Those are the only guys I can think of who I'd take over Cruz. And yet Julio Jones for as great as he is, is a major injury risk and has always been banged up in the NFL. I'd take Cruz over Jones at this point.
There are other guys in the mix too. All these guys are great but I'd take Cruz over every single one of them.
Thank God we signed this man. He is simply a baller.
where do you think VC ranks then?
Pass that fucking cheeba around.
Cruz is very good and a great bargain on his contract, but this is a... slightly ridiculous claim.
I would trade healthy Cruz for IR'd Jones straight up right now. Far far Far behind Bryant. Welker is better than Cruz at what Cruz does best. D Thomas is a better player.
Really don't enjoy this because I absolutely love Cruz but you calling him 3rd best in the game is blind homerism BRAH
Dez Bryant? He's clearly number two. By a mile
Put is down or pass it. But please please please stop Bogarting it!!!
Do you see Cruz bitching on the sidelines? I agree with this post.
clearly he's had enough for now.
I'd argue that Marshall is as well.
take D Thomas over Cruz, but not Dez. That puts him 5th on my list. Still one hell of a player and we got him on a fantastic deal.
DeSean Jackson-I don't like him but talent is talent and he belongs in tier 2.
I agree ... he sue is ... We all know that #2 is a pile of shit ...
2013: 677 yards (4th) -- 47 catches (7th) -- 4 TDs (17th)
For an absolutely garbage offensive attack. He's been the only one to show up every single game. And he's been doing this for 3 years.
There are a bunch of guys more physically gifted. DeMaryius and Dez are the two guys who I'd definitely consider. But Cruz is a better route runner and more versatile than either. DeMaryius has that offense and Peyton and Dez is an inconsistent route runner with a diva problems.
Welker does what Cruz does better than Cruz does, true. But Cruz can also do things Welker hasn't dreamed of.
But hes closer to 3rd than he is "LOL r u crazy!" responses. The only guys I would have definitely ahead of him are Calvin, AJ Green, Fitzgerald (declining numbers be damned), Dez and Julio. Id have him someplace between 6 and 10
Since 2011 he is 3rd in the NFL in receiving yards, top 8 in TDs and receptions, and first (by a mile) in receptions of 70+ yards despite being viewed as some limited slot guy.
but as of right now I take Cruz over him. I know his team sucks but at some point you have to call out Fitzgerald for his lacking production.
I could easily see him go to the Pats or Packers next year and reclaim his status as the 1a to Calvin's 1, but right now he has had 1.5 straight years of mediocre performance.
you'd take Julio Jones over Cruz, but you'd take Cruz over Julio Jones?
Cruz is perfect in this system because it's as much about making reads and rapport with the quarterback as it is about physical ability. But I think other systems rely more on physical ability and so I'd take more prototype receivers than Cruz.
You don't think Fitzgerald would be an absolute monster if he had a competent quarterback?
CGiants, I like your list, but I think Vincent Jackson has to be included in your list. He is a monster big play receiver even with garbage QBs like Freeman and Mike Glennon throwing him the ball.
a healthy Julio is basically a mythical player thus far in his NFL career. He's never healthy and what do you know, he's out for the year.
For that reason I take Cruz over him.
I'd take Dez over Cruz though.
He's incredibly underrated.
but he's a little too limited for my taste when comparing him to the elite of the elite. He's a monster downfield receiver but he's not a great route runner who can dominate the intermediate game the way the top guys can.
He's a top 10 wideout. Closer to 5.
This isn't nearly as outrageous as the initial posts indicate.
In regards to Fitz, while I would normally agree that at some point players need to step up, if they want to be elite, Fitz is absolutely an exception to that. I can't begin to tell you how many times he is wide open and the garbage QBs miss him by a mile. The throws aren't close or they go another direction. It is 100% on the poor QB play, as far as I'm concerned
List of WR's who have as many or more TD grabs than Andre Johnson since 2011
Plaxico Burress (yea, i said since 2011, not a typo)
Dezmon Briscoe (who the fuck is Dezmon Brisco)
I can go on and on. He has 6 in that time
do you even disagree by that much? Is there any idiot out there who'd rank Cruz below 8th? We had a bunch of those in the off-season. Where ya at now?
Andre Johnson was never a big TD guy. They've never had the worst QB do I can't blame that. They haven't always had Foster either so I can't blame that either. He's had a awesome, but strange career.
I think he's closer to 5th than 3rd, though.
