Well that enters the equation “only…in relation to players’ ability to escape the . You could make a case for what the Dallas Cowboys are building in the NFC East, with Atari Cooper and Michael Gallup.
The New Orleans Saints have another great pair now, between Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. You could also make a case for Sammy Watkins and Tyree Hill in Kansas City, or even Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry in Cleveland.
I, for one, am very excited to see what Justin Jefferson does as a rookie with Adam Thailand alongside him. But it is hard to bet against what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have in place this upcoming season.
Yes they added Tom Brady and Rob Minkowski, but shift your eyes towards the boundaries, and you’ll find a pair of tremendous receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. They combined for 153 receptions, 2,490 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, and they did that with a quarterback throwing 30 interceptions.
But I also knew that whittling a list down to the Top 11 boundary Was was going to be a tall task. In a passing league dominated by 11 personnel, you are going to generate a ton of choices for inclusion.
Brown, who was tremendous last season for the Tennessee Titans, or Courtland Sutton with the Denver Broncos? Parker posted 72 receptions for 1,202 yards last year and nine touchdowns, and had a heck of a game against Stephen Gilmore in Week 17.
Team Statistics Arizona Cardinals Atlanta Falcons Baltimore Ravens Buffalo Bills Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Kansas City Chiefs Las Vegas Raiders Los Angeles Chargers Los Angeles Rams Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings England Patriots Orleans Saints York Giants York Jets Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steersman Francisco 49ersSeattle SeahawksTampa Bay Buccaneers Tennessee TitansWashingtonhidden With a lot of those terrific pass-catchers across teams, it's not easy picking the top 25 at the position going in 2020.
But ranking the best of the best is a fun task because it requires a deep dive into football's most dominant downfield dynamos. Stats tell a good part of the story in rating wide receivers, but the overall impact on their teams' quarterbacks and offenses also deserves plenty of attention.
Considering their most recent production in 2019 and balanced by their upside for this season, here's how the league's elite hideouts stack up against one other. Thomas, 27, simply doesn't drop passes, and his smooth route-running connection with Drew Trees also helps add to his amazing 80.5 percent catch rate.
Thomas is as good as it gets with his intermediate consistency as 91 of his catches went for first downs last season. He has great speed and quickness for an extremely physical receiver at 6-3, 220 pounds.
Godwin is a technically sound receiver, coming off his breakout season before turning 24. He was this good for Tampa Bay and can be greater with Tom Brady as that QB's ideal type of intermediate-to-deep target with slot versatility.
Hopkins' yards per catch went down a little during his final season with the Texans, but as he turns 28 for his new team, there's still plenty of top all-around play making still left. Hopkins came into the league smart and has added savvy with a knack to get consistently open.
Being separated from DeShawn Watson is tough, but he can get revved up again for Kyle Murray in a high-volume passing offense. Adams was having a monster game against the Eagles on Thursday night of Week 4 (10 catches, 180 yards) before his midseason was derailed by a serious toe injury.
He's fully trusted to make big catches for Green Bay as Aaron Rodgers' dominant go-to guy. At 6-1, 215 pounds and still only 27, Adams is cut from the same cloth as Thomas and also doesn't get enough credit for delivering chunk plays when needed.
Hill battled through clavicle and hamstring injuries in 2019, which were the only things that managed to slow down the blinding speedster, and only a little. Hill was ready to dart for game-changing plays in Super Bowl LIV against a tough 49ers secondary after a dazzling AFC playoff run.
At 6-5, 231 pounds, Evans presents a very difficult challenge to cover downfield with his exceptional vertical receiving skills. The 26-year-old has benefited well from the rise of Godwin and gives Brady his best deep threat since Randy Moss.
Cooper, who turns only 26 in June, runs all the routes at a high level, providing a good blend of big plays and clutch passes. His presence has helped Dallas turn the corner into an elite passing team with DAK Prescott, and now Needed Lamb is joining Michael Gallup to boost Cooper.
