• Back on top: The Bengals were No. 1 on our receiving corps rankings last year and remain the top dog heading into 2023.
• Miami Dolphins in at No. 3: We couldn’t put the Dolphins lower than No. 3 due to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle alone, as they form one of the best receiver partnerships in the NFL and could arguably be the league's hardest duo to gameplan against every week.
• The loaded 49ers: There are so many receiving weapons to choose from in the Niners offense. They have Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk at the receiver positions, George Kittle at tight end and now Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield.
Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
In an era where explosive passing offenses dominate the NFL, a team's receiving corps can make or break its chances of success. So, as teams gear up for another thrilling season, PFF has ranked the NFL's receiving corps from 1 to 32.
The title's wording means it’s not just a wide receiver group — we throw in tight ends and even running backs if they positively affect the passing game. We start with the Cincinnati Bengals, who take the top spot for the second year in a row.
The Bengals were No. 1 on our receiving corps rankings last year and remain the top dog heading into 2023. Over the last two years, this wide receiving corps ranks third in receiving grade (85.8), sixth in receiving touchdowns (70) and third in receiving yards (9,434).
A.J. Brown’s elite play put the Eagles high on this list on his own, but it’s more than just him. DeVonta Smith really took his game to another level in 2022, earning an 80.0-plus receiving grade and putting up over 1,300 yards on the season. And then throw in Dallas Goedert, one of the best receiving tight ends in the league, who has earned a 90.8 receiving grade over the last two seasons, third among his peers behind only Travis Kelce (91.8) and George Kittle (91.3).
I couldn’t put the Dolphins lower than No. 3 due to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle alone, as they form one of the best receiver partnerships in the NFL and could arguably be the league's hardest duo to gameplan against every week.
Those two are a major reason why the Dolphins' wide receiver room earned the highest team receiving grade in the league last year. They lost tight end Mike Gesicki and wide receiver Trent Sherfield this offseason but still have Cedrick Wilson to bolster some depth beyond the top duo.
There are so many receiving weapons to choose from in the Niners offense. They have Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk at the receiver positions, George Kittle at tight end and now Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield. From Week 7 on — when they acquired McCaffrey — the 49ers earned the highest team receiving grade in the league at 87.3.
I mentioned the Bengals having the best receiver trio in the league, but Seattle might not be far behind. D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett combined for 190 catches for 2,256 receiving yards a season ago, with both players grading above 77.0. Now, they’ll add first-round receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who recorded a 92.1 receiving grade and exceeded 1,600 receiving yards as just a true sophomore at Ohio State in 2022.
The Cowboys made a big jump in these rankings when they acquired Brandin Cooks, who might not be the takeover-type receiver he used to be, but he doesn't have to be.
With CeeDee Lamb coming off a great season in 2022, he’ll be the WR1 in that offense. That will likely make Cooks the WR2 and Michael Gallup the WR3. Even with tight end Dalton Schultz gone, that is an excellent group for quarterback Dak Prescott to throw to.
Thank Justin Jefferson for the Vikings ranking in the top 10. Outside of Jefferson, Minnesota has T.J. Hockenson at tight end, a viable option for them. But then it's K.J. Osborn, Jalen Reagor and rookie Jordan Addison.
Justin Jefferson: PFF grade and rank among WRs since 2020
|Season||PFF receiving grade||Rank|
|2022||90.2||4th of 102|
|2021||90.1||3rd of 94|
|2020||90.5||3rd of 101|
Davante Adams has the highest receiving grade in the league over the last three seasons at 94.2, and he is the primary reason why the Raiders slot in here at No. 8. Darren Waller‘s recent departure brings the unit's ceiling down, but Hunter Renfrow is still a very good slot player, and Josh Jacobs has good receiving ability out of the backfield. Throw in tight ends Austin Hooper and Michael Mayer and the signing of Jakobi Meyers, and it’s a very solid group.
As long as Stefon Diggs is on the team, the Bills still have a top-10 receiving unit. Gabe Davis took a step back in production last season, but he can still be a solid deep threat and ranks top-five at the position in deep touchdowns since 2021. I think Khalil Shakir will be just fine in the slot, and they expanded their receiving ability at tight end by drafting Dalton Kincaid, who earned an elite 91.8 receiving grade at Utah last season, to a room that already had Dawson Knox.
