Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is the second-ranked player in the NFL for the upcoming season, according to the NFL Network. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is the second-best player in the NFL, according to his peers.
The three-time All-Pro ranked No. 2 on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2014 list, which is compiled based on player voting.
“It’s very exciting for me,” Johnson said on the network’s reaction show late Wednesday night. “I never would’ve thought when I was a young kid that I would ever be in this position.”
Johnson ranked third each of the past two seasons, but this year he was behind only Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, the Most Valuable Player of 2013.
Last season Johnson ranked third in the NFL with 1,492 receiving yards on 84 receptions despite missing two games because of a lingering knee injury. He also caught 12 touchdowns and had 329 receiving yards in a Week 8 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, the second highest single-game total in NFL history.
In 2012, Johnson broke the NFL single-season record with 1,964 receiving yards, a milestone likely still fresh in the voting players’ minds.
Bengals receiver A.J. Green was voted No. 9, and he and Johnson were the only receivers in the top 15 this year.
In order to make it to the No. 1 spot, Johnson said he thinks he’ll need to win a Super Bowl. He also said he can continue to improve as he heads into his eighth season.
“Never satisfied,” he said. “I’m always very critical of myself in all aspects of the game, whether it be catching the ball, blocking, my footwork — all of those areas. I can never get enough work.”
Johnson was the fifth Lions player named to the list. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was No. 100, running back Reggie Bush was No. 85, linebacker DeAndre Levy was No. 59 and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was No. 40.