Over the next two weeks, NESN.com will break down the NFL’s best positional groupings on both sides of the football, ranking teams in order of worst to first.
Today, we rank the best wide receiver corps in the NFL.
Of note, this is not an exact ranking of the best wide receivers in the NFL as teams were evaluated on the overall position. The top six receivers on each team’s depth chart, courtesy of ESPN, were included.
32. Washington Redskins: (Terry McLaurin, Steven Sims Jr., Kelvin Harmon, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Trey Quinn, Cody Latimer)
McLaurin ranked among the top 50 receivers in all major categories, compiling 58 receptions, 919 yards and seven touchdowns last year. But there’s a major drop-off between Washington’s No. 1 and everyone else as both second-year receivers Simms (34 rec., 310 yards in 2019) and Harmon (30 rec., 365 yards) still are finding their rhythm in the league.
31. Miami Dolphins: (DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns, Jakeem Grant, Isaiah Ford)
The 27-year-old Parker put together a breakout 2019 season with 72 rec. for 1,200-plus yards and nine TDs in 2019. Both Williams (32-428 in 2019) and Wilson (43-351), however, don’t exactly scare opposing defenses as the No. 2 and No. 3 options.
30. Baltimore Ravens: (Marquise Brown, Willie Snead IV, Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay, Chris Moore, James Proche)
The run-heavy Ravens from 2019 might look similar in 2020 and, if so, it will be in part due to their limited options at receiver. Brown (46-584), Snead (31-339) and Boykin (13-198) currently are the top three wideouts on the roster, with none having shown they can lead the positional group.
29. New York Jets: (Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Vyncint Smith, Josh Doctson, Braxton Berrios)
The Jets will look to fill the production of Robby Anderson, who departed in free agency, with Perriman, Crowder and second-round pick Mims. Crowder recorded a career-high in receptions (78) and just missed out on a career high in receiving yards (833) during the 2019 season while Perriman tallied 36 receptions for 645 yards.
28. New England Patriots: (Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu Sr., N’Keal Harry, Marqise Lee, Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers)
Edelman was far and away the Patriots’ No. 1 option in 2019, putting together a career year with 100 receptions for 1,117 yards and six touchdowns. But other than that, Sanu struggled upon his arrival in New England while Harry did not look like the first-round pick the Patriots hoped they were getting. The Patriots have top 20 potential with this group, but it’s certainly no guarantee.
27. Green Bay Packers: (Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Devin Funchess, Equanimeous St. Brown, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow)
Adams (83 rec., 997 yards in 2019) is the head of the snake in regard to the receiver corps for Green Bay. Funchess is playing his first season in Green Bay after competing in just one game during 2019. While Funchess has showed he can be a productive NFL receiver, he and Lazard (35-477 in 2019) will have to step up to help take pressure off Adams.
26. Chicago Bears: (Allen Robinson II, Anthony Miller, Ted Ginn Jr., Javon Wims, Cordarrelle Patterson, Riley Ridley)
Robinson put together among the most productive seasons of his six-year career in 2019 while recording 98 receptions for 1,147 yards and seven TDs. The one-time Pro Bowler has the skill set that’s hard to find while Miller (52 rec., 656 yards) and Ted Ginn Jr. (30 rec., 421 yards) are decent complementary pieces for either QB Mitchell Trubisky or Nick Foles.
25. Indianapolis Colts: (T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman Jr., Parris Campbell, Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, Dezmon Patmon)
The Colts’ success comes down to Hilton, who wasn’t able to stay healthy in 2019, playing just 10 games. Hilton (45 rec., 501 yards) will now benefit from the second-round pick Pittman, but Campbell (18-127), Pascal (41-607) and Johnson (17-277) have all had varying levels of success.
24. New York Giants: (Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, Cody Core, Corey Coleman, Da’Mari Scott)
In the Giants’ first year of the post-Odell Beckham Jr. era, they were heavily impacted by injuries. But when healthy, they showed they had some pieces with Shepard (57-576 in 10 games), Tate (49-676 in 11 games) and Slayton (48-740 in 14 games).
23. Las Vegas Raiders: (Tyrell Williams, Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards, Nelson Agholor, Zay Jones)
Williams (42 rec., 651 yards in 14 games) and the rookie Ruggs could make for a strong tandem for QB Derek Carr. Renfrow (49 rec., 605 yards) also impressed during his rookie season for the Raiders’ ninth-ranked passing offense.
