100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions: #8 Calvin Johnson

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In this edition of 100 Days, 100 Detroit Lions, we honor a current Lions who, just six years into his career, is already staking his claim as the greatest wide receiver in National Football League history.

8. Calvin Johnson

Wide Receiver. 2007-Present Detroit

They call him Megatron. . . . Just six seasons into his NFL career, Calvin Johnson not only has one of the best nicknames in recent sports’ history, but he is already being called the greatest pass catcher who ever stepped onto an NFL gridiron.

The 6-foot-5, 236 pound Johnson was drafted by the Lions as the second-overall pick in the 2007 draft. He left Georgia Tech after his junior season as a three-time all ACC selection, a two-time All American, as well as the Fred Biletnikoff Award and Paul Warfield Trophy winner.

As a rookie, he started 10 games and caught 48 passes for 756 years and 4 touchdowns, while playing behind veteran Roy Williams on the depth chart. He came into his own in his second season, grabbing 78 balls, for 1,331 yards and 12 scores.

A rarely before seen combination of size, speed, and playmaking instincts, Johnson is revolutionizing the wide receiver position like Jerry Rice did 25 years ago. And just as Rice had elite quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young for much of his career, Johnson benefits from being at the other end of Matthew Stafford’s arm in the Lions’ passing attack.

In 2011, Stafford and Johnson rewrote the Lions’ record book. Johnson broke Cloyce Box’s 59 year-old record for touchdown passes in a season by grabbing 16. He also came just 5 yards shy of breaking Herman Moore’s 16 year-old yardage total, amassing 1,681 yards in 16 games. This season, through 12 games, Johnson has amassed 1,428 yards receiving (112.3 yards per-game). That puts him on pace not only to break Moore’s Lion yardage record, but he may even challenge Jerry Rice’s NFL record for receiving yardage in a single-season (1,848) set in 1995.

And to think, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, on September 29, 2012, turned just 27 years old. . . .

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