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Green Zone League Articles

GZL All-Decade Team (WRs)
By Keith Van Wagner
Special to gzl-football.com

GZL All-Decade Team Ė (Wide Receivers)

This is the third article in what hopefully will be a long series of articles. In an effort to explore our leagueís history, Iím developing an All-Decade team for the years 2010 to 2019. To do so I have had to sift through a lot of our archives, so itís likely there are some errors. At the same time, we have a very rich history with many talented players. So itís very likely that a few were excluded that some think should be included, especially since each of us may value some elements of the game over others. Either way, this series is meant to be fun and enlightening. I hope you enjoy.

For the WRs, I chose 4 players to represent the All-Decade Team. I did so for a couple of reasons. First, I picked 3 QBs, which is how many teams generally have on their roster, and while I usually go with 5 or 6 WRs, that seemed like overkill, so 4 felt like a good choice. There were more than 15 WRs I reviewed for this article, and most everyone could have been included on this list.

One more note, relating to the total Yards Receiving for the Decade that I list below. Iím certain about the top 10, but I wasnít able to figure out how to determine each of the rankings beyond that. So Iím basing it on only the WRs I looked at.

Here are the Wide Receivers of the Decade

Calvin Johnson (Lions, Ravens). Was there any doubt that Calvin Johnson would be on this list? Or that heíd be at the top. Itís hard to figure where to start with Johnson. Perhaps the best place is the 7 Pro Bowls. Thatís pretty amazing and tied for most in the Decade. It was bigger news when Johnson didnít make the Pro Bowl. How about in the seasons when he didnít go to the Pro Bowl he still averaged 1,150 yards. Johnson also had two of the Top 5 season in yards, including 2014ís 2,031 yards. He also has 3 of the Top 5 seasons in receptions and 2 of the Top 5 seasons in TDs. Johnson finished the Decade first in Receptions, Yards and TDs.
Stats (2010-2019)
Yards Receiving: 14,654 (1st for the Decade)
Pro Bowls: 7 (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Awards: None
League Leader in Yards: 2014
League Leader in Receptions: 2010, 2014, 2016, 2018
League Leader in TDs: 2016
Top 5 Finish in Recs: 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018

Donnie Avery (Rams, Packers, Raiders). Calvin Johnson is clearly the best in league history, and Donnie Avery is clearly number 2. Avery burst onto the scene in 2010 putting up a mind blowing 21 TDs Ė a record that still stands. Avery was a homerun hitter, averaging over 16 yards a catch and hitting double digit TDs 5 times. His 90 TDs rank 2nd all time. His stats are even more impressive considering his 10 year totals include two forgettable seasons at the end of his career in Green Bay and Oakland where he caught just 32 passes.
Stats (2010-2019)
Yards Receiving: 11,664 (3rd for Decade)
Pro Bowls: 3 (2010, 2015, 2016)
Awards: 2010 NFC/GZL OPTY
League Leader in Yards: 2010
League Leader in Receptions: None
League Leader in TDs: 2010
Top 5 Finish in Recs: 2010, 2011, 2015

Dez Bryant (Cowboys, Bills). Bryant finished 4th for the Decade in yards, 2nd in receptions and 5th in TDs. This is in spite of an injury shortened 2016 when Bryant caught only 3 passes. Only Calvin Johnson was voted to more Pro Bowls during the Decade than Bryant and two others. In 2013 and 2014 Bryant had back to back 100+ reception seasons. Bryant also had 4 seasons of 10+ TDs. His 15 catches in week 9 of 2014 still ranks 2nd most all-time.
Stats (2010-2019)
Yards Receiving: 11,131 (4th in Decade)
Pro Bowls: 4 (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018)
Awards: None
League Leader in Yards: None
League Leader in Receptions: None
League Leader in TDs: 2015T
Top 5 Finish in Recs: 2013, 2014

Julio Jones (Cardinals). There are other candidates that could go in this 4th spot, including Demaryius Thomas who finished second in receiving yards for the Decade. But this spot goes to Jones who is 6th in the Decade in receiving yards. However, if you look at receving yards from 2012, Jonesí rookie year, until the end of the Decade, Jones is 2nd behind only Calvin Johnson. In his 8 years of the Decade, Jones scored 10 TDs five or more times. So even though he played only 8 seasons, Jones is 4th for the Decade in the category. Jonesí most productive years were from 2013 to 2015 where he averaged about 100 catches and 1,550 yards, with 10 TDs. Even in 2017 and 2018 when he averaged only 60 catches, he still managed almost 20 yards a catch and 22 TDs total.
Stats (2012-2019)
Yards Receiving: 10,392 (6th in Decade)
Pro Bowls: 3 (2013, 2014, 2015)
Awards: None
League Leader in Yards: None
League Leader in Receptions: None
League Leader in TDs: 2015T, 2017T
Top 5 Finish in Recs: 2013, 2014, 2015

Others Considered: DeMaryius Thomas ended the Decade with the 2nd most receiving yards and seemed like a natural to be included. Thomas made 3 Pro Bowls but won no awards and did not lead in any categories or finish in the Top 5...AJ Green just missed the cut. Green had 126 catches one season, second most all time. He also made 3 Pro Bowls...Andre Johnson is largely forgotten today as the best work he did was in the first half of the season. But Johnson made 4 Pro Bowls and had 3 consecutive 10+ TD catch seasons to start the Decade...Torrey Smith also made 4 Pro Bowls and neared 10,000 yards for the Decade, good for 20th best overall...Mike Williams was the feature WR on some great Buc teams in the first half of the Decade and went to 3 Pro Bowls...David Gettis was something of a journeyman until he found a home in Detroit. Though he experienced only 3 great seasons, his output from 2016 to 2019 actually outpaced Calvin.
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