Let’s take a closer look at the top-five wide receiver groups heading into the 2023 NFL season. This is not a list of the top five wide receivers and it’s not the top five wide receiver duos. We’re judging the entire group to determine which player groups have the edge.
There are some tremendous units that deserve an honorable mention.
The New York Jets look much better because of their depth, though I’m not sold all the way through it because they haven’t played together. Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Mecole Hardman and Corey Davis give them a lot of depth.
The only reason why I did not put the Minnesota Vikings on the list is because KJ Osborn started to come on strong late. I believe in KJ Osborn. Acquiring Jordan Addison (scouting report) in the draft gives them a bona fide No. 2 or No. 3 guy alongside one of the best receivers in football, Justin Jefferson.
So many receiver groups are going to put on a show this year, and I’m excited to see how this list changes as we go through the NFL season.
Top 5 Wide Receiver Groups
5. Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles‘ group of wide receivers has a couple of elite players and some guys who haven’t proven that they can get it done yet, but they have depth. Fourth-year pro Quez Watkins had 33 receptions in 2022. He is a guy who can do a little bit more and who the Eagles will need more production from.
The Eagles’ top two guys are A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. They combined for 183 receptions, 18 touchdowns and nearly 2,700 receiving yards, so what they bring to the table is obvious. The question is, can the other receivers step up and be special and add even more value to Philadelphia’s perimeter position?
4. Miami Dolphins
It obviously starts with the big two — the two elite guys who are going to be speed demons on the outside — Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Hill was an All-Pro after making 119 catches for 1,170 yards and seven touchdowns. Waddle had eight touchdowns among his 75 receptions and 1,356 yards.
The Miami Dolphins have to add to that. They signed Cedrick Wilson before they traded for Hill last year and this offseason they signed Braxton Berrios. Both are guys who they’re going to lean on to be a huge part of what they do. The primary focus always will be Hill and his level of production and how far can he take you. What can he make available for the other guys like Waddle?
Another question in Miami is can the Dolphins stay healthy at quarterback? That’s a separate conversation, but these receivers — these four nucleus guys — can get it done. If they produce consistently, week in and week out, this will be one of the most challenging groups of receivers in all of football. We saw the advantage their speed gave them last season. The Dolphins have a great wide receiver group and they should be even better in 2023.
3. Seattle Seahawks
This wide receiver group is new to my list. I never had them on top wide receiver duos or top-five receivers lists last year. You’re probably wondering, “Wait a minute, Greg, How can you not have them on any of your lists last year but now they all of a sudden emerge?” That’s because of who they drafted in the first round, Jaxon Smith-Njigba (scouting report), and what he provides.
We know what D.K. Metcalf can do alongside savvy veteran, Tyler Lockett, who can play inside and outside. Both have consistently produced at a high level — four consecutive seasons of both producing 900 yards or more. Last season, they combined for 174 receptions and 15 touchdowns, and both had more than 1,000 receiving yards. Second-year vet Dee Eskridge gives them depth.
Smith-Njigba likely will play in the slot and that makes them that much more dangerous. The totality of this group is impressive. Seahawks fans will see the scoreboard light up, and it will be exciting to see how this all unfolds.
2. Los Angeles Chargers
First-round draft pick Quentin Johnson (scouting report) is a big, long target who can push the ball down the field. When he catches the ball in the screen game, his run-after-the-catch ability is obvious.
The Los Angeles Chargers also received a big contribution from Josh Palmer, who had to fill in for Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, who are studs, but who also had health issues last season. Palmer got a lot of playing time and was leaned on to make a lot of plays. He did that, making 72 receptions for 769 yards and three scores.
The Chargers added a fourth guy into the mix who is expected to be someone they can lean on. He’s not going to be the No. 1 receiver right away, but he can be on occasion and he can become that consistently in the future. Williams, when healthy, is one of the best receivers in the game and has two 1,000-yard seasons in the past four years. Allen is one of the NFL’s best route runners — and receivers — has 992 or more yards in five of the past six seasons.
Johnson gives the Chargers a tremendous amount of depth and skill in that receiver unit room. Remember, they already lit up the scoreboard last year with quarterback Justin Herbert. Adding more playmakers around him and giving him more tools to work with should make for a very scary offense.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have three of the best wide receivers who have experience playing together and understand how to get it done. Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Ja’Marr Chase are special, and they have experience having played together for two seasons already.
These are not just your average No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 guys.
Higgins, who had 74 catches for 1,029 yards and seven touchdowns in 2022, could go to almost any other NFL team and be a No. 1. He had to play that role for the Bengals when Chase was injured last season, and Higgins played that role successfully.
Chase had a career-high 87 catches in just 12 games, and he added 1,046 yards and nine TDs to make his second Pro Bowl in two seasons. Before the Bengals drafted Chase in 2021, Boyd had three seasons in a row of 76 or more catches and two that topped 1,000 yards. As the third receiver, he still had 58 catches for 762 yards and five touchdowns.
Anything the Bengals add beyond that is just a plus. The amount of production these three generate and how Cincinnati’s offense is heavily created around these three is a big part of why the Bengals have been so successful the past couple of years.
This is the best top-three receiver group in the NFL, and it makes their group the best wide receiver group in football.
Greg Jennings is a former NFL wide receiver who played for the Packers, Vikings and Dolphins. A two-time Pro Bowl player, Jennings was a member of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV championship team and is inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter @GregJennings.