Locket has worked himself into becoming a complete, durable receiver after using his speed to make his initial big-play mark in Seattle. At 27, Locket is locked into Russell Wilson all over the field with terrific inside-outside versatility, both a chain-mover and field-stretcher depending on how he's needed.
Brown didn't get going until the second half of his rookie season when Ryan Tunnel emerged and started throwing downfield passes to him. Sutton can both go up and get the ball over smaller cover men and blow by guys to get open deep.
He's Drew Lock's clear go-to guy and will be helped by Jerry Judy arriving as a serious second outside threat. Robinson goes into his age 27 season after rediscovering his earlier Jacksonville promise in Chicago, thanks to staying healthy.
He's produced now with both Blake Bottles and Mitchell Risky, so there's hope Nick Roles can lift him further from the front end. Parker, who battled injuries early in his career as a 2015 first-rounder and was often in the doghouse of former offensive-minded head coach Adam Game, put it all together as a late bloomer in 2019, earning a worthy big new contract.
Allen doesn't have as much young flash as some ahead of him on this list, but at 28, he's as smooth as it gets running routes and catching most of what's thrown accurately his way. Samuel needed some time to emerge as San Francisco's top hideout as a rookie, but he got there as expected with his great hands and explosive skills, both in getting open deep and rumbling for big yards after the catch.
He should be better with Jimmy Garoppolo in 2020 with help from a new rookie dynamo, Brandon Ainu, on the other side. Between Brown, Samuel, Clarín and the Seahawks' DK Met calf, the second-year force is strong at the position.
Whether you call him “Scary Terry” or “F1”, Clarín, at 6-0, 210 pounds, lives up to both of those nicknames as an intimidating speedster. At 6-0, 195 pounds, the 28-year-old is the ultimate technician, doing what he needs to do get open on intermediate routes for Jared Goff, with occasional home-run ability.
Riggs left a pretty productive situation in Minnesota with Kirk Cousins and Adam Thailand, hoping he can be more of a true No. Riggs' downfield skills would seem to mesh well with the big arm of Josh Allen, if the third-year QB can show more deep-ball accuracy.
Riggs also is an underrated red zone threat for his size (6-0, 191 pounds) and can do plenty of damage if needed in the slot. At 27, Landry has found a strong second home after Miami as Baker Mayfield's most trusted target.
Despite battling through a hip injury last season, he was prolific with the highest yards per catch of his career, reminding everyone he's as comfortable outside as he is in the slot. Beckham also ground well for the Browns last season, showing incredible toughness playing through a sports hernia injury.
OBJ has a chance to rocket back into the top 10, but all the receivers ahead of him well deserved their place in the pecking order based on both production and potential. Now he will continue to face tougher coverage working primarily outside with Riggs gone, replaced by rookie Justin Jefferson.
Thailand, at 6-2, 200 pounds was a great big slot, and with better health, should be more comfortable with the perimeter No. Krupp goes into his age 27 season as the NFL's premier primary slot receiver.
When making these rankings, I am assuming the Eagles starting trio are currently the following: JAW at X, Demean Jackson at Z and Greg Ward in the slot. It is fun to debate these prospects, but I have someone lower than you, it doesn’t mean I ‘hate’ him or think he is bad.
Guys like Judy and Lamb are so talented you don’t really worry about scheme fit, they can do it all. Transition & fit with the Eagles : Line him up at the ‘ Z position behind Demean Jackson and use him sporadically on shot plays.
He would also thrive in a ‘reduced’ split in 12 personnel where he has the ability to go either way and can’t be forced to the sideline. Transition & fit with the Eagles : I’m in the minority here, but I think Ainu has the potential to be a very good outside receiver in the NFL.
Transition & fit with the Eagles : Start him at ‘X’ and let him play the Alston Jeffery role by using him on back shoulder throws, comebacks, deep outs etc. He would struggle slightly year 1 with very good press corners, but I think, but he will still create big plays here and there and force the coverage to back off which will help open up the intermediate areas for others.
