Carter comes around on Calvin Johnson

I guess it's time to close the circle on one of the sillier "debates" we've had on this blog. You might recall that in August 2011, ESPN analyst Cris Carter rattled off his top six receivers in the NFL in a radio interview. None of them were Calvin Johnson, and if the omission of the Detroit Lions star was an accident, Carter didn't admit it.

Johnson said he was "not tripping" over Carter's ranking, but it seemed to bother quarterback Matthew Stafford. And now it has been rendered moot.

After two seasons in which Johnson has caught 218 passes for 3,645 yards and 21 touchdowns, Carter has crowned him the best receiver in the NFL. Here's what Carter wrote in a more recent ranking:

This is the easiest pick on this list. Johnson isn't just the best wide receiver in the NFL; he's one of the best players, period. There are only a few teams where you'll find the head coach, general manager and strength coach all agreeing on who the hardest worker in their locker room is. Detroit is one of those teams. Johnson has the size (6-foot-5, 236 pounds) and speed (4.32 seconds in the 40-yard dash) to dominate defensive backs on ability alone, but you can see the effort he puts into his game. He's gotten better at releasing off the line and beating double coverage, and his toughness is unquestioned. In short, it will be a long time before his name ever leaves the top of this list.

We'll let that marinate a bit and serve as a pleasant start to the first weekend of August 2013.