The Wide Receiver position has been transformed and revolutionized more than any other position in the history of the NFL, and this list will rank the top 10 to ever play the game with respect to their eras.
5. Larry Fitzgerald
Larry Fitzgerald started his career as one of the best deep threats and jump ball receivers the NFL has ever seen, and ended his career moving to the slot and becoming one of the best route runners and blockers for wide receivers in the NFL.
Fitzgerald is second all time in receiving yards, and sixth all time in receiving touchdowns, and is second all time in career receptions. Fitzgerald was the model of consistency having nine 1,000 yard seasons, and four with over 1,400.
Fitzgerald also led the league in receptions twice, and his 2008 playoff run will go down as one of the greatest in NFL history, where he led the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl as a wide receiver.
4. Lance Alworth
Lance Alworth was one of the best deep threats to ever play the game averaging 18.9 yards per reception for his career. He possessed breakaway speed and the agility of a deer, as he was nicknamed “Bambi” for his quick cuts and how he always ran on the balls of his feet.
Alworth led the league in receiving yards three times, receiving touchdowns three, and receptions times as well. Alworth had seven consecutive 1,000 yard seasons from 1963-1969 and was a first team all pro every year from 1963-1968.
Alworth also won Super Bowl VI with the Dallas Cowboys, and ranks 13th all time in yards per reception in NFL history. For his era he redefined the deep passing game and deserves a place on this list.
3. Don Hutson
The first ever wide receiver in NFL history Don Huston invented the route tree that every receiver learns today. Huston also dominated his era like no other player did in NFL history at his position.
He led the NFL in receptions eight times, yards seven times, and touchdowns eight times. Huston was one of the best deep threats of all time, and in his era it wasn’t even close to how much better he was than everyone else.
Huston was selected a first team all pro eight consecutive seasons from 1938-1945. Huston was selected as one of the first players ever to be inducted to the NFL hall of fame.
2. Randy Moss
Randy Moss is the most explosive receiver to ever play the game and literally made it impossible for teams to play single high safety against him for his whole career.
Moss led the league in touchdowns five times, and set the NFL record for most receiving touchdowns in a season with 23 in 2007. Moss also had one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time in 1998 when he had a rookie record with 17 touchdowns.
Moss was the highest scoring player on two different offenses that are top six in the history of the NFL for scoring. Moss is also second all time in receiving touchdowns and fourth all time in receiving yards.
1. Jerry Rice
You will get no argument that Jerry Rice is the greatest wide receiver of all time. He had the most yards in a career with 22,895, most receiving touchdowns, and total touchdowns in NFL history, and the most career receptions.
Also, unlike almost every other receiver on this list, Rice has won three Super Bowls during his career, including a Super Bowl MVP. Rice was one of the best route runners of all time and had the second most touchdowns in a season with 22, but only played 12 games. He also has the second most receiving yards in a season.
Rice was selected to 10 first team all pro teams in the span of 11 seasons. There is almost no record for receivers that Jerry Rice does not hold, and is the easy pick for the greatest receiver in NFL history.