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An Unbiased, Totally Correct Ranking of Every NFL Pass-Catching Group, 2020 Edition

Some teams are deep at receiver, others have loaded up at tight end, and a few rely on their pass-catching back. And then there’s a team like the Jaguars.

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

We’re in the passing era of NFL history, which also means we’re in the receiving era. The football lexicon has not caught up to the times. We still use the term “wide receiver” even though slot receivers don’t line up out wide. Tight ends aren’t “receivers” at all, but many are still their team’s no. 1 option. The running back position now encompasses running backs, receiving backs, and a hybrid of both, but we still pretend that James White and Derrick Henry play the same position. The best term we have to look at players who touch the ball is “skill positions,” but that also doesn’t work since it includes quarterbacks (and playing offensive line requires skill, too). So as we’re looking at the groups of players who catch passes, let’s just call them what they are: pass catchers.

Which team has the best pass catchers in the NFL? To rank the NFL’s best pass-catching squads, we have to establish a few rules.

  1. We are judging on how these groups stack up this year. Teams like Denver and Baltimore would rank higher if we were looking beyond 2020.
  2. We are isolating players from their coaches and quarterbacks. The Packers look exposed without cover from Aaron Rodgers, and the Buccaneers are not being graded on how they fit with Tom Brady.
  3. Every team has their top six pass catchers listed, regardless of position, though the entire depth chart is considered.
  4. Situational playing time matters. James White is not New England’s starting running back, but he plays in passing situations, so he is listed for the Patriots.
  5. Depth is more important for this season than in years past due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and depth was often an important tiebreaker. Star power matters, but less so when a star is alone. Teams like Green Bay, whose entire unit looked awful without Davante Adams last year, are docked points for not having capable replacements.

Without further ado, a completely correct ranking of the NFL’s best pass-catching groups for 2020.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

WR: DJ Chark
WR: Chris Conley
WR: Dede Westbrook
WR: Laviska Shenault Jr.
RB: Leonard Fournette
TE: Tyler Eifert

This group is stuck in transition. Fournette sneakily caught the fifth-most passes among running backs in 2019 (76), but the organization spent the offseason trying to trade him away. Conley and Westbrook are unremarkable players in contract years who will soon be replaced by draft picks Shenault and Collin Johnson, but the rookies likely aren’t ready yet. The team also can’t count on offseason addition Eifert: He was drafted by the Bengals in the first round in 2013, but played just half of Cincinnati’s regular-season games in his time on the team. Chark is the team’s budding star after logging almost 800 yards and eight touchdowns in his first 10 games last year, but there is little for Jaguars fans to be excited about this year beyond him.

31. Washington TBDs

WR: Terry McLaurin
WR: Steven Sims Jr.
WR: Antonio Gandy-Golden
WR: Trey Quinn
RB: Antonio Gibson
TE: Logan Thomas

McLaurin is a legitimate building block, but every other Jenga piece here is balancing on him. Sims may be ready for prime time, but he’d be far better suited as a no. 3 option than no. 2. Gandy-Golden is a rookie but may be forced to contribute earlier than expected. Kelvin Harmon tore his ACL this summer, making this receivers group thinner than Christian Bale in The Machinist. Washington released starter Derrius Guice on Friday after Guice was arrested on domestic violence charges that included assault and battery. Gibson is a rookie who had just 38 catches and 33 carries last year at Memphis. Behind him is the 35-year-old Adrian Peterson, the long-rehabbing Bryce Love, receiving back J.D. McKissic, and the unremarkable Peyton Barber. Washington’s tight end position is in a two-way race with the Patriots for the league’s saddest. The nicest thing to say here is, like the rest of the organization, it will hopefully be better soon.

