In his defense — Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman ran off his five “toughest” wide receivers to cover, during an interesting piece for The Players Tribune.
The outspoken All-Pro corner spoke highly and descriptively about each, but left some big names off the list as well.
He shouted Odell Beckham Jr.:
In that Week 10 game against the Giants, I had been out on the field for a few plays when Odell came in fresh off the bench. He ran a stop-and-go, and I had it covered pretty well. When he made his first cut, I was right in his pocket.
Then he came out of the second part of his break, and he just exploded — like he had been shot out of a cannon — and he caught the ball for a big gain.
I was like, O.K. Now I know.
Speed is probably the most deceptive element for any wide receiver. It’s one of those things that you can’t prepare for by watching film. The only way you can really get a feel for it is to line up against a guy and see what he’s got, and how he uses it.
Doug Baldwin for friendship sake:
For Doug, it all starts at the line of scrimmage. I think he has some of the most explosive releases in the league. But also, at the top of his route, no matter what the route might be, he’s equally explosive. We can talk about hand fighting and changing speeds and physicality all we want. But when it comes to Doug, it’s all about creativity.
The other notables he left off were — Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, DeAndre Hopkins, Allen Robinson and others.
Flip The Page To See His Top Five:
The thing that really puts him over the top is the fact that he’s a blue-collar player. He doesn’t take plays off. He doesn’t jog on decoy routes. He runs every route at max effort, even when there’s a 100% chance he’s not getting the ball. He blocks on run plays as hard as he expects his teammates to block for him on pass plays. And because he’s always going 100 mph, he doesn’t give you any indicators that might help you decipher whether it’s a run or a pass, or if he’s getting the ball or they’re throwing to the other side of the field. Some guys, when the play is away from them, will fire off the line of scrimmage and then let up.
But not Julio.
As much praise as he gets, Brandon is still probably one of the most underrated receivers in the game. I mean, he had seven straight seasons with 1,000-plus receiving yards and he’s surpassed 1,000 yards in eight of the last nine seasons – and he did that while playing for four different teams and a handful of different quarterbacks.
You hear a lot about system players – guys who are only good in one team’s system. Put them on another team with different coaches or coordinators, they wouldn’t survive.
Brandon thrives everywhere, no matter the situation, no matter the quarterback. You gotta respect that.
He has a keen understanding of everything that’s happening on the field around him, and he has an incredible feel for timing, and how everything is supposed to line up.
Take his route-running, for instance. On paper, his route might look like a straight line. But when he runs it, it looks more like a squiggly line where he sort of meanders off his track. Some people might mistake this for poor route-running. But what he’s really doing is getting the timing right.
Antonio Brown is creative with his speed. He’s deceptive. He uses his acceleration and deceleration very uniquely. That’s what allows him to get so open…
AB has mastered the subtle moves within running a route that can shake even the best cover guys in the league. Sometimes the deviation is so drastic that it looks like a double move, but it’s really Antonio changing his stride just enough to throw you off his trail.
A.J. Green is another receiver who varies his speed to great effect. But he can also jump out of the gym. Like Julio, his athleticism is off the charts.
The thing about A.J. is that he’s not really a YAC guy. He does most of his damage before the ball gets to him. He’s always a threat deep down the field, and he’s able to elevate and catch the ball at its highest point.