My top 5/6 would be:
I'm taking Calvin, Dez. And AJ Green over him without question. I probably throw Brandon Marshall there as well. Cruz at 5 is the most generous I'd go.
For being an very good outside guy in the 2 WR sets and being an excellent slot guy in the 3 WR sets. How many of the other top 5 guys do that?
has never had a double digit TD season. He was a stud don't get me wrong, at one point a top 2-3 guy. But in this era of WRs an absolute no vote on the hall for me.
may lack some of the physical superiority that the very best bring to the table, however his intangibles are through the roof. Some football players just have something special about them that makes them unique and separates them from their peers. Cruz has that "it" factor, he is a genuine star that has the ability to make the biggest of plays in the biggest of moments. He reminds me of Lynn Swan in that regard, just a magical type of receiver, the type that you don't want to ever have your head turned or be caught in the bathroom when they make a play because you just might miss something you have never quite seen before. I personally wouldn't want the Giants to trade him for anyone, I enjoy watching him that much.
Cruz over someone like Bryant at this point, for example, unless you want to go overboard with the Dez-is-a-cancer storyline -- that's why top 3 seems ridiculous to me.
from the AJ/Julio tier. I've seen him mess up route running a little too often and his attitude off the field is a complete turn off.
Cruz doesn't have Dez's athleticism downfield. Dez/AJ/Calvin are just freaks when it comes to going up and getting it. Marshal/Fitz/Jordy and a handful of guys rank above Cruz when it comes to going up and getting it. A healthy Nicks does.
But Cruz is just far more consistent and he's not a bitch like Dez. I'd take Cruz over Dez but it's a close call.
I have always been a fan of Dez's talent but was critical of him for his up and down play and pedestrian production relative to his ability. The guy only had one 100 yard game in basically his first 2 1/4 seasons. But since the second half of last season the light has gone on and he has been insane
I dont have Cruz in my top 5, and barely have him in my top 10. And its really not a knock on Cruz, but I see more "dominant receivers". I cant really explain it. But if I am starting a team, I'd take these guys over Cruz.
Then there are a bunch of guys like Welker, Thomas, Nelson, Fitzgerald that could give a run for their money.
The guy that was mentioned earlier that would give a lot of top 5 guys a run for their money is Josh Gordon. The guy is an absolute stud. He plays on a shit offense with a shit QB. He is absolutely a dominant WR than people understand.
Another guy who should be considered a top WR now is Cobb. It sucks he got injured, but he put up a monster year last year, and if he stayed healthy would probably a top 10 guy himself.
Dez: 137 rec -- 2023 yds -- 20 TD
Vic: 133 rec -- 1769 yds -- 14 TD
So Dez has been slightly better statistically the past 1.5 seasons but it's not some bigtime beatdown.
But Cruz also had a legendary 2011. If people here still have Larry Fitz ranked above Cruz because of what Fitzgerald did before 2011, why should we ignore what Cruz did in 2011 when comparing him to Dez?
It's a close call. Dez is more of a physical freak while Cruz is a more versatile and quicker player. Tie goes to the guy who isn't a diva.
AJ is unbelievable. I think he's clearly #2 right now.
In comment 11307285
| AJ is unbelievable. I think he's clearly #2 right now.
I just kind of listed 5. Marshall may be number 3 in my book. But in reality guys 2-5 could be switched depending on the week.
He is a beast. But he is the classic "Games missed don't tell the whole story with his durability" type guy, much like Shockey when he played here. He's the only guy who gets to be a consensus top 5 WR without having a top 5 WR season on his resume' yet. Of course that is largely due to his injuries. He was on his way this year. And though this is the first major issue, he is always dinged, he is often playing through something.
but he's little Denver Nuggets Carmelo in that he looks better than he is. Physically overpowers players and has mega volume but not the most efficient player.
He's had some monster years. I don't think it should be held against him that he's targeted so often. I almost think it's more of a testament to his ability that teams know the ball is going to him and they still can't stop him. He's a physical freak.
From where he's come from.
but if we're comparing him to the elite of the elite, it needs to be pointed out. I put a lot of that on the QBs Marshall has had in his career. He's a guy like a healthy Nicks who's "always open" so QBs just forcefeed him. I like Marshall's style a lot, it's awesome to watch. But it looks better than it is from a team perspective imo.
He's clearly better than Marshall, I'd never debate that.. but I would assume his targets are probably in the same vicinity as Marshall's are.
