Recently, we let the numbers decide who the top running backs in the NFL were. Today, we’ll shift to a much more important skill position. Wide receiver is the most important non-quarterback position in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus’ Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric, so if there’s any position that can move the needle, it’s this one. The difference between an elite receiver and an average one can be so incremental for a quarterback’s production, making it a position that teams must invest in.
To calculate who the top receivers in the NFL are, the following statistics were used:
- Pro Football Focus Receiving Grade is the most stable metric to evaluate receivers, as it is able to showcase the quality of a receiver independently of their quarterback.
- Yards Per Route Run allows us to see how effective a receiver is per every route they run, and is pretty stable on a yearly basis.
- Drops tend to fluctuate, but they’re still deserving of being part of the equation, so we’ll use Pro Football Focus’ Drop Grade.
- Yards/Reception allows us to give an extra boost to dynamic vertical threats who can change the game with one play.
- Certain schemes place a heavy emphasis on the ability to create yards after the catch, so we’ll also look at their Yards after Catch/Reception.
Receiving grade and yards/route run are the clear top two metrics for evaluating receivers, so in the end, they make up most of the formula to evaluate receivers. To get their overall grades in each of these statistics, each of the 130 qualifiers was assigned a percentile grade based on their performance in these metrics over the past two seasons, with their 2019 production slightly weighted more:
Now, it’s time to let the numbers dictate who the top 130 wide receivers in the NFL are!
Note: Rookies were ranked based on reasonable, but estimated projections for next season
#1: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (Overall Grade: 94.15)
It was a very tight race for the #1 spot on this list, but Julio Jones barely comes out on top. Not only is he a super efficient receiver with freakish athleticism and size, but he’s also a tremendous vertical threat. There simply isn’t a weakness in his game, as he’s the biggest mismatch weapon that there is on the perimeter, and should be well worth the massive contract extension the Falcons gave him. His overall statistics, specifically his touchdowns, have always underwhelmed, but don’t let that sway you from recognizing his greatness.
#2: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (Overall Grade: 93.95)
Coming off a season in which he broke the all-time receptions record, Michael Thomas is finally getting the recognition he deserves. He ranks in the 100th percentile in receiving grade and yards/route run over the past two season. In the end, however, he just loses out on the #1 spot on this list, as he’s more of a short/intermediate threat than a true vertical threat. Still, any team would love to have as a sure-handed of a receiver as he is, and it’s telling that Sean Payton, a head coach notorious for not paying his playmakers, opted to sign the All-Pro receiver to a $100 million extension in the previous offseason- a contract that now looks like a bargain.
#3: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (Overall Grade: 92.75)
The Chiefs offense is loaded with playmakers, but when Tyreek Hill missed some due to an injury last season, it was clear they needed him. His elite speed makes him the most un-guardable receiver in the NFL, as he can change the game at any time- look at the past Super Bowl for evidence. He’s not a 180-target type of receiver, but if I was building a receiving corps, he may be my first pick.
#4: AJ Brown, Tennessee Titans (Overall Grade: 92.35)
One of the more surprising rankings on this list, AJ Brown took the league by storm after being selected in the second round by the Titans. I have no idea how he slipped that far in the 2019 draft, but Tennessee has to be thrilled. He is as dynamic as can be after the catch, while his 2.67 yards/route run ranked in the 99th percentile. Heading into his second season, I expect him to be an anchor for an offense that’ll hope to avoid natural regression.
#5: Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Overall Grade: 90.7)
Many saw 2019 as a coming out party for Chris Godwin, but in reality, he’s been an elite receiver since he entered the league as a third-round pick in 2017. He’s had an overall grade from Pro Football Focus over 80 in each of his three seasons, and although he plays a lot in the slot, is a very well-rounded receiver. He’s a big-play after the catch, is super sure-handed, and should be Tom Brady’s top target in Tampa Bay this season.
#6: Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (Overall Grade: 89.25)
The Packers shockingly didn’t add a receiver this offseason, which will only make things harder for Aaron Rodgers to produce. At the very least, he has a true #1 receiver in Davante Adams, who is one of the more underrated receivers in the NFL. His releases off the line of scrimmage are an absolute beauty, and he is in the 95th percentile in receiving grade and yards/route run.
