Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
In an effort to decide which team will win the NFC South in 2013, I’ve decided to rank the four players in the division at each of the 11 positions on offense, 11 on defense, punter, place kicker, and one specialist. Each team will have one representative at each position and will be given points based on where their player lands in relation to the others who play the same position in the division. The best player in the division will receive four points while the worst will receive just one. We will then tally the points up, and come up with the a ranking of the four teams in the NFC South.
Next up is the category with the most talent in the division, wide receivers.
#1 – Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons – 4 points
It pains me to not have Vincent at the top here, but Jones is the better overall receiver. His statistics do not always indicate it, but that’s also because he’s playing with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. Jones is almost the perfect specimen to play wide receiver. He has speed, size, and incredible hands. And the scariest thing about Julio Jones, he’s only going to get better. Based on what we’ve seen thus far, Jones probably should finish third in this category, but he’s the best player, no matter what the stats say.
#2 – Vincent Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 3 points
Jackson is coming off one of the best seasons by a wide receiver in Buccaneers history. He was an absolute monster a year ago and will likely be able to reproduce those results with an extra offseason of work in with Josh Freeman. Jackson’s speed is the only the reason why he is not atop of this set of rankings. He has enough to speed to separate himself from the defender, but he simply doesn’t have breakaway speed that Jones possesses. No shame in coming in second here.
#3 – Marques Colston – New Orleans Saints – 2 points
One of the more underrated players in the NFL, might be getting the same treatment here. Colston is so much better than a majority of people, specifically those outside of the division, give him. But he simply is not better than Jones or Jackson. Colston benefits heavily getting to play with Drew Brees, but he still produces week and and week out, so we can’t take too much away from him. You’d be hard pressed to find another division in which Marques Colston would be the third best receiver, but that’s the landscape, so third it is.
#4 – Steve Smith – Carolina Panthers – 1 point
Five years ago, Steve Smith is number one without question. But the combination of his age and the studs that have emerged since then land Smith in the cellar. His decline has not been as drastic as it has seemed. With Cam Newton coming in and becoming a dual threat, Smith’s role as the only threat has diminished. He’s still a quick strike guy, and still someone you can’t forget is on the field. But he’s a clear fourth place is this star studded list.
The rankings are now complete. Be sure to check out the NFC South Position Rankings roundup to see point totals and observations based on the rankings.