I watch a lot of Cardinal games out here in Anthem and you can see some sub-par plays from Larry on quite a few occasions.
separation though. Marshall just straight bullies DBs.
one even close, imv..He's not too shabby when called to play outside at times either..
based on value relative to their contracts, Cruz would rank absurdly well. According to overthecap.com his cap hit is 49th among WRs this season. It will obviously rise in the coming years but his new contract is exceedingly manageable
No one in the world is going to say Victor Cruz is remotely the WR Calvin Johnson is. But Im not sure i wouldn't rather have Cruz than the right to pay Calvin Johnson franchise QB money, even though he is clearly the best receiver in the game without peer.
but when you watch them play it's tough to put it all on the QBs. Part of the blame goes on Fitz, he just looks lackadaisical at times now like he can't wait for the 2nd chapter of his career to start.
In comment 11307309
Big Blue '56 said:
| one even close, imv..He's not too shabby when called to play outside at times either..
Welker and Cobb are also very good.
Hamstring. Fully healthy he's better then Cruz. And I'd take him over Cruz for sure if he wasn't injured.
was in 2010. It's 2013 now iirc.
Fitz is great and I think he'll have a big year on a new team whenever he gets traded but he's getting by on the rep these days.
He's top five and criminally underrated because of a stupid need to pigeon hole him as a 'slot WR'.
He's dominant down field weapon, in that tier below the physical freaks.
In comment 11307322
Osi Osi Osi OyOyOy said:
| was in 2010. It's 2013 now iirc.
Fitz is great and I think he'll have a big year on a new team whenever he gets traded but he's getting by on the rep these days.
It amazes me why the Patriots never offered multiple picks for Fitz. It was the most sane, logical trade that never has happened.
I was with you the whole time though.
been destined to become a Packer or Patriot for a while now.
How can he be the 3rd best if there are 3 guys who you think are better?
Throwing him the ball. The last few years have been a revolving door at QB. And his numbers have still been good. I love Cruz but Fitz would do more with Eli.
but not in Cruz' league, imv
is he can go stretches without being a huge factor. Which is not his fault, granted.
However in his last 24 games (2012/2013) he has had 75 or less yards in 66% of those games.
We're not talking potential and we're not talking greatness when he's actually healthy; at least I'm not..If that(his health) doesn't matter to you or factor into the overall equation, then fine, place Julio wherever you want him to be
In comment 11307330
Osi Osi Osi OyOyOy said:
| I was with you the whole time though.
Ha I know, I kid.
Cruz gets far too much shit because he's a new model of baller deep threat: the seam.
If West Welker and Marques Colston had a baby, it'd be Victor Cruz
you in a game with one long TD. His big play capability is outstanding.
I don't know where he stands as far as top 10, top 5 or whatever, but he's a great player. Giants could absolutely not let him go.
guys of Cruz's skillsets get a little underrated. But the growth of the passing game in the middle of the field has basically been the key to this recent offensive explosion. And very few guys have dominated that area like Cruz. People prefer the classic #1 WR like a Brandon Marshall even though Cruz might be the more impactful player because of the versatility.
I'd rank Jimmy Graham above Cruz if we included him. Another guy who dominates the middle but with more athleticism and size.
me that if Cruz were on the majority of other teams in the league where he didn't have the same freedom to adjust his routes the way he does in this system, that he wouldn't be nearly as productive.
It's not a knock on Cruz so much as a reason why I think other great WRs are better. Now, whether the other great wide receivers would be able to further maximize their talent in this system is also an unknown.
Cruz's quickness works in any system. And people underrate his ball skills. He has a pretty sick vertical. He had a ton of great catches at the highest point in 2011.
I think I've disliked his game since the first Cutler breakout year.
The Carmelo comp is almost perfect, but I don't think he's as good as that would imply. He looks the part but he's just an enormous, volume possession WR, the kinda nonsense that "slot WRs" get dinged for being (underneath possession guys).
sign Cruz first chance we get
Opinion. IMO it's fitz. But I'd be happy with either and damn happy we get to have one of them on our team.
In comment 11307390
Bill in UT said:
| sign Cruz first chance we get
Manning, he'd shit on welker's stats.
just my opinion.
everyone can play that game of if so and so had so and so as their qb, or in so and so's system.
fk that noise.
cruz has GAME BREAKING ability... he's not 6-5 but who gives a shit. guy can get open and ball.
i'd take maybe 5 receivers ahead of him right now.
our offense has been shitty the past year so i wouldn't put lower production on just him.
the one thing that guys like megatron have is that they can be doubled and still be a huge factor (ala DET vs DAL last week) but its a bit harder for VC.
the guy is a stud, doesn't get hurt, can go deep (for a small guy) with great success. goes over the middle, can turn a 5 yard pass into a 90 yarder. guy competes. glad he's on our team
In comment 11307327
| He's top five and criminally underrated because of a stupid need to pigeon hole him as a 'slot WR'.
