Continuing our series of 2021 NFL place rankings, we rotate our attention to the pass-catchers. Wide receiver is the most an useful position top top the ar after the quarterback, and it also elicits a hotly contestable debate as to who the ideal really is. Yet with the aid of"s progressed database — i beg your pardon is used by every 32 NFL teams — us can aid shed part light here.

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So, without more ado, let’s dive right into our optimal 32 broad receivers ahead of the 2021 NFL season. And while there space no rookies, it wouldn’t be a surprise to view multiple first-year players crack this list by the finish of the year, considering the was one of the many talented classes due to the fact that we began assessing college football. And also don"t sleep ~ above second-year breakouts from talented 2020 prospects such as Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Tee Higgins and Brandon Aiyuk, among others.

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Adams to be the highest-graded (92.2), most beneficial (0.9 WAR) and also most fertile (2.96 yards per course run) wide receiver of the 2020 season. That is indisputably the height player at the place entering 2021. That doesn’t issue who currently up throughout from the — he is a hazard on any kind of given play through his route running and release package.

Since 2017, once began tracking single coverage data, no broad receiver has earned a higher grade or recorded an ext touchdowns (27) on together plays than Adams. As long as Aaron Rodgers is in town, green Bay has actually the finest QB-WR tandem in the NFL. Yet as we all know, Adams’ long-time quarterback may be on his way out.


Nuk has ranked 6th or greater in receiving class among vast receivers in 5 of the previous six seasons, earning 88.0-plus marks each time. In his very first season as a Cardinal, Hopkins was once again among the 10 most productive vast receivers in the league, averaging 2.25 yards per path run. He acquired there in a bit of a various manner, though.

Hopkins witnessed a career-low typical depth that target that 9.0 yards, well listed below his previous short of 10.8 yards many thanks to Kliff Kingsbury"s offense pumping him screens and other underneath concepts. In turn, Nuk showcased much more after the capture than ever before before, tying for the most broken tackles at the position (21).

We also saw the exact same elite ball skills from Hopkins that have end up being commonplace. His 0.9% drop rate tied because that the lowest mark among those v at the very least 100 targets in 2021, while his 13 contested captures tied for ninth. The hauled in 14 records within a garden of the sideline, tying for the most in the NFL and also extending his command in the metric since entering the league to 26 (71 in total).


The hatchet “perennial deep threat” is thrown roughly loosely, but when it pertains to the Cheetah, it definitely applies. Over the past four years, Hill has actually notched 56 receptions (most through 10), 2,240 yards (most by 687) and also 25 touchdowns (most by 10) ~ above targets of 20-plus yards downfield. The still rank in the top-five in deep receiving touchdowns if we increased that time structure to the past decade.

Keep in mind, Hill has actually only five years that NFL experience. He’s as electrical as a receiver can be and is paired through superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Talk around a potent duo.


After enduring poor quarterback beat in every solitary year of his NFL career, Robinson ultimately has a signal-caller with enormous potential throwing that the ball in Justin Fields. Us now acquire to watch what he can do with a high quality passer. 

What Robinson achieved with Mitchell Trubisky and also Nick Foles in ~ the helm in 2020 to be nothing quick of exceptional. His team ranked sixth-to-last in pass grade, and Robinson saw much more inaccurate targets than anyone in the NFL by a comfortable margin. Yet, he still controlled to it is in the third-most beneficial player at the place while ranking fifth in receiving class on the year.

he tied because that the most contested captures (21) and posted a 1% drop price that ranked third among receivers with 100-plus targets. Because joining the bear in 2018, Robinson ranks fifth in drop price (2.2%), an initial in contested catches (61) and sixth in battle generated.


Injuries may have prevented us from acquiring the complete Julio Jones experience in 2020, however he was still uber-productive as soon as on the field. Throughout nine starts, Jones notched an 86.3 grade and 2.60 yards per route run, both the which to be top-10 marks. He also turned end 35% that his targets into a 15-plus-yard gain, the greatest rate through six percentage points among wideouts v at the very least 50 targets.

Will we view the 32-year-old regain the elite kind that observed him location inside the peak three in great in each of the 5 seasons prior to 2020? just time will tell, however regardless, the still has plenty left in the tank and already solidified himself as one of the finest all-around receivers in NFL history. 


