When Stevie Johnson proclaimed last week that the Buffalo Bills now boast the best receiving corps in the NFL, my initial reaction was that they would struggle to crack the top 10. Digging deeper, I found at least 15 teams that have a better pass-catching group than the Bills.
Below is Around The League's list of the NFL's top receiving corps, with tight ends included.
1. Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones, Roddy White, Harry Douglas,
It's the rare NFL team in possession of a cornerback capable of hanging with Jones in man coverage. If defenses opt for double coverage, White can feast on the lesser cornerback. Although Gonzalez no longer makes plays after the catch, he's among the league's most valuable security blankets on third downs and near the end zone. Douglas has been a mild disappointment as the fourth option in the passing game, showing little playmaking ability through four seasons.
2. Denver Broncos: Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen, Julius Thomas
The Broncos' use of Thomas mirrors the Falcons' penchant for hitting Jones on screens and slants to take advantage of his run-after-catch prowess. According to Pro Football Focus, the wide receivers producing the league's two highest passer ratings from their quarterback last season were Thomas (126.2) and Decker (123.7). Throw in Welker as a premier slot receiver, and the Broncos have the best trio of wideouts in the game. Tamme and Dreessen aren't quite in Gonzalez's league, but Thomas makes for an interesting wild card as an athletic former hoopster who impressed in offseason practices.
3. Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Dwayne Harris, Terrance Williams, Jason Witten, James Hanna, Gavin Escobar
Bryant took advantage of a soft schedule and a bevy of shootouts down the stretch, but it's still impressive that his final eight games project to 1,758 yards and 20 touchdowns across a full season. He's here to stay as a No. 1 receiver. Austin can be one of the league's top second fiddles as long as he can put his hamstring issues behind him. Witten hasn't missed a game in nine years.
4. New York Giants: Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Brandon Myers
When healthy, Nicks is one of only a dozen NFL wide receivers capable of drawing and beating double coverage. Cruz is the only player in the NFL with at least 80 receptions, 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. Randle should be an upgrade on Domenik Hixon in the third receiver role.
5. Green Bay Packers: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jermichael Finley
Rob Gronkowski is the only NFL player with a better touchdown-to-target ratio than Nelson and Jones over the past three seasons. Don't be surprised if Cobb leads the league in receptions this year. Finley has yet to live up to the lofty expectations set by the Packers a few years back.
6. New Orleans Saints: Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Joseph Morgan, Nick Toon, Jimmy Graham
Colston and Moore are perfect fits for Sean Payton's offensive scheme. Graham should be the best tight end in the league this season with the uncertainty surrounding Gronkowski's back. Morgan is an unproven commodity as the No. 3 receiver.
7. Seattle Seahawks: Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Zach Miller
Rice and Tate played well last season, but their numbers were depressed by the Seahawks' run-heavy offense. Harvin not only is one of the NFL's most dynamic playmakers, but he also allows offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to get more creative with his tactics. Baldwin is a luxury as the fourth receiver.
8. Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts, Rob Housler
The Cardinals' quarterback issues have exponentially diminished Fitzgerald's production, but he rightfully remains one of the NFL's most respected wide receivers. Floyd is a breakout candidate as a vertical threat, while Roberts offers run-after-catch ability as the third option.
9. Indianapolis Colts: Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener
After Wayne carried the passing game early in the season, Hilton matched his production over the final nine games. Heyward-Bey is an interesting bounce-back candidate as an upgrade on Donnie Avery. Allen is a probable Pro Bowl selection at tight end.
10. Philadelphia Eagles: Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Brent Celek, James Casey, Zach Ertz
Maclin and Jackson have speed to spare, but they fall just shy of No. 1 receiver status. Both players come with durability concerns. The additions of Casey and Ertz suggest versatile and athletic tight ends will be featured heavily in new coach Chip Kelly's offense.
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.