When it’s all said and done, Tom Brady may very well go down as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. His career isn’t just filled with unbelievable stats and incredible performances; it’s loaded with those little moments that tend to separate the great players from the legendary ones. The truly remarkable thing about the career of Tom Brady is that he’s managed to put together a Hall of Fame resume with the help of very few Hall of Fame receivers. Bill Belichick’s style of coaching and team building means that the Patriots rarely go out of their way to make those big name acquisitions most fans beg to see in the offseason.
While Brady would no doubt love to add a select few big name receivers to his arsenal, the years of working under Belichick’s regime has earned him a reputation as a quarterback that loves to work with a specific type of receiver. Whether or not that reputation is completely earned or not, there’s no doubt that there’s a type of receiver that Brady wants to work with and a type that he doesn’t do well with at all. These are the top eight wide receivers Tom Brady would love to have and seven he would hate.
15 Love: Amari Cooper
This is actually a tougher call than you might think it would be. In short order, Amari Cooper has proven to be one of the top pure receiving talents in the NFL. Even when the Raiders are not at their best, Cooper is always good for an incredible play or two. That means that Tom Brady would love to have him, right? Well, probably.
14 Hate: DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins is similar to Amari Cooper in a lot of ways. Both are obviously talented, both are young, and both boast some of the best big play abilities in the league. Yet, DeAndre Hopkins possesses some of the qualities that might slightly affect his compatibility with Brady. First off, he’s a bigger guy than Cooper is, but he doesn’t possess quite the same physical assertion that makes him a red zone nightmare. There’s also the matter of his numbers.
13 Love: Jarvis Landry
Jarvis Landry is one of a few names on this list that might not immediately jump to mind when you think of the receivers that most quarterbacks would love to have. The important word there, of course, is most. Landry doesn’t enjoy quite the same level of fame that certain receivers do, but his numbers don’t lie. He’s the kind of receiver that will almost always make that big play downfield at some point in the game, but his specialty is maximizing the targets he does get.
12 Hate: DeSean Jackson
11 Love: Travis Kelce
10 Hate: Brandin Cooks
Brandin Cooks is a very interesting receiver. Everyone thought that he would immediately become Drew Brees' favorite target when he was drafted by the Saints in 2014, but Cooks put up a real dud of a rookie outing in which he failed to eclipse 600 receiving yards. Things have been steadily improving since then, and we’re really all starting to get to see just what it is that made Saints fans so excited about this guy. That said, he’s a real do or die type receiver. Cooks tends to either give you a 150 yard game with three touchdowns or a 60 yard game with zero scores.
9 Love: Doug Baldwin
8 Hate: Mike Evans
Mike Evans is a monster disguised as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' number one receiver. Just about everyone believed that he was going to be a great receiver, and Evans has spent every down of his young career proving those believers right. In 2016, he has amassed 1,200-plus yards, 11 touchdowns, and 91 receptions (through Week 16). From downfield bombs to clutch red zone tosses, the kid can catch anything.
7 Love: T.Y. Hilton
6 Hate: Demaryius Thomas
Demaryius Thomas is, admittedly, a controversial choice for this list. On the surface, there’s nothing about him that necessarily jumps out as a deal breaker in regards to how he may get along with Tom Brady. In fact, Thomas’ ability to flourish with Peyton Manning under center seems to form a pretty good argument that he would continue to do the same under a Brady administration.
5 Love: Antonio Brown
4 Hate: Julio Jones
3 Love: Jordy Nelson
2 Hate: Odell Beckham Jr.
The next person to deny the skills of Odell Beckham Jr. will be the first. Beckham is closer to a custom created video game character than he is an actual football player. He’s the NFL’s human highlight reel and the one player that a coach would triple team on any given night just to pay him the respect that he deserves. There’s no way Tom Brady would ever be able to work with him, though.
1 Love: Larry Fitzgerald
For some time now, fans have speculated whether or not Larry Fitzgerald will decide to end his career as a member of the New England Patriots. The idea is that Fitzgerald has given his time, skills, and body to the Arizona Cardinals and deserves to win a championship at some point in his career. While there’s no better place than New England to get that done, many also recognize that Larry Fitzgerald is the prototypical star New England receiver. He’s never selfish, he runs perfect routes, he can still separate himself from the league’s best corners, and somehow, he’s always open in the endzone.
When Fitzgerald isn’t doing crazy things with the football in the air, he’s finding a way to contribute to the play in some other way. In another life, he would have been Brady’s career best friend.
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