Brown went from the 51st in its entirety pick in 2019 come rookie phenom to among the NFL"s couple of elite broad receivers in just a pair of years. After putting up one 83.0 receiving class in Year 1 the ranked 10th among wide receivers, Brown posted a 90.1 mark in Year 2 that ranked third. The has generated 2.66 yards per path run in those two years combined, edging out Odell Beckham Jr. And Antonio Brown because that the highest possible mark has ever before recorded native a wide receiver in their first two NFL seasons (minimum 700 routes).

Brown is the leader of the next generation of star vast receivers.

New Orleans, LA, USA; brand-new Orleans Saints broad receiver Michael cutting board (13) operation after a capture for a touchdown versus the mountain Francisco 49ers throughout the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA this day Sports


Michael cutting board leads all large receivers in slant … let"s no go there.

Thomas was restricted by injury in 2020 and didn’t fairly live up to expectations when healthy, earning a 78.9 receiving grade and also generating 1.93 yards per path run for the year. However he has still been one of the 3 highest-graded and also most fertile (2.47 yards per path run in career) vast receivers because entering the organization in 2016.

Highlight-reel deep receptions don"t come as commonly for him compared to Tyreek Hill or Julio Jones, but he is the meaning of dependable. Cutting board is a damn good possession recipient who have the right to win 50-50 balls better than anyone in the league.


After 5 straight years in Minnesota of very good, but not elite, play, Diggs lastly earned that accolade in his first season through the receipt in 2020. He produced a receiving grade between 77.6 and also 84.0 in every of his five years as a Viking, constantly ranking inside the optimal 25, however he cracked the optimal 10 just once.

In 2020, Diggs was one of just four receivers through a receiving grade in ~ or over 90.0 in the constant season. That remained among the most effective contested-catch receivers in the game, posting a 60% capture rate on such plays to carry his percentage due to the fact that 2017 come 60.5% — the second-best mark in the league.


Thielen bounced ago to top-tier form after one injury-hindered 2019 season. He come away indigenous 2020 v an 87.4 grade that ranked sixth among NFL vast receivers, noting the third time in the past four years he has finished inside the top 10 in that metric.

Thielen’s publication and ability to separate are as great as it it s okay at the position, helping him great out together a top-five recipient against single coverage due to the fact that began tracking that metric in 2017.


Jefferson silenced anyone doubting his NFL potential in a huge way as a rookie. He finished the season through an elite 90.5 receiving grade that trailed just Davante Adams for the best in the NFL, and also he was simply shy the the rookie record collection by Odell Beckham Jr. In 2014 (91.2). The many impressive aspect of his very first NFL season was his performance against single coverage. That was an area of worry when that left LSU due to the fact that of his function there, but he has actually undoubtedly verified he can handle those situations.

Jefferson maintains his No. 2 receiving grade location against single coverage and also jumps to very first in yards every target (13.2) on together plays. The NFL landscape assumed the job of Minnesota having actually a peak receiving tandem were over once the franchise traded away Stefon Diggs in the 2020 offseason, yet Jefferson is poised to store the legacy going.


After flashing high-end play and incredible route-running chops in year 1 and 2 through Atlanta in 2018 and 2019, Ridley finally pieced it every together and showcased his talent ~ above a continuous basis in 2020. His production skyrocketed across the board: native 2019 to 2020, he enhanced his grade by 10 points to 84.9 and also took his yards per path run complete from 1.69 come 2.44 (seventh-best).

Ridley hauled in the third-most receptions against solitary coverage in which he had actually at least a pair of measures of separation (19) and also led the organization in complete 15-plus-yard receptions (40).


Injuries derailed a section of Evans’ 2020 season, which ended up being the lowest-graded campaign of his seven-year career. Still, he finished as the 18th-most an useful wide receiver, according to WAR, and also he partnered with Tom Brady because that the 11th-most 15-plus-yard receptions in ~ the position in regular-season beat (27). Evans has 231 of those receptions to his name due to the fact that entering the organization in 2014, trailing just Julio Jones because that the many in the NFL. His job receiving grade in that expectations is likewise the fifth-best in the league.

