Just under 2 weeks until we are watching real football again and we are at the deepest position in the league. The position that is referred to as being the icing on the cake, but also looked at as the “divas” on the field. If you ask any ten football fans for their top ten receivers, you’ll get ten different lists. Well, here is mine.
HM: Terry McLaurin
As a commanders fan myself, I really did want to put Scary Terry in my top ten, but I’ll leave my biased out of this one. Terry is going into a season where is playing with the best QB he has played with so he should see a jump in what has already been consistent production. His hands are among the best in the league and I do believe that after this season, he will be on a lot of people’s top ten lists.
10. AJ Brown
Ranking AJ Brown relies a lot on using the eye test. Being in an extremely run-heavy offense, he still caught the attention of everyone around the league. He is coming off his worst season out of his first three, but the eagles obviously saw the potential. AJ Brown, Scary Terry, and a few more on this list are the leaders of the new generation of wide receivers.
9. Mike Evans
Mr. Consistent himself. Since coming into the league in 2014, Mike Evans has never had under a thousand yards in a season. Not only is that impressive, but he also has 75 career TDs to go along with 9300 career yards thus far. This is also despite up and down QB play during his tenure with the Bucs. With Evans being the only receiver available in week 1 from last yard team, his usage may even increase.
8. Keenan Allen
Similiar to Mike Evans, Keenan Allen has stayed loyal to his team and hopefully it will pay off like it did for Evans. Allen is a top 3 route runner in the league and finally has a QB that puts the ball where it needs to be.
7. Tyreek Hill
One of the most dangerous weapons in the entire league, Hill is in a whole new situation where his strengths do not exactly mesh well with his new QB’s weaknesses. But as long as Hill can get the ball, no matter where it is on the field, he will make magic happen.
After just one season, Chase is an absolute lock for being a top player at his position. After reuniting with his college Qb in Burrowm Chase racked up over 1400 yards and 13 TDs. He has to do better when it comes to drops, but Chase will be running this league for years to come.
5. Justin Jefferson
Deciding between college teammates Chase and Jefferson come down to a coin toss. I’ll go with Jefferson because of route running, fewer dropped balls, and he has been proven for one extra season. Jefferson is elite and has shown he can shine even in a loaded offense.
4. Cooper Kupp
I know a lot of people won’t agree with having someone that is coming off the NFL triple crown to be ranked at 4, but this is not a slight. Kupp is obviously special and his chemistry with QB Matthew Stafford was instant. He showed his dominance throughout the entire year last season, but these next 3 guys deserve their own praise too.
3. Stefon Diggs
Hands, route running and big play ability are what Diggs specializes in. He is also known for completely changing an offense. He is looking to go for his 5th straight 1k yard season and since arriving in Buffalo, he and Josh Allen have benefited greatly from each other. He opened the field up for Allen and has become one of the biggest deep ball threats in the league.
2. De’Andre Hopkins
Similar to Diggs, As soon as Hopkins arrived on his new team, his QB played much better. Kyler Murray didn’t have an elite option his first season in the league, but he received one in his second year in one of the most bizarre trades in recent memory. Although he is coming off of a down year and incoming suspension, Hopkin’s talent is undeniable, especially when it comes to his hands.
1. DaVante Adams
The eye test and numbers do not lie with this one. Adams is the NFL’s best when it comes to route running and his hands are amongst the best as well. He will be playing in a new offense with a new QB and coach, so he will have adjustments to make. One positive adjustment is fewer double teams since the defense will also have to focus on Waller and Renfrow.
4 weeks remain until the start of the regular season and we are at the position that has supposedly been getting less and less important. Emphasis on supposedly. While there could be a legit argument made when it comes to the past super bowl winners haven’t had elite running play. When it comes down to the biggest stage, it seems like teams really heavily on defense, coaching and of course QB play. Even when looking at this list I made, these RBs aren’t on the teams people consider super bowl contenders, but they do make a huge impact on their respective teams.
Honorable Mention: Saquon Barkley & Ezekiel Elliot
The hardest part of making this list wasn’t the order, it was who was getting left off. As a huge Barkley fan, I just need to see a repeat of the RB we saw coming out of Penn State. This last year he played 13 games but finished with a hundred fewer carries than his career-best rookie season. Barkley has battled with injuries along with inconsistent QB and offensive line play. If he can stay healthy, Barkley is a top 5 running back so hopefully, he gets back to that.
Now for Elliot, it’s a little different. He has suffered a little bit from the injury bug, but he still has been pretty consistent when it comes to suiting up. The other difference is Elliott’s team may have already found his replacement in Tony Pollard. Pollard is younger and cheaper which Jerry Jones prefers. If Both Barkley and Elliot are healthy, and get a normal workload they are both still elite running backs in my eyes.
10. Austin Ekeler
Ekeler is an underrated dual-threat back that I expect to have a big season this year. He finished last season with over 1500 yards and 20 TDs and he could be featured even more with the Chargers on the rise.
9. Aaron Jones
Aaron Jones will be looking to bounce back after a down year last year, and the Packers will rely on him heavily without Davante Adams there. Although, Jones is similar to Zeke when it comes to having his possible replacement breathing down his neck in young running back AJ Dillon, he will still carry a heavy workload. Compared to the year before, Jones played 1 more game, had 30 less carries and 300 less yards. I believe that Joneswill have a season similar to that of two years ago rather than repeating last year’s performance.
8. Joe Mixon
Mixon is coming off a career high in both rushing and receiving yardage so this ranking isn’t about having a knock on Mixon. The players ahead of him just have a right to be in their position as well. Mixon may have been slightly overlooked as the Bengals made a run to the Super Bowl because of the instant success of the young studs in Burrow and Chase. At 26 years old Joe Mixon is in the middle of his prime and should have another strong season behind a hopefully improved offensive line.
7. Najee Harris
Is it to anyone’s surprise that an Alabama running back came into the league and fit right in on day one? I surely wasn’t. Harris is a big physical back who ran for an even 1200 yards in his rookie season. His workload will be the same if not more with his team still having battles at the QB position. Some say I am too high on Harris, but I think he will prove doubters wrong.
6. Alvin Kamara
Kamara would be higher on this list if it wasn’t for a possible upcoming suspension. Rumors are it could be around six games, but nothing is official yet. Kamara is one of the hardest players to tackle as his style seems a bit “slippery”. Surprisingly
5. Christian McCaffrey
When healthy, is one of the most electrifying players in the league. The problem is, we haven’t seen thatg since 2019. I was tempted to put him on my honorable mention with Barkley, but because of their play styles, I have a little more faith in CMC bouncing back.
4. Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook has been consitent in these last 3 years including a 1900 yard season the year before last. He is another dual threat back who hasn’t had to miss to many games since his rookie season. The Vikings offense is still loaded, but Cook will produce.
3. Jonathan Taylor
At 23 years old, Jonathan Taylor is already one of the best running backs in the entire league. Coming off of an 1800 yard season with 18 TDs, there is no denying his greatness. The Colts may pass a little more often than last season but Taylor is still the focal point of that offense.
2. Nick Chubb
Nick Chubb and Jonathan Taylor is really a coin toss decision, but I chose to give Chubb the number 2 spot. Chubb had 600 less yards, but he also had Kareem Hunt sharing carries with him. With Hunts recent trade request, we could see Chubb put up much greater numbers.
1. Derrick Henry
Was there any way he wouldn’t take the top spot? Henry is absolutely dominant. He was still leading the league in rushing for multiple weeks after his foot injury and w on pace to break the NFL single season rushing recotd. Or at least hit 2k. With questions all over the field for the Titans, Henry workload maybe even heavier and that is saying alot.
Ranking The Top 10 QBs Heading Into 2023 Season
We are now 7 weeks from the start of the 2023 NFL regular season. As usual, we have familiar faces in new places all over the field. Some QBs are on new teams, have new coaches, or have new weapons on the outside. All these are taken into consideration when ranking the best of the best. This list will also be based on how they played last year and how I project them to play this year. Almost every team in the league has a legit starting QB which hasn’t always been the case. I believe that the QB play now is at the highest level that it has ever been at. Some might say its because of all the rule changes and how the game is centered towards offense and selling tickets, but I do think the skill and talent of these QBs are getting better and better each year. Without any more delay, here is my ranking of the QBs for this upcoming season.
Honorable Mention: Deshaun Watson
Putting Deshaun on my honorable mention list is not a slight to his skill. The last time Watson played I had him as a top 3-5 QB. This ranking, or lack there of, is solely based off him missing an entire season and also is pending suspension by the league. Once Watson is back on the field, he will regain his spot as a top 5 QB.
10. Dak Prescott
Some people may think this is a bit low for the Cowboys star QB, but after a first round exit in the playoffs, losing a top offensive lineman and losing one of his top weapons in Amari Cooper, this is where I am placing Dak for now. He bounced back to form after suffering a gruesome injury just 2 years ago. Dak even showed that he improved while throwing a career high 37 TDs and avoided getting sacked as much compared to seasons before. He has always proven to be a great leader and a winner holding a 53-32 record as a starter. His biggest concerns are when the lights shine brightest, so we will see how he overcomes some key departures this season.