He's dominant down field weapon, in that tier below the physical freaks.
He is a slot Wr who plays Z as well. I wouldn't call him top 5 talent. I believehis pproduction is very, very good but he is a product of our system. If there is any great thing to this system its the slot WR spot. Now people rip Gilbride but our slot WR spot and Z role have been good to us.
You need great ability but the system helps big time with choice and option routes. That's where those sight adjustment rules work well. Best example is Steve Smith and Cruz , both different Wrs in terms of style. They both were highly productive in our system. Cruz took it to a home run level but both guys were productive. That's because of the system.The level of which Cruz took it is on Cruz and his ability.
That's why I wouldn't call Cruz top 5 in talent. He has great production though in our system. That's one aspect of the system that I like. You take two different WRs in Smith and Cruz and both were highly productive. One took it to a whole new level.
with the perfect skillset for a slot WR. He wasn't some bum talent-wise. He was a top talent places in a great situation for his set of skills.
He had a 100+ catches and did very well in our system but he didn't come remotely close to making the impact Cruz did. I think it's unfair to say Cruz is overrated because of the scheme and point to Steve Smith succeeding to a far lower degree as the reason why.
Would Jernigan put up huge numbers if he got the chance? I hate to be put in a position to defend Steve Smith, a guy who i felt was overrated even when he was wildly popular here. I felt his 2009 big stat year was heavily aided by a ton of empty receptions. But all that said its not like he was some schmuck. Guy ran great routes, he made "business decisions" basically every time he caught the ball but he was a solid athlete. Obviously Cruz is a much better talent and he has taken it to a new level.
and definitely value him like most others on here do, but saying "he'd shit on Wes Welker's stats" is as homerific as it gets.
Wes Welker has put up legendary numbers, and of course this is somewhat irrelevant, but tore an ACL/MCL in the middle of this run too.
Welker, I believe, has the most receptions in a 7-year stretch in NFL history. Of course he doesn't have the ypc of Marvin Harrison (the person whose record he beat), or Randy Moss/Megatron/Cruz/Green, so I don't consider him in that class, so IMO it's more appropriate to say Cruz is better because of his big play ability, but don't say Cruz would "shit on his stats" because no one in the history of the game has. And over time, the ypc normalizes for guys like Harrison closer to Welker, currently it's something like 13.2 (Harrison) 11.2 (welker). cruz is around 15 something now, but when he hits his 30's it will probably drop some.
Welker came from a "similar" background as Cruz being un-drafted.
Nicks over Cruz
Now? He's top 10-12 in my book. He's very good and outperforms Nicks this year by a bunch.
the man is still playing the game like he's making league minimum.
Why anyone would rank Julio jones over Cruz? Based on what exactly? Jones never had a season like Cruz had in 2011 and he's always hurt. He's a great player but he's always hurt or fighting through an injury. Jones is basically 2011 Hakeem nicks. Fine player and capable of big things in big moments but Cruz has been more productive based on 2011 alone.
Cobb is an up n coming player but he's not in Cruz territory yet. Again another guy that never ever sniffed 2011 Cruz status.
At some point you have to lean towards the guy that always plays and has played well in championship moments. You swap Cruz in for anyone not named megatron, aj green and probably Dez, and I don't think those teams miss a beat. We give fitz a pass for the dysfunctional offense but we ignore the situation Cruz is in right now? This NYG offense is shite right now.
and he still hasn't put up a monster year yet. But he looked to be on his way this year and when you watch him play, it's obvious that he's a ridiculous talent. He's the closest thing to prime TO in the league today imo.
