stats, you could make a case for Antonio Brown being the better choice, but not me. You can call this a cliche claim, but the reason I think Julio is the easy choice is because of his leadership. He is a far better teammate and I think that is something extremely undervalued in a sport as teamwork reliant as football. Julio has never thrown a teammate under the bus and I have lost count of the amount of times Antonio Brown has done it.
ALSO BE SURE TO CHECK OUT MY TOP 10 BEST RUNNING BACKS OF THE DECADE LIST HERE!