In today’s pass-happy NFL, narrowing this group to the top 10 was quite a challenge.
Just last year, a whopping 22 players amassed at least 1,000 receiving yards, with all of them being wideouts save for Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. To make this list, there needs to be a combination of track record and likely future success.
With a plethora of young receivers pushing to see inclusion on this list in the near future, including second-year men Chris Olave of the Saints and the Jets’ Garrett Wilson, it was a competitive group. But for now, here are our top 10 receivers heading into the 2023 season.
10CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
Since being a first-round pick in 2020, Lamb has established himself as one of the game’s best. The former Oklahoma star has posted consecutive 1,000-yard seasons while totaling 15 touchdowns over that span.
As a two-time Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro, Lamb gives the Cowboys an elite deep threat who also runs a quality route tree. The 24-year-old is just entering his prime and is hoping for a career year as he waits for an extension from Dallas.
9Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders
Has anybody done more with less over the past four years than McLaurin? In Washington, the 27-year-old has mostly caught passes from Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke and Dwayne Haskins. Still, he’s posted three straight 1,000-yard seasons, earning his first Pro Bowl berth last year.
Now with Sam Howell, McLaurin may once again have to elevate his quarterback while drawing every defensive coordinator’s toughest assignment. If the first four seasons of his career are an indication, he shouldn’t have any issues.
8Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
After leading the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and receiving touchdowns (16) in the Rams’ championship season of 2021, Kupp was expected to do big things last year. Unfortunately, injuries limited him to only nine games.
Now healthy once more, the Rams need Kupp to be at his All-Pro best if Los Angeles is going to contend for a playoff spot. While he’s had only a single 1,000-yard season, few receivers are better route-runners, or a tougher cover, than Kupp.
7Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
Waddle is the only receiver on this list who benefits from being the second target on his team, which means almost never drawing double coverage. The Dolphins star dominated last year with Tyreek Hill opposite him, catching 75 passes for 1,356 yards and eight touchdowns.
Entering his third season, Waddle’s numbers could continue to increase if quarterback Tua Tagovailoa can avoid the injury bug. A former first-round pick out of Alabama, Waddle led the league last season with 18.1 yards per reception.
6A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
After posting two 1,000-yard campaigns in three years with the run-heavy Titans, Brown was traded to the Eagles and became one of the league’s best. In 2022, Brown went for 88 catches, 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns to earn second-team All-Pro honors.
One of the NFL’s premier deep threats, Brown combines elite size, at 6'1" and 226 pounds, with 4.49 speed. Paired with quarterback Jalen Hurts and fellow wideout DeVonta Smith, Brown has the perfect setup in Philadelphia.
5Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Few players at any position have been more dominant than Diggs over the past five seasons. Spending his first two with the Vikings before being traded to the Bills, Diggs has totaled five straight 1,000-yard seasons while making three Pro Bowl trips and earning All-Pro honors twice.
Last year, Diggs caught 108 passes for 1,429 yards and 11 touchdowns in Buffalo, despite not having a consistent threat on the other side to draw coverage. He’s the total package for a wideout: one that’s able to stretch the field while also serving as a dominant third-down talent.
4Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals
There’s a legitimate chance that Chase eventually goes down as the best receiver to ever play in Cincinnati. Through two seasons, he’s been quarterback Joe Burrow’s favorite target, totaling 2,501 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Already a two-time Pro Bowler, Chase is among the league’s best at high-pointing the ball while also showcasing elusiveness in the open field. At 6'1" and 200 pounds, Chase has good size but plays bigger, giving Burrow a deep target even in tight or double coverage.
3Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders
It’s hard to find a more consistently dominant receiver than Adams. After leaving Green Bay in a trade last offseason, many expected his numbers to dip going from Aaron Rodgers to Derek Carr. Instead, Adams authored another All-Pro season, totaling 100 catches, 1,516 yards and a league-high 14 receiving touchdowns.
Even without elite quarterback play, Adams ranked third with 24 receptions of 20+ yards and 10th in yards per catch with 15.2. This year, Adams will have another new signal-caller to work with, this time in Jimmy Garoppolo.
2Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins
Hill absolutely has a case to be atop this list. After being dealt from the Chiefs to the Dolphins last winter, the former fifth-round pick posted his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl season while earning first-team All-Pro honors for the fourth time.
In his first season with Miami, Hill caught 119 passes for 1,710 yards and seven touchdowns, while finishing second in the NFL with 25 catches of 20+ yards. Though many try, there’s nobody more terrifying to defenders than Hill with the ball in his hands.
1Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
Jefferson is the best at his craft. Only three seasons into his career, Jefferson has never failed to make both the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro team in each. Last year, the LSU product caught 128 passes for 1,809 yards, leading the NFL in both categories while being named the Offensive Player of the Year.
When Jefferson eventually signs his extension, it would be stunning if the contract isn’t the largest in league history at his position. Jefferson is a good bet to shatter a few records during his career and, perhaps, become the first receiver to crack the 2,000-yard barrier in a single season.