If he were 100% healthy I'd take him over Cruz. But he's not and he never is so it's tough to rank him ahead of Cruz at this point.
here are the combine and pro days measurables from some of the top WRs in the league, including Cruz.
| Player ---- Height --- Weight --- 40time --- Vert --- 20ydSS
Calvin ---- 6'5" ----- 239 lbs -- 4.35 ----- 42.5"
Julio ----- 6'3" ----- 220 lbs -- 4.34 ----- 38.5" -- 4.25
Green ----- 6'4" ----- 211 lbs -- 4.48 ----- 34.5" -- 4.21
Dez ------- 6'2" ----- 224 lbs -- 4.52 ----- 38.0" -- 4.46
Thomas ---- 6'3" ----- 224 lbs -- 4.38 -----
Andre J. -- 6'2" ----- 230 lbs -- 4.41 ----- 41.0" -- 4.10
Marshall -- 6'4" ----- 229 lbs -- 4.52 ----- 37.0" -- 4.31
Larry F --- 6'3" ----- 225 lbs -- 4.48 -----
Vincent J - 6'5" ----- 241 lbs -- 4.46 ----- 39.0" -- 4.00
Cruz ------ 6'0" ----- 206 lbs -- 4.47 ----- 41.5" -- 4.17
T. Smith -- 6'1" ----- 204 lbs -- 4.41 ----- 41.0" -- 4.13
Welker ---- 5'9" ----- 195 lbs -- 4.65 ----- 30.0" -- 4.01
Nelson ---- 6'3" ----- 217 lbs -- 4.51 ----- 31.0" -- 4.35
I think NFL fans tend to fall in love with the big classic #1 WR who has the size to overpower DBs. Guys like Roddy White and Brandon Marshall. But the NFL is all about quickness and I think people really underrate that aspect of Cruz's game.
Cruz is an elite player when it comes to short area explosion, it's not simply a product of our offense. Check out his vertical and his 20 yard SS times, both near the very top. The only WR with a better vert on the list is Calvin and not many guys have better Short Shuttle times. He has elite explosiveness and quickness. Combine that with his route running and it's no surprise that he's a star.
I think it's lazy when people say that Cruz is a product of the offense because he was a UDFA and because Smith played well in the same role. Cruz is dominating in this role and is utilizing his physical tools perfectly within the slot WR role while also being more than capable of dominating on the outside.
Cruz's athleticism is top notch even if he is undersized for a true #1 WR. It's just a different type of athleticism than we're used to from top WRs. That's why he's underrated even by his own fans, like the people who think ranking Cruz in the Top 5 is some joke.
PS... scary how Megatron still sticks out like this even when comparing him to other guys. And Vincent Jackson is one hell of an athlete. If only he was a crisp and complete route runner he could dominate the league.
great stuff and thanks for posting. I always like when someone takes the time to present research/stats to make it easier to continue the discussion-- it's tedious gruntwork, but it always helps.
One thing I'd be interested in seeing is who is covering these players in man defense.
Presumably, all of the WRs that we are comparing to Cruz are the team's #1 WR and are commanding the opposing team's best DB.
Perhaps it makes me a bad fan for not knowing, but does anyone have a breakdown for how often the the defense's best cover corner is on Cruz as opposed to on Nicks when they are both lined up?
that Cruz sees less #1 DBs than most of the guys on that list. But part of the reason why is because his skillset allows him the versatility to play on the inside or outside at a top level. It makes him tougher to cover with your #1CB or with help over the top. The role helps him but the versatility allows him to play the role.
Kyle, I was surprised at Jordy's low vert. I expected closer to 40" than 30" from him. He still makes some great plays on jump balls. I think the vertical is a better measurement of explosiveness than it is jump ball catching ability. I mean AJ Green at 34.5" with his vert is shocking, he might be better than Calvin at going up and getting it.
right now statistically.
Should come as no surprise that his statistics don't measure up to some of his peers. But we've all seen what he can do when this offense is clicking. He's a top wideout in this league. Whether he's #3 or #7 or whatever doesn't really matter.
the latter of which would distort our perception.
Megatron is just an enormous person.
AJ Green is only 210 pounds at 6'4". He's early Randy Moss visually: a lanky Gumby type wideout. Hell, he's like Randy Moss in almost every way (except for never uttering the phrase "straight cash, homey"). Not being so heavy makes him look longer, so it plays a part in the visual.
but on NFL Live they were just discussing this very subject. Tim Hasselbeck and Damien Woody were just ranking WRs and had Cruz 5th. A live fan vote on twitter also had him 5th. Mark Brunnel had him just out of the top 5
I'd put your claim at 4th best WR, to start?
Is he's durable. I can't recall him missing a game or even being on the injury report.
or showed more durability than Cruz. And not many have produced bigger plays in the biggest of games. That has to count for something. And his stats are pretty damn good too.
It's also possible that we haven't seen the best of Cruz just yet. 2011 was a magical season but it's possible that Cruz has another one of those seasons in him with even more receptions.