A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about how likely it is that Emmitt Smith’s record for career rushing yards would be broken. Out of my own curiosity more than anything, I decided to see if there are any current players likely to break Jerry Rice’s record for career receiving yardage. In the Smith post, I was curious whether recent trends toward more pass happy offenses combined with the trend toward having two feature backs was making it less likely that a RB would even have the opportunity to break his record. In this one, I will just focus on the players themselves. I think that the continuing rules changes and tweaks to favor the passing game make it very likely that at some point a WR will come along to break Rice’s record. My question in this post was whether any current players were on pace to do so. At this point, Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald appear to be the most likely candidates.
As with the Smith post, I used Pro Football Reference’s Player Season Finder to review which players had surpassed a certain yardage total by a certain age. The ages that I will looked at were 23, 25, 27, and 30. First, we have the players with greater than 3000 receiving yards by age 23.
Wow, David Boston sure fell off, didn’t he? But, as we see, the other two are Moss and Fitzgerald. Next, the receiver with over 5000 yards by age 25.
Players with over 8000 yards by age 27.
Only Moss here, but note that Fitzgerald is only 26 years old right now. With 4 games left this season, he has 6944 yards receiving, so barring injury, he would join Moss on this list. Finally, players with over 10,000 receiving yards by age 30.
Torry Holt was the fastest player ever to reach 10,000 receiving yards as well as the first player in NFL history with 1300+ receiving yards in 6 consecutive seasons. For a while, I thought that he might threaten Rice’s record, but he seems to have fallen off quite a bit in the last two years. He also started his NFL career at age 23, while Moss and Fitzgerald came into the league at age 21. I was a little surprised that none of the younger star receivers were on the by 23 or by 25 lists, but I guess this just goes to show that there are certain players that truly are in elite company.