There’s probably no bigger debate in the history of football than the one involving the best quarterbacks of all-time. But what about the players who are catching passes from those quarterbacks and adding to their passing totals by making plays in the open field? Don’t they deserve a little love too? More importantly, don’t they deserve to be judged and ranked based on their merits? We thought so too, which is why we came up with a list of the top-25 wide receivers of all time.
Obviously, this list is up for debate and subject to change as time goes by, but this isn’t that part of the fun? Without further adieu, here are the 25 best wide receivers in football history.
25. Fred Biletnikoff
Prior to his NFL career, Biletnikoff had a storied college career at Florida State, which is why the award for the best college receiver in the country is named after him. Of course, Biletnikoff did okay for himself in the NFL, spending all 14 seasons of his career with the Oakland Raiders. Only once did he accumulate more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season, but the consistency that Biletnikoff brought to the table year after year was unmatched by any receiver in the 1960s and 70s.
His career actually started rather slowly, as he was now known for having exceptional speed and athleticism. However, few receivers in NFL history are better route runners or had a more reliable set of hands. Any ball he could get his hands on would be caught, allowing him to develop a great rapport with quarterbacks Ken Stabler and Daryle Lamonica, who saw Biletnikoff as their most reliable receiver.
Receiving Yards: 63rd
Receiving Touchdowns: 32nd
Pro Bowl Selections: 4
24. Charlie Joiner
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Joiner’s career is that he started his career as a defensive back. After taking a hit from running back legend Floyd Little and being taken off the field on a cart, Joiner switched to wide receiver and never looked back. He was also little more than an average receiver throughout the early years of his career.
However, when Joiner was traded to the Chargers in 1976, his career took off. He spent over a decade with the Chargers, amassing over 1,000 yards receiving four times. When he finally retired after 18 seasons, Joiner was the all-time leader among wide receivers in games played, receptions, and receiving yards, all of which earned him induction into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
Receiving Yards: 24th
Receiving Touchdowns: 58th
Pro Bowl Selections: 3