With six wide receivers having gained 1,200 yards or more last season, and 10 receivers reaching double digits in touchdown receptions in 2010, there are a number of quality options for the title of "NFL's best wide receiver." However, there are two players that appear to stand out above the rest.
Vic Carucci: Puttin' on the Fitz
When I think of the ideal wide receiver, the first image that comes to mind is that of Larry Fitzgerald. His combination of size, power and off-the-charts athleticism can often make him virtually impossible to cover. Even if a defensive back is able to stay close with him on a route, he will almost never be able to out-jump him for the ball. And the real measure of Fitzgerald's greatness is that he has still managed to thrive after Kurt Warner's retirement left the Cardinals without anything close to a quality quarterback. Fitzgerald's tremendous discipline in running routes and studying the playbook and opposing defenses allows him to consistently make something happen at any time of the game but particularly in clutch moments. That's when Fitzgerald is at his best.
Charles Davis: Andre the giant
The man that the national spotlight shone on for an uncharacteristic loss of poise last season, Andre Johnson of Houston. Yes, the NFL Nation knows all about him. And, yes, fantasy owners fight to draft him. But because his team has yet to make it to the postseason he sometimes gets lost in the neverending "who's the best" debate. Okay, he and Cortland Finnegan of Tennessee provided a better battle than just about anything you'll see on cable boxing cards, but when it's actually about football, this combination of size, speed, toughness, intelligence, hands, and class moves him to the top of my list.
Jason La Canfora: Falcon flies high
Roddy White has few flaws in his game. With Matt Ryan, everyone pretty much knows where the ball is going -- Ryan to White. But so few can stop it. Double coverage doesn't matter. He can take a screen for a ton of yards after the catch or beat you over the top for a bomb. Big, strong and seemingly impervious to whatever scheme you run to stop him.
Pat Kirwan: The complete package
With the exploding passing games in the NFL these days, there are a lot of high-quality receivers. In the conversation as the league's best are Roddy White, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, and Calvin Johnson. In breaking close races, I like to look at a consistency of multiple seasons. Wayne has the most receptions with 397 and the most yards with 5,274. Fitzgerald has the most touchdowns with 41. But when it comes to looking at the whole body of work including YAC, converting first downs, blocking for the running game, the supporting cast around him, and ability to stay on the field, I have to go with Fitzgerald, followed closely by Andre Johnson, White and Wayne. Calvin Johnson might be the most gifted athlete in the group, but he's close to 100 receptions and 1,000 yards behind the other guys over the same period of time.
Steve Wyche: Texan turns the tide
This might be the toughest to argue because Roddy White, Greg Jennings, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Reggie Wayne are all so good and command double teams all over the field. I'm rolling with Johnson, though, because there really isn't much any team can do to stop him. He makes catches in traffic, he turns normal plays into big ones, and he opens up the field for everyone else. Not to take anything away from running back Arian Foster or the Texans' offensive line, but do you think some of those running lanes would be there if teams didn't roll safeties or outside linebackers to Johnson's side of the field?