Evans has made a killing by bodying defensive backs in contested scenarios, as his fourth-most records (63) and receiving yards (1,007) on such occasions end the past four years have the right to attest.


Like Evans, Godwin withstood an injury-riddled 2020 campaign that play a part in him record the lowest-graded season of his four-year NFL career, yet we mustn’t forget what he achieved before that. Godwin has actually been the 13th-most an useful wide receiver and one the the 10 highest-graded football player at the place since first stepping foot top top the ar for Tampa Bay together a third-round choose in 2017.

Godwin has actually spent the specific same amount of time in the slot and out large in his NFL career (983 routes run at each alignment), proving fertile regardless of alignment. In fact, Godwin is just one of four broad receivers because 2017 to generate much more than 2.00 yards per path run native both the slot and outside.

Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys recipient Amari Cooper (19) runs v the ball after a reception versus Atlanta Falcons linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. (56) in the 4th quarter at at & t Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA now Sports


Cooper to be reborn after being traded to Dallas in the middle of the 2018 season. He ranking 13th amongst qualifying wide receivers in receiving grade and has been among the 15 most valuable players in ~ the position since his debut together a Cowboy in mainly 9 that season. Cooper is just one of the finest route-runners in the game, and also it mirrors week after week against single coverage. His separation price against solitary coverage because joining Dallas sit at the 80th percentile in the NFL, and he ranks fourth in total receiving yards v at least a action of separation on those dram in that exact same time frame.


It’s no mystery that Metcalf is for this reason dangerous since of his rarely blend the size and speed. Whether it it is in chasing down Budda Baker to avoid a pick-six last season or running the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials a couple of weeks ago, the 6-foot-3, 229-pound Seahawk is just a rare human being specimen.

Over his very first two NFL seasons, Metcalf ranks within the peak 10 in both receiving yards (752) and also touchdowns (eight) stemming from vertical routes. In 2020 alone, he led the organization in vertical path receiving yards (475). The former second-round choose is also tied for seventh due to the fact that entering the NFL ranks in both contested catches (30) and also broken tackles after the record (26).


Allen’s function was tweaked a little in 2020 compared to 2019. That ran much fewer courses at the intermediate-to-deep level and wasn’t targeted over expectation at those parts of the field. The did see an ext shallow route targets, though. His 7.3-yard average depth that target was 3 yards under his previous mark as a result — the lowest of his career. And that play a huge part in him developing worse on a per-route basis. Still, Allen performed admirably in that function with one 85.0 receiving grade the tied for 11th among qualifying wide receivers.


With some enhancements to the recipient unit and also a brand-new arm in ~ quarterback, McLaurin will hopefully get ago to act what he does best in 2021: extending the field. His median depth that target dipped indigenous 14.6 yards as a rookie in 2019 come 9.9 yards in 2020. The percent of his records that turned right into a 15-plus-yard gain lessened from 40% come 30%, and his yardage full from vertical routes was practically cut in half from 404 to 207 regardless of him see 37 more targets overall.

McLaurin tho finished with a respectable 77.1 receiving grade, yet it was absolutely a downtick from a rookie campaign that witnessed him end up as the sixth-highest-graded recipient (86.5).


Beckham has actually been a decidedly various receiver in Cleveland. Once we did this rankings before the 2019 season, Beckham come in in ~ No. 4. Transparent his an initial five years in the NFL with the Giants, indigenous 2014 to 2018, Beckham was the fifth-most valuable wide receiver in the NFL, according to WAR. And that even contains his 2017 campaign when he played only 4 games because of injury.

Over the previous two years in Cleveland, Beckham barely cracks the optimal 50 at the position in war generated. His production has actually slid considerably, together he went from producing 2.40 yards per route run as a gigantic to simply 1.81 together a Brown the previous two years.

The Freddie Kitchens experiment and also playing with injury clearly didn’t aid matters in Beckham"s debut season with the Browns in 2019, which ended up being the lowest-graded season that his career. That still no performing favor his common self in 2020 before a season-ending injury in main 7 (73.7 receiving grade). We understand Beckham deserve to be a top-five recipient in the NFL, however his play together of late definitely doesn’t warrant such a ranking entering the season. It i will not ~ really surprise anyone if OBJ changes that in 2021, though.