#7: DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals (Overall Grade: 87.125)
The Cardinals added potentially two foundational players in the draft by selecting defensive playmaker Isaiah Simmons and tackle Josh Jones, but it’s the addition of DeAndre Hopkins that’ll make the biggest difference. He’s not a true vertical threat, but he’s arguably the best intermediate target in the NFL outside of Michael Thomas, and is exactly what Kyler Murray needed- a reliable #1 receiver. The fact that Arizona was able to acquire him for just a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick swap, while dumping David Johnson’s albatross of a contract, is just absurd.
#8: Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (Overall Grade: 87)
The Cardinals’ acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins was stellar, but even though the price was greater, we shouldn’t act like a first-round pick (along with some late-round picks) was too much for the Bills to give up for Stefon Diggs, who is honestly on the same level as Hopkins. He didn’t get the recognition he deserved in Minnesota, but he’s an elite route runner who can run any route tree. His ability to separate, along with his contested catch ability, will be needed to produce while catching passes from Josh Allen.
#9: Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Overall Grade: 86.375)
Godwin has overtaken him as the Bucs’ best receiver, but Mike Evans is still a top-ten receiver. With his size and box-out skills, he’s one of the top deep threats in the NFL, even though he doesn’t create much after the catch. It’ll be interesting to see how he meshes with Tom Brady, a more risk-averse quarterback, this season.
#10: Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys (Overall Grade: 85.75)
Many believe that the Cowboys overpaid for Amari Cooper with his new $100 million extension, but it was definitely the right decision. He’s very inconsistent in terms of drops, but his ability to separate is exceptional, and is overall a very dynamic player.
#11: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams (Overall Grade: 85.75)
He’s an overlooked player since he didn’t break out until he signed with the Rams, but Robert Woods has been a critical part of Los Angeles’ offense. His hands (100th percentile drop grade) and run-after-catch ability (90th percentile) give him quite the valuable combination of skills, and for what it’s worth, he’s also an exceptional run-blocker.
#12: AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals (Overall Grade: 85.375)
He didn’t play last season due to injury, but the Bengals would have been out of their minds not to apply the franchise tag to AJ Green. He may be 31-years-old, but he’s earned a receiving grade above 80 in each of the past 7 seasons he’s played in, and I can’t wait to see what he can do with Joe Burrow now under center for the Bengals.
#13: TY Hilton, Indianapolis Colts (Overall Grade: 85.375)
The Colts have never had a reliable #2 receiver, but they’ve gotten by, thanks in large part to the production that TY Hilton provides. He wasn’t as effective with Jacoby Brissett last season, but he’s at his best when he can run a vertical route tree and also make plays after the catch, and he should be much better this season- not only is Phillip Rivers a massive upgrade over Brissett, but Indianapolis drafted a #2 receiver in Michael Pittman Jr.
#14: Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (Overall Grade: 85.25)
One can argue that Keenan Allen is the best route runner in the NFL. Even though he slightly regressed last season, he had three borderline elite seasons between 2016 and 2018- he’s someone who can separate and doesn’t drop many passes. He’s not flashy, but he’s as reliable as it gets.
#15: Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins (Overall Grade: 85)
AJ Brown wasn’t the only major steal in the 2019 draft; Terry McLaurin fell to the third round due to a lack of production in college, which certainly turned out to be uncalled for. Despite dealing with very poor quarterback play last season, he was able to produce, and has a very complete route tree. Here’s hoping that Dwayne Haskins can improve enough so McLaurin can actually receive accurate passes this season.
#16: Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings (Overall Grade: 84.625)
With Diggs in Buffalo, it’ll be up to Adam Thielen to carry the load for the Vikings this season. He’s coming off his worst season, which probably can partially be blamed on injuries, but he remains a technically-sound player who is a major threat in the intermediate passing game.
#17: Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (Overall Grade: 84.25)
One of my favorite receivers to watch in the NFL, Kenny Golladay would probably get more attention if he didn’t play for a small-market team, but his strengths mesh perfectly with Matthew Stafford. The Lions quarterback wants to take chances down the field, and Golladay is one of the top deep threats- his skills at the catch point are incredible. He’s due for an extension, and Detroit has no choice but to do what it takes to retain his services.
