Former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson is arguably one of the best route-running receivers ever to play in the NFL. With 11,059 career receiving yards, Johnson torched many defenders in his day. The six-time Pro Bowler even told cornerbacks his routes before he ran them—then still burn them.
Johnson recently tweeted his list of the top four route-running receivers in the league today (in no particular order), and it generated some controversy on Twitter. But the more you consider the receivers on his list, the more you have to agree with him.
Top NFL route runners in no particular order: 1. AB84 2. Beckham 3. Amari Cooper 4. Stefon Diggs (if you can't cover me save your opinion)
— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) September 26, 2016
Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown has been terrorizing defenses since 2013. With 136 receptions, 1,834 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last season, Brown definitely qualified as one of the NFL's top receivers. He is able to get open because of his quickness and footwork when running routes.
Odell Beckham Jr.
The New York Giants wide receiver has a been nightmare for defenders since his rookie season in 2014. In last Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins, he became the first receiver in NFL history to have 200 catches in 30 games or less. He also broke the record for 3,000 receiving yards in 30 games. This early success can be ascribed to his sharp route running. Check out these highlights, OBJ versus Josh Norman, one of the best corners in the league.
Last season as a rookie, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper was a Pro Bowler. Cooper had 72 receptions, 1,070 yards and six touchdowns. He can credit his success to his amazing footwork.
Cooper uses his blazing speed and quickness to flummox defenders, who have no clue where they're at.
In just three games, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs has 20 receptions and 325 yards, almost half of what he had in his rookie season. Since running back Adrian Peterson went down with an injury, the Vikes must focus more on Diggs, which we are sure he doesn't mind.
Diggs has helped Minnesota get off to a 3-0 start with his ability to get open. Check out this route against the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. Man, it's dirty.
Stefon Diggs put him onhttps://t.co/aKBs1YFK52
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) September 25, 2016
STACK spoke with Johnson about what makes a receiver a great route runner. He said, "Being able to stop on a dime, then re-accelerate explosively is what makes defenders look silly." All of the receivers on his list do that very well.
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