White guys in the NFL usually stick to a few positions Large country boys fair well on the offensive or defensive line, while ex-soccer players become place kickers, and level-headed, smart rich kids usually become quarterback (or head coach). But you really don't see too many Caucasian players lining up in the tail of an I-formation, or stretched outside the hash mark, lined up face-to-face with a corner. So today we look to the NFL position that has always garnered some intrigue, the white wide receiver. We will look into eight of the best, and seven of the worst "gym rat" receivers of since 2000.
Note, since we are doing a list from players after 2000, to meet this list, the player must have played at least half their career in the 21st century, so Panthers fans, don't be too upset that Ricky Proehl is not on this list! Sure, he made some clutch catches, including the game tying touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVIII, but that alone can't put him here! No, this list will be taking into account an entire career's body of work. Here are the eight best and seven worst white NFL wide receivers since 2000.
15 BEST – Danny Amendola
Even though Amendola is getting up there in age, as of a couple weeks ago, he has no plans of slowing down or retiring. The 5'11" standout from Texas Tech came into the NFL undrafted in 2008 with the Dallas Cowboys. After bouncing from the Cowboys to the Eagles to the Rams, Amendola finally made it to every white WR's favorite team, the New England Patriots. I'm not sure why white guys thrive in Boston. Is it because their fans our racist? Or Belichick knows how to utilize all players on the field?
Throughout his NFL career, the Patriots' slot specialist has pulled in 365 receptions for 3,450 yards and 17 TDs. He's even tacked on an additional 5,035 return yards. In 2017, the Patriots will have a trio of white WRs in Amendola, Hogan, and Edelman.
14 WORST - Nick Williams
Described by many Atlanta fans as "scrappy," (which is just another term for short and white in the NFL), Williams has been on and off rosters and practice squads throughout his 4-year career. In 2013, Williams signed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Connecticut. He did not make the final cuts, but was signed to the practice squad and made his NFL debut in Week 11, catching a two-point conversion.
Williams was waived by the Redskins and picked up by the Falcons in 2015, where he went on to have his best year yet with 17 catches for 159 yards and two TDs. During the past Superbowl, Williams was inactive for the Falcons. Atlanta fans are hoping this "scrappy" player makes a comeback in 2017.
13 BEST – Julian Edelman
Sorry Atlanta fans, I'm sure you have relived Edelman's ridiculous catch in the Super Bowl over and over again in your heads, and that is why another Pats "gym rat" comes in on the good side of white WRs since 2000. Edelman is officially listed at 6'0" (but even he admits that he is 5'10") and had played all sides of the ball for the Patriots: WR on offense, DB on defense, and PR/KR on special teams, and even has the most punt return TDs (4) in Patriot's history. Edelman played QB in college at Kent State.
In 2017, Edelman will be going into his 9th season, all with the Patriots. He has amassed 425 receptions for 4,450 yards and 24 receiving touchdowns. Let's hope Julian avoids getting into any more fights at practice, and stays healthy for years to come.
12 WORST - David Kircus
"Circus Kircus" known for his circus catches in college, is one of the worst white wide outs since 2000. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2003 in the sixth round out of a small school, Grand Valley State University. During his short career with the Lions, Broncos, and Dolphins, Kircus only had 15 receptions for 308 yards and 1 touchdown. Talk about a big disappointment.
In 2009, Kircus dabbled in the UFL and CFL, but never made it back to the big leagues (he even worked at Subway while trying out for teams). Legal troubles followed him throughout his life as well, being arrested for assault and on a separate offense, obstructing a police officer and driving with a suspended license. A sad ending to an originally promising career.
11 BEST - Eric Decker
Decker was drafted 87th overall, in the 3rd round of the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. In 2017, Decker signed a one-year contract with the Tennessee Titans, who were desperately hurting for a star receiver. Throughout the course of his career with the Broncos, Jets, and now Titans, Decker has reeled in 385 receptions for 5,253 yards and 52 TDs. Solid numbers for a WR of any color.
