Brown gets AP’s top WR spot
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Associated Press is ranking the top 10 players at a different position every week of the NFL season, based on votes by Pro Football Hall of Famer James Lofton and AP football writers Simmi Buttar, Dave Campbell, Schuyler Dixon, Josh Dubow, Howard Fendrich, Rob Maaddi, Arnie Stapleton, Teresa M. Walker, Dennis Waszak Jr., and Barry Wilner.)
NEW YORK — Antonio Brown is nearly impossible to stop.
The Steelers star receiver has already put up some stellar stats in his career, including the most receptions in NFL history (526) in any player’s first six years in the league.
And through four games this season, he has 388 yards receiving, which is second in the NFL and only 3 yards away from leading the league.
The top spot is a familiar place for Brown as he beat out everyone for the No. 1 position among the AP’s top 10 wide receivers. The voting was done by Pro Football Hall of Fame member James Lofton and 10 AP football writers.
Brown earned eight first-place votes and finished with 103 points.
“Not only is he the best receiver in the game, Brown might be the best all-around player in the NFL,” said the AP’s Barry Wilner, who is based in New York.
Atlanta’s Julio Jones was in second place with 98 points. Jones received the other three first-place votes and six for second place. He led the NFC and was second in the NFL last season with 1,409 yards. He had nine catches for 180 yards with two scores in the NFC championship game against Green Bay as they Falcons reached the Super Bowl before blowing a 28-3 lead and losing in overtime to New England.
“One of the masters of accumulating yards after the catch and a clutch performer, too, as the Packers witnessed in the NFC championship game last season,” said the AP’s Dave Campbell, who’s based in Minneapolis.
Odell Beckham Jr. of the Giants was third with 69 points.
“The guy is one of the most talented players in the game — and one of its most polarizing,” said the AP’s Dennis Waszak Jr., based in New York. “His acrobatic, one-handed catches have made him an exciting superstar, but his other on-field antics have also kept him in the headlines for the wrong reasons.”
Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins was next with 57 points, edging Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, who had 55 points.
“Does he (Hopkins) finally have a dynamic partner in Deshaun Watson?” asked the AP’s Schuyler Dixon, based in Dallas. “If so, watch out for soaring numbers.”
Cincinnati’s A.J. Green finished sixth with 52.
“Consistently one of the best,” the AP’s Rob Maaddi, who’s based in Philadelphia, said of the Bengals Pro Bowler.
Veterans Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona and Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson tied with 36 points.
“Any list would be invalid without Fitz, who’s averaged 108 catches the last two seasons after everyone thought he was headed for retirement,” said the AP’s Arnie Stapleton, who’s based in Denver.
Dallas’ Dez Bryant followed with 29 points.
“The usual big numbers aren’t there this year, but Bryant remains one of the most feared receivers and should boost production as the season goes on,” said the AP’s Josh Dubow, who’s based in the Bay Area.
Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs rounded out the top 10 with 18 points.
“He’s leading the league in yards and yards per game,” said the AP’s Teresa Walker, who’s based in Nashville, Tennessee. “Imagine how much worse off the Vikings would be without him.”