NFL

Jerry Rice Names Best Wide Receiver in the NFL Right Now

Hall of Famer Jerry Rice was one of the greatest players to play the game, if not the greatest, behind his illustrious career that saw him set many league marks along the way. It has also given Rice a unique perspective of the NFL given the nature of his game that transcended during his two decades on the field. With that in mind, it was quite easy for him to name who he believes is the best wide receiver in the league today.

No shortage of wide receiver talent in the NFL

Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones
The NFL has progressively transitioned into a league filled with premier talent at the wide receiver position. | Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Since Rice last played in the NFL, the league has continued to transform into the passing game dominating the playing style.

It has opened the gate for wide receivers playing more prominent roles in the offense, while the emergence of premier talent at the skilled position has streamlined that process. Several of the game’s top wideouts have quickly become game-changing factors that teams have continued to feature as critical pieces to the puzzle.

Within that, several players have taken up the spots as the cream of the crop at the position. However, one All-Pro has caught the attention of Rice as being the best of the best in today’s game.

Jerry Rice believes Julio Jones is the game’s best wideout

In the years that have passed since stepping away from the game, Rice has kept tabs on the NFL.

He has continued to hover around the league, providing his keen insight as he recently voiced that he believes Larry Fitzgerald is the second-best wide receiver of all-time. Rice has once again aired an interesting perspective as he stated on Tuesday that he believes Atlanta Falcons star wideout Julio Jones is the best at the position right now. (h/t CBSSportsRadio.com)

“I’m always going to go with Julio Jones,” Rice said on Taz & The Moose. “He brings everything to the game. He’s got the speed, he’s got the size, he’s got the jumping ability, he can stretch the field and run by defenders and all that. He’s not on a very good team right now, but I still think Julio Jones is the best receiver in the game right now.”

Jones has certainly made a strong case for that title behind his elite level of production throughout his career. He has piled up six campaigns with north of 1,000 receiving yards while topping 100 catches three times. He also looks to be headed toward a seventh 1,000 receiving yard campaign in 2019.

Beyond that, he is a physical specimen with his size, speed, and strength that is unmatched at the position. All this only ramps up the conversation around that prestigious title with Rice weighing in.

Julio Jones has stiff competition

Jones has made a firm stake to that special honor, but it’s one that he isn’t exactly running away with over his peers.

There are several other dynamic playmakers at the position such as Odell Beckham Jr., Michael Thomas, Mike Evans, and DeAndre Hopkins, who have each separated themselves from the pack. If Antonio Brown were currently on an NFL team, he would undoubtedly be on this list given his continued dominant production over the years.

What keeps Jones at the top is his sustained high level of production over the duration of his career. That combined with his physical traits, route-running ability, and football IQ put him over the rest of the league.

Jones may hold the upper hand in the conversation at this point, but there could be another player holding that mantel in the near future.