In 2012, Decker led the AFC with the most TD receptions, and went on to the Superbowl with the Denver Broncos in 2013, but his biggest accomplishment has to be his hot wife, country singer Jessie James. In 2016, James posted a video to Snapchat with a NSFW caption, complimenting Decker's manhood. Go check it out for yourself!
10 WORST - Anthony Gonzalez
Just look at the guy! Gonzalez looks like he should be working in an accountant's office, not on the Gridiron. The Ohio State standout was drafted as the last pick in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts (in which he was 26 years old at the time of the draft).
Gonzalez actually had a promising start to his career, nabbing 94 passes for 1,240 yards and 7 TDs. But in 2009, Gonzalez injured his knee in the season opener against the Jaguars and was never the same, only adding 5 more receptions to his career total. He became an unrestricted free-agent in 2012, and signed with the New England Patriots, but was released later that year. Maybe not the worst of the worst white wide outs, but all that potential never amounted to anything.
9 BEST - Brandon Stokley
Even though Stokley was a journeyman for most of his career (played with the Ravens, Colts, Broncos, Seahawks, Giants, Broncos again, and Ravens again), he put up solid numbers on the field. Stokley attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Lousiana-Lafayette) where his Dad, Nelson Stokley, a former college football player from LSU, coached from 1986 to 1998. In college, Stokley had the luxury of having a good quarterback in Jake Delhomme.
The fourth round pick in the 1998 NFL Draft had 397 receptions, for 5,339 yards and 39 touchdowns throughout his career. He even got two Super Bowl rings with the Ravens and Colts. Late in his career, Brandon suffered from many injuries that slowed him down, and he officially retire at the end of the 2013 NFL season. Needless to say, Stokley is one of the top white WRs since 2000.
8 WORST - Brenton Bersin
In 2012, Bersin signed on with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent out of Wofford. How he is still on the team (signed a on-year contract extension in 2017) is beyond belief. Throughout his career with the Panthers, Bersin has been cut, released, signed, benched, and everything in between. I think he is trying to go for the Clay Matthews look, but it's hard to look like a Norse warrior when you are riding the bench all game.
Bersin's one and only touchdown came on October 20, 2014, as he caught a one-yard pass from Derek Anderson against the Green Bay Packers. His career high for a game was 54-yards in 2015, and he only has 287 receiving yards on 24 receptions throughout his career. Even though he is one of the worst white WR on our list, he still has a job in the NFL, so at least he's doing something right.
7 BEST - Joe Jurevicius
Selected by the New York Giants in the second round in 1998 out of Penn State, Jurevicius had a solid career for a white WR. He was able to grab 323 receptions for 4,119 yards and 29 touchdowns over his 11 year stint in the NFL. Not only was he a Superbowl XXXVII champion with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he was on the cover of Sports Illustrate twice, in 1997 and 2003.
Jurevicius had injury problems late in his career. In 2008, he spent the preseason recovering from a knee injury, but developed a nasty staph infection that caused him to have seven more surgeries in 2008. He then sued the Browns' Medical Staff in 2009, claiming they were negligent and failed to sterilize prior to his initial surgery. Clevleland settled confidentially in 2010 with Jurevicious.
6 WORST - Griff Whalen
Like any undrafted free agent, you can't fault them for not succeeding in the NFL. Griff Whalen is no different, but due to his promising first few seasons, he definitely was a big disappointment. Coming out of Stanford (which is a hotbed for white skill players), Whalen signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Inidianapolis Colts in 2012. After four seasons with the Colts, he jumped around the NFL to the Dolphins, Chargers, Patriots, and Ravens, whom he signed with in July of 2017.
Through his NFL career, the 5' 10" receiver has had 47 receptions, for 509 yards and three touchdowns. He also has been decent in the return game, with 1,047 total return yards. Btu his problem, fumbling! He has had six fumbles in between 2014 and 2016 and one disastrous fake punt with the Colts in 2015.
