It seems everywhere you turn, especially on social media, the always-interesting debate of who is the king among all wide receivers creates plenty of discussion. If you ask a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, there is no one above the electric Antonio Brown.
Ask someone who is fond of the Red & Black, and Julio Jones may be one of the best wide receivers they have ever seen. Some feel that Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. stands head and shoulders above others while some toss the name of Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant in the equation.
Most analysts and prognosticators agree that Jones and Brown are the two with the most evidence to make a claim. Out of the two juggernaut receivers, who is the best? To make it an even playing field, we will compare the statistical totals of the two since the 2011 season based on Jones entering his rookie year that season. Let's analyze.
Julio Jones Antonio Brown
Catches 497 606
Yards 7,610 8,210
Receiving TDs 40 50
RPG (Regular season) 6.3 6.6
YPC (Reg.) 15.3 13.4
YPG (Reg.) 96.3 88.2
Reg. Season Games 79 92
Playoff Games 6 6
Playoff YPG 106.5 102.5
Playoff TDs 5 2
It is obvious that both receivers have the upper hand in particular facets within their statistical totals. While Brown has the clear advantage in overall catches, the fact that Jones has Brown trumped in yards per game in both regular season and playoff game settings with no advantage in amount of games played presents evidence that is hard to ignore.
Throughout NFL history, there are a number of elite pass catchers who don't measure greatly with rare height/weight descriptions. Brown definitely fits that category. At 5'10 and 180 lbs, Brown is not intimidating at all. However, what he has carved throughout his career is a reputation of being a technician.
It will not be shown on the stat sheet, but Brown is arguably the best pure route runner in the NFL. His ability to create separation with precision in his routes is parallel to known in the NFL. Notches on his belt included five Pro Bowls, three first-team All Pro selections, four straight 100-catch seasons, and at least eight touchdown in each of the past four seasons.
Where Jones shines is simple, his ability to be a pure mismatch physically before the ball is snapped gives him an advantage in just about every game on just about every play. Jones provides the size, speed, strength, and freakish athletic ability that is second to none in the NFL. In each of the past four seasons, Jones has averaged over 100 receiving yards per game to go along with four seasons in his career with 15 yards or more per catch that season.
So who prevails in this battle of the heavyweights? It really depends on your taste in receivers. If you prefer the small but excellent source of production in Brown, he makes a respectable case to be the league's best. If you require your receivers to be big, fast, and physical freak, the superior Jones is your guy. The debate between the two may never be settled.