NFL.com fantasy analyst Dave Dameshek boldly ranks Calvin Johnson the second-best wide receiver in NFL history. Hall of Famer Jerry Rice says Johnson is "without a doubt" the best receiver currently playing in the NFL.
This widely was believed to be the consensus among analysts, until NFL.com's Gil Brandt revealed his preference for Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones. Christened "The Godfather" of football for his uncanny success as VP of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1988, Brandt long has been a fan of Jones' character and unique talent.
"I think some people like strawberry ice cream and some people like vanilla. They're both pretty good," Brandt explained Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "Some like red heads and some like blondes. I think if you took 10 people, probably six of the 10 would take Johnson, and four, including myself, would take Julio Jones. I just think the whole package, I like Julio a little bit better than Johnson."
Asked to defend his opinion on the heels of Johnson breaking Rice's single-season record for receiving yards, Brandt cited Jones' stronger, more reliable hands in addition to his fluidity.
"I think you have to say things when you feel that way," added Brandt. "I'm not saying Calvin Johnson is not a good player. You're asking me if I would rather have Don Shula or Tom Landry as my coach. You're not going to go wrong with either one, but you can only have one."
Brandt may be dangling on a flimsy limb, but it's a good bet that he's not alone in the opinion. Falcons director of player personnel Lionel Vital and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, as well as current St. Louis Rams GM Les Snead have all been obsessed with Jones' talent since his final season at Alabama.
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.