30. New York Jets

WR: Jamison Crowder
WR: Breshad Perriman
WR: Denzel Mims
RB: Le’Veon Bell
TE: Chris Herndon
TE: Ryan Griffin

These players are unproven when healthy and are rarely healthy. The only guy on this list Jets fans trust on third down is Ryan Griffin, who is currently on the physically unable to perform list. Crowder has the next-best rapport with quarterback Sam Darnold, and could finish as the team’s no. 1 receiver. Perriman is a former first-round flameout with 10 starts in four years, but his relevance was boosted after playing a few games for the Bucs last year (a third of his career receiving yards are from December 2019). Fellow first-round flameout Josh Doctson opted out of the season. Mims is a rookie out of Baylor who is taller and faster than Doctson, but he may not yet have the separation skills necessary to make a difference. Herndon might be a great tight end, but he has barely played due to injuries and suspensions. The Jets’ most accomplished receiver is Bell, but head coach Adam Gase seems intent on playing him less. This group definitely has talent, but first they have to prove they can spend a month together on the field.

NFL: JAN 04 AFC Wild Card - Titans at Patriots
Julian Edelman
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

29. New England Patriots

WR: Julian Edelman
WR: N’Keal Harry
WR: Mohamed Sanu
WR: Jakobi Meyers
RB: James White
TE: Devin Asiasi

The Patriots’ receivers are bad, but their tight ends are worse. Ben Watson retired in March and Matt LaCosse opted out of the season, leaving New England with just Ryan Izzo (a 2018 seventh-rounder with six career catches) and two rookie third-round tight ends to play a position in which rookies almost never make an impact. With perhaps the worst tight end group in football, New England’s receivers—who were awful last year—have an even bigger load on their plate. Edelman just turned 34, Sanu did diddly-squat after a midseason trade, and Harry was invisible as a rookie. Sanu and Harry both dealt with ankle injuries last year, so Patriots fans are praying they are far better at full health. White is one of the best pass-catching backs in football and may once again have to fill as a top third-down option. Cam Newton is the new QB in town, but for him it’s the same old story: He’ll be playing with one of the league’s least impressive pass-catching groups.

28. Las Vegas Raiders

WR: Tyrell Williams
WR: Henry Ruggs III
WR: Bryan Edwards
WR: Hunter Renfrow
RB: Josh Jacobs
TE: Darren Waller

The Chiefs are the NFL’s fastest team, but the Raiders see speed as their birthright. In April they drafted Ruggs, who has 4.27 40-yard dash speed and took a quarter of his catches to the end zone in college. “He was the only person I wanted in this draft,” Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN this month. The team will put Ruggs in the slot with fellow fast guy Williams outside. Tight end Darren Waller led the Raiders in catches and yards last year and is the clearance rack Travis Kelce in this analogy. But quarterback Derek Carr has not been a prolific deep-ball passer the past few seasons, so it’s an open question how effective he’ll be at reaching these speedy receivers.

27. Green Bay Packers

WR: Davante Adams
WR: Allen Lazard
WR: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
WR: Jake Kumerow
RB: Aaron Jones
TE: Jace Sternberger

This garage has one Lamborghini Murcielago and five 1997 Pontiac Sunfires. Adams is a top-five NFL receiver, but the rest of these receivers may not crack the top five for a dozen NFL teams. The best of the rest is Lazard, a third-year undrafted free agent out of Iowa State who seems to have earned Rodgers’s trust on third down. But Valdes-Scantling dealt with injuries in 2019 and was disappointing when healthy, Kumerow has 20 career catches at 28 years old, and Sternberger is a promising talent who has yet to log a regular-season reception. Fifth receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was billed as football’s Lonzo Ball, but he seems to be football’s LiAngelo Ball. Free-agent signing Devin Funchess, the only change to this group from last year, opted out of the season. Jones may play less after Green Bay inexplicably drafted Boston College running back AJ Dillon—who is a terrible receiver—in the second round instead of the better receivers still available. Look for Adams to lead the league in targets this year.