22. Tennessee Titans: (A.J. Brown, Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, Kalif Raymond, Cody Hollister, Cameron Batson)
Brown broke out in big way during his rookie season, tallying 52 receptions for 1,051 yards and eight TDs. While the 25-year-old Davis recently has taken a step back (43 rec., 601 yards in 2019), he and Humphries (37 rec., 374 yards) have the talent to be an efficient three-receiver set.
21. Minnesota Vikings: (Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, Tajae Sharpe, Bisi Johnson, Chad Beebe, J.J. Osborn)
Yes, the Vikings traded Diggs, but they did grab Jefferson in the first round of the 2020 draft. Jefferson and Thielen, who’s returning after injury halted his 2019 season, have the potential to be a strong 1-2 punch like Thielen and Diggs once were for QB Kirk Cousins.
20. San Francisco 49ers: (Deebo Samuel, Kendrick Bourne, Brandon Aiyuk, Trent Taylor, Jalen Hurd, Dante Pettis)
Samuel put together a strong rookie campaign (57 rec., 802 yards), but Bourne (30 rec., 358 yards) and the rookie Aiyuk are both unproven. The Jimmy G-led offense could be impacted by the lack of depth at receiver, but if anyone can figure it out, head coach Kyle Shanahan will.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars: (DJ Chark Jr., Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, Laviska Shenault Jr., Keelan Cole, Collin Johnson)
Chark Jr. is coming off a 1,000-yard season with 73 receptions and eight touchdowns. Westbrook (66-660) and Conley (47-775) both were productive in 2019 as well.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: (JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, Ryan Switzer, Deon Cain)
Smith-Schuster was limited to just 12 games in 2019, and thus took a significant step back from the prior year with 552 yards on 42 receptions. Washington (44 rec., 735 yards) and Johnson (59 rec., 680 yards) are each impactful pieces, and with a rebound year for Smith-Schuster, it has the making to be a solid core.
17. Houston Texans: (Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, Kenny Stills, Randall Cobb, DeAndre Carter, Keke Coutee)
Despite the Texans making a head-scratching move by trading three-time All-Pro Deandre Hopkins this offseason, Houston actually has some depth at wide receiver, but no clear No. 1. Fuller (49-670), Cooks (42-583 with LA Rams), Stills (40-561) and Cobb (55-828 with Dallas Cowboys) all had productive 2019 seasons and could do the same for QB DeShaun Watson.
16. Philadelphia Eagles: (Alshon Jeffrey, Desean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, Marquise Goodwin, Greg Ward Jr., J.J. Arcega-Whiteside)
The Eagles used a first-rounder on Reagor in the 2020 draft, hoping the rookie will help elevate a group which was greatly impacted by the injuries in 2019. Jeffrey (43-490) and Jackson (9-159) missed crucial stretches during the season, but when healthy, Philly has an above-average group.
15. Los Angeles Rams: (Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds, Van Jefferson, Nsimba Webster, Greg Dortch)
Kupp (94 rec., 1,161 yards, 10 TDs) and Woods (90 rec., 1,134 yards) proved to be among the league’s most dynamic 1-2 punches during the 2019 season. But with the Rams losing a solid third option in Brandin Cooks, it could impact how the ball is able to be spread around by QB Jared Goff.
14. Denver Broncos: (Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, DaeSean Hamilton, Tim Patrick, Diontae Spencer)
Sutton was a top-30 receiver in every major category including receptions (72), yards (1,112) and TDs (six), and Denver helped not just him, but also QB Drew Lock with their 2020 draft selections. Both first-rounder Jeudy and second-rounder Hamler could help propel the Denver offense which was 28th in passing yards per game last year. While young, it’s a group with high potential.
13. Atlanta Falcons: (Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, Christian Blake, Olamide Zaccheaus, Devin Grey)
Jones’ body type and overall skill set makes him among the best in the NFL. He was second in the NFL in yards (1,394) and sixth in receptions (99) while Ridley (63 rec., 866 yards) is an above-average No. 2 for the Matt Ryan-led offense. Production, however, slips off a bit when it comes to Gage (49-446), Blake (11-91) and Zaccheaus (3-115).
12. Carolina Panthers: (D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, Curtis Samuel, Seth Roberts, Keith Kirkwood, Pharoh Cooper)
Moore improved by leaps and bounds during his sophomore season (87 rec. for 1,175 yards) and will lead a WR group bolstered by the addition of ex-New York Jet Anderson in free agency. Anderson racked up 779 yards on 52 catches with Sam Darnold throwing his way in 2019, while Samuel (54 rec., 627 yards) provides an above-average No. 3 for first-year Carolina QB Teddy Bridgewater.
