Isaac Bruce knows a thing or two about playing wide receiver in the NFL.

In a career that spanned 16 seasons, the St Louis Rams legend racked up 1,024 receptions, 15,208 receiving yards and 91 touchdowns, and won a Super Bowl in 2000 as the leading receiver for the iconic ‘Greatest Show on Turf’.

Bruce ranks fifth all-time in NFL receiving yards and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020, finally getting the chance to make his acceptance speech last month.

With production and longevity that very few players at the position can match, it’s safe to say that anything Bruce says about wide receivers is worth listening to.

In an exclusive interview with NFL odds website Betway, the Super Bowl XXXIV champion weighs in on who is currently the best at the position in the NFL, why wideouts are often portrayed as ‘divas’ and what elements he would take from players past and present to build the perfect receiver.

Who, in your opinion, is currently the best receiver in the NFL?

“There's a 1A and a 1B. DeAndre Hopkins for the Cardinals, I really, really enjoy watching him play, from his ability to release off the line of scrimmage, his ability to make contested catches, impactful plays.

“And not only that, he has the ability to make the other receivers on his team better. He pulls them up, he's teaching other guys. I like looking at the guys around the top guy to see how they're developing, and I think they have it pretty good in Arizona right now.

“I think we're similarly built, he uses speed, quickness, his agility, his body control to win against defensive backs in this league. He’s very confident, and he's a winner. He's expecting to win on every play, every down. With the defenses in my era, the way they played with me, I think he would definitely still thrive.

“I think 1B would be Davante Adams. Everything else I said with Hopkins, Adams is very similar. I only named him 1B because he’s playing with the great Aaron Rodgers. Hopkins has done it with two different quarterbacks.

“Adams has had probably one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play this game for his entire career. So the jury's still out.”

If you could play with any current NFL quarterback, who would you choose?

“Deshaun Watson would be one. He and Patrick Mahomes, and Aaron Rodgers. I could choose from that three right there and we could make a lot of good music together.

“I think those guys are very talented. They know offense and they know defense, which is a plus. I think those guys are so intelligent offensively that they can go off script, at times, and still make some glorious plays. So, being able to play with quarterbacks like that, man, it's priceless.”

What is the top quality or attribute an elite receiver looks for in a quarterback?

“A lot more than any physical attribute, it’s that a player can have competitiveness and a positive outlook on whatever he's doing, on how this game is going to end or how this play is going to turn out.

“Those things are priceless. You can be the most talented football player, basketball player, soccer player, and you can do everything that a lot of people couldn't do, but if your attitude isn't positive you can sabotage a whole lot of stuff.

“Kurt Warner had that, most definitely. Along with his competitive spirit. I felt like that's what made him who he is. And that's what made him and gave him the opportunities that he had and took full advantage of.”

How does a receiver best build chemistry with a quarterback? Is it just about reps in practice?

“Honestly, I think it's more supernatural than anything else. If you look around any league, from college to Little League, everybody goes out on the field and does pitch and catch. They run routes, and someone else throws it them. Everybody does that.

“But I feel like the most important part comes when you're walking off the field with your quarterback, and you two guys walk through the locker room, and you have a seat next to his locker and you discuss things. You go to lunch and you talk mindset, or belief systems.

“That right there starts to gel you from a supernatural standpoint. So when you get on the field, now it's easy. Now, it's like a bow and a violin that goes together, you can't have one without the other. I think that's the most important part, even bigger than what you do on the field.”

Why do you think receivers are often stereotyped as having a ‘diva’ mentality?

“With most guys, I like comparing them to a Ferrari. You're gonna notice a Ferrari, when it passes by, you're going to know that it's pricey. You know how fast it can go, from 0-60 in, you know, 4.2 seconds.

“But it's also dependent. We're dependent on just about everybody else in that offense to do their job for us to do our job.

“At times we make spectacular plays, and the media support that diva mentality, because when you're watching ESPN SportsCenter, you normally see a wide receiver going 80 yards versus a defense.

“A running back going over a tackle for five or six yards to score a touchdown, that just doesn't lead SportsCenter. What leads SportsCenter is that quarterback hitting that wide receiver 80 yards down the field.”

You were never really portrayed as a diva, why was that?

“By the grace of God, man. I tell everybody, it's not that I didn't want the football, not that I didn't cry and argue about it, but I never wanted to be in a position where I would kill my wounded.

“If my quarterback wasn't having the best game that day, or my offensive coordinator wasn’t calling the best game that day, I didn't want to put my frustrations on my own team and just implode from the inside out.

“No, I would rather use that energy to go against the team or the defense I was playing against. I'd rather go out and try to frustrate them, rather than adding to the frustration of my teammates.”




“I would say Torry Holt’s hands. Very strong hands, catching just about anything.”


“Jerry Rice. I believe you have to be a football player before you're a wide receiver. Jerry Rice is just a football player. He did everything that you can ask a football player to do and he really took the wide receiver position to another level.

“That would be his physical attributes, but you also have to have it mentally to go out and perform that way.”


“I would say Cliff Branch. I don't think Cliff Branch gets enough recognition, kind of like ‘Bullet’ Bob Hayes, for being as fast and fluid as he was.

“They weren't really throwing the ball up and down the field like that during his era, but he did make a huge, huge dent, in terms of receiving yards when he played.”

Route running

“I'll go with another underrated guy: Andre Rison. Andre Rison was a great route runner. I think he was an underachiever, maybe he had a lot of off-the-field things to go alongside his career. But I really enjoyed watching him run routes.”


“The bulldog mentality of Steve Smith. He came in as a kick returner, punt returner, and really didn't start catching passes probably until his third season in the league. His production level was through the roof.

“He's a guy that I liked to see play because he loved to mix it up with the defense like I did, and he always came out on top. He would fight you if he needed to fight you. He played football, ran routes against you and all that type of stuff. That bulldog mentality of once I get my teeth in your leg, there's no letting go.”