26. Tennessee Titans

WR: A.J. Brown
WR: Corey Davis
WR: Adam Humphries
WR: Kalif Raymond
RB: Derrick Henry
TE: Jonnu Smith

Like real life, Brown is doing some heavy lifting here. He was revelatory as a rookie, leading all receivers in yards per route run and yards after the catch per reception (nine) after Week 7. Not bad for the guy everyone knew as “the dude next to D.K. Metcalf in that shirtless photo.”

There is not much here beyond Brown. Henry is a bulldozer out of the backfield, but has averaged fewer than one catch per game in his career. Davis, the no. 5 pick in 2017, has fewer 100-yard games in his career than Brown had in December, though he is the rare receiver that is happy to block. In fact, “happy to block” describes most of Tennessee’s guys.

25. Miami Dolphins

WR: DeVante Parker
WR: Preston Williams
WR: Jakeem Grant
WR: Isaiah Ford
RB: Matt Breida
TE: Mike Gesicki

It took five years, but DeVante Parker finally looked like a bona fide no. 1 receiver in 2019. The former first-rounder quietly had 802 receiving yards in the second half of the season, second only to New Orleans’s Michael Thomas. Behind Parker is Williams, who was one of the most impressive rookie wide receivers last season before tearing his ACL in Week 9. Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns each opted out of the season, leaving a big opportunity for Grant and Ford to start. Gesicki is an impressive athlete and tries to show it with at least one hurdle attempt per game. Like the Dolphins, this group is better than you think, though the bar is low (maybe that’s why Gesicki always tries to leap over it).

24. Minnesota Vikings

WR: Adam Thielen
WR: Justin Jefferson
WR: Tajae Sharpe
RB: Dalvin Cook
TE: Kyle Rudolpoh
TE: Irv Smith Jr.

Minnesota traded Stefon Diggs to Buffalo and drafted LSU rookie Justin Jefferson to replace him. This transition may not be a smooth process. Jefferson ran four out of five routes from the slot in his final year of college, but that is where Thielen is most efficient, so someone will be forced to play outside—and out of their preferred element—in 2020. Thielen is the team’s no. 1 option but turns 30 in August and dealt with a hamstring injury last year. For the fourth year in a row, the Vikings don’t have a good option for their third receiver, so they may opt for formations with two receivers (Thielen and Jefferson) and two tight ends (Rudolph and Smith) plus Cook at running back. Rudolph is the veteran tight end, but Smith is an athletic 2019 second-rounder who played at Alabama and could be this group’s breakout star.

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
George Kittle
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

23. San Francisco 49ers

WR: Deebo Samuel
WR: Kendrick Bourne
WR: Brandon Aiyuk
RB: Tevin Coleman
FB: Kyle Juszczyk
TE: George Kittle

Kittle is the best all-around tight end in football, but everyone behind him is a mystery for 2020. Emmanuel Sanders left in free agency, and Deebo Samuel broke his foot this offseason and may not be ready for Week 1. Rookie first-rounder Brandon Aiyuk and 2019 third-rounder Jalen Hurd, both former running backs, figure to fill in if Samuel can’t play, but neither has played an NFL snap. San Francisco’s other options are flawed. Dante Pettis lost head coach Kyle Shanahan’s trust last year, Trent Taylor missed the entire 2019 season, and newly signed tight end Jordan Reed has seven documented concussions. Kendrick Bourne is a third-down machine, but may not be suited for a larger role. Kittle never wants to go down, but the 49ers need a few players behind him to stand up. Perhaps they’ll turn to their highly paid, Harvard-educated fullback.

