5 most explosive big-play receivers in the NFL today

Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones
Nov 26, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) dives in for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

These guys can absolutely fly. When they get open, watch out. Big plays just waiting to happen. And if you give them an inch they’re gone. Of course, we’re talking about the most explosive big-play receivers in the NFL today.

Looking at how often they create explosive plays (20-plus yards), and a few other notable stats, these five receivers are the best at roasting opposing defensive backs.

5. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

There’s a logical reason why Buffalo gave up so much to land Diggs in a trade with Minnesota earlier this year. He’s constantly finding ways to get open downfield and has the ability to turn big plays into huge ones (like this).

Last season, playing with Kirk Cousins and the Vikings, Diggs caught 63 passes for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns. Only three receivers in the NFL averaged more yards per catch, and Diggs registered 20 catches of 20-plus yards, good for sixth in the NFL. Now that he’s in Buffalo with Josh Allen, who’s got a cannon for an arm, Diggs’ big-play abilities will be perhaps even more on display.

4. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Jones has been one of the most explosive playmakers in the NFL since his rookie season in 2011. Since then, he’s averaged 15.2 yards per reception while showing prolific overall production (12,125 yards and 57 touchdowns in nine seasons). Jones is also a threat to take it the distance on any given play.

Last season, Jones caught 99 passes for 1,394 yards (14.1 yards per catch) and six touchdowns. He was also third in the NFL with 21 receptions that went 20-plus yards.

3. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins

A former first-round pick, Parker finally put it all together last season, his fifth in the NFL. Showing traits of a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the NFL, he hauled in 72 passes for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. His 16.7 yards per catch was ninth-best in the league. His 21 big plays (20-plus yards) were third in the NFL. And not many players could do this.

Parker parlayed his outstanding 2019 campaign into a four-year, $30.5 million contract this offseason. Now teamed up with former Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa, Parker has the chance to become even more lethal as the leading spear of Miami’s passing attack.

2. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last season, Godwin emerged as one of the true elite receivers the NFL has to offer. Playing in just 14 games, he was third in the league with 1,333 receiving yards, averaging 15.5 yards per catch along the way.

The wildest part of Godwin’s game last year is that he made 25 receptions that went 20 yards or more — leading the NFL. He also hauled in nine touchdowns and is clearly an ascending player. Now he gets to play with Tom Brady. Watch out, folks!

1. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions

Somehow, the Lions have to figure out a way to get this guy even more involved in their offense. Every time he touches the ball, Golladay can break off a game-changing play. Even without Matthew Stafford in the lineup for half the season, Golladay caught 65 passes for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Just two players averaged more per catch last season than Golladay (18.3 yards per catch), and his 11 touchdowns more than doubled up the two ahead of him. Only Godwin had more big catches, as Golladay had 22 receptions of 20-plus receptions. He’s still a rising star in the league. And if the Lions can keep Stafford healthy the next few years, Golladay may develop into a superstar.