11. Seattle Seahawks: (Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Phillip Dorsett II, David Moore, John Ursua, Freddie Swain)
New England fans grew familiar with Dorsett during his time with the Patriots, but with the Seahawks’ top options of Lockett (82 rec., 1057 yards) and sophomore Metcalf (58 rec., 900 yards), Seattle has a very strong 1-2 punch and solid three-receiver set.
10. Detroit Lions: (Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. Danny Amendola, Marvin Hall, Geronimo Allison, Quintez Cephus)
Golladay hauled in a league-leading 11 touchdowns in 2019 while ranking seventh in yards (1,190) on 65 receptions. Jones Jr. is another red zone threat having 62 receptions for 779 yards and nine TDs of his own, all while Amendola had another productive year in the slot (62 rec., 678 yards).
9. Los Angeles Chargers: (Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Andrew Patton, Joe Reed, Jason Moore, Darius Jennings)
Allen is among the most underrated receivers in the league, averaging just over 100 receptions and more than 1,200 yards in each of his last three seasons. He’s complemented by fellow 1,000-yard receiver Mike Williams, who did so on 49 catches in 2019.
8. Cleveland Browns: (Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Damion Ratley, KhaDarel Hodge, Donovan Peoples-Jones)
Even in a year that widely was considered a regression, OBJ still put up numbers (74 rec., 1,035 yards) that any team would be happy with. And with the complement of Landry (83 rec., 1,174 yards), Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield has among the best 1-2 punches in the NFL.
7. Cincinatti Bengals: (A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, John Ross III, Auden Tate, Alex Erickson)
This is predicated on the fact that Green will return to form after missing the 2019 season with an ankle injury, which also limited his 2018. Green recorded 1,000-yard seasons in six of his first seven seasons while Boyd made the most of his 2019 (90 rec., 1,046 yards). Higgins was a 2020 second-round pick while Ross (28 rec., 506 yards) is a nice depth piece, as well.
6. New Orleans Saints: (Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Tre’Quan Smith, Taysom Hill, Deonte Harris, Krishawn Hogan)
Thomas is arguably the best in the game, leading all wideouts with 149 receptions (!) and 1,725 yards (!) in 2019. With the Saints adding a strong complement in Sanders (66 rec. for 869 yards in 17 games during 2019) this offseason and Smith hauling in five TDs of his own in 2019, it’s a noteworthy top three for QB Drew Brees.
5. Buffalo Bills: (Stefon Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley, Isaiah McKenzie, Duke Williams, Andre Roberts)
The Bills had a need at receiver and addressed it with the trade for Diggs, who tallied 1,130 yards on 63 receptions in Minnesota last season. And with another 1,000-yard receiver in Brown (72-1,060) and a good slot man in Beasley (67 rec. for 778 yards in 2019), the Bills certainly have options, as long as QB Josh Allen doesn’t overthrow them.
4. Kansas City Chiefs: (Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, Jody Fortson)
Speed, speed and more speed for QB Patrick Mahomes. Hill recorded 58 receptions for 860 yards and seven TDs in just 12 games last season, a year after grabbing 87 balls for nearly 1,500 yards. Hill will be helped out by a hopefully healthy Watkins (52 rec. for 673 yards in 14 games) and 22-year-old sophomore Mecole Hardman (26. rec, 538 yards and six TDs in 2019), who is expected to take a major leap forward.
3. Dallas Cowboys: (Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, Dedrick Wilson, Ventell Bryant, Devin Smith)
The Cowboys already had a solid 1-2 punch in Cooper and Gallup before adding first-round pick Lamb, who’s potential against No. 3 corners will have head coach Mike McCarthy salivating. With Cooper (79 rec., 1,1189 yards and eight TDs in 2019), Gallup (66 rec., 1,100-plus yards) and the No. 17 overall pick, the Cowboys have a lethal three-receiver set.
2. Arizona Cardinals: (DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella, KeeSean Johnson, Hakeem Butler)
Nobody made a splash in the wide receiver market quite like the Cardinals this offseason. Arizona acquired three-time All-Pro Hopkins, arguably the best in the league at the position. Hopkins completely transforms the receiver room while Fitzgerald (75 rec., 804 yards in 2019) has proven he has quality years left. Additionally, Kirk (68 rec., 709 yards) is a very good third option for QB Kyler Murray.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, Justin Watson, John Franklin)
While most teams are just hoping for one No. 1 receiver, Tampa has two of the top 10. The 6-foot-5 Evans can go up and get it while Pro Bowler Godwin has both speed and ball skills which make it a task for any corner. Evans recorded 67 receptions for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns while Godwin tallied 86 receptions for 1,333 yard and nine TDs. Miller (13 rec. for 200 yards) could be one who benefits from QB Tom Brady in 2020.