22. Chicago Bears

WR: Allen Robinson
WR: Anthony Miller
WR: Ted Ginn Jr.
WR: Riley Ridley
RB: Tarik Cohen
TE: Jimmy Graham/Cole Kmet/Demetrius Harris/Jesper Horsted

Robinson has caught passes from Blake Bortles and Mitchell Trubisky thus far in his career, so Nick Foles would be the best quarterback Robinson has ever played with. It’s a shame, because Robinson might be one of the best wideouts in football, though we’ve yet to see what he can really do. Miller as the team’s no. 2 option is solid, but 35-year-old Ginn as the team’s no. 3 option is not. Chicago has accrued a cavalcade of unremarkable tight ends. The team inexplicably threw $9 million guaranteed at Jimmy Graham (who looked done two years ago), drafted Cole Kmet in the first round, and still might not get much production from the tight end position this year. Some teams are top-heavy with talent, but Graham and Ginn are more like anchors.

21. Indianapolis Colts

WR: T.Y. Hilton
WR: Parris Campbell
WR: Zach Pascal
WR: Michael Pittman Jr.
RB: Jonathan Taylor
TE: Jack Doyle

This team has players exiting or entering their prime but not many players in the middle of it. Hilton tore his calf last year and is already dealing with a hamstring issue this year. Campbell, the speedy 2019 second-rounder from Ohio State, may play more in the slot in 2020 but has not shown much NFL-level route-running ability. Pittman, the second-rounder out of USC, is a jump-ball, contested-catch receiver who may have trouble adapting to the NFL. Pascal does not have Campbell’s or Pittman’s pedigree, but he secretly may be the team’s best option if Hilton misses time. The Colts drafted Wisconsin star running back Taylor in the second round, but their pass-catching specialist Nyheim Hines could play the Darren Sproles–Danny Woodhead role that Philip Rivers leaned on for years in Los Angeles.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers

WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster
WR: Diontae Johnson
WR: James Washington
WR: Chase Claypool
RB: James Conner
TE: Eric Ebron

We expected to learn last year if the Steelers could replace Antonio Brown, but we learned instead how bad Pittsburgh’s backup quarterbacks were. Ben Roethlisberger went on injured reserve after Week 2, and the Steelers’ 2019 offense was so putrid that it’s tough to tell what position was the source of the smell. There is no denying this group has tremendous potential. JuJu is one of six players to have 900 yards receiving yards in a season at 21 years old. James Washington looked like a first-round bust after just 447 yards and one touchdown in his first 21 games, but he had 505 yards and three scores in his past eight. Johnson is a trendy sleeper pick after leading all receivers in average separation, per Next Gen stats. Add in Claypool and that’s four exciting players under 25. But now that Roethlisberger is back, it’s time to produce.

19. Houston Texans

WR: Brandin Cooks
WR: Will Fuller V
WR: Randall Cobb
WR: Kenny Stills
RB: David Johnson
TE: Darren Fells

This is not the place to judge the Texans for trading DeAndre Hopkins (we did that here and here and here and here and here). Right now we’re just looking at Houston’s pass catchers, and perhaps the most underrated difference is that Hopkins was durable but his replacements are not. In theory, Fuller and Cooks figure to be an elite deep combo, with both in the top-10 wide receivers by yards per target in the past three seasons. Watson threw deep (20-plus yards) at the fifth-highest rate and had the top adjusted completion percentage, according to PFF. But Cooks is on his fourth team in six years and has five diagnosed concussions in his pro career. Fuller is considered a game-changing player who can’t stay healthy, and he could alter or affirm that reputation this season with Hopkins gone. Cobb got paid a lot of guaranteed money after being meh in one season in Dallas. David Johnson and Duke Johnson are probably the best pass-catching backfield in the NFL, though the Texans paid far too much to acquire both. These guys could all be great this year, but they each come with the caveat of “if they stay healthy.”

Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v Baltimore Ravens
Marquise Brown
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

18. Baltimore Ravens

WR: Marquise Brown
WR: Miles Boykin
WR: Willie Snead IV
WR: Devin Duvernay
RB: Mark Ingram
TE: Mark Andrews

Baltimore’s been there and done that with tight ends. The Ravens targeted tight ends on 42 percent of their passes last year, the most in the Football Outsiders database, which dates back to 1985. Tight end Mark Andrews led the team in receiving targets, yards, and touchdowns last year and is still this squad’s no. 1 option. But this year, it’s about receivers. None of Baltimore’s receivers are proven—they ranked last in the NFL with 88.7 yards per game last season—but all of them are fast, and the Ravens want Lamar Jackson to make more deep passes in 2020. Marquise Brown was the first receiver drafted in 2019 (his speed and size combination has been compared to DeSean Jackson) and he had seven touchdowns as a rookie while dealing with a foot injury. Miles Boykin had just 13 catches as a rookie but his speed score (4.4 40-yard dash at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds) ranks in the 98th percentile among receivers. Brown, Boykin, and Andrews are all just 23 years old, so this group’s ranking would be much higher if we were looking beyond 2020.

17. Denver Broncos

WR: Courtland Sutton
WR: Jerry Jeudy
WR: KJ Hamler
WR: DaeSean Hamilton
RB: Melvin Gordon
TE: Noah Fant

The Broncos have invested in youth. In the past few years the team spent first-round picks on Jeudy and Fant, second-round picks on Sutton and Hamler, and signed Gordon in free agency. Denver relied on Sutton as much as any team outside of the Saints relied on their no. 1 last year. Jeudy may become a special player and has the most advanced route running of any rookie receiver this year. Hamler is a small but jittery player who could become a big contributor, and Fant’s rookie stat line resembles fellow Iowa Hawkeye George Kittle’s rookie year. This team is loaded with potential, but potential means they haven’t done anything yet.

16. Cincinnati Bengals

WR: A.J. Green
WR: Tyler Boyd
WR: Tee Higgins
WR: John Ross
RB: Joe Mixon
TE: C.J. Uzomah

Much of this ranking depends on what we can expect from A.J. Green, who turns 32 in July and has missed 29 of 64 Bengals games (45 percent) in the past four years including missing the entire 2019 season. Tyler Boyd is quietly one of 11 pass catchers with 1,000 yards and five touchdowns in each of the past two seasons, and he could have a career year catching passes from Joe Burrow if Green misses any time. With the first pick of the second round in April, Cincy drafted Tee Higgins—whose favorite NFL player growing up was Green. Now Higgins could replace Green, but first he’ll nudge former first-round speedster Ross down the depth chart. Between injuries and upside, this group has a lot of variance.

15. Seattle Seahawks

WR: Tyler Lockett
WR: D.K. Metcalf
WR: David Moore
WR: Phillip Dorsett
RB: Chris Carson
TE: Greg Olsen

Lockett and Russell Wilson have the best connection in football. This play gets better with age.

Lockett is an underrated football talent, and Metcalf looks like one of the better no. 2 receivers in football already. His speed, not his size, has made him a standout contributor, and he dominated the Eagles in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Moore has flashed potential, but Dorsett has disappointed everywhere he’s gone and Olsen may not have much left (when someone has already signed a post-retirement broadcast deal after multiple foot injuries, don’t count on them contributing). Lockett and Metcalf are great, but Wilson makes this group look better than it is.

14. Detroit Lions

WR: Kenny Golladay
WR: Marvin Jones Jr.
WR: Danny Amendola
WR: Marvin Hall
RB: D’Andre Swift
TE: T.J. Hockenson

Detroit has the most underrated receiving duo in football. Golladay is affectionately known as Babytron, and Marvin Jones Jr. is affectionately known as the only NFL receiver to argue with Darren Rovell over the value of franchise Bundt cake stores.

Golladay and Jones are excellent, but the group gets thinner after them. Amendola and Hall are serviceable third and fourth options, but Amendola is 34 and offseason signing Geronimo Allison opted out of the season. Hall was ridiculously productive in limited work in 2019 with 261 yards on just seven catches. Tight end Hockenson is a second-year breakout candidate after being drafted no. 8 last year.

