NFL Analysis


7 min read

Building The Perfect NFL WR Entering 2024

The NFL is in a great spot with its wide receiver talent. Given all of the young studs (Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Ja'Marr Chase, etc.) and the older players who are still thriving (Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, etc.), you can make a case that this is the best era for wide receivers in a long time.

So, if we built the perfect receiver in the NFL going into the 2024 season, what would that look like? Which attributes from the top pass catchers would be selected? For the purposes of this article, a player can only be used once. That means that Tyreek Hill can’t be used for both his speed and quickness.

Without further ado, here is what our ideal receiver looks like entering the upcoming season:

Size: DK Metcalf, Seahawks

The days of the “big” wide receivers entering the NFL are almost over. It’s rare to see receivers over 6-foot-2 and over 220 pounds enter the league, but that’s what we have with DK Metcalf. Standing at nearly 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Metcalf has the prototype body for a No. 1 receiver. The picture of Metcalf and A.J. Brown standing next to each other before the 2019 NFL Draft will also be legendary.

There are receivers who are taller and heavier than Metcalf, but none have a better physique. Metcalf looks like a Greek god and can use his size and power to bully smaller defenders. He might have the best physique in the NFL, and choosing him for this spot was an easy one.

Speed: Xavier Worthy, Chiefs

Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle both received consideration here, but when you break the NFL Combine record for the 40-yard dash (4.21), Xavier Worthy is the obvious choice. Worthy is fast on a track, but it also shows up on the football field.

During his time at Texas, he routinely outran the fastest defensive backs in the Big 12 and made them look silly. Now that he is paired with Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid, we will be able to see that speed used on a weekly basis in Kansas City.

Agility: Tyreek Hill, Dolphins

Hill’s incredible speed makes him dangerous, but it’s agility that actually sets him apart from the other top receivers. His ability to get in and out of breaks is unreal, and no one has better acceleration than Hill. It's why most of his best plays in the NFL aren't just deep receptions but instead, short receptions that end up going the distance. Once he is in space with the football, there are few players in NFL history that have been more dangerous.

He moves differently than any other receiver in the league, and that’s why he is so much more than just a “speed” receiver. His change of direction skills might be the best ever in NFL history, so he was an easy selection for this spot.

After The Catch: Deebo Samuel, 49ers

There are some really good receivers in the NFL who make plays after the catch. CeeDee Lamb and Amon-Ra St. Brown both racked up over 650 yards after the catch last season. But no one in the league is more dangerous with the ball in their hands than Deebo Samuel.

Built like a running back, Samuel has the unique ability to run with power and blow by defenders. Samuel averaged 8.9 yards after the catch, the most in the NFL. Only Rashee Rice (8.4) averaged at least 7.8 yards after the catch per reception last season, according to the league’s Next Gen Stats. And this isn’t Samuel's first time leading the league in YAC. He’s one of the best receivers in league history after the catch and an easy choice for that spot.

Flexibility: CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys

You can make a case for Lamb in a few different categories, but the one thing that stands out about Lamb is his ability to adjust and contort his body in the air. Lamb has a wiry frame and it was a bit of a concern for teams when he was coming out of Oklahoma. But it’s easy to see now why he hasn’t added extra muscle and weight. With the Cowboys playing him a lot in the slot, they like to target him down the middle of the field, and that requires Lamb to move his body in ways that we don’t see that often.

The ability to adjust to the ball in the air is a skill that few receivers possess. But for Lamb, that is his trump card. He can “look” covered but suddenly move his body in unusual ways to make spectacular catches.

Route Running: Justin Jefferson, Vikings

The NFL is blessed with several elite route runners right now, and choosing just one receiver here is tough. But Justin Jefferson is the league’s best route runner because he can run every route at an extremely high level. Not only can he be an X-receiver, but he is just as dominant in the slot as he is outside.

Jefferson glides when he runs routes but also has the ability to quickly change direction without much hesitation. He has good size and fantastic athleticism, and when you pair that with being a route-running savant, it’s no wonder why he is unanimously considered the best receiver in the NFL.

Blocking: Jauan Jennings, 49ers

The art of blocking from the wide receiver position has been lost in today’s NFL, but the 49ers coach it as well as any team in the NFL. They live by the mantra “no block, no rock,” which is evident by the willingness and success of their top three receivers in the run game.

Jennings is the best blocker of the top three receivers on the roster. Not only does he have the size and strength to do it (6-3, 215), but it’s clear that he has a passion for it. The 49ers rewarded him with a nice contract extension this offseason due to his willingness and effectiveness as a blocker. They often task him with taking on defensive ends and linebackers in the run game, which is never easy for a receiver. But his blocking in space makes him really dangerous, as he can eliminate defensive backs from even having a chance to make a play on the ball carrier.

Having a receiver who is a dominant blocker is quite the weapon. Jennings does a lot of the dirty work to help Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle thrive. He is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL, and his blocking is at a whole different level than any other receiver in the league.

Hands: Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers

Most of the top receivers in the NFL are pretty sure-handed, which makes picking a player here difficult. But we are going with Brandon Aiyuk here for a few reasons. The first being is that he doesn’t drop the football. Aiyuk had just three drops on 105 targets (75 receptions last season. That is the lowest among any receiver who had at least 100 targets during the 2023 season, according to TruMedia.

Another reason Aiyuk makes this list is his hand strength. He is one of the best contested-catch receivers in the league and plucks the ball out of the air when needed. He also has extremely long arms (33 1/2”) and a massive wingspan (81”). That wingspan is commonly found in people who are around 6-9, not 5-11.

Aiyuk might not make the most spectacular catches, like George Pickens or Ja'Marr Chase, but he is extremely reliable as a pass-catcher, and his catch radius is as big as any receiver in the league. If you want consistency and reliability, Aiyuk is the receiver you want.