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Julio Jones, Antonio Brown head WRs with most value to teams

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Three wide receivers were revealed Tuesday as part of the top 10 of NFL Network's "Top 100 Players of 2017," with the season finale airing at 8 p.m. ET on Monday. For the second year, NFL Network analyst and former NFL wide receiver Nate Burleson takes a look at some of the NFL pass catchers who are most valuable to their respective teams. Here are his top five:

5) Terrelle Pryor, Washington Redskins

Who is Terrelle Pryor? I love the mystery. We have so much more to see out of him. This is a guy who bet on himself with a one-year contract, but he's got one big thing working for him: As a former quarterback, he knows what his quarterbacks are seeing and feeling on the field. It reminds me of Steve Harvey's book, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," which describes for women a man's perspective on relationships -- it's so beneficial to be able to put yourself in your partner's shoes. Pryor played quarterback his entire life, yet in his first full year as a wide receiver, he notched 1,000 yards in Cleveland last season, which had five signal callers on the field at various points.

Pryor's intangibles make me excited to see what he's going to do in Washington. His athleticism and ability to separate from receivers will greatly benefit Kirk Cousins, who's been better than average the last two seasons. If I'm Cousins, I'm looking at a brand new toy -- not a Hot Wheel, but a Tonka truck.

4) Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

Edelman is the most overlooked and underappreciated wide receiver of the last 10 years. It's a combination of him being a shorter wideout (5-foot-10) and the fact that Patriots receivers are labeled "system players." On top of that, when you look at the Patriots' roster, his name doesn't jump off the list, not with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski or Brandin Cooks in the spotlight. But based on what Edelman's consistently able to do in the regular season -- when healthy -- I'd put him up against any receiver. And I'm not sure you can name a more clutch receiver in the playoffs since he's been in the league. Edelman is the glue guy, or the carpet, as we say on "Good Morning Football." He's the component that brings the room (or the offense, in this case) together. He's been Brady's security blanket.

Gronk made this list heading into the 2016 season, but he didn't have an impact on the success of the Patriots last season, given that he missed eight games plus the playoffs. New England proved it can win the Lombardi Trophy without him. That shows me that having a versatile receiver in this particular offense is more valuable than having the best tight end in football. The Patriots can do more with Edelman, in terms of disguises and decoys, than they can with Gronk. When Gronk is on the field, you are forced to take notice because of his size (6-6, 265 pounds). You don't notice Edelman until he's bobbling a catch in the middle of the field to help you win the Super Bowl.

3) Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

He's shown us that he's primed for a great career if he's fortunate enough to continue trending up, from a production standpoint. And if he can snag a ring along the way, OBJ will be in the Hall of Fame. The reason Beckham makes this list for the first time will be apparent this season with the addition of veteran Brandon Marshall. The former Jet has done great things in his career -- eight 1,000-yard receiving seasons -- but even with everything he's accomplished, Marshall needs Beckham to be the best version of himself. OBJ will help Marshall get open in the red zone, a spot where the Giants struggled a year ago, scoring on only 54 percent of red-zone trips. When Beckham is dialed in, he impacts all the major offensive players -- Marshall, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and whomever the Giants start in the backfield. That's pure value.

2) Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

I'm finding myself asking the question: What can't Antonio Brown do? I don't seem to have an answer. The best route runner in the NFL has four straight seasons with 100-plus catches and 1,200-plus receiving yards under his belt, scoring 43 receiving touchdowns over that span. In a league where receiving threats have size over most defenders, Brown is just the opposite. But with his 5-10 frame, his ability to use speed to create separation is unparalleled. Last season, Brown averaged 2.92 yards of separation on his targets in 2016 (best in the league). He's doing this against single-, double- and triple-coverage. And as good as Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell -- who has redefined the running back position -- are, this team doesn't make the playoffs without Brown.

1) Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Big-framed receivers don't come around often, but last season, the torch was passed from Calvin Johnson (6-5, 237 pounds) to Julio Jones (6-3, 220) after Johnson's retirement. In each of the last three seasons, Jones has racked up 1,400-plus receiving yards, including a league-best 1,871 yards in 2015. He's been the most dominant receiver when healthy. He lands at No. 1 here for one specific reason. The success of Matt Ryan is based on how much attention Jones commands. The 2016 regular-season MVP threw touchdown passes to 13 players in 2016. If you take Jones out of the picture, that doesn't happen.

Follow Nate Burleson on Twitter @Nate13Burleson.

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