#18: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (Overall Grade: 83.25)
He’s more of a traditional slot receiver, but Cooper Kupp’s production is still based on how talented of a player he is. Similar to Woods, his run-after-catch skills have been utilized tremendously in head coach Sean McVay’s offense with the Rams, while he ranks in the 90th percentile in yards/route run and drop grade. Los Angeles likely doesn’t have the funds to retain him, so he’ll be a very sought-after player in free agency next offseason.
#19: Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (Overall Grade: 82.5)
The Seahawks surprised many when they decided to give Tyler Lockett, a receiver coming off of three slightly above-average receivers, an extension worth over $10 million per season. Yet, that’s turned out to be a massive bargain, as Lockett has had back-to-back years with a receiving grade over 83, and his big-play ability down the field pairs perfectly with Russell Wilson. It’s safe to say that his next contract will be of far greater monetary value.
#20: Will Fuller V, Houston Texans (Overall Grade: 81.75)
Sometimes, the value of a receiver isn’t illustrated based on his production on the field, but by the negative effect his absence can have on an offense. Even with DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans’ offense simply wasn’t the same when Will Fuller V wasn’t in the lineup, and now, Houston will be relying even more on him to stay healthy. He’s an excellent deep threat who also is in the 90th percentile in yards/route run, but it’s his health that’ll likely dictate his value in the 2020 season.
#21: Emmanuel Sanders, New Orleans Saints (Overall Grade: 80.375)
There have been many splash additions made by teams this offseason, but one that has been completely overlooked was the Saints signing Emmanuel Sanders on a two-year contract. He didn’t miss a beat coming back from a torn Achilles, and at 33-years-old, is still going strong- he ranks in 80th percentile or better in receiving grade, yards/route run, and drop grade. I’m very excited to see what he can do with Drew Brees, and as the complementary option opposite of Michael Thomas.
#22: DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers (Overall Grade: 79.75)
One great revelation in the modern NFL is how receivers don’t have to 6’5″ freaks with elite route-running ability- offenses are often tailored to maximize on what a receiver can do. DJ Moore is just 5’11” and ran a 4.56 40-yard dash, but he’s an electric player with the ball in his hands, and is excellent working over the middle of the field. He may be the only true long-term building block on Carolina’s offense.
#23: Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns (Overall Grade: 79.375)
Can Odell Beckham Jr. get back to his prior form? I certainly believe he can, as his talent is off the charts. Then again, we can’t completely dismiss his poor performance last season, which included just a 69.4 receiving grace. On the bright side, drops tend to be a fluky statistic, and with better chemistry with Baker Mayfield, he could re-establish himself as a top-ten receiver.
#24: CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (Overall Grade: 79)
Is this too aggressive of a ranking for CeeDee Lamb? Perhaps, but we’ve also seen what talented young receivers can do in recent years with McLaurin and Brown making an immediate impact. I’m still baffled that he fell to the 17th overall pick in the draft, and Dallas will love his physicality and run-after-catch ability. He’s the finishing touch on one of the premier offenses in the NFL.
#25: Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 78.99)
The debates between Lamb and Jeudy were extremely popular during the draft, and honestly, there really isn’t a right answer. Jeudy probably isn’t physical enough to match Lamb’s outrageous potential as a true tier-1 outside receiver, but he probably has the higher floor. His route-running is unprecedented for an incoming rookie, and he needs to be a #1 receiver immediately for the sake of Drew Lock’s development in Denver.
#26: Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 78.375)
Since he’s a non-flashy slot receiver, Hunter Renfrow fell to the 5th round of the 2019 draft, where the Raiders snatched him up. Based on his production in college, it should come to no one’s surprise that he immediately made an impact, ranking in the 85th percentile in yards/route run and 95th percentile in yards after catch/reception.
#27: Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns (Overall Grade: 77.75)
Jarvis Landry, similarly to Renfrow, is strictly a slot receiver, but he still makes a noticeable impact. With Beckham Jr. struggling, Landry stepped up for Cleveland, posting 2.04 yards/route run. With new head coach Kevin Stefanski relying on a lot of two-receiver sets, it’ll be interesting to see what he has planned for Landry.
#28: Breshad Perriman, New York Jets (Overall Grade: 77.575)
The Jets have been criticized for not supporting Sam Darnold enough, but they did upgrade going from Robby Anderson to Breshad Perriman. Perriman was a first-round bust in Baltimore, but in the past two seasons in Cleveland and Tampa Bay, he’s remerged as an elite deep threat, while he suddenly doesn’t have drop issues. He’ll be the lead guy on New York’s receiving corps, and how he responds will have massive ramifications for Darnold.
