Now that the preseason is over and we are a week away from real football, I figured I’d try and stir the pot a bit by asking this specific question: Which N.F.L. team has the best WR corps? How about you hit the “More” button and decide for yourself if I’m on to something…
Before I begin my article, I would like to elaborate on the definition of the word “best” used in my title. Since “best” can be defined subjectively and differently at times by numerous people, I thought I’d clear the air and define what I feel it does and doesn’t mean with regards to this article and my determination of which team has the “best” WR corps in the N.F.L.. By “best” I don’t mean that the team that has the most talented player at the WR position in the N.F.L. on their team but has little else in the way of talent let alone depth behind them (Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, or Calvin Johnson). By “best” I don’t mean that the WR corps has the luxury of being thrown to 50-55 times per game by an Offense that has throw the ball that often because they are down all the time in ball games and are able to pad their stats against prevent D’s. I could go on and on, but for the sake of brevity let’s get to what I actually do mean by best:
When I do decide to label a WR corp as being the “best” in the N.F.L. I go by the following criteria (not listed in order): The group must have sufficient depth with 4-5 solid guys as a whole and 2-3 of them ready to play at a moments notice and perform well if a starter goes down, each player must be a solid if not stellar contributor to the team and is integral to their team’s success (i.e. the 3rd, 4th, and 5th WR’s are thought of as a viable and reliable options in the passing game), each player must add their own special and unique talents to the Offense at their specific WR position (deep threat, slot guys, possession studs, 1st Down makers, etc.), each player’s personal stats should project or at least be comparable to the League Leading WR’s that are similar to the player’s specific position on their team’s depth chart (i.e. 1’s should have similar top 1’s stats, 2’s should have similar top 2’s stats, etc.).
After almost 70 years of being characterized as a ground-and pound team with a never say die commitment to the run, the Steelers’ Offense has become more of an aerial circus in recent seasons. While we in Steeler Nation have watched the rise in WR play in terms of talent and stats, the rest of the N.F.L. and their fanbases have only started to take notice of the real talent and top-to bottom awesomeness of the Steelers’ WR corps that has five (yes 5) guys that can really play. The top five guys on the Steelers’ Depth Chart as a whole could/should be primed for a historic season in Steelers history. Moreover, if the O-Line can pass protect Ben at anywhere near a decent level, the WR’s could have an even better season than they had in 2010.
So what exactly do I intend to do in this article? First, I will take the time to analyze each of the Steelers’ WR’s strengths and skills, and look to see if their skills, stats, and meaning to their team’s passing success are comparable with other elite and solid WR’s in the League. Then I will take the definition of “best” that I discussed earlier and see if the Steelers’ WR corps as a whole embodies it. Finally, I will use my evidence to argue that the 2011 Steelers’ WR corps could (and should) be considered the “best” in the N.F.L.. So let’s get started after the jump with a guy that has his ticket already punched for Canton: