Ranking the NFL's four best receiver groups

Jamison Crowder's claim that the Redskinshave the best receiver crew in the league got us thinking on this slow June NFL day ... is he right?

Colleague Kevin Patra broke down some of the options in his exhaustive post, but let's settle this thing definitively with our top four, and some other vital categories.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Two years ago, Allen Robinson was an under-the-radar late second-round pick. Allen Hurns was an undrafted rookie trying to make a roster. Julius Thomas was the starting tight end of the Broncos. Now the trio forms one of the best receiving groups in the league, and they should only get better. The most exciting part of this Jaguars team is their potential to stay together with Blake Bortles for a while.

The depth, which includes Marqise Lee and Rashad Greene, isn't as excellent as the rest of the list though.

3. New England Patriots: The presence of Rob Gronkowski should silence some of those arguments about Tom Brady not having a great supporting cast through his career (this was true before 2007; less so after that). Gronk is so much better than the next best tight end that the Patriots group gets a big boost.

Julian Edelman also remains almost underrated. At his peak, he gives New England's offense more than Wes Welker. He just isn't nearly as durable and his mind-meld with Tom Brady is not quite as otherworldly. Martellus Bennett gives Brady another great pass catcher at tight end, while Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan will provide depth. The Patriots have questions on the offensive line, but this should be Brady's best supporting cast since at least 2011.

2. Washington Redskins: As Patra pointed out, this is the deepest group in the NFL. It's crazy that perhaps the league's most pro-ready rookie receiver Josh Doctson is slated to be the No. 4 wideout behind Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Crowder, an underrated slot receiver. Boffo tight end Jordan Reed might be the best player of the group, meaning Doctson could be fifth in line for targets.

On any other team, a player like Crowder would be a breakout candidate. But it's going to be tough for everyone to put up big fantasy stats when there are so many mouths to feed, and Kirk Cousins is serving up the meal.

The Redskins have done an outstanding job building up this group and being ready for a future where Garcon and Jackson both potentially leave as free agents after 2016.

1. Arizona Cardinals: The Redskins are deeper than the Cardinals, but we'd still take Arizona's diversity. They have an all-time legend (Larry Fitzgerald) coming off one of the best performances of his career. They have a terrific deep threat (Michael Floyd) and a shifty speedster that can take a top off a defense (John Brown) or work in the slot. J.J. Nelson could wind up being a poor man's version of John Brown, while even Jaron Brown has made big plays for this team.

The tight end doesn't play as big a role in Arizona's offense, but the overall dynamism of the Cardinals wideouts rules all.

The team that should be ranked second: If Martavis Bryant wasn't suspended for the year, Pittsburgh would be second on this list. It has perhaps the league's best receiver (Antonio Brown) supported by good role players that could break out in Ladarius Green, Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates. Ben Roethlisberger has quietly entered the stage of his career where he makes everyone around him so much better.

Two guys and a fall off: Every team listed in the top four has at least three quality options. That's why great duos like the Bengals (A.J. Green/Tyler Eifert), Jets (Brandon Marshall/Eric Decker), Broncos (Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders) and Bucs (Mike Evans/Vincent Jackson) just missed the list.

We also noticed that many of the top receivers in the NFL (DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham) have too little support around them.

Team most likely to rise: The combination of Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker in Miami could be the most exciting young wide receiver duo in the league. They also are complementary. It's amazing how much better Ryan Tannehill's deep passes started to look when Parker was snatching passes out of the air. Landry has more catches in his first two seasons than any player in NFL history. With Adam Gase in town and a solid supporting cast (Jordan Cameron, Kenny Stills, Leonte Carroo), Tannehill is out of excuses.

Next most likely team to rise:If Kevin White can live up to the hype, the Bears are going to be incredibly difficult to cover with Eddie Royal handling single coverage in the slot while Alshon Jeffery and White make noise on the outside.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content