#29: Tyler Boyd, Cincinatti Bengals (Overall Grade: 76.125)
In recent years, we’ve seen the re-emergence of the “big slot” receiver, and Tyler Boyd’s success may be a huge reason why. He’s 6’2″, but is much more effective working in the slot, and his production in 2018 (85.7 REC Grade, 2.06 yards/route run) was fabulous. Without Green and with worse quarterback play, he had a down year last season, but I expect a bounce back with Joe Burrow under center for the Bengals.
#30: Allen Robinson II, Chicago Bears (Overall Grade: 75.625)
Allen Robinson II may rank 30th on this list, but I can’t imagine how he’d produced with an accurate quarterback. His NFL career has consisted of catching passes from Mitch Trubisky and Blake Bortles, who just happen to be two of the major first-round busts from his past decade. He doesn’t provide much after the catch, but he’s a physical receiver that you can depend on to consistently move the chains.
#31: Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (Overall Grade: 73.625)
He’s not a quality separator, but Mike Williams has still managed to become a very quality receiver at the NFL level. Although drops have remained an issue for him, he’s one of the better vertical receivers in the NFL due to his contested catch skills, and he’s obviously a major threat in the red zone. The Chargers opted to pick up his fifth-year option, which, although a tough decision, was the right one to make.
#32: Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers (Overall Grade: 73.325)
To succeed in Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme, one does not need to be a complete receiver, but you have to be dynamic after the catch. That describes Deebo Samuel perfectly, as he has some flaws (10th percentile in drops), but his 8.5 yards after catch/reception ranked in the 99th percentile. As he continues to refine his skillset, he has the potential to become a top-20 wide receiver.
#33: Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (Overall Grade: 70.375)
When the Patriots were thriving, they always had a solid group of weapons, which allowed Julian Edelman to be more of a complementary piece. However, he had the be their #1 receiver last season, and despite struggling with drops, he still had 1.83 yards/route run. He’s an intermediate target that only works from the slot, but he’s still a reliable veteran that any team would love to have.
#34: Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs (Overall Grade: 70.125)
Tyreek Hill is the Chiefs’ main weapon, but he’s far from the only receiver they have with elite speed. Mecole Hardman wasn’t a super well-regarded prospect coming out of Georgia, but he’s blazing fast, and made the most of his limited targets. He ranked in the 100th percentile in yards/reception and yards after catch/reception, so he’s clearly a big-play threat who should get more playing time.
#35: Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 70.1)
In the end, neither Jeudy or Lamb were the first receiver taken in the draft; Henry Ruggs III’s 4.27 speed enticed the Raiders enough to take him with the 12th overall pick. He’s not a complete receiver, but his ability to stretch the field and make plays after the catch are intriguing. I wouldn’t target him in fantasy leagues, but I could see him having a Will Fuller-type of impact for Las Vegas’ offense.
#36: DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (Overall Grade: 70)
Once seen as a first-round bust, DeVante Parker was able to revitalize his career playing with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who consistently gave him chances to make plays at the catch point. The improvements he made last season were substantial, and although contested catches can be a little fluky, I’m inclined to buy into his success.
#37: Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 69.25)
Though Brown and McLaurin have dominated from the start, it’s not uncommon for a young receiver to struggle as a rookie, and break out in his second year. That’s the case with Courtland Sutton, who is coming off a season in which he earned an 80.5 receiving grade, had 2.08 yards/route run, and was dynamic at the catch point. I’m excited to see what he can with an aggressive quarterback in Drew Lock.
#38: Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans (Overall Grade: 68.375)
A former top-five pick, Corey Davis didn’t have his fifth-year option picked up by the Titans, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a quality receiver. While he isn’t elite in any particular category, he also doesn’t have a major weakness, and is an effective #2 option for a productive passing offense.
#39: Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens (Overall Grade: 68.25)
The top receiver taken in the 2019 draft, Marquise Brown’s rookie season was fine, but his 72 receiving grade is lifted by a few standout games- he was pretty inconsistent and dealt with injuries. He’s obviously an electric player with tremendous speed, and hopefully, in his second season, he can be more consistent and be a true #1 receiver for the Ravens.
