On the NFL Network‘s “Top 100 Players of 2015” series, it’s getting down to the final few players on the countdown, as all should be considered elite at their positions. On tonight’s episode airing at 9 p.m. ET, the countdown will span numbers 20 through 11, and a few Steelers should be found within that overall grouping, whether it’s 20 through 11 or 20 through 1. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was featured on last week’s episode, coming in at number 26 after his superb 2014 season, thanks in large part to two All-Pro’s in wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell, who both put in large contributions in the team’s aerial assault.
With the focus in 2015 on the passing game, at least early on during Bell’s suspension, Brown will again look to be a central cog in the team’s offense. Stacked against the other NFL’s elite wide receivers such as Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones or Dez Bryant, Brown’s name often gets lost in the shuffle, perhaps due to his lack of ideal size at the position. At 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, after reportedly adding five pounds of muscle this offseason, he is still miniature in stature when compared to the 6-foot-5, 236-pound “Megatron”, yet he still continues to post mind-boggling numbers.
In a recent debate on NFL.com centering around exactly who the best receiver in the NFL is, several of the columnists chose either Bryant or Johnson, citing their big-bodied size, box-out ability and speed as the main reasoning behind their choices. However, Elliott Harrison wasn’t shy about his selection, going with the former sixth-round gem out of Central Michigan, saying he brings “unparalleled value to his team.”
“Call it football blasphemy, but I would take Antonio Brown over any other receiver today,” Harrison said, according to NFL.com. “He is the best wideout in the league after the catch, productive, consistent, and I thought he was the fourth-most valuable player in all of football last year — behind just Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt and Tony Romo.”
Harrison also noted the obvious, that being the video game stats Brown put up last year, with 129 catches for 1,698 yards, both tops in the NFL. He also alluded to the fact that Brown “can still take a punt to the house for ya.” This fact is true, as some have had the misfortune of finding out the hard way, like Cleveland Browns punter, Spencer Lanning. However, moving forward, the team should look to minimize serious injury to their star, and hand those duties over to someone else, unless in a serious pickle, like the one the Philadelphia Eagles found themselves in several years ago until DeSean Jackson‘s heroics saved the day.
I’ll definitely be tuning in tonight to see exactly where Brown is ranked when it comes to the NFL receiving hierarchy. Will he again be severely underrated? Will he rank even higher than Bell, who unlike Brown, is often mentioned as the best at his position in the league?
“There is no overrating the kind of value he brings to the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Harrison said.