The Top 10 NFL Wide Receivers Heading Into the 2021 Season
A ranking of the Top 10 best overall NFL Wide Receivers heading into the 2021 NFL Season.
Every year there is a constant debate amongst NFL fans as to who the top players are at every position. In this article, we’ll rank the Top 10 Wide Receivers in the NFL.
If there was a fantasy draft of NFL Wide Receivers, and you could pick anyone to start a team with, who would it be? That’s the question that will be answered in this article, so let's have some fun and let the debate begin.
1. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
2020 Stats: 115 Receptions, 1,406 Receiving Yards, 6 TD
If you saw the Arizona Cardinals’ vast improvement in the standings for the 2020 NFL Season, then this ranking should come as no surprise. DeAndre Hopkins is a beast. In his first season with Arizona, Hopkins posted the highest catch percentage (71.9) of his career. He’s been a dynamic duo with young Franchise Quarterback, Kyler Murray.
Murray found Hopkins early and often. Hopkins accounted for 35.4% of Murray’s total Passing Yardage for his 2020 Season (3,971 Passing Yards by Kyler Murray in 2020). If you’re not convinced that Hopkins is the best Wide Receiver in the NFL just go back and watch his game-winning touchdown catch against the Buffalo Bills in week 10, with 10 seconds left in regulation.
2. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
2020 Stats: 115 Receptions, 1,374 Receiving Yards, 18 TD
Amid the Aaron Rodgers “drama”, Davante Adams can’t be feeling too happy right now. The best Quarterback he’s ever played with, no longer wants to be a Green Bay Packer, which was first reported early on at the recent 2021 NFL Draft Event by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That doesn’t bode well for Adams, who’s played some of the best football of his career playing alongside Rodgers.
With Green Bay’s Quarterback situation now in question, one might surmise that Adams’ production will certainly drop. After all, there are reports that former 2020 1st Round Pick, Quarterback Jordan Love, is still not ready to take over the reigns. What does that mean for Adams? Most likely a slight drop in production.
Still, Adams has some of the best hands in the NFL as shown by his 77.2 Catch Percentage in 2020. He excels at making catches in traffic so it won’t matter who is throwing him the ball. As long as the pass is within his vicinity, Adams can haul it down. It’ll be interesting to see how this Aaron Rodgers saga plays out, and who will be throwing the ball to Adams in 2021.
3. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2020 Stats: 70 Receptions, 1,006 Receiving Yards, 13 TD
Evans might be the first surprise on this list. However if you look at the totality of his career, and the consistent production he’s been able to provide, it should not be a surprise to see him ranked this high. Evans is a physical freak of nature. He combines great athletic ability, with size, strength, height (6'5), and good speed.
With the “merry-go-round” carousel plethora of talented offensive players around him, Evans’ numbers aren’t as good as they can be. The Buccaneers have a lot of “mouths to feed”. Taking the talented team around him into consideration, looking at Evans’ numbers on a stacked team, they’re very impressive.
Evans has had at least 1,000 Receiving Yards in every season of his 7-year career. Barring injury, I don’t anticipate that streak ending in 2021.
4. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
2020 Stats: 127 Receptions, 1,535 Receiving Yards, 8 TD
Last Season was Josh Allen’s “coming out party”. The third-year Quarterback flourished as he was in the MVP discussion throughout most of the 2020 NFL Season. It was an impressive year headlined with flashes of legendary arm strength, playmaking ability, and flashes of what's to come in the future for the Bills with Josh Allen as their Franchise Quarterback.
Let us also acknowledge the Receiver who played a huge part in Josh Allen’s third-year turnaround, Stefon Diggs. Diggs came over in a 2020 off-season trade before the start of the 2020 NFL Season.
In 2020, Diggs helped the Bills’ offense improve immensely as they finished 2nd in the NFL in offensive points per game. That's a huge improvement from the Bills 2019 ranking without Diggs when they finished just 23rd in offensive points per game.
Diggs has made a huge impact for the Bills and young Quarterback, Josh Allen. He and Allen are still well below the age of 30 and seem to be on the path to being one of the best duo’s in the NFL for years to come.