9. Lamar Jackson
I’ll definitely be receiving some backlash for this one, but I do not feel the Ravens have done Lamar enough justice in his tenure there. He has never truly had a consistent number 1 receiver outside of his tight end Mark Andrews. His running backs either get injured or haven’t contributed much since his first full year starting with Mark Ingram in the backfield. I understand his play style is different, but the ravens still need to surround him with enough to give him a chance. Until that happens, Lamar will unfortunately be closer to the bottom half of the top 10.
8. Matthew Stafford
After defending Stafford for more than a decade, it all finally became worth it as we saw him go to LA and win a super bowl his first year there. His place in the top 10 is solidified. His resume has been a little disappointing before last year. Only having 1 pro bowl and 0 playoff wins, the talent was always still there. Stafford got his fresh start and instantly clicked with all pro receiver Cooper Kupp in his record breaking year and silenced all doubters, at least for one offseason. Althought the rams lost some pieces on offense, the addition of Allen Robinson will still be enough next to Cooper Kupp to stay as contenders for next season.
7. Russell Wilson
Ranking Wilson is one the harder players to project. I have never been super high on Wilson only because he has great stretches every season where people always bring up him not having an MVP award. But that is usually followed by a stretch where he is taking more sacks, throwing more picks, and trying to do too much which costs his team. Now playing with an entirely different organization, Wilson would look to have a bounce back year with Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy has his top 2 receivers. Last year was the first year Wilson missed a game for Seattle and also posted his 3rd fewest TD’s in a season at 25 and career low in yards. The Broncos should have everything around Wilson that he needs to succeed, but playing in a division with Mahomes and Justin Herbert will not be easy.
6. Joe Burrow
After coming off an ACL injury his first year in the league, Burrow took the Bengals on an incredible playoff run which ended up in a loss in the super bowl to the rams. Burrow linked up with college teammate Jamar Chase, and you could see how quickly it took for the two to reunite. The Bengals can be even better with more blocking up front to give Burrow more time. Obviously his ceiling is a championship, its on the Bengals to help get him back there.
5. Justin Herbert
Herbert and Burrow is really a toss up. These players came in at the same time, but obviously Burrow has seen success faster than Herbert, but that’s not to take away what Herbert brings to the table. Everything about Herbert shouts superstar. Him being in LA is just icing on the cake. He is 6’6 and one of the more athetic players at the position. He has thrown for 69 TDs in his first 2 seasons, and even though he plays in a very tough division, I would not be surprised if this was Herbert year to make a Super Bowl run.
4. Tom Brady
Brady isn’t even supposed to be on this list. Never mind him turning 45 in a couple of weeks. We all thought he finally decided to hang it up and become a family man. It only took a few weeks to change his mind and return to the Bucs for his 3rd year with the team. He was knocked out last year by Stafford and the rams, but the Bucs just seemed a little off even before that. There was of course the Antonio Brown situation on top of multiple injuries to the team which still led to Brady throwing for a career high 5,300 yards and leading the league, but he also only threw 6 INTs. Ranking the goat this low is solely based on age and change of scenario around him including head coach and Gronk retiring for good (maybe).
3. Aaron Rodgers
After coming off of back to back MVP seasons, Rodgers maybe faced with his greatest test at the age of the 38. The biggest knock against the Packers is not giving Rodgers enough help when the oppurtunity is right in the their face. They have passed up on multiple wide receivers in past years and even tried drafting Rodgers predecessor on more than one occasion. Now they lost a top 3 wide reciever in the league if not the best, and have replaced him with injury prone Sammy Watkins and rookie Christian Watson. I think he will still have a great season and probably win the division, but as usual, that’s where it ends.
2. Josh Allen
Ranking Josh Allen 2 instead of 1 really hurts my soul. I’ve been a huge fan of Allen’s since his days at Wyoming and the superstar potential we see in Herbert, has come to the light for Josh Allen. He has improved every year in the league and was a coin toss away from a possible super bowl trip. He still has to get his INT total down, but other than that, Allen is a stud at QB.
1. Patrick Mahomes
Even though it was hard putting Josh Allen at 2, Mahomes at 1 just seems right. Mahomes has been to the AFC title game every year as a starter including beating Josh Allen to advance last year to play the Bengals. Just like Rodgers, Mahomes will be faced with a tough test. Although he still has superstar tight end Travis Kelce, one of the leagues best deep ball throwers lost one of the leagues best deep ball threats. Trading away Tyreek Hill and replacing him with Juju will be interesting to say the least. His division was also not too challenging in years past, but that will surely change this year. The Chiefs also lost some offensive linemen and honey badger on the defensive side. Mahomes will have a lot on his shoulders this year, but I can’t doubt him based off what he has proven in the past.