Wide Receiver University  

Posted by Frazier

There are a handful of schools that could easily make the top spot at this position. This is the classic issue of depth vs. talent. Should Florida receive credit for producing ten serviceable WR's, even if Cris Collinsworth is the best of the bunch? How much does it hurt Stanford that they only sent four players, if three of them were pro bowlers? It's a tough decision. I think I leaned slightly towards excellence over sheer numbers. There are plenty of guys who get drafted for pure athleticism, or because of a particular college program, who never do anything special, but end up taking up a roster spot for six years. We are here to award excellence, not mediocrity. Also, becoming a Hall-of-Famer never hurts. Well, let's look at the carnage.

Honorable Mention:

-Miami. They've boasted a slew of talent over the years. Real burners who have had solid NFL careers. They are of course led by Michael Irvin, a Hall-of-Famer, and a key aspect of the best team of the 90s. They managed to produce eight solid receivers (Michael Irvin, Eddie Brown, Brian Blades, Santana Moss, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Brett Perriman, Randall Hill) seven of whom had a 1,000 yard season (Hill being the exception). Five of them had pro bowl seasons, and Johnson and Moss have a chance to move this group to the top of the list over the next few years.

The Number Two:

-Ohio St. THE Ohio State University has produced six solid pro's (Cris Carter, Terry Glenn, David Boston, Joey Galloway, Chris Sanders and Jeff Graham), and has two more with potential (Santonio Holmes and Michael Jenkins) plus the entirely enigmatic Ted Ginn at the college level. For me, this essentially came down to Michael Irvin vs. Cris Carter, and Carter is probably the second best receiver of all time (at this point). They lose significant points because despite incredible potential, and flashes of brilliance, Boston, Glenn and Galloway have all been disappointments to some degree.

The Winner:

-Syracuse. Well, it happened again. We researched independently, and came to the same fairly surprising conclusion. The 'Cuse has produced the best pro's over the last twenty years. Once again, having two Hall-of-Famers is a HUGE boost. The crew consists of Marvin Harrison (HOF), Art Monk (HOF), Rob Moore, Kevin Johnson, Qadry Ismail. Moore gets credit for a couple of pro bowls, and a very nice overall career. Johnson has had a 1,000 yard season, and Qadry, despite being labeled a disappointment, managed to have a pair of 1,000 yard seasons with the anemic Ravens offense. It really comes down to the big two. Monk held all sorts of receiving records when he retired after a storied career, and a couple of Super Bowls. He was the last of the old school receivers who came along before the recent passing explosion, and he still has phenomenal careers numbers. Harrison of course will obliterate all those numbers, and is the only man who conceivably has a chance of catching the great Jerry Rice. He very well may end up one of the top two receivers of all time, so in this line-up Art Monk would be the second option. That's enough to take the title in my book.


Frazier, hard to argue with your ultimate conclusion, but easy to argue with your decision to leave Tennessee out of the top 3. For all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Buckeyes and Hurricanes, the facts remain that the Volunteers have produced a greater number of quality receivers. While TN does not have anyone that can stand in the same class as Cris Carter or Mike Irvine, the Vols boast two guys from the next tier (let's call it "very good, but not great") in Miller and Morgan, and one from the third tier (let's call it "solid pro bowler throughout career") in Pickens. Miami's 2nd and 3rd best WR are Moss and Wayne, both of whome have talent, but have yet to put up the type of seasons Morgan and Miller produced. Morgan and Miller went to a combined 9 pro bowls while Moss and Wayne have been to a combined 1. Though they are young it seems unlikely that they will catch the TN pair. Same goes for OSU. Galloway and Glenn have had their moments, but combine for just a single pro bowl appearance.

Consider this: From 1992 - 1995, Anthony Miller averaged over 1000 yards per season, and caught 33 TD passes. In 1994 and 1996, Carl Pickens averaged 90 catches and 15 TD per season. On the 1986 Patriots, Stanley Morgan hauled in nearly 1500 yards worth of passes and 11 td. The bottom line is that these guys all had stretches where they were GREAT. Not just good-GREAT. Santana Moss has had one GREAT year. Wayne has had 2 very good years. Same goes for Terry Glenn-he has had 2 very good years but never GREAT for an extended period of time. David Boston had one GREAT year but has done nothing since. Galloway has been hit or miss his entire career.

I just don't think the presence of a single hall of fame WR can overcome such a clear advantage for the top trio from TN and they clearly deserved to be ranked ahead of both Miami and OSU.

Greatness matters. True greatness. Not a great year, not a nice career, greatness. Morgan had a nice career. Wayne, as the second option to Manning, has an excellent chance to match that success. Moss is developing into one of the better WR's in the league. Miami has better depth (five pro-bowlers, seven players with 1,000 yard seasons) and a better standout performer. Tennessee receivers combined for 14 1,000 yard seasons, Ohio State's combined for 18. They both sent 8 pro's, and 3 pro-bowlers. The difference is Cris Carter. You know he's the second best ever. It's a close call, but I said it all along, this is about greatness. Also, Ohio St. has significantly more upside, which can definitely matter in a close call.

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