In 2020, Diggs excelled as the number one option and posted career-highs all across the board in Receptions (127), Receiving Yards (1,535), and Catch Percentage (76.5%). If he and Josh Allen can stay healthy, there’s no reason to doubt that Diggs’ spot as a Top 5 Wide Receiver in the NFL is all but cemented.
5. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
2020 Stats: 40 Receptions, 438 Receiving Yards
Despite having an injury-riddled 2020 NFL Season, Michael Thomas showed flashes of his old form in his last two appearances of the Regular Season. In his last two games of the 2020 Regular Season (week 13 & 14), Thomas caught 17 of his 19 targets for 189 yards before being shut down.
Thomas is a 6'3 monster who should get back to form in 2021. It’ll be interesting to see, who Thomas will be catching passes from, Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill? Either way, Thomas will put up big numbers like he always does, if he stays healthy.
6. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
2020 Stats: 87 Receptions, 1,276 Receiving Yards, 15 TD
Tyreek Hill has been making a huge impact for the Chiefs since his very first season with the Franchise. Whether it’s on Special Teams or in the passing game, Hill is a multifaceted talented player. He’s been a Pro Bowler every year of his career and is on the fast track to a Hall of Fame career.
Hill’s game-breaking speed is video game-like and he’s one of the most entertaining players to watch in the NFL today. In 2020, Hill scored a career-high 15 Touchdowns while earning his third All-Pro selection. He’s also been selected to the NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-2010s Team. This upcoming season should be no different.
Barring injury, we should expect more highlight reel’s, exciting plays, and video game-like numbers from Hill. The combination of Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Patrick Mahomes, will continue to be amongst the best trios in the NFL.
7. D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
2020 Stats: 83 Receptions, 1,303 Receiving Yards, 10 TD
It’s only a matter of time before D.K. Metcalf eventually cracks the Top 5 of these rankings in the future. He’s a 6'4 physical specimen with 4.3 speed. Metcalf’s Olympic caliber athleticism and speed were on full display as he recently participated in a 100-yard meter dash against Professional track runners. His performance was impressive and admirable.
2020 was a great season for Metcalf as he posted career highs in his 2nd season for every major statistical receiving category. At just 23 years old, Metcalf will only get better. If he stays healthy for a good majority of his prime, we could be witnessing one of the greatest receivers to ever play.
8. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
2020 Stats: 51 Receptions, 771 Receiving Yards, 3 TD
Due to injury, Julio Jones’ impressive streak of consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 Yards Receiving was snapped at 6. Had Jones been healthy, the streak would have continued. Even so, the production Jones was able to exhibit in just 9 games while hurt, is uncanny and just speaks to his greatness. His production throughout his illustrious 10-year career has been nothing short of amazing.
As Jones now enters the twilight of his Hall of Fame career, he will look to cap off his accomplishments with a Super Bowl Championship. Can he and Matt Ryan pull it off? Only time will tell, but for now, let's appreciate one of the best Wide Receivers to ever play in the NFL.
9. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
2020 Stats: 100 Receptions, 992 Receiving Yards, 8 TD
Keenan Allen is one of the most underrated Wide Receivers in the NFL. For someone like him who’s been as reliable as he’s been and made four straight Pro Bowls, to go under-the-radar, is mind-blowing. It’s often forgotten that Allen is an 8-year NFL veteran and is closing in on an impressive 10,000 career Receiving Yards plateau before the age of 30.
With a new young and talented Franchise Quarterback Justin Herbert (who’s coming off a historically great 2020 rookie season), Allen is in a prime position to continue to produce at a high level as long as he can stay healthy.
10. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
2020 Stats: 88 Receptions, 1,400 Receiving Yards, 7 TD
Is it too early to say that Justin Jefferson is already a Top 10 Wide Receiver after his 2020 Rookie campaign? No. Not at all. When you consider that he set the record for most receiving yards by a rookie in NFL history, it’s a great foreshadowing of what’s to come.
Jefferson is easily the best Wide Receiver the Vikings have on the roster. What does that mean? More opportunities for him to produce massive numbers as he did in his historic 2020 Rookie Season. If Jefferson’s amazing 2020 season was any indication, then we could be looking at one of the best young Receivers who will continue to wreak havoc against opposing NFL defenses for years to come.