#40: Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 67)
He’s been bashed by Eagles fans and has been on the trading block, but Alshon Jeffery still is Philadelphia’s best receiver. He has some flaws- drop issues, not dynamic after the catch, and not a deep threat – but he’s a contested catch master who makes plays in the intermediate passing game and in the red zone; he should be a part of the Eagles’ plans for 2020.
#41: Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills (Overall Grade: 67.125)
Josh Allen has a cannon for an arm, so naturally, most called for the Bills to add speed to their receiving corps. However, the best way for an inaccurate quarterback like him to succeed is to have safety valves who know how to get open, making Cole Beasley an ideal fit. Last season with Allen, the former Cowboy continued to be a consistently reliable slot receiver, and there’s no reason to expect anything other than that from him in 2020.
#42: Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons (Overall Grade: 67)
Before Jerry Jeudy was dominating at Alabama, Calvin Ridley was doing so with his elite route running ability. He hasn’t been as impactful as the Falcons hoped when he entered the league, but he’s been far from bad, and could be in line for a breakout in his third season.
#43: John Brown, Buffalo Bills (Overall Grade: 67)
Whereas Beasley was brought in for Josh Allen to utilize in the short passing game, John Brown is clearly the Bills’ deep threat. He wasn’t very productive in college, but he had 1.97 yards/route run last season, while averaging an excellent 17 yards per reception. Between Diggs, Beasley, and Brown, Buffalo quietly has one of the top receiver trios in the NFL.
#44: Golden Tate, New York Giants (Overall Grade: 66.875)
Despite playing for four teams, Golden Tate has managed to be extremely consistent throughout his NFL career. Between 2011 and 2019, he’s earned a receiving grade above 70 in each of those seasons, including an 82.3-grade season in 2017. Unfortunately, although he’s still capable of doing damage after the catch, it’s clear he’s starting to slow down at 31-years-old. For Daniel Jones’ sake, however, it’ll be huge for Tate to at least be as productive as he was last year.
#45: Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans (Overall Grade: 65.75)
After trading DeAndre Hopkins, it appears head coach Bill O’Brien made it an emphasis to add as much speed as possible. We’ve learned at this point that you can never have too many blazing weapons capable of stretching the field, so Brandin Cooks could be super impactful for the Texans. At the same time, he regressed in every category last season, and also has durability concerns; it’s unclear how valuable he’ll be this season.
#46: Darius Slayton, New York Giants (Overall Grade: 64.125)
Though Brown and McLaurin were the main rookie standouts last season, Darius Slayton definitely exceeded expectations for a fifth-round pick. He complements the Giants’ receiving corps, which consists more of slot receivers, as more of a vertical threat, and Daniel Jones’ aggressiveness works in his favor there.
#47: Juju Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (Overall Grade: 63.25)
Heading into 2019, many saw Juju Smith-Schuster as a top-ten receiver, but without Antonio Brown, he wasn’t able to step up as the Steelers’ #1 receiver. Now, he had to deal with poor quarterback play, but that doesn’t excuse his 63 receiving grade. I think he’ll bounce back, but at this point, it’s clear he’s more of a complementary slot receiver than someone that teams should be paying a premium for. Based on the rumors that Pittsburgh is content to let him walk in free agency next offseason, it’s clear they feel the same.
#48: Josh Gordon, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 62.875)
Off-the-field problems may prevent him from actually playing this season, but few receivers are as talented as Josh Gordon. Drops have always been a problem for him, but he’s a vertical threat who also is excellent with the ball in his hands. When he does play, he’s proven to be a very capable player.
#49: Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions (Overall Grade: 62.625)
He’s always been the #2 option to either AJ Green, Golden Tate or Kenny Golladay, but Marvin Jones Jr. has constantly produced. He’s had a 71.9 receiving grade or higher in each of the past five season, and although he may not be capable of high-end production, there’s value in his consistency. Heading into a contract year, it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for the 30-year-old.
#50: DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (Overall Grade: 61.375)
We discussed with DJ Moore how offenses are more open to covering up receivers’ limitations, and the Seahawks’ handling of DK Metcalf in his rookie season. He has a super limited route tree, but he can run slant and go routes. Drops were a problem for him last season, but he’s a solid #2 receiver in Seattle’s offense.