Higgins is a big play threat wherever he lines up for the Eagles, I believe he will go early as he is one of the few receivers in this class who can win in a plus split (outside the numbers). His tape isn’t worthy of this pick (in my opinion) but his athletic testing, work at the senior bowl and upside means he is worth the shot here.
Athletic freaks who can defeat press coverage don’t last long, so good luck trading down and getting him. His route running is good enough to beat man coverage, but he can also be used on manufactured touches (screens, drags, jet sweeps) just to get the ball in his hands as he is such a threat.
Where would I draft him : I wouldn’t be upset with him at 21, but I think there is a good chance he falls out the 1st round, so I would try to trade back and take him a few spots later. He would become another big target for Went in the middle of the field on deep digs and outs as well as using his height on slot fade routes too.
Where would I draft him : I wouldn’t take him in the 1st round due to the fact the Eagles have a lot of players who win in the intermediate area of the field, and he doesn’t provide a vertical or explosive threat. This is not a knock on Jefferson but a more philosophical opinion of mine on what the Eagles need at the receiver position.
He is not as explosive as Higgins or Aims and would not therefore create as many big plays, but I believe he can line up as the Eagles ‘X’ and take on press coverage as he has the size and the strength. He didn’t exclusively play the ‘X’ in college and lined up on the left-hand side a lot, so he might take some time to develop his skills as he moves around the field.
I also think he fits the profile of a big slot if he lacks the speed to win vertically on the outside. Transition & fit with the Eagles : Renault has the athletic ability to line up at ‘X’, ‘ Z or in the slot.
Where would I draft him : The tape combined with the injury history means he should be a 3rd round player, but I can’t ignore the athletic ability, so I would take a risk in the 2nd. I don’t think he has the strength, size or ball tracking ability to line up on the outside and win vertically.
I don’t believe he will be the next Demean Jackson, to be honest I could easily see him being the next Avon Austin as he also may struggle to catch the ball in the middle of the field due to his poor hands, lack of toughness and size. He was a tough evaluation for me, I wanted to love him more due to the speed and explosiveness, but I just couldn’t.
Transition & fit with the Eagles : One of the best route runners on tape, Jefferson could start at ‘ Z or in the slot from day one and be a reliable target for Went. I am unsure he could defeat press coverage due to his lack of vertical threat and size and strength, but I think he’s an excellent fit at ‘ Z as he will separate at the stem of his route consistently.
Transition & fit with the Eagles : Explosive in a straight line, but he struggles big time getting in and out of his breaks. His stiffness means he will struggle to separate from the slot too, but he is worth a shot due to his explosive speed.
This is not entirely his fault, 36 out of his 71 catches last year where screen passes from the slot. I do not believe that Edwards has the quickness or the vertical ability to be able to survive on the outside, so I would rather see him as a big slot where the Eagles can scheme him open at times.
The athletic testing and the stats show an explosive player, but you rarely get to see it on tape. The tape shows a worse player but the explosive speed and production means he is worth a game.
He runs crisp, clean routes and is a move-the-chains type of receiver that you want in the slot on 3rd and 4. He is a high floor, low ceiling prospect who could start early but will never provide a big play threat.
He struggles to play through contact and his route running is not great, so he would fit best in the slot where he can be schemed open as frequently as possible. Transition & fit with the Eagles : Thomas is an interesting prospect as he has an explosive element to his game.
He is so slow off the line of scrimmage he is an easy target to press he will struggle to separate on the outside because he does not threaten vertically at all. He fits as a part-time big slot receiver in my opinion who can you use in the red zone on fades where he uses his size well.
Transition & fit with the Eagles : Jennings is yet another receiver who doesn’t have the quickness or vertical element to survive on the outside. He projects as a big slot receiver who can use his body to box out defenders and make tough grabs over the middle.
Similarly to Peoples-Jones, I see him as a part-time big slot receiver who can be used in the red zone a lot. I don’t see him developing into a full time starter due to his lack of explosiveness and quickness off the line of scrimmage.