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Instant Debate

Wayne's accomplishments stand on their own ... sort of

With Reggie Wayne being ranked No. 31 on the "Top 100 Players of 2011," we asked our experts just how great they think Wayne is and how much of his performance is a byproduct of playing with Peyton Manning. Does Wayne deserve to be ranked ahead of such receivers as Greg Jennings, Brandon Marshall, Brandon Lloyd, and Dwayne Bowe?

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  • Jason La Canfora NFL Network
  • He's not quite who he used to be

Reggie Wayne is one of the best at what he does. No one can argue that. He would be a very productive receiver playing with pretty much anyone, I believe. But I'm not putting Wayne this high.

  <table align="right" width="315px"> 
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  </table> Off the top of my head, I'd take Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Greg Jennings, Larry Fitzgerald, Sidney Rice, Santonio Holmes, Vincent Jackson, and several others before him right now. Lloyd, to me, has to do it more than once, and, coming off his 2010 season, I'm not putting Brandon Marshall ahead of Wayne just yet. Dwayne Bowe was a monster, despite virtually no help in the passing game. I'd probably slot him higher than Wayne.  

Catching passes from a future unanimous, first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback certainly helps, but Wayne is special. He just maybe isn't quite the game-breaker he was a few years ago.

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  • Vic Carucci
  • Contributions to greatness work both ways

Reggie Wayne's talent, alone, makes him deserving of his spot in the top 100. Yes, he has benefited greatly from having Peyton Manning as his quarterback and playing in an offense that helps maximize his production. But it's also fair to say that he has contributed plenty to Manning's success. Besides being a dynamic and explosive athlete with great hands, Wayne also is a dedicated student of the game who is willing to invest the tremendous time and effort that Manning demands from all of his receivers. The question in assessing Wayne's worthiness at No. 31 and whether he should rank higher than other highly accomplished receivers is whether he would have similar output on another team with an aggressive passing attack. And the answer is an unequivocal yes.

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  • Bucky Brooks
  • Don't disrespect Wayne like that

To say that Reggie Wayne's ranking is solely a product of the Colts' system or playing alongside Peyton Manning would be disrespectful to his talent. He has been a sensational player for the Colts over the past 10 years, and he has thrived as Manning's primary target. He has amassed seven straight 1,000-yard seasons and posted over 100 catches in three of the past four seasons. He is one of the few complete receivers in the game with the skills to thrive as a vertical threat or possession receiver in their offense.

When making the comparison to Jennings, Marshall, Lloyd, and Bowe, I would still give Wayne the nod due to his combination of production, skill and impact. He has enjoyed a sustained run of success that separates him from the others, and I would still rank him as one of the top receivers.

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  • Steve Wyche
  • Wayne is irreplaceable

Ask any cornerback who's had to cover Reggie Wayne, and he'll tell you that Wayne is his own man, not a product of playing with Peyton Manning. Sure, it's great to have such good chemistry with your quarterback, but Wayne makes catches in traffic and in clutch situations and in the end zone. Maybe other receivers on the Colts are interchangeable -- but not Wayne.

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  • Pat Kirwan
  • He's great, with or without Manning

Some people credit Peyton Manning for the production. Some credit it to the Colts' system. Those things have merit but ask any secondary coach, and they will tell you Reggie Wayne is hard to cover. He can get behind a corner or sell a deep route and break it off in razor-sharp fashion. He hasn't missed a start in eight years, has averaged five receptions a game for his career, and in the last two years has 211 receptions and 16 touchdowns. I might have pushed him higher on the list.

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  • Elliot Harrison
  • Wayne is great on his own

Wayne can play, period. He nearly took over two games last season, catching 15 balls for 196 yards versus the Jags, and 14 for 200 yards against the Cowboys. It's hard to imagine that a 111-catch, 1,355-yard season could be taken for granted, but in Wayne's case, it has been. I asked a couple of our former player guests about Wayne in regard to "The Top 100 Players" series, and both said he's a product of Manning. While some might feel that way, Manning doesn't get Wayne open on a 9-route, a dig, or a post. Yes, Manning puts the ball where it needs to be, but Wayne always knows where to be. If he's slowing down, he more than compensates with savvy and football IQ. He's a great player in his own right.

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