#51: Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (Overall Grade: 60.375)
With Lamb on board, Michael Gallup is definitely the third option in the passing game for the Cowboys, but perhaps that can work to his advantage- defenses won’t be focused on him. He ranks in just the 10th percentile in drop grade, but he also posted 2.16 yards/route run and was a solid vertical receiver.
#52: Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers (Overall Grade: 59.5)
Although Smith-Schuster disappointed last season, the Steelers still have to be encouraged about their group of receivers heading into 2020. Third-round pick Diontae Johnson’s improvement down the stretch last season makes me optimistic he’s in tune for a second-year breakout, and he’s someone that Pittsburgh should scheme touches for with his run-after-catch skills.
#53: Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers (Overall Grade: 58.875)
For whatever reason, the story of Robby Anderson’s career has been about what he could be, rather than what he actually is. He’s been an above-average receiver, but with someone with his size-speed combination, you’d hope that he’d produce at a higher level than the 69.8 receiving grade and 1.51 yards/route run he’s posted over the past the two seasons. I still think there’s untapped potential for him in a better scheme in Carolina, but that’s certainly not a certainty.
#54: Tee Higgins, Cincinatti Bengals (Overall Grade: 58.7)
Concerns about his separation ability caused him to slip into the second round, yet, in my opinion, Tee Higgins was the fourth-best receiver in the 2020 draft. He reminds me a lot of Kenny Golladay and Mike Williams with the way he’s able to win at the catch point, and despite not having above-average long speed, he is very productive working down the field. He has to be considered AJ Green’s successor in Cincinnati, and he should build an instant connection with Joe Burrow.
#55: Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans (Overall Grade: 58.625)
The Titans paid Adam Humphries $36 million on a four-year contract to be their slot receiver, and with a 70.4 receiving grade, he essentially was the same player for Tennessee. You shouldn’t be expecting him to run a vertical route tree, but he’s a trustworthy player in the intermediate passing game with excellent hands.
#56: Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (Overall Grade: 56.625)
He’s kind of redundant with Tate also on the roster, but Sterling Shepard did manage to hold his own converting from the slot to being an outside receiver. In fact, he was more productive last season than the season prior, and he gives Daniel Jones a safety-valve in the short passing game.
#57: Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs (Overall Grade: 56.5)
When he’s at his best, Sammy Watkins is capable of producing like an elite receiver, as evidenced by his performance in the Super Bowl. Kansas City did a great down the stretch getting the ball in his hands and also having him stretch the field more, but there may be no player more inconsistent than him.
#58: Jamison Crowder, New York Jets (Overall Grade: 56.125)
The Jets strangely gave Jamison Crowder $9 million per season to help out Sam Darnold, and to their credit, that’s exactly what he did- he earned a 73.3 receiving grade. He’s not a special receiver, as he doesn’t make plays down the field and was ineffective last year after the catch, but at least he’s a short-passing threat, while Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims can be Darnold’s vertical receivers.
#59: Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (Overall Grade: 56.11)
Had he not had an issue concerns, Laviska Shenault Jr. would’ve been easily a first-round pick. He can stretch the field, make plays at the catch point, and most of all, he looks like a running back with the ball in his hands. His potential is off the charts.
#60: Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (Overall Grade: 56.1)
At this time last year, Justin Jefferson wasn’t seen as much of a prospect at all. However, he broke out in LSU’s dynamic offense, and made his living out of the slot. He’s a bit redundant with Adam Thielen in Minnesota, though, at the end of the day, his route-running ability gives him a very high floor.
#61: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (Overall Grade: 55.625)
He may be 36-years-old, but Larry Fitzgerald is still a quality receiver. He doesn’t work down the field and fails to separate, yet he still has some of the best hands in the NFL, and continues to be productive working in the slot.
#62: Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins (Overall Grade: 54.25)
If Preston Williams didn’t have off-the-field problems, he would’ve definitely been a day-two pick. However, he ended up signing with the Dolphins, and despite playing a handful of games with Josh Rosen, was able to produce in nine games. He’s a very physical receiver, though it’s worth noting he’s very similar to DeVante Parker in terms of play style.
#63: Tyrell Williams, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 53.625)
Williams is at his best when he can be a complementary vertical threat, as when he was asked to be the Raiders’ #1 receiver last season, he definitely was out of place.
