2024 CFL wide receiver rankings: Winnipeg Blue Bombers lead the way

2R4EP76 Edmonton, Canada. 27th May, 2023. May 27, 2023, EDMONTON, AB, CANADA: Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Kenny Lawler (89) breaks free from a tackle on Edmonton Elks' Dwayne Thompson II (37) during first half CFL preseason action in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday May 27, 2023. (Credit Image: © Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via Credit: Zuma Press/Alamy Live News

• The top-ranked QB room, RB room and WR room: The Winnipeg Blue Bombers placed first in our quarterback and running back rankings, and now their wide receivers do the same.

• Edmonton Elks not far behind: On paper, the Elks are the only team that has an argument challenging Winnipeg for that top receiving corps spot. They’re led by former All-Star Eugene Lewis, who played only 12 games last season and still finished with the sixth-highest receiving grade and ranked fourth with a 2.18 yards per route run average.

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With the 2024 CFL season just about to get underway, the starters are all but locked in. Let’s take a look at how all nine wide receiver rooms rank.

1. Winnipeg Blue Bombers

No offense in the CFL can boast a top-four receiving corps like the Blue Bombers. An argument could be made that they actually have the two best receivers in the CFL in Kenny Lawler and Dalton Schoen. Lawler ranked second in the CFL last year with an 81.0 receiving grade and led the league with a 2.75 yards-per-route run average. Schoen’s 80.3 grade and 2.32 YPRR both ranked third in the league. Then there’s slotback Nic Demski, whose 77.2 receiving grade ranked fifth. Finally, outside receiver Drew Wolitarsky added 50 catches for 700-plus yards as a fourth option. The Bombers have a few intriguing young options for that fifth receiver slot in Myron Mitchell or Ontaria Wilson, but with the top four that they have, it really doesn’t matter who falls into that fifth slot. They have the top receiving corps in the CFL.

2. Edmonton Elks

On paper, the Elks are really the only team that has an argument challenging Winnipeg for that top receiving corps spot. They’re led by former All-Star Eugene Lewis, who played only 12 games last season and still finished with the sixth-highest receiving grade and ranked fourth with a 2.18 yards per route run average. The Elks also brought in Kurleigh Gittens Jr. this offseason to reunite with quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, with whom Gittens Jr. had a career season with in 2022 (90 catches, 1197 yards, sixTDs). Dillon Mitchell is a solid third option while Kyran Moore forced 14 missed tackles and averaged 9.2 yards after catch per reception, second-most in the league. Canadians Hergy Mayala and Vincent Forbes-Mombleau figure to battle for that fifth receiver role, rounding out a very strong and balanced group.

3. Ottawa Redblacks

The Redblacks made a splash this offseason in trading for receiver Dominique Rhymes, which bolstered what was already an underrated receiver room. Rhymes is the star, of course, grading out as a top-four receiver in 2022 before injuries derailed his 2023 season. His arrival should help take some pressure off Jaelon Acklin, who had a “down” season last year and still put up 889 yards on 67 receptions. They’ve also got Justin Hardy, who has graded out as a top-20 receiver in both of the last two seasons. Bralon Addison was once a 1,000-yard receiver, and while it feels unlikely that he’ll get back to that level, he can still make big plays as a fourth or fifth option. The most intriguing player may be rookie Nick Mardner, a 6-foot-6 giant with blazing speed who could be a matchup nightmare in limited situations as he eases into the Canadian game.

Click below for PFF's CFL recap content from the 2023 season:

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4. Toronto Argonauts

What the Argonauts lack in a true No. 1 receiver, they make up for with a bevy of high-quality starters. Davaris Daniels was their version of a No. 1 last year, a 1,000-yard receiver who ranked eighth in the league with a 2.08 yards-per-route-run average. But then there’s the trio of Dejon Brissett, Damonte Coxie and David Ungerer, all of whom finished last season with at least 40 catches for 600-plus yards. They also brought in a veteran to play out wide in Rasheed Bailey, who is coming off three straight seasons of 45-plus catches for 500-plus yards with the Blue Bombers. Then there’s yet another option in Canadian Tommy Nield, who made the most of limited opportunities last year with a very good 70.4 receiving grade on his 32 receptions. Not to mention rookie Kevin Mital, who had an extremely impressive preseason. That’s a lot of depth that should scare opposing defenses.