13. Carolina Panthers

WR: D.J. Moore
WR: Curtis Samuel
WR: Robby Anderson
WR: Seth Roberts
RB: Christian McCaffrey
TE: Ian Thomas

McCaffrey was the third running back to have 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season, and in the past two years he is second in catches to only New Orleans’s Michael Thomas. D.J. Moore may be the next breakout star receiver after gaining 1,175 yards last year at just 22 years old. Samuel has 4.3 speed and has improved his catches, yards, and touchdowns every season. Anderson, the former no. 1 option on the Jets, is overqualified as Carolina’s speedy third or fourth option. Thomas is a top-notch athlete who now is atop the depth chart with Greg Olsen gone. This group has a lot of potential, though they may not put it all together with a new coaching staff and quarterback in a shortened offseason.

12. New York Giants

WR: Sterling Shepard
WR: Golden Tate
WR: Darius Slayton
WR: Corey Coleman
RB: Saquon Barkley
TE: Evan Engram

Tate, Shepard, Slayton, Barkley, and Engram did not log a single snap together last year, but if this group can stay healthy, it might be one of the better ones in football. The Giants have the fastest group in the NFL by 40-yard dash time for three receivers, one tight end, and one running back (though admittedly that’s cheating since Tate ran the 40-yard dash back in 2010). Still, this is a deceptively fast team that hasn’t been able to show it due to injury issues, especially with Engram and Shepard. Barkley is among the best and most famous players in football and is expected to be fully healthy this season, but Slayton was the breakout star of the season as a fifth-rounder from Auburn who stepped up when New York’s top three receivers were injured last August. This group is the strength of a Giants offense that’s relying on Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett for a rebound season.

11. Atlanta Falcons

WR: Julio Jones
WR: Calvin Ridley
WR: Russell Gage
WR: Laquon Treadwell
RB: Todd Gurley
TE: Hayden Hurst

This one gets thin fast. Julio Jones is among the league’s best receivers on the field and the NFL’s most respected players in the locker room, and Ridley may emerge as one of the NFL’s top no. 2 receivers behind him this year. Offseason acquisition Hurst, a former college baseball player turned Aflac trivia question (who did Baltimore draft seven picks before Lamar Jackson?), finally gets to start this year. After those three, this team has little proven sources of receiving production. Gurley will have to show he can catch passes in Atlanta’s offense after Sean McVay designed a system around him in Los Angeles.

10. Arizona Cardinals

WR: DeAndre Hopkins
WR: Christian Kirk
WR: Larry Fitzgerald
WR: Andy Isabella
RB: Kenyan Drake
TE: Maxx Williams

Arizona stole Hopkins from Houston, and now Kyler Murray gets one of the NFL’s best receivers and one of the NFL’s best chess players.

Fitzgerald is the second-leading receiver of all time but should be relegated to third in this offense behind Hopkins and Kirk. Kirk didn’t make the impression many expected last year, but the 2018 second-rounder is poised for a breakout in Year 3. The speedy Isabella is now under less pressure in Year 2 as the team’s fourth option. Running back Kenyan Drake will be the oft-targeted man in the backfield, but this group will likely deploy the four-man wide receiver groups that head coach Kliff Kingsbury used often in the first two months of 2019. This group is worthy of Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense.

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills
John Brown
Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

9. Buffalo Bills

WR: Stefon Diggs
WR: John Brown
WR: Cole Beasley
RB: Devin Singletary
TE: Dawson Knox

Buffalo trading for Diggs to pair with Brown gives them two of the league’s best deep threats. Theoretically that dovetails with quarterback Josh Allen’s big arm, but Allen was one of the least accurate deep passers last year, with the no. 32 deep catchable rate per PFF. Beasley has the right skill set to be working underneath Diggs’s and Brown’s speed. Knox had 28 catches and nine drops last year, which is awful, but he could be good if he hangs onto the ball. Singletary will pair with rookie Zack Moss, but Singletary is the superior pass-catching back and should get more than the 29 targets he saw in 12 games last year.

