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Dwayne Bowe says he's in upper echelon of NFL's WRs

The Kansas City Chiefs raised a few eyebrows around the NFL when they made Dwayne Bowe the third highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL last month. The Miami Dolphins' Mike Wallace since has moved into the third spot behind Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, but Bowe remains comfortably in the top five.

Bowe feels no pressure to prove he's worthy of the mega-contract because he's already one of the NFL's finest receivers -- at least in his own eyes.

"Personally, I feel like I'm top five, most definitely," Bowe said to The Kansas City Star on Monday. "My play shows it. Running (with) the ball, blocking, all the (qualities) of a wide receiver, I have. Whatever category people want to put me in, to me I'm always going to be No. 1 on this team, and that's all that matters."

Bowe has padded his numbers in garbage time over the past few seasons, but he deserves credit for producing as a bonafide No. 1 receiver despite erratic quarterback play.

Is he truly a top-five NFL receiver, though?

Respected NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell rated Johnson, Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, the Carolina Panthers' Steve Smith and A.J. Green as the NFL's five best receivers entering the 2012 season. If Smith drops off that list as he approaches his mid-30s, Bowe hardly would be among the top candidates to replace him.

Next on my list would be Percy Harvin, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas and Vincent Jackson. It's fair to place Bowe in the third tier with Michael Crabtree, Roddy White, Reggie Wayne and the New York Giants' duo of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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