We love off season debates and lists of who’s the best or who’s ranked higher than whom? And, without training camp for a few more weeks, much less the preseason games of August, these such lists and rankings have to tied us over.
Still, when respected for NFL safety, now turned commentator/analyst for NFL Network and NFL.com, Bucky Brooks, put out a list this weekend of the top five receiving corps, we shook our head.
Not so much that the Florida NFL groups weren’t in his top five, but who was.
Look. No one is going to argue with year that Vikings WR’s Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen both had. And the fact that Minnesota went on to win the NFC North and a dramatic playoff game over the Saints (where Diggs caught the miraculous last second catch and run TD), gives them cred.
And, you want to put anyone with Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh and Julio Jones in Atlanta and call them “great tandem?” Ok. Sure.
However, when you have a list with the Browns (yes, we are laughing, too) and you put Josh Gordon, who’s been suspended repeatedly and underwhelmed completely with new WR Jarvis Landry, who’s yet to be “Brown-ized,” by the Cleveland QBs, it’s silly.
Good luck with Tyrod Taylor and/or Baker Mayfield trying to get them the ball.
Still Brooks had them on his list.
Further, he also has Sammy Watkins joining the Chiefs with Tyreek Hill and he even adds TE Travis Kelce. And while he does make the case that those three players have a combined 69 catches of 20+ yards over the past two seasons, Watkins did that in L.A. last year and during a mostly injury plagued 2016 in Buffalo.
Also, factor in, that inexperienced second year QB Patrick Mahomes (1 NFL start) is now trying to get them the ball, and we don’t agree.
That is especially when, the Bucs have two players in WRs Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson that are Pro Bowl proven and in tandem, represent a daunting threat to any defensive scheme/game plan.
Part of the reality is that because of Jameis Winston’s shoulder injuries last year that caused him to miss most or all of five games, Evans and Jackson had lesser numbers/seasons.
Evans for example, caught 25 less passes for 300 less yards and seven less TD’s last year than his 2016. Jackson meanwhile, was down five yards per catch average in 2017 from the past three seasons. So you can make the argument that their stats suffered because of Winston not being in there.
Again, it’s a subjective list, albeit from a former DB in the league, but we have a hard time reconciling/projecting Gordon-Landry being any good at all.
Much less in a Top Five.
It’s not warranted.
And, if Winston’s shoulder is healthy and with his experience already, Evans and Jackson should have bounce back and maybe huge years.
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