8. Los Angeles Chargers

WR: Keenan Allen
WR: Mike Williams
WR: Joe Reed
WR: K.J. Hill
RB: Austin Ekeler
TE: Hunter Henry

Allen is one of the league’s sharpest route runners, and the 28-year-old has not missed a game since 2016. His game will work well with new quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert, but Mike Williams’s game may not, but it’s not his fault. He is a downfield and jump-ball extraordinaire who thrives on risky passes from Philip Rivers, but Taylor has been among the league’s most risk-averse QB when he’s started. The Chargers are thin for their third receiver spot, with fifth-round rookie Reed out of UVA and seventh-rounder K.J. Hill possibly vying for playing time. Henry is one of the NFL’s most talented tight ends, but he is also in a contract year and may not be re-signed if he can’t stay healthy. Ekeler emerged as one of the NFL’s best receiving backs, and his new quarterbacks may lean on him early and often. This group is top-heavy, but the bottom is full of question marks.

7. Los Angeles Rams

WR: Robert Woods
WR: Cooper Kupp
WR: Josh Reynolds
WR: Van Jefferson
TE: Tyler Higbee
TE: Gerald Everett

“I love Robert Woods. I think he’s arguably the best receiver in football when you consider everything he does,” Troy Aikman said on Fox to the surprise of everyone in America in January 2019. Woods may not be the best, but he is certainly the most underrated. Brandin Cooks was traded to Houston and replaced by rookie Jefferson, but Woods may eat Cooks’s share of the offense. Kupp was third in receiving yards among all players in the first half of last season, and tight end Tyler Higbee led all NFL players in receiving yards in December. L.A.’s biggest question here is who plays running back with Todd Gurley gone, and Cam Akers seems like the top candidate, but the Rams targeted running backs less than any other team last year. That’s just more targets for Bobby Trees.

6. Philadelphia Eagles

WR: DeSean Jackson
WR: Alshon Jeffery
WR: Jalen Reagor
RB: Miles Sanders
TE: Zach Ertz
TE: Dallas Goedert

The Eagles had absurdly bad injury luck last year that led to them plumbing the depths of the AAF, but in theory this squad is deep. Ertz is the team’s no. 1 catcher, and Goedert pairs with him for the best tight end pair in football. Alshon Jeffery is hurt again, but they have a healthy DeSean Jackson, who played only three games last year, plus rookie first-rounder Jalen Reagor. (Marquise Goodwin, whom the team traded for during the draft, has opted out of the season.) Sanders and Boston Scott figure to be an excellent pass-catching duo out of the backfield. Carson Wentz probably won’t pass to any former XFL players this year.

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers
Michael Thomas
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

5. New Orleans Saints

WR: Michael Thomas
WR: Emmanuel Sanders
WR: Tre’Quan Smith
RB: Alvin Kamara
TE: Jared Cook
RB/WR/QB/TE/Whatchamacallit: Taysom Hill

Thomas is the best receiver in the NFL and has a capable no. 2 receiver behind him for the first time in three years. Sanders is 33 but was surprisingly solid last year coming off of an Achilles injury and playing 17 regular-season games (a midseason trade cost him his bye week). Kamara is among the best players in open space in football and Cook is fast enough to turn one broken tackle into a touchdown. Smith and receiver Deonte Harris are both devastating speed options downfield. Hill is positionless, but he makes it tough for the defense to decide how they will approach him on each play. (Do you treat him as a QB, a tight end, or a fullback?) Whichever option the defense chooses creates a huge matchup advantage whenever he’s on the field. This group is unlike any other in pro football.

