NFL News & Analysis

PFF Rankings: The highest-graded pass-catchers through Week 3 of the 2019 NFL preseason

The NFL is stacked with elite receiving weapons right now, which makes it all the more difficult for the under-the-radar plays to make a name for themselves during the preseason. The players below, however, have stood out so far; some have played their way onto their team's roster, others have almost certainly secured a spot on a practice squad, and others who were always going to make the team will now enter the regular season full of confidence after dominating in August. Here are our top-15 highest-graded pass-catchers (who have played a minimum of 50 snaps) so far this preseason. 

[Editor's Note: All of PFF's player grades and advanced statistics are finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers before 5 pm ET on the Monday following each weekend's slate of games during the season. Sign up today to gain access!]

1. WR Richie James Jr., San Francisco 49ers — 89.8

James has caught all 11 catchable passes thrown his way this preseason, with 5.8 of his 10.1 yards per reception average coming after the catch. Six of his catches have gone for a first down or touchdown, and he has forced one missed tackle after the catch.

2. TE Tanner Hudson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — 88.6

The league-leader in receptions this August, Hudson has been a man possessed for the Buccaneers this preseason. He has forced two missed tackles on 17 receptions, with 11 of his grabs going for a first down or touchdown.

3. WR James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers — 88.1

After a rookie campaign that saw him struggle, James Washington is making it difficult for the Steelers to keep him off the field in 2019. He has picked up 146 yards on four receptions on throws of 20-plus yards downfield, both numbers that lead the NFL this August.

4. WR Nsimba Webster, Los Angeles Rams — 86.5

As an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Washington, Webster has caught all 11 passes thrown his way this preseason for 112 yards. Altogether, 5.0 of his 10.2 yards per reception have come after the catch, and his three forced missed tackles are tied for the lead among all pass-catchers.

5. WR Jaleel Scott, Baltimore Ravens — 84.4

Scott spent his rookie season on IR, but he has done his part to make Baltimore's roster this preseason, pulling in all five catchable passes thrown his way. Four of those five have gone for a first down or touchdown, and he has shown his ability to make big plays with one reception from a pass thrown over 20 air yards downfield.

6. TE Tyler Conklin, Minnesota Vikings — 83.0

In his second year after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Tyler Conklin's 3.40 yards per route run leads all tight ends who have seen six or more targets. Not only does it lead tight ends, but it also ranks seventh among all receivers.

7. WR Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons — 81.4

A sixth-round draft pick out of LSU in 2018, four of Gage’s five receptions this preseason have gone for a first down. He has averaged 13.0 yards per catch and forced two missed tackles on those five grabs, increasing his chances of making the team.

8. WR Kalif Raymond, Tennessee Titans — 80.9

Raymond is tied for third among all wide receivers and tight ends with 12 receptions so far this preseason. His 2.89 yards per route run ranks 20th among all wide receivers and tight ends who have seen at least 20 targets in August.

9. WR Olabisi Johnson, Minnesota Vikings — 80.8

All five of Johnson’s receptions have gone for a first down or touchdown, with the seventh-round draft pick out of Colorado State averaging 17.4 yards per reception with zero drops so far. He has forced two missed tackles and averaged 8.2 yards after the catch per reception.

10. Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots — 79.8

No player in the NFL has more receptions than Meyers through the opening weeks of preseason, and his 13 receptions for a first down or touchdown also lead the NFL. With just one drop from 20 catchable passes, he has showcased a safe pair of hands that the Patriots will almost certainly want to take into the regular season.

10. WR Keelan Doss, Oakland Raiders — 79.8

An undrafted free agent out of UC Davis, Doss' strong preseason has made it difficult for the Raiders to leave him off the final roster. Seven of his 11 grabs have resulted in a first down or touchdown, and he has yet to drop a pass.

12. WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles — 79.4

The Eagles' second-round draft pick had a slow start to the preseason, with just two receptions in each of his first two games. And while he had opportunities on deep passes, slight overthrows in the first two weeks kept him away from making big plays. That changed against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3 though, with Arcega-Whiteside pulling in 104 yards from 26 routes run, giving him an average of 4.00 yards per route run in the game.

13. WR Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers — 77.9

Lazard caught just one pass in the regular season after going undrafted out of Iowa State in 2018, but he is making an impact this preseason. He dropped one of the six catchable passes thrown his way in the preseason a year ago but has yet to drop one on the same number this preseason, with all six receptions going for a first down or touchdown.

14. WR T.J. Jones, New York Giants — 77.8

Jones is enjoying his best preseason since arriving in the NFL after an impressive opening two games against the New York Jets and Chicago Bears. Over that two-game stretch, he averaged 3.47 yards per route run, picking up 104 yards on 30 pass patterns.

15. WR Deon Cain, Indianapolis Colts — 75.6

In his second season since being drafted in the sixth round, the Clemson product is coming off his best game of the preseason with a big performance against the Chicago Bears. Picking up 74 yards on 14 routes run, his average of 5.29 yards per route run ranked third among all wide receivers and tight ends this past week.

Read more about the outstanding performers through three weeks of the preseason: Grading all 32 first-round picksTop-15 pass-rushersTop-15 rookie quarterbacksTop-15 pass-catchersTop-15 offensive linemenTop-15 defensive backsTop-25 rookies

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