Tom Brady’s greatness? Look at his receivers

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As a guys raised a Jets fan, I’m supposed to hate Tom Brady, mock Tom Brady, berate Tom Brady and diminish Tom Brady’s accomplishments.

But, well, I can’t.

Why? Because of his wide receivers. Ever since debuting with New England in 2001, Brady has thrown to, with some exception, the lamest collection of pass catchers on the planet. Sure, there was Randy Moss. And Wes Welker. But mostly, it’s been a blah gathering of blahs.

Hence, in honor of Brady’s (dammit) fifth Super Bowl title, here’s a ranking (in best-to-worst order, based upon their time with New England) of every man to catch at least one touchdown from the man. Or, The Man …

• 1. Randy Moss—For my money, one of the five best wide receivers to ever play football.

• 2. Rob Gronkowski—Has a shot to go down as the greatest tight end we’ve ever seen.

• 3. Wes Welker—Had he been a Lion, he’s Johnnie Morton. A Jet, he’s Wayne Chrebet. But here, he’s near-legend.

• 4. Kevin Faulk—At LSU he was this feature back. In New England, he was indispensable.

• 5. Deion Branch—I never thought of Branch as anything beyond a solid No. 2 wide receiver. But he helped make Brady.

• 6. Julian Edelman—Finest Jewish pass catcher on this list.

• 7. Troy Brown—Just a terrific player.

• 8. Aaron Hernandez—Finest murderer on this list.

• 9. LeGarrette Blount—Very odd. Great back, huge contributor for years. Not many touchdown catches.



• 10. James White—I can’t tell if he’s a star elsewhere, or sort of a scrub elsewhere. But he’s a perfect fit.

• 11. Danny Woodhead—Good little player, maybe a tiny bit overrated.

• 12. Terry Glenn—Great career, but fading out of New England when Brady hit him in 2001.

• 13. Ben Watson—One of those guys who time regrettably forgets. Because he was tremendous.

• 14. David Patten—He was undersized, his hands were merely OK—yet he was there repeatedly for the early Brady days.

• 15. Daniel Graham—See Watson, Ben.

• 16. Laurence Maroney—Guy ran for 2,430 yards in four seasons with the Pats, which places him pretty high on this list. But only one touchdown pass.

• 17. Corey Dillon—Awesome back with the Bengals, excellent back with New England.



• 18. Shane Vereen—Perfect example of the system player who goes elsewhere and disappears.

• 19. Donte’ Stallworth—Tragedy turned positive. Seems like a better guy than player. And he could play.

• 20. Danny Amendola—I can’t help but feel like he’s been a pretty big disappointment overall. No?

• 21. Brandon Lloyd—Easy to forget Lloyd was a legit NFL target who grabbed 74 balls in 2012, his lone Patriot stint.

• 22. Jabar Gaffney—I remember watching his dad with the Jets. Jabar never did much.

• 23. Reche Caldwell—61 catches for Pats in 2006—then, Poof! Gone.

• 24. Mike Vrabel—Look, he caught eight touchdowns. So what if he played defense?

• 25. Brandon Bolden—Lots of staying power, also willing to do anything.

• 26. Marc Edwards—Two very solid seasons with Patriots. Nothing to sneeze at.

• 27. Christian Fauria—I forgot how important he was.



• 28. David Givens—On most other teams he’s a training camp cut.

• 29. Chris Hogan—Not sure what his career will ultimately look like. Is he more Wes Chandler or Lam Jones?

• 30. Brandon Lafell—A No. 3 receiver elsewhere.

• 31. Malcolm Mitchell—Had himself a helluva season … and Super Bowl.

• 32. Brandon Tate—Broke into league with Pats in 2009. Still hanging around.

• 33. Kenbrell Thompkins—He was a thing for 17 seconds of glory.

• 34. Patrick Pass—Pretty typical Patrick fullback. Lasted a good number of years by listening and not screwing up.

• 35. Martellus Bennett—Not even close to what he once was, but lovable and valuable nonetheless.

• 36. Chris Baker—Actually an excellent tight end for Jets and Pats.

• 37. Cam Cleeland—Such an awesome name. OK, next.

• 38. Sam Aiken—Very odd. Played with Bills from 2003 until 2007, never catches more than 11 balls. Gets to Patriots, grabs 20 in 2009. Doesn’t return.

• 39. Scott Chandler—Eight-year NFL tight end spent his final season with Pats. Not much left.

• 40. Michael Floyd—Arizona castoff who revived his career (for one game) with the Pats. Inactive during Super Bowl.



• 41. Aaron Dobson—Finest—eh, second-finest Brady receiver to have played at Marshall.

• 42. Kyle Brady—Vomit to Jet fans.

• 43. Bethel Johnson—Easily one of the finest Bethels to catch a pass from Brady.

• 44. Heath Evans—Fullback whose main accomplishment was longevity.

• 45. David Thomas—Two shocking things: 1. Only. “David Thomas” to ever play in NFL. A solid 102 career catches.

• 46. Dion Lewis—A mini-phenom for a couple of seconds.

• 47. Michael Hoomanawanui—Battles Nuu Faaola for all-time best NFL name.

• 48. Charles Johnson—It’s weird how, in sports, guys exist for a long period, and as soon as they retire you forget they walked the earth. Johnson was terrific as a Steeler, useless as a Pat in 2001.

• 49. Jermain Wiggins—Thirty career receptions as a Patriot. That’s 30 more than me, Abraham Lincoln and Sean Hannity combined.

• 50. Dedric Ward—Life is unfair. This guy was supposed to go down as a terrific Jet. And, um, he did not.



• 51. Chad Johnson—Great in Cincinnati, largely invisible with the Pats. Fifteen catches in 2011.

• 52. Matthew Mulligan—In 2013, this journeyman tight end caught two passes with the Patriots. One was a touchdown. Still hanging around in Detroit.

• 53. Tim Dwight—Just thought it’d be cool to have him alongside Tim Wright. About as good in his one New England season.

• 54. Tim Wright—Some mysteries go unsolved. As a rookie with the Bucs in 2013, caught 54 balls. The next year, with New England, grabbed 26. Then, with the Lions in 2015, only nine. Now he’s out of football.

• 55. Donald Hayes—Receiver brought to Pats after seasons of 66 and 52 catches with Panthers. Grabs. scant 12 in 2002, out of NFL come season’s end.

• 56. Andre Davis—Three solid seasons in Cleveland=nine forgettable games with the 2003 Pats.

• 57. Chad Jackson—No Chad Johnson, but 13 catches in 2006 for Florida grad.

• 58. Doug Gabriel—Barely existed.

• 59. Larry Centers—Tremendous career, but little in the tank by the time he joined the Pats in 2003.

• 60. Alge Crumpler—The bastard child of Super Bowl LI was a tremendous Falcon.



• 61. Keshawn Martin—A wild eight receptions in one year with Brady. Never heard from again.

• 62. Brian Tyms—The pride of Florida A&M. Recognize him on the street, win a puppy.

• 63. Matt Lengel—Tight end caught two passes this season, one for a touchdown. He has a Super Bowl ring, and Dan Marino does not.

• 64. Tom Ashworth—Offensive tackle caught one ball. Shouldn’t count.

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