ESPN has spent the last couple weeks attempting to project what the NFL will look like in 2016. The series got started with ESPN's Future Power Rankings, which placed the Detroit Lions 21st in the NFL. Since then, the series has continued with various position rankings that project who will be the best players in the league three years from now.
This won't come a huge surprise considering he's already the NFL's best wide receiver, but Calvin Johnson came in first in ESPN's 2016 WR rankings. He's ranked ahead of Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas in the top five. Even though Johnson will be 30 by the time the 2016 season arrives, ESPN expects him to continue to be the NFL's top wide receiver.
Johnson will be 30 when the 2016 season kicks off, but unlike running backs, wideouts seem more immune to the proverbial wall that presents itself at that age barrier. He's the most physically gifted skill player in the NFL who has improved over each of the past four seasons. He's too big, fast, strong and driven not to last at least a handful of more seasons. Along the way, he'll likely set a slew of NFL receiving records and break the 2,000-yard barrier in a single season.
Previously, ESPN ranked Matthew Stafford as the seventh-best quarterback in 2016. Considering they have Johnson as the top wide receiver, ESPN must be expecting the Lions to have quite the passing attack in a few years.