Before an injury-riddled 2020 campaign, Golladay developed himself as one of the finest deep threats and also contested-catch specialists in the NFL. In 2018 and also 2019 combined, he racked up the third-most deep (20-plus-yard target) receiving yards, with 930, and he tied for first in challenged catches, v 43.

Hopefully because that the Giants, Golladay"s enhancement makes offensive coordinator Jason Garrett much more willing to call downfield shots for Daniel Jones, who ranked 3rd in passing grade on litter of 20-plus yards in 2020 but slotted in at 17th in total deep completions (20). A perfect marriage? only time will tell.

20. COREY DAVIS, brand-new YORK JETS

No brand-new York broad receiver has actually finished inside the top 10 in ~ the place in receiving grade end the previous decade, and also the team has just three instances that a receiver cracked the peak 25 (Eric Decker in 2014 and 2015; Brandon Marshall in 2015).

Enter, Corey Davis — a former first-round pick coming off a career season with the Titans in which he perfect eighth at the place in receiving great (87.2) and also fifth in yards per route run (2.58). In the 2 years before that, just 63% the his targets were understood catchable, according to"s ball-charting process, i beg your pardon ranked 97th amongst 104 qualifying vast receivers. Despite that, Davis still controlled to revolve 26.7% of his full targets into a gain of 15-plus yards (ninth) in those 2 years.

Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) measures out the the back of the end zone because that a safety to end the game against the Baltimore Ravens in ~ FirstEnergy Stadium. Credit: Scott Galvin-USA this particular day Sports


OBJ has had actually a difficult time recognize his footing with Baker Mayfield, but Landry is top top the other finish of the spectrum. The previous Miami Dolphin has notched an 80.0-plus receiving great in each of the previous two seasons, forming a two-year mark that ranks 15th among qualifying wide receivers.

Landry, who was once infamously recognized for being just a slot weapon, accomplished those tasks while seeing more reps top top the outside. That ran the greatest rate of paths from the outside in his career in both 2019 and 2020, combine to produce the sixth-best receiving class on those plays. That went from the 22nd percentile in class against solitary coverage in 2017 and also 2018 come the 90th percentile on together reps in 2019 and also 2020.


Lockett has arised as a top-25 recipient after 3 so-so years to begin his NFL career. His three-year receiving grade since 2018 ranking 20th at the position. He and also Russell Wilson have teamed up to form one that the strongest QB-WR tandems in the league, as shown by his league-leading 136.3 passer rating as soon as targeted in those 3 years combined.

Lockett has actually racked increase the second-most deep receiving touchdowns (13) in that span, too. Having one that the optimal deep passers in the league absolutely helps, however Lockett deserves his fair share of credit, considering that does lead the position in portion of catchable deep targets captured (94.1%).


Beasley is the NFL slot recipient prototype. That ran 88.4% of his paths from the slot critical season, the third-highest rate in the league. On those reps, Beasley racked up 2.31 yards every route and also 938 receiving yards in total while hauling in 83.9% that his targets en course to a 90.8 receiving grade — all 4 of i beg your pardon ranked inside the peak three among league qualifiers.

He found soft spots against zone coverage like clockwork. Beasley’s 36 together receptions in 2020 to be four much more than any other large receiver.


All points considered, Brown performed quite well in 2020 after playing in just one video game over almost two years. That earned one 82.6 receiving class on the year, consisting of the Bucs’ postseason run, and also he did that in an unorthodox manner relative to the remainder of his career. Brown was utilized on more underneath concepts than in any type of other season the his NFL tenure and posted a career-low 9.4-yard median depth the target.

He added value ~ the record with 5.2 additional yards ~ above average, break eight tackles while likewise displaying sure hands. Brown recorded 98% the his catchable targets and also hauled in eight the 11 challenged targets.

25. Will certainly FULLER V, MIAMI DOLPHINS

Fuller is a real speedster who has proven to be one of the many dangerous deep dangers at the position once healthy. Over 26% the his targets because 2018 have resulted in a 15-plus-yard gain, the eighth-highest percentage among vast receivers over the span.

