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PFF Record Book: Wide receiver signature stats

C9F332 Dec. 11, 2011 - Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S - Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (89) during todays game.Falcons defeat Panthers 31-23 at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte North Carolina. (Credit Image: © Anthony Barham/Southcreek/

• One of the greatest of all time: Calvin Johnson holds the PFF records for most targets, receiving yards and explosive plays.

Steve Smith Sr. with an all-time 2008 season: In the PFF era, just 12 players have ever surpassed the 3.0 yards per route run threshold. Smith is the only player ever to exceed 3.5.

Michael Thomas with the PFF catch record: Thomas went ballistic in 2019, catching 149 passes to break the previous record — held by Julio Jones — by over 10 receptions.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The PFF database is a vast expanse of grades and statistics encompassing nearly two decades' worth of NFL action. The goal has always been to help better understand the game of football and bridge the gap between the past and present generations.

PFF data goes as far back as 2006, which may be a small sample size of the game’s entire history, but it serves as a tremendous asset in determining which performances truly stand the test of time.

These are the official PFF records for wide receiver signature stats.

PFF Receiving Grade

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (2016) – 93.4

The former Falcons legend and future Hall of Famer was one of the most dominant forces on the outside for the best part of a decade. Jones not only boasts the highest-graded season by a receiver in PFF history but also the record for most single-season 90.0-plus receiving grades (five). No other receiver has more than three.


CALVIN JOHNSON, Detroit Lions (2012) – 199

“Calvin’s gotta be down there somewhere” is a phrase Matthew Stafford must have uttered constantly during the 2012 regular season. That year, Stafford threw the ball Johnson's way 199 times, with the big receiver finishing with double-digit targets in all but three games.


Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (2019) – 149

Thomas went ballistic in 2019, catching 149 passes to break the previous record — held by Julio Jones — by over 10 receptions.

In the PFF era, just eight times has a player surpassed 125 receptions in a single season. Only two players have ever managed to do it more than once, Thomas (2018 and 2019) and Antonio Brown (2014 and 2015).

Cooper Kupp was the closest to surpassing this mark with his phenomenal 2021 season, coming just four receptions short of tying the record.

Receiving Yards

CALVIN JOHNSON, Detroit Lions (2012) – 1,964

Although there are a number of rushers in the 2,000-yard club, that threshold is still yet to be broken by a wide receiver. Johnson came very close to eclipsing this mark during his monstrous 2012 season, which became the record that has stood strong for over a decade.

Kupp nearly stole this title with his 2021 performance, falling just 17 yards shy of tying Johnson’s mark.


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