Not too long ago, the Buccaneers could’ve made a case for No. 1 on this list. In fact, they were No. 1 back in 2021. But with no Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown — or even Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard or Scotty Miller — both the floor and ceiling of this unit are not as high as they were.
I'll get some pushback for having the Chiefs this high, but I’m fine with that. Over the last three seasons, only one player has earned a higher receiving grade than Travis Kelce’s 93.7, and that player is Davante Adams.
The Chiefs' receiver room beyond Kelce might look unproven, but a healthy Kadarius Toney is a game-changing player, Skyy Moore is poised to take the next step forward and Marquez Valdes-Scantling can be a solid deep threat. Throw in what Jerick McKinnon can give you out of the backfield, and I’m betting on that group.
The Chargers would be higher on this list if you guaranteed to me that we could turn the injury setting off. Keenan Allen is still good but likely not what he used to be athletically, and he missed time last year. Mike Williams has missed time in the last three seasons, as well. Quentin Johnston is promising but a rookie. Gerald Everett had a career year last year, but can that be counted on again? Austin Ekeler definitely raises the receiving talent of this group out of the backfield.
I’m comfortable with the Chargers in the top 15 but not in the top 10.
13. CHICAGO BEARS
Last year, the Bears came in at No. 32 out of 32 on this list. This year, it’s a new-look group.
Since the beginning of last season, they’ve added D.J. Moore and Chase Claypool to run with Darnell Mooney. Cole Kmet is also coming off back-to-back solid seasons. With an increase in Justin Fields’ passing efficiency, this group could thrive.
14. LOS ANGELES RAMS
It was pretty tough to place the Rams on this list. If you replace Cooper Kupp with even an above-average wide receiver, this is probably a bottom-five group in the league. But like the Justin Jefferson effect with Minnesota, Kupp is one year removed from one of the most insanely productive seasons we’ve seen, earning a 93.1 receiving grade with over 2,400 receiving yards on their Super Bowl run.
Kupp does the heavy lifting here, but with him healthy, it’s hard to put this group much lower.
15. BALTIMORE RAVENS
After starting just nine games over the past two seasons, Rashod Bateman is in for a breakout year. Mark Andrews has been up there with Kelce and Kittle with an elite 90.4 receiving grade since 2021. Throw in Zay Flowers and his dynamic after-the-catch ability — he racked up 503 yards after the catch at Boston College last year — and it is a promising group.
The Jaguars made a big turnaround from the Urban Meyer disaster in just one season, winning the division and making the playoffs. They follow that up by getting even better on offense by adding Calvin Ridley to a room that already had Christian Kirk, Evan Engram and Zay Jones. The last time Ridley suited up for a full season (2020), he earned an 84.7 receiving grade and went over 1,300 receiving yards.
17. DENVER BRONCOS
The Broncos are a polarizing team heading into the 2023 season. Given how big of a flop their 2022 season was, it’s understandable to see this team through a more pessimistic lens. But it’s still a talented group.
Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick and Greg Dulcich make for an alluring receiving corps. Jeudy and Sutton have disappointed over the last two seasons, with neither receiver eclipsing a receiving grade of 80.0, but I still believe in the talent of this group and what it will look like with Sean Payton now at the helm.
I was tempted to put the Steelers even higher on this list. Diontae Johnson still earned a receiving grade above 70.0 despite his scoreless season, and George Pickens earned a receiving grade above 70.0 in his rookie year. I think the arrow for both is pointing up.
The Commanders, like the Steelers, are a receiving corps that comes into 2023 with a lot of promise. Terry McLaurin is a stud, and that’s not a debate. But how much help he will get?
I am hopeful Jahan Dotson can be a suitable running mate as the WR2. He recorded four touchdowns in his first four games before missing time due to injury. He then had graded above 75.0 in three of his last four games.
Curtis Samuel has yet to record a receiving grade above 70.0 since signing with the Commanders, but I’m still holding out hope for his best year yet in Washington. Logan Thomas doesn't move the needle much, but Antonio Gibson’s receiving ability out of the backfield does.
20. NEW YORK JETS
Garrett Wilson is a strong start for this exercise, as he earned an impressive 85.9 receiving grade as a rookie. He’ll be joined by newcomers Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman, but the Jets also boast Corey Davis, Denzel Mims and Randall Cobb. Throw in tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, and this feels like one of the deepest groups in the league.