5. British Columbia Lions

The Lions have arguably the best receiver in the CFL in Keon Hatcher. Unfortunately, they’ll only get him halfway through the season at best as he recovers from an Achilles injury. But even without him, they have a very strong trio that can carry them until he returns. Alexander Hollins was the 11th-highest-graded receiver last year and was one of just three receivers to record 1,200-plus yards and eight or more TDs. Justin McInnis finished last year with 13 contested catches (third in the CFL) and a 15.8-yard average depth of target, the sixth-highest in the league. The massive Jevon Cottoy averaged 7.2 yards after contact per reception last year thanks to 16 missed tackles forced. If ex-Philadelphia Eagle Travis Fulgham can make the transition to the CFL, then the Lions will be fine until Hatcher returns and elite once he does.

6. Saskatchewan Roughriders

When looking at the Roughriders receivers, it's easy to see the strength at the top. Samuel Emilus is one of the top young receivers in the league, finishing last year with over 1,000 yards, 13 contested catches (third in the CFL) and 17 missed tackles forced (sixth). Shawn Bane Jr. also broke 1,000 yards and gained an impressive 499 yards after the catch. The depth is strong too, with Kian Schaffer-Baker putting up 38 catches for 430 yards in just half a season last year while Jerreth Sterns put up similar numbers in his debut season. The Roughriders also have two rookies in Ajou Ajou and KeeSean Johnson, both of whom had impressive preseason appearances. There’s a lot of potential with this squad, and if guys can take that next step, the Riders will have a really good receiving group this season.

7. Calgary Stampeders

The Stampeders are pretty top-heavy at receiver, with one of the best in the game leading the way. Reggie Begelton led the league with 94 receptions and turned that into 1,227 yards and six touchdowns while forcing 21 missed tackles (second in the CFL) and averaging a fifth-best 2.19 yards per route run. Behind him, they have Tre Odoms-Duke and Marken Michel, both of whom were 50-catch-700-yard guys last season and provide good depth. They’ll get slotback Jalen Philpot back this season after he missed his entire sophomore season due to an injury. Beyond that though, there’s a lot of unknown for the Stampeders with rookie Cam Echols being the most intriguing option. He posted the highest receiving grade this preseason, as he caught 13 passes for 229 yards with eight explosive plays. If that strong play can translate to the regular season, he could combine with Begelton to give Calgary a really scary receiving duo.

8. Montreal Alouettes

The defending Grey Cup Champions suffered a tough loss this offseason when their rookie All-Star receiver Austin Mack left for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Assuming he stays in the NFL, the Alouettes have a big hole to fill. Tyson Philpot came up huge in the playoffs last year, catching 15 passes for 144 yards in three games as well as the game-winning touchdown in the Grey Cup. They have the shiftiest slotback in the league in Kaion Julien-Grant, who led the league last year with 22 missed tackles forced on just 36 receptions. Tyler Snead flew under the radar, but he was the eighth-highest-graded receiver last season. They brought in Charleston Rambo, who had a solid preseason debut as a potential Mack replacement on the outside. They don’t have a lot of experience, but the talent is there for this Alouettes receiver room.

9. Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Tiger-Cats are as top-heavy at receiver as any team in the league. They brought back All-Star Tim White, who led the league last year with 1,258 yards and also scored eight touchdowns. His 2.02 yards per route run average ranked 10th in the CFL. He’s one of the most dominant receivers in the league. Kiondre Smith took a big step forward last year and will be looking to do it again in his third season. Beyond that, however, the Tiger-Cats don’t have a ton of really strong depth. Steven Dunbar Jr. didn’t have a great season last year, but he was an East Division All-Star in 2022.  Luther Hakunavanhu’s career-best season was just 26 catches for 330 yards. If Smith can’t take that next step or Dunbar Jr. can’t return to form, this might be a tough season for this group of Hamilton pass catchers.


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