Cris Carter ranks the Top 5 Wide Receivers in the last 10 years

Cris Carter ranks the Top 5 Wide Receivers in the last 10 years

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Jun 5, 2018 at 9:21a ET | First Things First | Duration: 5:26

In his reaction to Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown asking on Twitter if he's the best wide receiver of his generation, Cris Carter reveals where AB lands on his list of the greatest wide receivers of the current generation (last 10 years). Where do you rank Calvin Johnson, Antonio Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, A.J. Green and Julio Jones?

– I don't like doing lists. But AD put it out there. Nick informed me the generation particularly we're talking about, 10 years, in a 10-year window.

– I think it's sports generation. Yeah. I think this is, for the audience, I think that you should– typically, we think of generations as around 20 to 25 years. In sports, I would look at it as AB's generation is the post Moss TO generation.


– That's the– just like I would say, the Moss TO generation was the post Chris Carter, Michael Irvin, Jerry Rice generation. Like, those aren't 20 year windows. But I think that's how we look at it sports.

SPORTSCASTER: That's fair.

CRIS CARTER: If that's the way I was going to look at it, then there's one player who's retired I'd have to add. I'd make a short list of five. And one would be a player that was retired before that. That's Calvin Johnson. If I'm looking at the last 10 years, I have to include Calvin. His impact on the NFL, he saw coverages, was very, very rare. Only saw Randy Moss. And Calvin Johnson have two people lined up on them at the goal line like they were punting the football. Never seen. Jerry Rice didn't have coverage like that.

So Calvin Johnson. Larry Fitzgerald. Larry Fitzgerald still playing at a high level. Has dominated pro football the last 10 years. And then we get to the guys that are creme de la creme of the receiving core that we have. And that's AB. He's at the head of that class. Right behind him is Julio Jones. And the third person, or the fifth one in this generation, would be AJ Green. Those players, all right? Those players in that order.

Calvin Johnson, all right? Because he dominated pro football, even though he had a shorter career. We're talking about the last 10 years. Larry Fitzgerald. No one's had– cause he's been in– he's the only player been in it the whole 10 years. And then we've got guys that have dominated football, I would say, the last five to seven years. That is the three of AB, Julio, and AJ Green.

NICK WRIGHT: All right, so I would disagree, but not vehemently, at the very top of the list. Calvin's peak was higher than Fitzgerald's. But Fitzgerald's played so much longer and his raw accumulation of numbers.

CRIS CARTER: I didn't say him as far as how I ranked him.


– Because–


– –because he's out of the game.

– All right. Fair enough. Because I, of course, you know this. This is red meat for me. I love making lists. I love doing this type of stuff. I said Fitz, Calvin. Then I would have Antonio Brown. And right after Antonio Brown, Julio. And you can make the argument AJ Green or Odell. Has Odell done enough in just 47 games?

Here's the thing for AB, though. And this is the question I want to ask you. Does AB have the ability to end up ranking at the top if you were to do a ranking? Does he have the ability to surpass Larry Fitzgerald, to surpass Calvin Johnson? Cause I think he does have the ability. Now we'll see his health, we'll see his productivity, if he can maintain it.

The most impressive thing about Fitzy, much like yourself is, I mean, he's just done it for so long, at such a high level, year after year of 1,000 plus yards. After you thought Fitzy's career was winding down three years ago– or not you. But I thought his career was winding down. The question is, how long can he stay in this prime for Antonio Brown?

CRIS CARTER: I believe Antonio will stay in this prime for those three years. The reason why it's hard to pass Larry Fitzgerald is a couple of things. They're intangibles. As a football coach, I know Coach Pagano. He'll appreciate this. Larry Fitzgerald is the best blocking wide receiver in pro football. He brings a physicality to the position that you don't account for. Like, you have all these little small guys that run around. We talk a lot of trash and everything. But physicality, a coach is not thinking that's going to be part of the equation.

His ability to make a remarkable catch will never be something that AB will ever be able to get on that corner. Larry Fitzgerald, arguably, you could say he has the greatest hands that have ever played in pro football. So those things. And then the third thing. When was the last time you heard something bad about Larry?

You talk about a team leader. You talking about a guy who's dependable. You talking about a guy who's mentoring people, not only during the season. Cooking meals for guys in the off season. He has, man, two dozen guys from around the NFL staying in his house in Minnesota. So those are things right there that I think, AB, he can be good. He can put up numbers, touchdowns, receptions, yards after the catch. But in those categories, he would never be able to touch Larry Fitzgerald.

NICK WRIGHT: I want to just give people a little context, because I think when we do talk about the best players of the generation, people talk about Calvin because he was such a freak physically. He was unlike anybody I have ever quite seen play that position. Randy was a freak in a different way. Calvin was so much bigger from just a weight standpoint. He was– Randy was–

CRIS CARTER: Big and run.

– Right. Right. Big and could run almost as fast as Randy. Like, so the– so Calvin– people forget Fitzgerald. I just want to let the audience know this. 1,234 catches, 110 touchdowns. That's Fitzgerald. 1,318 catches, 102 touchdowns. That's Julio and Antonio Brown combined. OK?

So like, almost identical numbers those two careers combined. If you combine Calvin Johnson's career and Odell's career, you have almost the same number of yards as Larry and almost the same number of touchdowns. Larry doing this after it looked like– I'm going to be totally honest. In 2014, we looked like Larry was on the downside. He had 700 yards. He had two touchdowns in 14 games that season. He followed that up over the next three years with 3,300 yards and with 21 touchdowns. Larry hitting a secondary, not quite prime, but a secondary peak, is remarkable.

– Yeah, in that 700, though, he strained is MCL. That was also the off season. He didn't utilize me. Productivity went down the tube.

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