15 Most Exciting NFL Players to Watch Live

15 NFL Players Worth Watching Live

Calvin Johnson
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Highlight reels are great, but there are some things in sports that you just have to see happen live. As advanced as DVR technology is, it just doesn’t do justice to some of the incredible plays made by some NFL players every Sunday during football season. If you have to work on Sundays or have to miss the game because of brunch with the in-laws, get a Slingbox and never miss any of these 15 exciting players do their thing live.

15. Patrick Peterson

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15. Patrick Peterson

Patrick-Peterson
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When you watch the Arizona Cardinals’ talented cornerback play, it’s easy to forget he’s just 23 years old. Patrick Peterson is an excellent shutdown corner who is a natural-born playmaker in the secondary. He’s got 12 interceptions for 154 return yards in three NFL seasons, which makes him a young Ed Reed.

14. Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick
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14. Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick
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There are many young quarterbacks who can run, but none of them can also throw as well (and as hard) as Colin Kaepernick. The San Francisco 49ers’ talented signal-caller makes plays with his legs and arms individually and collectively that just make you sit back with your jaw dropped. This kid is the real deal and his athleticism is worth seeing live.

13. Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel
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13. Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel
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Although he hasn’t played a down yet in the NFL, everyone can’t wait to see this former Heisman Trophy winner take the field for the Cleveland Browns. Johnny Manziel was one of the most exciting players in the history of college football, so seeing if his crazy game can translate to the next level will be must-see TV this fall.

12. Cam Newton

Cam Newton
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12. Cam Newton

Cam Newton
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Just when we almost forgot about the former BCS champ, Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall draft pick, Cam Newton had a second coming out party in 2013. While leading the Carolina Panthers to a division title, the quarterback with the nickname Superman made plays with his legs and arm that immediately made him even more popular, although that was thought to be impossible. His encore performance will be incredible to watch live in 2014.

11. Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman
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11. Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman
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Defensive players typically don’t get enough attention for their play on the field, so Richard Sherman makes up for it off the field. However, the NFL’s leader in interceptions is as clutch as they come and his timely, game-changing and game-winning plays absolutely must be seen live. Seeing them on the replay just doesn’t do them justice.

10. Cordarelle Patterson

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
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10. Cordarelle Patterson

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
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In his first NFL season, the Minnesota Vikings’ rookie returner led the league with a 32.4 yards-per-kick-return average this past season. Kick returning is a natural ability that really can’t be taught and Cordarrelle Patterson was born with it. His explosiveness and game-changing kick returns are the kind that send emotions soaring when seen live.

9. Robert Quinn

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9. Robert Quinn

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Another young defensive player who doesn’t get enough credit is Robert Quinn. The talented St. Louis Rams pass-rusher recorded 34.5 sacks in his first three seasons, including 19 last year, good for second in the league. But get this: The 24-year-old led the NFL with 75 combined sacks, knockdowns and hurries in 2013. In other words, you’ve got to see this kid play live!

8. Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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8. Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The sheer strength and athleticism displayed by Dez Bryant on some of the circus catches he makes are unreal. The Dallas Cowboys’ explosive young wideout just abuses opposing defenders while hauling in passes that would be intercepted or knocked down if thrown to almost any other receiver. His momentum-shifting catches send adrenaline pumping to all spectators and it’s a thrill to see it live.

7. Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald
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7. Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald
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Even with average quarterback play and tons of double teams, Larry Fitzgerald still finds ways to haul in passes that should not (and by many receivers, could not) be caught. Specifically, his one-handed grabs on balls behind and/or above him are things one might expect to see at a circus. Not only that, but he makes them look easy. It doesn’t look real unless you see it live.

6. Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson
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6. Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson
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To watch one off-balance human being stick his foot in the ground, change directions and run through another one like a tackling dummy is something you can literally feel when you see it live. Adrian Peterson, the last of a dying breed in a world of running-back-by-committees, has made a living out of it and he never disappoints when you watch him play.

5. Peyton Manning

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5. Peyton Manning

peyton manning denver broncos
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A 38-year-old quarterback who just broke the NFL single-season records for passing yards and touchdowns is definitely worth seeing live. Heck, that’s must-see TV! Peyton Manning threads needs for a living, albeit they are a little more difficult than the traditional type. The clinics he puts on from the pocket can be redundant on the highlight reel, but they’re exhilarating when seen live!

4. JJ Watt

J.J. Watt
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4. JJ Watt

J.J. Watt
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There’s really never been a player quite like JJ Watt. The man with the nickname “JJ SWatt” has become an NFL superstar by adding a dimension to his game that makes him more than just a stud pass-rusher: he has the uncanny ability of swatting down passes at the line of scrimmage when he can’t get to the quarterback before he releases the ball. Seeing this bizarre, momentum-shifting style of play is definitely worth watching live.

3. Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers-Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

3. Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers-Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

There’s really no other way to say it: Aaron Rodgers is the most unique quarterback in the NFL. The accuracy he displays while throwing on the run and off-balance is better than most passers while they’re standing still with no pressure. His athleticism is deceptively great and he reminds us of that often with his arm and his legs, but the best is when he uses the combination of both assets. Watching this guy live is a treat.

2. LeSean McCoy

LeSean McCoy
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2. LeSean McCoy

LeSean McCoy
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The NFL hasn’t seen a player with the agility of LeSean McCoy since Barry Sanders retired. That’s not to say McCoy is the next Sanders, but he has that stop-on-a-dime ability that makes him exciting to watch…and he knows it because that’s his Twitter handle. Watching his shifty moves as they happen live is a sight to see.

1. Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson
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1. Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson
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In video games, gamers create custom players who are way bigger, stronger and faster than the rest of the players for an unfair advantage. Calvin Johnson is the real-life example of that. In triple coverage, he calmly looks at his quarterback, Matthew Stafford, and just points a finger to the sky. A few seconds later, he jumps up over seemingly half the defense and hauls it in. Words can't describe watching this phenomenon as it happens live.


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