Sports

The Best Wide Receivers of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated February 7, 2020 252.4k votes 23.1k voters 395.7k views 214 items

List Rules Please the rank players only based on their on-field accomplishments

The best wide receivers of all time are a group of elite athletes inclusive of some of the best athletes of all time. The greatest wide receivers are the ones that make amazing plays every game while simultaneously making the little plays that move the ball down the field. These are the top wide receivers ever to play the game of football.

These elite football players are members of pro-bowl squads, Super Bowl winners, and all-around all-star football players. Some, like WR Jerry Rice, became the stuff of football legend while they were still playing, while others like Wes Welker are just making their marks as the go-to wide receivers on franchise teams. Most of the top wide receivers in the NFL are on this list, and whether they are the best wide receivers currently in the NFL or the best wide receivers in the history of the NFL, they all have a fighting chance to land at #1 on the list of the best wide receivers ever.

Who are the best wide receivers of all time? What are the qualities of the top wide receivers? Who is the greatest wide receiver ever? These are some of the questions this list looks to tackle with its compilation of the best wide receivers of all time. There are scores of famous wide receivers in the history of the NFL, so if you don't see your favorite wide receiver on the list, make sure to add him so other users can vote for him to move up this list of the greatest wide receivers of all time.

If you want a little more football after checking out this list of the best wide receivers in NFL history, check out the best touchdown celebrations of all time to see some of these guys in endzone action.

list ordered by
1
Jerry Rice is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Jerry Lee Rice Sr. (born October 13, 1962) is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL), primarily with the San Francisco 49ers. Due to his ...more

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#549 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time #5 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #3 of 15 The Worst NFL Trades Ever Made

2
Randy Moss is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Randy Gene Moss (born February 13, 1977) is a television sports analyst and former American football wide receiver who played 14 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He holds the NFL ...more

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#4 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #66 of 292 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #25 of 80 The Best NFL Player Nicknames

3
Larry Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr. (born August 31, 1983) is an American football wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at ...more

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#13 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #3 of 58 The Best College Football Wide Receivers of All Time #1 of 53 The Most Likable Active NFL Players

4
Calvin Johnson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Calvin Johnson Jr. (born September 29, 1985) is a former American football wide receiver. A two-time All-American at Georgia Tech, Johnson was selected second overall by the Detroit Lions of the ...more

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#25 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #19 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #2 of 119 The Best Detroit Lions of All Time

5
Julio Jones is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Quintorris Lopez "Julio" Jones (; born February 8, 1989) is an American football wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football ...more

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#2 of 91 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time #47 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #38 of 41 The 41 Hottest Men in the NFL

6
Cris Carter is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Graduel Christopher Darin Carter (born November 25, 1965) is a former American football player in the National Football League. He was a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles (1987–89), the ...more

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#1,756 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time #67 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #5 of 83 The Best Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time

7
Steve Smith is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Stevonne Latrall Smith Sr. (born May 12, 1979) is a former American football wide receiver who played 16 seasons in the National Football League (NFL), primarily with the Carolina Panthers. He ...more

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#154 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #99 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #10 of 95 The Best Baltimore Ravens of All Time

8
Michael Irvin is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Michael Jerome Irvin (born March 5, 1966) is a retired American football player, actor, and sports commentator. Irvin played college football at the University of Miami, then for the Dallas ...more

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#31 of 292 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #44 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #4 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time

9
Marvin Harrison is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Marvin Darnell Harrison (born August 25, 1972) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Syracuse University, and was ...more

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#6 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #85 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #23 of 58 The Best College Football Wide Receivers of All Time

10
Antonio Brown is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Antonio Tavaris Brown Sr. (born July 10, 1988) is an American football wide receiver who is currently a free agent. Raised in Liberty City, Miami, Brown attended Miami Norland High School, where ...more

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#101 of 292 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #78 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #1 of 25 The Most Hated Players In The NFL Right Now

11
Sterling Sharpe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Sterling Sharpe (born April 6, 1965) is an American former American Football wide receiver and analyst for the NFL Network. He attended the University of South Carolina, and played from 1988 to ...more

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#4 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #107 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #23 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

12
Steve Largent is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Stephen Michael Largent (born September 28, 1954) is an American former football player, enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and a former Republican politician, having served in the U.S. ...more

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#1,636 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time #68 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Everlisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

13
Reggie Wayne is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Reginald Wayne (born November 17, 1978) is a former American football wide receiver who spent his entire 14-year career with the Indianapolis Colts. He played college football for the University ...more

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#127 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #94 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #7 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time

14
Hines Ward is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Jhair84 added
Hines Edward Ward Jr. (born March 8, 1976) is a former American football wide receiver who played 14 seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college ...more

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#109 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #97 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #3 of 44 The Best University of Georgia Football Players of All Time

15
Terrell Owens is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Terrell Eldorado Owens (; born December 7, 1973), popularly known by his initials, T.O., is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 16 ...more

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#7 of 292 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #106 of 124 The Worst People in the History of Reality TVlisted on The Best 'Dancing With The Stars' Contestants, Ranked

16
Andre Johnson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Andre Lamont Johnson (born July 11, 1981) is a former American football wide receiver who played the majority of his 14-year career with the Houston Texans of the National Football League (NFL). ...more

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#90 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #132 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #6 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time

17
Tim Brown is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Timothy Donell Brown (born July 22, 1966) is a former American football wide receiver who played professionally in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Notre Dame, ...more

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#102 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #18 of 83 The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time #2 of 82 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time

18
Andre Reed is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Andre Darnell Reed (born January 29, 1964) is a former professional American football player. He played wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) for 16 seasons, 15 with the Buffalo ...more

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#147 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #7 of 36 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '80s #6 of 38 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '90s

19
Fred Biletnikoff is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Frederick S. Biletnikoff (born February 23, 1943) is a former gridiron football player and coach. He was a wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders in the American Football League (AFL) and ...more

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#1,764 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time #8 of 81 The Best Florida State Football Players of All Time #93 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

20
Don Hutson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Donald Montgomery Hutson (January 31, 1913 – June 26, 1997) was a professional American football player and assistant coach in the National Football League (NFL). He played as a split end and ...more

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#1,700 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time #114 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #18 of 91 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time

21
Lynn Swann is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
pigonthewing added
Lynn Curtis Swann (born March 7, 1952) is an American football player, broadcaster, politician, and athletic director, best known for his association with the University of Southern California ...more

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#77 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #10 of 104 The Best USC Trojans Players of All Timelisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

22
A. J. Green is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Adriel Jeremiah "A.J." Green (born July 31, 1988) is an American football wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at ...more

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#1,733 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time #185 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #111 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

23
Art Monk is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
James Arthur Monk (born December 5, 1957) is an American former football wide receiver in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins, New York Jets, and the Philadelphia Eagles. ...more

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#150 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #4 of 115 The Greatest Washington Redskins of All Time #4 of 36 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '80s

24
Isaac Bruce is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Isaac Isidore Bruce (born November 10, 1972) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the St.Louis Rams in the second round of the ...more

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#1,601 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time #13 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #161 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

25
Lance Alworth is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Wide Receivers of All Time
Lance Dwight Alworth (born August 3, 1940) is a former American football player who was a wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers of the American Football League (AFL) and National Football ...more

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#554 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time #128 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever #60 of 80 The Best NFL Player Nicknames