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Tyreek Hill, DeSean Jackson: Who are the NFL's best deep threat wide receivers? – Sky Sports

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Last Updated: 19/09/18 12:26pm
The 2018 NFL season has been the year of the so-called “deep threat” wide receiver, with 12 per cent of passing touchdowns being of 50 or more yards out over the first two weeks.
As a result, we’ve picked out six of the league’s best ‘home run hitters’ at receiver, three from the AFC and three from the NFC that boast not only speed, but the talent to go along with it.
Follow all the excitement of the 2018 season by playing the NFL Challenge, with weekly prizes and the chance to win a pair of season tickets to the 2019 games in London.
Read on below to see who made the cut…
40-yard dash time: 4.25 seconds
Before burning defensive backs with his blistering speed in the NFL, the 24-year-old was part of the USA 4x100m team that won gold at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Barcelona.
Over his first two seasons in the NFL, the one they call “cheetah” has taken the league by storm, hauling in 13 receiving touchdowns. He has also added three rushing touchdowns and a 91-yard punt return on opening weekend for a score. Last season alone, Hill caught seven passes over 50 yards in distance on his way to 1,183 receiving yards at an average of 15.8 yards per catch.
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Andy Reid coached the deadly duo of Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson at the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010, with both players putting up career-best figures in numerous areas. He may have gone one better with Hill, who already has NFL defenses panicking this year alongside Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. They have connected on 12 of 14 targets for 259 yards and three touchdowns in an offense that has already produced 80 points going into Week Three.
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40-yard dash time: 4.34 seconds
Since entering the NFL as a third-round pick in 2012, Hilton has without a doubt been Andrew Luck’s number one wide receiver. Hilton’s speed and ability to catch the deep ball in traffic has played a huge factor in this. The 28-year-old has averaged 15.8 yards per catch over his career, with 31 of his 443 receptions going for 40 yards or more.
The 2017 NFL season was thought to be tough for the speedy wideout due to the absence of franchise quarterback Luck through injury. However, Hilton still caught 57 passes and scored four touchdowns at an average of 16.9 yards per reception. This earned him a place at the Pro Bowl for the fourth consecutive season.
40-yard dash time: 4.36 seconds
The Jets will be hoping for a huge season from Anderson with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold now at the helm to target him. Anderson hauled in his only reception in Week One for a 41-yard touchdown in the 48-17 mauling of the Detroit Lions.
Despite the elusive speed of Anderson, he went undrafted in 2016 and was picked up by the Jets as a free agent. He didn’t set the world alight as a rookie, catching 42 passes for 587 yards and two touchdowns. However, during the 2017 NFL season, the 25-year-old caught seven touchdowns on 63 receptions for a total 941 yards. This included a 69-yard TD reception against the Miami Dolphins in the 20-6 win for the Jets.
40-yard dash time: 4.35 seconds
As already mentioned, Jackson has been one of the fastest players in the NFL since he was drafted 49th overall in 2008 by the Eagles. Now, aged 31, playing for the Buccaneers, Jackson still coasts past most defenses in the league.
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Jackson has led the league in three separate seasons for the highest average yards gained per catch. In 2010, he hauled in 47 targets, at 22.5 yards per catch. In 2014, with the Washington Redskins, he had 56 receptions, at 20.9 yards per catch, while in Jackson’s last season with Washington he did it again, averaging 17.9 yards per grab as he caught 56 receptions for the second time.
In Week One of the 2018 season, Jackson caught two touchdown passes from stand-in quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, including one for 58 yards, while in Week Two against his former team the Eagles, Jackson was off to the races again for a 75-yard score. This was his 28th career touchdown over 50 yards, third most in NFL history behind Randy Moss (29) & Jerry Rice (37).
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40-yard dash time: 4.33 seconds
Cooks has been used mainly as a deep threat since he was selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 20th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. His raw quickness and agility allows him to get off the line of scrimmage quick so he can get downfield. He led the Saints in receptions (84), receiving yards (1,138) and touchdowns (9) in 2015. In his final season with the Saints, quarterback Drew Brees connected with Cooks for a record-breaking 98-yard touchdown in their Week One match-up against the Oakland Raiders.
After being traded to the New England Patriots in 2017, Cooks registered his third season of 1,000 receiving yards, in which he also hauled in seven passes of 40+ yards. Although he’s only 24, Cooks was traded for the second time in the 2018 offseason – to the Los Angeles Rams who signed him to a mega five-year extension worth $80 million.
In his first two games as a Ram, Cooks has caught 12 passes for 259 yards, at an average of 20.5 yards per reception. The shifty receiver is part of an elite receiving core in Los Angeles, that includes running back Todd Gurley and fellow wideout Robert Woods, who is also a massive deep threat.
40-yard dash time: 4.27 seconds
Hill isn’t the only former athlete on this list… Goodwin represented the USA at the 2012 London Olympics, where he took part in the long jump and finished 10th in the final with a jump of 7.80 metres. Goodwin is still ranked as the 45th best long jumper in history.
Whilst at the Buffalo Bills, where he was drafted in 2013 (78th overall), Goodwin was never overly productive despite his speed. Injuries hindered Goodwin’s four years with the Bills, but he still managed to average 15.9 yards per catch.
After being released by the Bills, Goodwin was picked up by the 49ers for the 2017 season. He had the best year of his career, catching 56 passes for 962 yards and two touchdowns at an average of 17.2 yards per reception. The arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo also helped the 27-year-old come out of his shell, as he quickly became Garoppolo’s number one receiver. Big things were expected of Goodwin in 2018. However, he sustained a quad injury in the Week One defeat to the Minnesota Vikings without making a catch. The 49ers faithful will be hopeful of a return to action soon.
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Christopher Jones
Christopher Jones
Articles: 8825

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