The NFL is in the middle of a revolution at the wide receiver position, and Tennessee Titans star A.J. Brown has a great argument to be considered the best player from this new generation of talent.
For a long time, some might say that the argument about deciding who the best receiver of all time is comes down to a two-horse race between Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. There are plenty of elite receivers that can also make strong arguments for themselves, including new Tennessee Titans star Julio Jones, but ultimately those two get mentioned a lot as the standard.
One player that looked like they might enter that conversation was Odell Beckham Jr. In 2017, his Hall of Fame trajectory took a massive hit when he was injured and ultimately he was traded from the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns where he has never managed to capture that same production.
If he never reaches that height again, then the peak of his career will probably be when he became the fastest receiver to reach 3,500 yards in just 36 starts.
Will the Tennessee Titans have the new record holder?
So, can the best receiver in this new generation beat that type of pace? Well, that is an interesting question. Here’s what we know.
A.J. Brown didn’t really work his way into the starting lineup until Week 5 of the 2019 season, and he missed some time with injuries in 2020. Officially, Brown has only started 23 games for the Tennessee Titans.
Through his first two years, Brown has 2,126 receiving yards which means that he would need 1,374 receiving yards in his next 12 games to hit his target.
A relatively quick math equation says that averages out to 114.5 yards per game, which would be very difficult for any wide receiver to manage. Still, there are reasons as to why no one should count A.J. Brown out yet.
Over the course of his career, Brown has averaged 17.4 yards per reception and that was without the benefit of having Julio Jones on the other side of the field. If he can just keep up with that unbelievable pace, Brown would hit his target after 79 receptions.
Again, if our math is correct, he would need to get 6.6 receptions per game to tie Beckham Jr.’s record. Through his first two years, Brown has only averaged 5.3 receptions per game, so it wouldn’t be a massive leap in production, but it would be a noticeable one.
Whether he breaks the record or not has more to do with play calling and target distribution than actual talent, but if he did manage to break that record and finish his first 35 starts with 201 receptions and 3,500 yards he would join an elite group of Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, and Torry Holt as the only player to meet all three requirements.
To make long stories shorter, look at it this way. A.J. Brown is special.