#64: Kenny Stills, Houston Texans (Overall Grade: 53.25)
#65: Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals (Overall Grade: 53.2)
He didn’t get a chance to shine last season, but Andy Isabella is still an explosive receiver who is a big-play waiting to happen. He isn’t very physical, though Arizona needs to get him more involved in the passing game this season.
#66: Laquon Treadwell, Atlanta Falcons (Overall Grade: 53.125)
#67: Greg Ward, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 52.375)
#68: Randall Cobb, Houston Texans (Overall Grade: 52.125)
Randall Cobb is a tick below some of the other slot receivers in the NFL. He was productive in 2019, but had been very mediocre in the two seasons prior, and the $9 million per year the Texans gave him this offseason was certainly steep.
#69: Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Overall Grade: 52.1)
He may have been a fifth-round pick, but Tyler Johnson was college football’s most productive receiver, and his ability to separate should allow him to succeed immediately in the NFL.
#70: Denzel Mims, New York Jets (Overall Grade: 52.1)
The Jets may have let Robby Anderson walk, but rookie Denzel Mims can fill his role as a deep threat with a lot of potential. He’s not a refined player, but his athletic tools are off the charts.
#71: Devin Duvernay, Baltimore Ravens (Overall Grade: 52.1)
Duvernay will be pigeon-holed to the slot, but his elite hands, 4.39 speed, and run-after-catch skills will be utilized tremendously in the Ravens’ offense.
#72: Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 52.1)
Even though he wasn’t a popular pick, I can see why general manager Howie Roseman made Jalen Reagor the 21st overall pick in the NFL. It’s rare to find players with his ability to stretch the field, though he’ll need to refine his route running.
#73: Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams (Overall Grade: 52.05)
He’s already 24-years-old and isn’t very flashy, but Van Jefferson is a super technically-sound receiver who the Rams will need to make an impact immediately.
#74: Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers (Overall Grade: 52.05)
I’m not sure that Brandon Aiyuk would fit in every offense, so he’s lucky he ended up with the 49ers. Head coach Kyle Shanahan will be able to maximize on his run-after-catch skills.
#75: Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts (Overall Grade: 52.05)
This ranking may be underselling Michael Pittman Jr. He’s got enough speed, does damage in the intermediate passing game, and is great in contested catches. Still, he’s not a dynamic player, which is why he didn’t get drafted in the first round.
#76: John Hightower, Philadelphia Eagles (Overall Grade: 52.05)
Even after adding Reagor, the Eagles added more speed at the receiver position. John Hightower is the type of field-stretching weapon that should’ve been drafted on day two, yet Philadelphia landed him in the 5th round.
#77: Demaryius Thomas, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 51.875)
#78: Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions (Overall Grade: 51.375)
#79: David Moore, Seattle Seahawks (Overall Grade: 51.125)
#80: Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers (Overall Grade: 47.125)
#81: Cody Latimer, Washington Redskins (Overall Grade: 46.875)
#82: Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots (Overall Grade: 46.5)
#83: Devin Funchess, Green Bay Packers (Overall Grade: 46.5)
#84: Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers (Overall Grade: 45.25)
#85: Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (Overall Grade: 44.25)
There are some rumors that the Cardinals are looking to trade Christian Kirk, as the former second-round pick wasn’t as productive this past season. Still, he has enough potential and dynamic ability out of the slot for Arizona to hold onto him for now.
#86: Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams (Overall Grade: 43)
#87: Equanimeous St.Brown, Green Bay Packers (Overall Grade: 42.25)
#88: Taywan Taylor, Cleveland Browns (Overall Grade: 41.875)
#89: DJ Chark Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (Overall Grade: 41)
Was DJ Chark Jr.’s second-year emergence legitimate? He was Jacksonville’s top receiver last season working with Gardner Minshew as a true deep threat, though it’s hard to forget how abysmal his rookie season was.
#90: Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts (Overall Grade: 40.75)
#91: Isaiah McKenzie, Buffalo Bills (Overall Grade: 39.5)
#92: Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars (Overall Grade: 39)
Despite being excellent in college, Dede Westbrook hasn’t been the impactful slot receiver he was supposed to be in the NFL. After showing some signs of progression last season, he was a non-factor for the Jaguars in 2019.
