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Comparing Calvin Johnson to Past Receiving Greats

Right after the Detroit Lions made Calvin Johnson the highest paid wide receiver in NFL history, he followed it up with one of the best statistical seasons we've ever seen by a receiver.  Exactly how good was it?  We decided to compare it to the last 20 seasons and see where he ranks.

The 100-yard receiving game has been a high water mark in the NFL, in a lot of fantasy football leagues you get a bonus for acheiving that mark.  Here are the Top 20 seasons purely on the basis of most 100 yard receiving game

Winner: Michael Irvin and Calvin Johnson

Taking the 100 yard game statistic even further, here are the highest receiving yards on a per game to account for games missed due to injury (a receiver had to reach 50 receptions to be considered).

Winner: Calvin Johnson

Projecting forward for the 2013 season, it's hard to imagine a wide receiver getting any better than Johnson's previous year.  What's also interesting is the number of times he was targeted in 2012, his 204 targets was good for the 4th most in the last 20 years.  Is it possible for the Lions to throw him the ball any more than that?  Nate Burleson missed most of last season, other slot receiver Ryan Broyles should be in the mix, and the addition of Reggie Bush will give more balance to their offensive attack this season.  Tight Ends Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler are in the final year of their contract.

There's no question that Calvin should be the #1 ranked receiver going into this season, but to expect a repeat of 2012 numbers is asking a lot.  More importantly if the Lions are going to be successful, they need more than a "Stafford-to-Johnson" one trick pony on offense.


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