5 BEST - Jordy Nelson
Many questioned the Packers' motives when they drafted Jordy Nelson, out of Kansas State, in 2008. But in today's NFL, he is one of the premier wide receivers. Nelson has a Super Bowl championship (XLV), Pro Bowl selection (2014), was NFL TD receptions leader (2016), and was given multiple accolades for his comeback year in 2016 after he had torn his ACL the previous season.
In Nelson's career so far, he has 497 receptions for 7,366 yards, and 63 receiving touchdowns, with no signs of stopping. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm in the frozen tundra, Nelson will likely put up big numbers in the next few years, barring any setbacks.
One interesting fact about Nelson that many people are unaware of is that he self-identifies more as a farmer than a football player. In the off-season, in his home state of Kansas, he plows fields, drives a combine, and herds cattle. He is a cowboy in the spring, and dominates the Cowboys every year in the fall.
4 WORST - Riley Cooper
Not everyone is the worst because of their talent, but just simply their personality. The current free agent and ex-Eagles wide receiver was at a Kenny Chesney in July of 2013. Whilst being denied entry backstage of the concert, the rude and belligerent footballer shouted "I will jump back in and fight every n****r here," in reference to the security guards. Riley, not a smart move man, especially when you are the minority in your own sport.
Cooper's playing career has been decent on the other hand. He was drafted by the Eagles in the 5th round of the 2010 NFL draft out of the University of Florida (where he won two BCS championships), and has 169 receptions for 2,418 yards and 18 TDs in his career. Why is he the penultimate worst white WR on the list then? Did you even read the first paragraph?
3 BEST - Wayne Chrebet
Chrebet's road to the NFL is like no other. As a star player at Hofstra University, he set school records in several categories, but was never scouted heavily by NFL teams. He signed with the CFL, but was cut after a day. Luckily, Chrebet got an invitation to the Jets' training camp, since it was held at his Alma Mater, Hofstra. Story has it that even the security guard wouldn't let Chrebet through the gate because he thought he was too small to play football. Going into that training camp in 1995, Chrebet was the 11th receiver on the roster! But through the true definition of a "gym rat," he worked his way up the depth chart and made the final-53 man roster. And the rest, so they say, is history.
During his eleven seasons with New York, Chrebet hauled in 580 passes (379 on third-down conversions) for 7,365 yards and 41 TDs. Chrebet was inducted into the New York Jets Ring of Honor in 2014. From rags to riches, number 80 has given every white guy hope.
2 WORST - Matt Jones
Who? Matt Jones! Who? Ma--, oh sorry, that was the rapper. Matt Jones was a former NFL wide out and tops are worst white WR since 2000 list. The true "Great White Hype," Jones played QB in college at the University of Arkansas, and was drafted in the first round by the Jaguars in 2005, not to play QB, but to play receiver. Many experts thought this was way to high in the draft to pick someone unproven at the position, but Jones came into the combine at 6'6", 240 lbs, great stature for any deep threat.
Jones proved to be on the right path, just like many of the other receivers on this list, but he ended up getting suspended in 2008 for violating the league's substance abuse policy and later arrested in 2009 on an alcohol related charge. Jones finished his career with 166 receptions, 2,153 yards, and 15 TDs, but never live up to the hype of a first round draft pick.
1 BEST - Wes Welker
Not only since 2000, but Welker is one of the best white wide receivers in the history of the NFL. The 5'9", Texas Tech grad went undrafted in 2004 to the San Diego Chargers, who released him after the first game of the season, prompting then head coach Marty Schottenheimer to say it was the "biggest mistake [he] ever made."
Welker went on to the Dolphins in 2004, where he achieved mild success, but then was traded to the New England Patriots in 2007, where he became Brady's favorite receiver. He reached 500 receptions in just 70 games with the Patriots which is an NFL record.
Welker went on to play for the Broncos, and then finished his career with the Rams in 2015. Currently, he is an assistant offensive coach with the Texans. During his career he had 903 receptions for 9,924 yards and 50 TDs. He was names to the Pro Bowl five times and was named First-team All-Pro twice. But most importantly, he will go down as the best white WR since 2000.