I might be one of the few, but I still believe Michael Thomas has plenty left in the tank to make the Saints' receiving corps a solid one to bet on. Thomas played just three games last year and missed all of 2022 due to injury, as well. But in those three games last season, he caught 16 of his 22 targets for 171 yards and three touchdowns. Chris Olave also had a great rookie season, earning an 82.9 receiving grade, and Rashid Shaheed averaged 17.4 yards per reception.
22. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Amari Cooper is the unquestioned WR1 in Cleveland, but it’s been tough sledding over the last few seasons with not much passing game talent around him. Things do look better this season, as they added Elijah Moore, who recorded a 73.8 receiving grade as the Jets slot receiver in 2021, and Cedric Tillman, who gives them a strong contested catch possession receiver.
23. DETROIT LIONS
Amon-Ra St. Brown took a step into the elite category, earning a 90.4 receiving grade last season. Detroit moved on from T.J. Hockenson via trade in the middle of last year, but they have Marvin Jones Jr., Josh Reynolds and added rookie Sam LaPorta, who is sure to be a decent part of their passing game.
24. ATLANTA FALCONS
London earned a team-high 85.3 receiving grade in 2022, with 866 receiving yards. Pitts didn’t have as many receiving yards as he did the previous season, but he was an even bigger part of the offense, having been targeted on 26.5% of his routes.
Throw in whatever Bijan Robinson will give them in the passing game, and they have some good players, albeit a shallow number of good players.
25. NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants receiving room is deep, but the ceiling feels limited, at least compared to other teams. Isaiah Hodgins came on strong at the end of last season, earning a 74.5 receiving grade from Week 13 on. They also have Darius Slayton, Parris Campbell, Wan'Dale Robinson, Sterling Shepard and the newly-drafted Jalin Hyatt. Daniel Bellinger was a reliable tight end option but wouldn't be categorized as a focal-point player. It’s a deep room that is still searching for its star WR1.
Michael Pittman Jr. headlines a group that is still evolving right now. Pittman went from a 79.9 receiving grade in 2021 to a 70.3 receiving grade in 2022, but it felt like that was the story of the entire Colts offense. Alec Pierce is a good deep threat, and Isaiah McKenzie gives them some speed in the slot. But overall, it’s not one of the most alluring groups in the league.
The Packers could be higher on this list, depending on who you ask. Their biggest problem right now is that this receiving corps is young. Their top two receivers, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, are both in just their second season. From Week 10 on, Watson ranked third among qualifying rookie wideouts in PFF receiving grade (82.0). He also led all rookie receivers in receiving touchdowns (7), explosive plays (13) and yards per route run (2.53).
The Cardinals have it tough right now — they are without Kyler Murray due to injury, and now they are without DeAndre Hopkins. The top of their depth chart features Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch, making up one of the smaller receiver rooms (if not the smallest) in the league. It’s hard to really boast this group, but if you do, it will be on the basis of dynamic after-the-catch ability.
The Patriots moved on from Jakobi Meyers but were able to replace him with JuJu Smith-Schuster. They also have Tyquan Thornton, Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker. We need to take into account Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki, but overall, it’s just not a group that strikes much fear in the eyes of defensive coordinators. Only Parker and Smith-Schuster earned a 70.0-plus receiving grade in 2022.
30. TENNESSEE TITANS
Kyle Phillips and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine are the other two in the mix, but it feels like a passing group without a true identity beyond Burks just being a takeover player — basically hoping he can be A.J. Brown. And that is a tough ask.
You could make a case for the Panthers being ranked last on this list. But I wanted to give some respect to veterans Adam Thielen and Hayden Hurst, who have been added to this group to at least elevate this receiving corps' floor.
Terrace Marshall Jr. could be in for a big season, which would be huge for them. Plus, I have a lot of faith in rookie Jonathan Mingo, especially in the second half of the upcoming season once he gets his feet wet. They also have D.J. Chark to stretch the field for them if they open things up.
It’s one of the least appealing groups on paper, but it might not be as hopeless as many think.
32. HOUSTON TEXANS
The Texans bring up the rear in these rankings with no go-to player in the passing game on their roster. I like Robert Woods as a WR2 or WR3, but not as a WR1. I also like Noah Brown, but not as a WR2. The same can be said for Nico Collins.
John Metchie III could be a good player for Houston, but there is a big unknown with him missing all last season. They did sign tight end Dalton Schultz in free agency, which was a good signing. But his presence raises the floor more than it elevates the ceiling. It’s still very much a rebuilding offense in Houston.