#93: Phillip Dorsett, Seattle Seahawks (Overall Grade: 38.25)
#94: Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (Overall Grade: 37.625)
#95: Steven Sims, Washington Redskins (Overall Grade: 37.25)
#96: Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears (Overall Grade: 36.75)
The Bears traded up to select Anthony Miller in the second round, and he’s disappointed so far. Drops and an overall lack of production have plagued him.
#97: Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers (Overall Grade: 35.25)
Curtis Samuel was super productive at Ohio State, but that was more in a gadget role. He struggled overall last season, as evidenced by his 0.97 yards/route run. Plus, for someone who supposed to be dynamic with the ball in his hands, ranking only in the 20th percentile in yards after catch/reception is far from ideal.
#98: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers (Overall Grade: 34.5)
#99: Taylor Gabriel, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 33.25)
#100: KJ Hamler, Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 33.1)
I wasn’t as high on Hamler heading into the draft as others, but he landed in the perfect situation. He’ll be a vertical slot receiver with the Broncos, which is the role he needs to play.
#101: Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints (Overall Grade: 33)
#102: James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers (Overall Grade: 32.5)
Similarly to DJ Chark Jr., James Washington was able to respond from a disastrous rookie season with a pretty productive 2019 season- he more than doubled his yards/route run. In his third season, I’m expecting him to soar up this list with Ben Roethlisberger back under center for the Steelers.
#103: Mohamed Sanu, New England Patriots (Overall Grade: 32.5)
The Patriots traded a second-round pick for Mohamed Sanu, hoping he’d reignite their offense. Obviously, they were wrong, as he doesn’t really have a special skill to offer an offense.
#104: Javon Wims, Chicago Bears (Overall Grade: 32.5)
#105: John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals (Overall Grade: 32.25)
For what it’s worth, Ross, a former top-ten pick and the 40-yard dash champion, improved drastically last season. I actually think he could succeed as Cincinnati’s fourth option in the passing game and as a gimmick weapon.
#106: Willie Snead IV, Baltimore Ravens (Overall Grade: 32.25)
#107: Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers (Overall Grade: 32)
The Steelers made an interesting pick with Claypool in the second round, but unfortunately, they’re planning to convert him to outside receiver. His best role is in the slot or as a tight end, so that could be a massive mistake.
#108: Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 31.75)
#109: Josh Doctson, New York Jets (Overall Grade: 28.75)
#110: Albert Wilson, Miami Dolphins (Overall Grade: 28.5)
#111: Dante Pettis, San Francisco 49ers (Overall Grade: 28.25)
#112: Olabisi Johnson, Minnesota Vikings (Overall Grade: 27.5)
#113: Auden Tate, Cincinatti Bengals (Overall Grade: 25.75)
#114: Keke Coutee, Houston Texans (Overall Grade: 25.5)
#115: Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs (Overall Grade: 24.75)
#116: Ted Ginn Jr., Chicago Bears (Overall Grade: 24.75)
#117: Seth Roberts, Carolina Panthers (Overall Grade: 24)
#118: Nelson Agholor, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 23.75)
#119: Allen Hurns, Miami Dolphins (Overall Grade: 23.75)
#120: Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns (Overall Grade: 22.75)
#121: N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots (Overall Grade: 22.5)
Harry was the Patriots’ first-round pick last year, and it’s safe to say things didn’t go as planned. He ranked in the 10th percentile with 0.83 yards/route run, and is more of a gimmick receiver who needs to be schemed open than a true receiver. The fact that New England picked him over Deebo Samuel and AJ Brown looks awful in hindsight.
#122: Chris Conley, Jacksonville Jaguars (Overall Grade: 19.5)
#123: Damiere Byrd, New England Patriots (Overall Grade: 19.5)
#124: Geronimo Allison, Detroit Lions (Overall Grade: 17.25)
#125: Trent Taylor, San Francisco 49ers (Overall Grade: 14)
#126: Zay Jones, Las Vegas Raiders (Overall Grade: 14)
#127: Trey Quinn, Washington Redskins (Overall Grade: 13.5)
#128: DaeSean Hamilton, Denver Broncos (Overall Grade: 13)
#129: Jarius Wright, Free Agent (Overall Grade: 12)
#130: KeeSean Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (Overall Grade: 8.875)