Despite missing far-reaching time in each of those 3 seasons, Fuller come in at No. 8 in total receiving yards on vertical targets whereby he had actually separation on his coverage defender. Him on the field alongside Jaylen Waddle is a scary thought.


While a bevy of problems plagued Houston in 2020, that didn’t protect against Cooks — that was playing for his fourth team in five years — from producing at a high level. He cracked the height 25 in both receiving great (80.5) and yards per path run (2.05), both that which were the second-best marks of his career. Through the assist of his wheels, Cooks come away with 13 deep receptions in 2020, tying through Tyreek Hill because that the third-most.


Parker revitalized his career in 2018 and also 2019, earning the finest season grades amongst his 6 NFL campaigns. He ranking 23rd in receiving grade end the past two seasons, churning out 55 explosive receptions the 15-plus yards (tied for seventh) and also 43 contested captures (second) in the process. Parker completed that while seeing the third-highest price of snaps against press coverage (45.6%). He leads the league in 15-plus-yard pass plays against press coverage since 2019 (32).

Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos vast receiver Courtland Sutton (14) prior to the game versus the Tennessee Titans in ~ Empower ar at Mile High. Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA now Sports


Sutton ran only 20 routes in 2020 before getting shut down for the year because of injury. He broke out in a huge way in his 2019 sophomore campaign, though. Sutton improved his grade by practically 20 grading points from his 2018 rookie season come 83.1, which ranked 11th amongst all qualifying receivers for that season.

He frequently went toe to toe versus press coverage, and also he repetitively came the end on top. Sutton’s 2.50 yards per route run against press ~ above the exterior in 2019 was amongst the five finest marks in the NFL. Through a clean invoice of health, Sutton is bound to rise up this list. Currently he simply needs an exact quarterback (ranks 83rd of 107 qualifiers in career catchable target rate).


Robert Woods in Buffalo and Robert Woods in Los Angeles are two various players. He to be a suboptimal performer v the Bills throughout his first four years in the NFL however has revitalized his career v the Rams over the past 4 years.

Woods has actually recorded a higher receiving great in every of his four projects with the Rams than in any of his periods with the Bills. He ranks amongst the 15 highest-graded vast receivers since 2017 while also slotting into the top five in both yards ~ the capture per agree (5.6) and also percentage that catchable targets captured (92.8%).


Kupp has consistently been among the NFL"s most abundant slot receivers since he was drafted out of east Washington in 2017. His 2.12 yards per course run native the slot end the past 4 years is the fourth-highest note among vast receivers. He also ranks 2nd in broken tackles compelled after the capture from the slot (27) and is tied for first in yards after the catch per agree on those very same reps (6.0).

He isn’t higher on this list because of his ability, or absence thereof, to effectively win on his very own from the outside. Still, he has shown more than enough from the slot to warrant this ranking.


Injuries acquired in the method of a large sophomore breakout native Samuel, but when healthy, the was specifically what we expected: an after-the-catch phenom. Samuel has created 9.8 yards ~ the capture per agree in his 2 NFL seasons. Not only does the lead all broad receivers, yet it leader the group by a considerable margin that 2.5 yards. That has additionally broken 28 complete tackles in regular-season pat over that span, tie for the fifth-most in ~ the position. He played just six games in 2020, so that’s pretty cursed impressive.


Only one Bengal cracks this list, yet make no mistake: It would certainly not be a surprise to check out the team land 3 inside the height 32 by the finish of 2021. Tee Higgins looks poised because that a second-year breakout after a strong rookie project that observed him notch a 79.0 receiving grade, and also 2021 fifth-overall pick Ja’Marr follow is in the Julio Jones and also Amari Cooper tier of vast receiver prospects.

But again, these rankings are based upon right now; not five or even two years under the road. Those two have actually immense potential to come to be premier large receivers in the league, yet for now, it’s Tyler Boyd that leads the pack.

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Boyd has grown right into one of the NFL"s top slot receivers end the past three years. Due to the fact that 2018, he has run the third-most routes from the slot among vast receivers and also is one of the league’s 10 highest-graded football player on those reps. Boyd’s 51 explosive receptions of 15-plus yards indigenous the slot in that expectations lead the league.