Before the 2020 Season, ESPN asked a combination of over 50 league executives, coaches, scouts, and players to help decide the top ten players at each position. Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, and Odell Beckham Jr. all received a higher ranking than that of Tyreek Hill. All of these players received at least one first-place vote except for Hill. In fact, Hill’s highest vote was the third-best receiver and his lowest was eleventh! Tyreek Hill was the best receiver in the league even before his monster game today.
First, let’s throw out the argument of him having Patrick Mahomes; he did also have Alex Smith. Thomas has had Drew Brees and Sean Payton, while Julio has had Matt Ryan. Hopkins started with Deshaun Watson before being traded to the pass-heavy offense ran by Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray. I’m not even gonna consider Odell in this argument simply because of his availability, and even when he has been available the last four years, he averaged less than 70 yards a game receiving.
The Twitter trolls love to hate on Hill. This has nothing to do with on the field, but we won’t touch on how this affects the argument of him being the best. Jalen Ramsay, arguably the best Defensive back in the league, infamously said Hill was a “return specialist”. Hill would finish the season with 1,479 yards receiving, 12 receiving touchdowns, and a Pro Bowl invitation as a receiver. Hill did make the Pro Bowl as a kick returner his rookie year, but this should only add to his versatility and value as a player. He did also have almost 600 yards receiving and 12 total touchdowns during his rookie year.
Hill is more explosive than any other receiver in the league and there is not a single player who can match his speed step for step in coverage. He has the speed to get by any coverage, the ability to go across the middle, and will destroy you in the screen game if you play off of him. Tyreek Hill averaged 3.2 yards of separation last season compared to 2.6 from Thomas, Julio with only 2.2, and Hopkins with 2.7 yards. Hill gives his quarterback a larger window to complete passes and should not be punished because he’s faster than everybody else.
Earlier Sunday afternoon, Tyreek Hill showed the world what he’s capable of doing with a historic performance against the defense of the Super Bowl aspiring Buccaneers. Hill had put up over 200 yards receiving and two touchdowns before the first quarter were even over, finishing with 269 yards and three touchdowns. If the Chiefs didn’t take their foot off the pedal, although Chiefs’ fans have become accustomed to Andy Reid doing this, who knows how many yards he really could have got. The Buccaneers were forced to change their game plan and played double coverage on him, opening the field up for his teammates.
These are the types of things “The Cheetah” contributes to the game that can’t be measured by individual stats. On his first touchdown, Tyreek Hill burned his coverage for 75 yards and nearly outrun the pass (a Patrick Mahomes pass at that), but had the ability to back peddle running full speed, catch the ball, collect himself before breaking a shoestring tackle, and prancing into the end zone, while giving his signature ‘Deuces’ sign. On the very next drive, Hill had a 44-yard touchdown. First, Hill burned the coverage, then left a Buccaneers defender laying on the ground as Jake Paul did to Nate Robinson in the ring Saturday night with an embarrassing juke move. Hill had enough time to backpedal towards the end zone and then nail an impressive backflip over the goal line.
Many will overlook him as a receiver because he can do so many things from lining up in the slot, out wide, return kicks or even line up at running back. This only supports the argument of his importance to the team and his rank as a receiver. He supports his teammates when they score and does not chatter publicly when he doesn’t have the ball thrown his way. So-called experts contribute his success to the amount of talent he’s surrounded by, but what would his numbers be like if they didn’t spread the ball as much as they do or if the Chiefs didn’t lead games and take their foot off the peddle?
Players like Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson wouldn’t take pay cuts to stay with the Chiefs if it wasn’t for the unselfish players like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce promote, who always celebrate the success and production of their teammates. Then there are guys like Michael Thomas who punched a teammate and was suspended making him unavailable to his team. Not the type of behavior a player should ever display, let alone someone who people argue is the best. Multiple times Odell has shown his frustration towards his usage by his team, and even being traded only months after signing a massive contract extension with his team. Odell wasn’t the only one to be traded from his team.
Hopkins was traded as well after what was reported as a fall out after asking for a raise at the same time the team was working on an extension for quarterback Deshaun Watson. Hopkins would later say this was:
The outcome that I wanted.
Hill has proven he can do anything the Chiefs have asked of him, coming up clutch whenever they have needed him to. In the Super Bowl last year, the Chiefs dialed up a play for Hill that resulted in his now-famous 44-yard catch on 3rd and 15 while trailing the 49ers 20 to 10 with only seven minutes remaining in the game. In Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers, he again proved his importance in key moments catching an eight-yard pass on 3rd and 7, then falling straight down to keep the clock running and seal the victory.
Hill is the most explosive player in the NFL and the biggest nightmare at the position for defenses to game plan against. He’s faster and quicker than everybody else while having the power and control to run through tackles at any speed. Arrowhead Stadium holds their breath every time he touches the ball knowing he’s just an electric play waiting to happen. He might be so fast that we overlook his amazing footwork, catching ability, and the fact he can run every route.
Hill sells every route, freeing up his teammates, celebrates their success, and has continually proved to be a great teammate. Hill has made the Pro Bowl all four years in the NFL even after only playing in 12 games last year. Hill has earned the right to be called the best receiver in the world and making his name known as one of the best all-around football players as well.