- KC Joyner, NFL Insider
After six weeks of the 2011 NFL season, there are a lot of questions still unanswered: Which team is the best? Will the Colts or Dolphins win a game? Will Tebowmania equal Beatlemania?
It might take a while for those queries to get clarification, but the one question that seems to have been definitively answered to the satisfaction of many is that Calvin Johnson is the best wide receiver in the NFL.
At some level, Johnson is certainly setting a pace that has not been equaled in a long time. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Megatron's nine touchdowns in the first five games were the most by any player through the first five games of any season dating back to 1940. They note that Johnson is on pace to break Randy Moss' NFL record 23 touchdown receptions set in 2007.
That might be enough to put Johnson in the top spot, but he is assisted by the drop-off of some of the other potential leading contenders, some because of injury (Miles Austin, Andre Johnson, Hakeem Nicks) and others because of reduced production (Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White).
Before handing that honor to Johnson by acclamation, however, he should have to go through the same type of "challenge system" that Bear Bryant used to settle positional battles on his team. This method allowed any player to call for a one-on-one clash in a variety of areas to see who was the best at executing the key responsibilities of the position (as we did with Austin and Andre Johnson last season to see who was the best wideout in the league at that time). The winner gets to claim the prize as best wideout.
The big question is who should be chosen to challenge Johnson? Even with the aforementioned drop-off of the top contenders, there is one player who has more than enough to play the role of Optimus Prime -- Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace.
5hBy Tom Friend
1hBy Jackie MacMullan