Football gives us a lot of things, comeback victories, redemption stories, all-time great performances, and highlight-reel plays. It’s become a yearly occurrence where we see wide receivers make highlight-reel catches for fans to rewatch on Youtube and share on social media.
Recent years have spoiled us by giving us a crop of receivers who make add a new outstanding catch to their career highlight reels every other week.
So, while you find yourself going to Youtube this season to see the weekly catches, why not take a look at some highlight reels of some of the most entertaining pass-catchers ever.
8. Steve Smith Sr.
One of the best examples that height doesn’t always matter in sports, Steve Smith Sr. was one of the best during his time in the league.
The 5’9 receiver was absolutely electrifying in his career. He could stretch the field as a downfield weapon and could take a 7-yard catch and run for another 40+ yards.
Even in the later years of his career, he was still viewed as a guy who’s receiving ability could be crucial for a team as the Ravens signed him at age 35.
It’s somewhat easy to forget as most of his prime years were stuck on the Panthers who were missing the playoffs, but even during then Smith showed how good he was by making several pro bowls during that time.
However, no season of his is worth watching more than his 2005 season, where Smith won comeback player of the year and led the league in catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.
7. Chad Johnson/Ochocinco
The NFL Films video is only a small sample of the body of work that Chad Johnson (known as Chad Ochocinco from 2008-2012) did in his career.
While he may not have as many contested or one-handed grabs as the other guys on this list, Johnsons’ highlight reels are worth watching for those that want to gain a deeper appreciation for the game.
While he made his fair share of tough grabs in his career, Johnson had elite footwork.
He would break away at the line of scrimmage or while running his route and make a catch.
You can also find separate videos that include his over the top, thought entertaining touchdown celebrations.
As time passes, many will forget how good Johnson was in his career. While he may not get into the Hall of Fame, he was underappreciated for how good he was at what he did.
That in itself deserves watching some highlights.
6. DeAndre Hopkins
When you have highlight videos that include catches that don’t count because of penalties, you deserve to be on any list that includes the phrase “highlight reel.”
Still only 27-years-old, Hopkins has established himself as not only one of the best receivers in the league but one of the most reliable and spectacular pass catchers in the league.
As a reminder, he had zero dropped passes last season, yes zero!
Not to mention he’s had at least 95+ catches, 1,300+ receiving yards and 10+ touchdowns in three of the last four seasons. So he gets plenty of chances to wow fans every week.
If all of this wasn’t impressive enough, Hopkins as done this without having an elite quarterback.
While he has Deshaun Watson now, Watson has yet to reach his peak yet. Hopkins has turned throws from Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, and Brock Osweiler into big catches, that in it of itself gets him on this list.
Oh and this catch too, let’s not forget it.
5. Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. reminded all of us during his rookie season how spectacular one-handed catches can be.
The 2014 draft class was a great class for wide receivers, and Beckham Jr. has shown he is the best from that class.
From day one he showed his talents off when weeks into his career he made his infamous one-handed catch against the Dallas Cowboys during the 11/23/14 Sunday Night Football game.
From that point one he’s taken off as one of the best in the game, not just as one of the best wide receivers, but one of the best highlight reel receivers in the game too.
From SC Top 10 to NFL end of the year highlights to just shares on social media, Beckham Jr. has a flair for the dramatic and will remind us here and there just how good he is.
That one-handed catch helped build his name overnight, so much so that he was chosen after that season to be the cover athlete for Madden 16, and of course, the cover had him catching a football with one hand.
He’s already spoiled us football fans with a great career so far, and he turns 27-years-old this upcoming November. We’re going to keep getting catches for a long time.
4. Calvin Johnson
When you have 10+ minute videos of your college and professional football highlights, you were a catching machine. Enter Megatron.
Calvin Johnson was arguably the greatest wide receiver in the NFL while he played and had the perfect combination of height, strength, speed, and athleticism to make him lethal.
While he was outstanding during his whole career, it was 2011-2013 where we saw the peak of Calvin Johnson in the NFL.
He had 302 catches, 5,137 yards, and 33 touchdowns during this stretch. He broke the single-season receiving yard record in 2012 during that time he turned in some of his greatest performances.
He had several triple-coverage catches against the Cowboys and Bengals, the 329 receiving yard game against the Cowboys and great games against division rivals in the Packers, Bears, and Vikings.
Johnson supplied fans with many highlights during his career, and while he retired early and fans didn’t get to see him end his career, we can always look back and watch highlights of what was one of the best to ever do it.
3. Terrell Owens
Many words can be and have been used to describe Terrell Owens during and after his career.
However, one of them is easy “must watch.”
Owens may have rubbed many the wrong way and angered many with his celebrations, but he had the right to be as confident as he was.
He holds dozens of NFL records and team records on every team he played for, meaning he put up numbers for anybody he played with and everybody he played against.
From his multi-touchdown games with the 49ers to his Super Bowl XXXIX performance where he had nine catches and 122 yards with a screw in his leg.
What makes Owens highlights fun is that he did it everywhere on the field.
He would make a short catch and turn it into a big gain, haul in a long pass or be a red-zone weapon, Owens literally did it all on the field. It helped put him in the Top Three in all-time receiving yards and touchdowns.
In the end, whenever people tuned into a T.O. game, you knew you were likely getting to see a highlight catch.
2. Antonio Brown
While his attitude in recent times has rubbed many the wrong way, it’s impossible to deny that Brown has made some of the best catches in the league.
One of the things that makes Brown high up on this list is the fact that he is only 5’10. The four previous names were all at least 6’1 or taller.
He’s made several game-winning touchdown catches and other big-time grabs during his career.
You don’t have to look that far back, in Week 16 of 2018 against the Saints, Brown made several big catches to help the Steelers rally during the second half to help give them a chance to win the game.
Weeks earlier he made the touchdown catch that helped rally the Steelers to comeback against the Jaguars.
He leads the league in receptions and yards over the past six seasons and time and again has made a catch where you had to step back and appreciate.
Like him or hate him, Brown has shown to be one of the best and most entertaining players in the game.
1. Randy Moss
Who else did you expect to be number one on this list? When your last name gets turned into a verb to describe embarrassing a defensive player, you were a walking highlight reel.
Moss’d is a phrase still used today and we can thank one of the greatest to ever do it for that.
Randy Moss led the NFL in receiving yards five times, was a six-time pro bowler, and holds the single-season receiving touchdown record.
Those are just some of the accolades he achieved during his career.
Ultimately Moss is the number one highlight-reel receiver because of every factor that makes a receiver great. He was 6’4 and had the elite jumping ability. He made the one-handed catch popular for the current generation of receivers. He was fast, ran routes well, knew when the ball would get to him and come down even when draped with defenders.
He had insane stat lines where he’d only have four or five catches but have over 100+ yards and two touchdowns. He’d play well during the regular season and the playoffs. Whether it was in Lambeau Field or in his home turf Moss came up big time and again.
With a hall of fame career and a legacy as one of the best to ever do it, he has arguably the most exciting highlight videos ever, and you’re guaranteed to see plenty of people get Moss’d.