By Bryan Mongeau-Eastmond, staff writer
NEW YORK (RPRN) 7/24/2009-RushPRnewsâ€™ top 5 list of the best players in their respective positions heading into the 2009 NFL season continues. This week will feature the carpenters of the NFL, who make a living off their hands, the wide receivers.
1. Andre Johnson
#80 Houston Texans Height: 6-3 Weight: 228
Everyone in the city of Houston knows by now that the leagueâ€™s best receiver is on their side. Everyone who wears a jersey inside the teamâ€™s locker-room knows it too. They see it at every practice and on game day. So I guess the secret is out.
Unlike the majority of big name receivers who feel compelled to voice their opinion about themselves and cater to their egos, Texanâ€™s Andre Johnson is perhaps the most unselfish player at the position. Johnson has resisted joining the dark side and simply does what he does best – catch passes and make big plays. Last season, he led the league in receptions with 115 and in yards with 1,575.
As far as single game performances go, Texanâ€™s Andre Johnson was unstoppable against the Tennessee Titans. It did not matter who was lined up in front of him, Johnson was in the zone, hauling in 11 receptions, with a career-high 207 yards and a touchdown. Not a bad dayâ€™s work.
2. Larry Fitzgerald
#11 Arizona Cardinals Height: 6-3 Weight: 217
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald caught the attention of peers around the league as well, by catching everything thrown in his direction during last yearâ€™s playoffs. His 30 catches for 546 yards and 7 touchdowns led all players during the postseason.
At 9-7, the Cardinals harmlessly slipped into the playoffs unaware that one of their star receivers was on the verge of producing one of the best offensive performances in post-season history. The dynamic part about the Cardsâ€™ offense came in Fitzgeraldâ€™s ability to catch a pass from quarterback Kurt Warner under any circumstances. In every playoff game, Fitz made spectacular catches despite double coverage. Continually defying experts, the Cards can credit their playmaker for taking them to the championship game.
And in Super Bowl XLIII, Fitzgerald continued his post-season brilliance. Warner connected with his Pro Bowl receiver for two scores, including a 64-yard touchdown.
3. Randy Moss
#81 New England Patriots Height: 6-4 Weight: 210
You can expect the New England Patriots and Tom Brady to come out throwing against opponents come Sunday. Randy Moss aka the Freak, has arguably the best hands in the business. In addition, his speed, along with long strides, enable him to get behind defenders.
Moss broke the NFL single season record with 23 touchdown receptions in 2007. With Tom Bradyâ€™s seasonâ€“ending knee injury in 2008, this duo will surely post big numbers once again.
4. Steve Smith
#89 Carolina Panthers Height: 5-9 Weight: 185
If you donâ€™t think that Steve Smith is one of the leagueâ€™s best receivers, then you better check your credentials. Considered rather small for a receiver standing only at 5-9, Smith is a big target and has an even bigger heart.
He has breakaway speed, every move in the book and has enough mass in that small frame to break tackles. Simply put, when Smith plays up to his potential and the passing game is on point, the Carolina Panthers canâ€™t be beat.
With a record of 12-4, the Panters were crowned NFC South Champs. He says he wants to be one of the best, well he is surely on the right track.
5. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
#84 Seattle Seahawks Height: 6-2 Weight: 203
Not many players in the NFL, let alone on the same team as Chad â€œOcho Cincoâ€ Johnson, get the spotlight. This has the major reason why T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been often overlooked. That combined with his quiet demeanor. With that in mind, has been putting up steady numbers throughout his years in Cincinnati.
In fact he has been the leading receiver on the team more often than most believe. He has great hands and is a threat in the short passing game, averaging close to 10 yards a catch. Now T.J will have the opportunity to become the No. 1 receiver with his new team, the Seattle Seahawks, and will work on developing a rapport with QB Matt Hasselbeck.
#81 Detroit Lions Height: 6-5 Weight: 236
The Detroit Lions have officially been tamed and finished the regular season as the first team in NFL history to go 0-16. Lionâ€™s receiver Calvin Johnson tried to reverse the fortunes of his struggling franchise by making spectacular grabs and was the teamâ€™s most dangerous weapon.
Photo of Calvin Johnson making a leaping grab over Charles Woodson courtesy of the National Football League.
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