4. Cleveland Browns

WR: Odell Beckham Jr.
WR: Jarvis Landry
RB: Nick Chubb
RB: Kareem Hunt
TE: Austin Hooper
TE: David Njoku

Like Noah’s Ark, everything on this offense comes in twos. Receiver is the obvious star-studded spot with the LSU pair of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Beckham had a down year in 2019 but played through a sports hernia that was mishandled by the team’s medical staff, according to Baker Mayfield (who revealed that in a press conference). Beckham is healthy, but Landry had hip surgery this offseason, though he’s expected to return in mid-August. At tight end, the Browns signed Austin Hooper in free agency after a career year in Atlanta. Hooper will pair with former first-rounder David Njoku in more two-tight-end sets after Njoku rescinded his trade demand. The best position combo of all is at running back, where Nick Chubb nearly won the rushing title in 2019 and Kareem Hunt won the rushing title in 2017. Hunt is the superior receiver out of the backfield, but both are among the most elusive players in the NFL.

3. Dallas Cowboys

WR: Amari Cooper
WR: Michael Gallup
WR: CeeDee Lamb
WR: Devin Smith
RB: Ezekiel Elliott
TE: Blake Jarwin

For years, Dallas’s receiving corp has been a joke. Now it’s one of the NFL’s best. The trade to bring Amari Cooper to Dallas reinvigorated his career in 2018, though he had a down 2019 while battling foot and knee injuries. Michael Gallup emerged as one of the league’s best no. 2 receivers (and best-named receivers) last year, giving the Cowboys a one-two option the team has lacked for years. But Dallas was able to snag star CeeDee Lamb in the 17th pick of the first round this year, and the team now has one of the best top threes at the position in football. Elliott is better at catching passes than his career numbers suggest, and Smith is a more than serviceable fourth receiver. Whether Blake Jarwin can step up at tight end is a less pressing question with Lamb on the team now, but this group is the best one Dallas has had in years.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

WR: Mike Evans
WR: Chris Godwin
WR: Scott Miller
RB: Ronald Jones II
TE: Rob Gronkowski
TE: O.J. Howard

This group was ridiculous last year, and then the team added Rob Gronkowski. Receiver Chris Godwin was a unanimous preseason hype candidate who somehow surpassed expectations and ranked second in receiving yards per game (95). Teammate Mike Evans ranked fourth (89). Together, Evans and Godwin are the best receiving duo in football. The group gets thin fast, however, with Scott Miller and Justin Watson catching just 29 passes combined in their careers. But the lack of depth at receiver is balanced by the league’s deepest tight end group. Gronkowski came over in a trade with the Patriots after unretiring, and he has the most receiving touchdowns since entering the league in 2010 (79) despite sitting out the 2019 season. Behind him is the gifted but sparingly used O.J. Howard, who is now the most overqualified second tight end in the sport. As if that isn’t enough, Tampa’s third option is Cameron Brate, who has been one of the best red zone tight end scoring options after Gronkowski. This is the best group of pass catchers Tom Brady has had in years, and if Gronk’s CBD oil brings back his old self, this group could take over the no. 1 spot.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

WR: Tyreek Hill
WR: Sammy Watkins
WR: Mecole Hardman
WR: Demarcus Robinson
RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire
TE: Travis Kelce

Who other than the Legion of Zoom could top this list?

Travis Kelce is the NFL’s best pass-catching tight end. Hill may not have the NFL’s fastest 40-yard dash time, but he clearly looks like the league’s fastest player on the field, and Hardman is also in the top five. Their speed tilts defenses and perfectly complements Kelce. Watkins, a former top 10 draft pick, is the team’s overqualified third option and just made a crucial play to win the Super Bowl. Running back Damien Williams opted out of the season, but rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the last pick of the first round, is the perfect addition to the offense as a receiving back and detailed route runner who excels in open space and has the balance to stay on his feet after contact. Football has morphed into a game in which every inch of the field must be defended, and this group of pass catchers makes that harder than any other.

An earlier version of this piece mistakenly included tight end Rico Gathers on the Cowboys roster.