For fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, hearing how great Antonio Brown is isn't breaking news anymore. The All Pro wide receiver has blazed a trail at the wide receiver position which hasn't been done by a player with his size. Brown is a unique tool in the Steelers' offensive arsenal, but what makes him great is how he uses the new NFL rules on defensive contact, and his speed in and out of breaks to his advantage.
In a recent article by ESPN.com, Brown was selected as the NFL's 'toughest player to cover' by ESPN Insiders. See what was said by two former defensive backs who put their experience in the NFL to use as they describe Brown's skill set and how he has become the best receiver in the league.
Bowen: How do you limit this guy? Brown is electric. That's the best way I can describe him when looking at his change of direction ability, burst off the ball and speed to go get it. I see Brown as the top route runner in today's game, with the lateral quickness to separate at the break and the acceleration to straight-up pull away from coverage. Play press? Yeah, good luck. He will embarrass you on the release and then wave as he runs by. No argument here: Brown is the toughest matchup at the wide receiver position.
Riddick: Brown's compact stature and exceptional pound-for-pound strength catches many DBs off guard when they first matchup against him. And then when you add the short-area quickness, play speed and competitiveness, he becomes a 60-minute nightmare. Like Matt said, Brown is a magician at the line against press coverage. He can stop, start and separate better than anyone on the short-to-intermediate routes and plays big on deep routes, which allows him to win jump ball situations. A true self-made All-Pro, Brown is second to none.
Add it up: In the two-plus seasons since Mike Wallace left Pittsburgh and Brown took over the No. 1 receiver role, he has 37 more catches and 265 more yards than the next-best receiver.
Amazing statistics and praise for the man fans and teammates call 'AB', but what truly stands out in the above compliments is when Riddick wisely calls Brown a self-made All-Pro. Nothing could be more accurate as Brown has worked his tail off to make the Steelers look like geniuses after they selected him in the 6th round of the 2010 draft from Central Michigan.
No matter how you slice it, Brown has turned himself not into just 'one of the best' wide receivers in the league, but the best all around wide out in the game today. This information simply adds to such a case in an ongoing argument in regards to who is "the best".