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A.J. Green, DeSean Jackson among top 10 deep threats

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Terrelle Pryor torched Pro Bowl cornerback Desmond Trufant for a 50-yard touchdown in preseason action, serving notice that his transition from quarterback to wide receiver shouldn't be disregarded as a novelty act.

Three games into his position switch, the Brons' Pryor stole the show in an overtime loss at Miami, becoming the first player to accrue at least 120 receiving yards, 30 passing yards and 20 rushing yards in a single game since Hall of Famer Frank Gifford accomplished the feat in December of 1959.

While the hyper-athletic Pryor already has the look of an intriguing nucleus player for Hue Jackson's offense, he has not realized his full potential as one of the game's most dangerous downfield playmakers.

With Pryor's breakout performance in mind, let's examine the NFL's best deep threats:

1) A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals: If Andy Dalton -- the quarterback with whom Green entered the NFL in 2011 -- had been a more effective downfield passer earlier in his career, Green might receive the credit he deserves as a prolific vertical threat. As Darrelle Revis discovered in Week 1, Green is so much more than a reliable possession receiver. Since the start of the 2012 season, the five-time Pro Bowler boasts the most receptions of 20 or more air yards (50) and 40 or more air yards (18). By dint of game film and numbers, Green deserves the top spot.

2) DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins: For most offensive schemers and play-callers, the great white whale is a game-breaking wideout with the difference-making speed to take the top off a defense and swing momentum. Since he entered the league with Philadelphia in 2008, Jackson has been the prototypical lid-lifter, flying past defensive backs to chase down deep balls like a Frisbee-catching pooch. Despite missing six games with a hamstring injury last season, Jackson leads all NFL receivers with eight receptions of 40 or more air yards since the start of 2014.

3) Odell Beckham, New York Giants: Simply running a loop of "The Catch" would suffice as evidence enough that Beckham belongs on this list. Barely three stunning years into his pro career, Beckham is already one of the most uniquely talented players the NFL has seen. Beckham wins all over the field with a lethal combination of electric cuts, rare suddenness and graceful world-class athleticism. What helps on the perimeter and deep down the middle is his mix of fearlessness, humongous suction-cup hands and the physical gifts reminiscent of peak Michael Jordan: exceptional hand-eye coordination, mid-air dexterity, unparalleled hang time and improvisational creativity that separates him from other prodigious leapers.

4) Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars: Robinson led the league in plays of 20 or more yards last season with 31, using his 6-foot-3 frame, astonishing 42-inch vertical leap and exceptional ball skills to post up smaller cornerbacks. Through little fault of his own, he hasn't been quite as productive early this season. The Packers' defensive backs got away with a hyper-physical approach in the Jaguars' season opener, when he was held to six catches for 72 yards. More problematic: Robinson suddenly has a quarterback problem, with Blake Bortles' sloppy mechanics backsliding to rookie-year form.

5) Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons: Since the start of the 2014 season, Jones and Antonio Brown lead the NFL with 31 receptions of 20 or more air yards. The engine that makes the Falcons' offense go blends an intimidating package of power, speed, balance, body control and strong hands that other wideouts can't match. He's this generation's version of Terrell Owens.

6) Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers: When you think of Brown, you picture the NFL's premier route runner with punt-returner elusiveness after the catch. While Brown certainly owns that skill set, it sells his deep-ball prowess short. Robinson was the only player with more receptions over 20 yards last season (Brown had 25), and no receiver generated more plays over 40 yards (Brown had eight). Reminiscent of the early-career version of Steve Smith, the 5-10 Brown often showcases the leaping ability and my-ball mentality to out-fight taller defensive backs at the point of the catch.

7) Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears: The first half of the Bears' season opener was a downfield clinic by Jeffery. Working against Houston's stingy secondary, he high-pointed the ball over Kevin Johnson for a 29-yard grab, beat Johnathan Joseph over the middle for 16 yards and hauled in a 54-yard bomb versus Andre Hal to set up a last-second touchdown to Eddie Royal. Although his 2015 season was waylaid by a nagging hamstring injury, Jeffery is one of just five receivers to amass over 900 yards on deep balls in 2013 and 2014. Since the start of the 2014 season, DeSean Jackson and Sammy Watkins are the only players with more receptions of 40 or more air yards.

8) Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos: Teammate Demaryius Thomas is stronger with the ball in his hands, but Sanders has been the most effective downfield threat for the Broncos since his Denver arrival in 2014. Originally viewed as Wes Welker's successor in the slot, Sanders has proven too productive as a perimeter route runner and fearless vertical threat to move closer to the line of scrimmage. Sanders accounted for six plays of 40 or more yards last season, more than all but three receivers.

9) Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders: A rare receiver with precision route running, explosiveness after the catch and downfield tracking ability on 50-50 balls, Cooper already has five receptions of 25 or more yards in three games -- the second-highest figure in the league. With the ridiculous double-clutch hang-time displayed on this grab versus the Falcons in Week 2, it's no wonder that Cooper wins at the catch point.

10) Will Fuller, Houston Texans: Marcus Peters of the Chiefs is quickly emerging as the NFL's premier playmaking cornerback. Against Houston in Week 2, he gave Fuller a 15-yard cushion off the line of scrimmage and still surrendered a 53-yard completion. The former Notre Dame star's shaky hands might have followed him to the pro game, but he has the early look of a more physical version of DeSean Jackson.

Special mention: T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts; Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills; DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans; Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys; Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers; John Brown, Arizona Cardinals; Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns; Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions; Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints; Travis Benjamin, San Diego Chargers; Mike Wallace, Baltimore Ravens; Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals; Ted Ginn, Carolina Panthers; Torrey Smith, San Francisco 49ers.

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