All-NFC North Team: Wide Receivers

Where does Amon-Ra St. Brown rank among best NFC North receivers?
Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14).
Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14). / Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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The Detroit Lions found an elite Draft steal in Amon-Ra St. Brown.

In 2021, the USC product fell into the fourth round. Detroit picked him, and has not looked back as he has enjoyed an exceptional start to his career. Over his first three seasons, he has logged 315 receptions for 3,588 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Even in a division that features the best wide receiver in football, Justin Jefferson, St. Brown is still worthy of a first-team selection on the All-NFC North team, ahead of the 2024 season.

He, Justin Jefferson of the Vikings and D.J. Moore of the Bears were the three selections, as a result of voting conducted by team publishers across the division.

Here's a breakdown of the impact that Jefferson, St. Brown and Moore have, both for their own teams and across the league.

First team: Justin Jefferson

Remember when Jefferson won the Offensive Player of the Year award in 2022 and was a finalist for league MVP? He led the NFL that season with 128 catches and 1,808 yards, averaging 106.9 yards per game. Would you believe that he was on pace to beat those numbers before he suffered a hamstring injury in Week 5 of 2023?

Through four games last season, Jefferson had 33 receptions for 543 yards. That pace had him on track for 140 catches and 2,307 yards. It's easy to say he probably couldn't have maintained that breakneck pace for 17 games, but after he missed two months and was fully healthy for the last four games of the season, all he did was rack up 30 more catches for 476 yards. Oh, and Nick Mullens, not Kirk Cousins, was throwing the football those four games. 

Jefferson was fully healthy for eight of the 10 games he played and in those eight contests he totaled 63 catches for 1,019 yards and five touchdowns. That breakneck pace might not have been sustainable to the tune of 2,300 yards, but there is no reason to doubt that Jefferson wasn't poised to become the first 2,000-yard receiver in NFL history. 

Jefferson was paid like the king of wide receivers because he is the king. There's nobody better and the gap between him and the next best in the league is larger than most think. — Joe Nelson, Inside The Vikings

All-NFC North Team: Running Backs

All-NFC North Team: Quarterbacks

First team: Amon-Ra St. Brown

For St. Brown, the first three years of his career have been marked by significant improvement each year. As a rookie, he finished the year on a torrid pace and looked to be a star in the making. The following year, he took that expected jump. In 2023, he took yet another leap and ascended to All-Pro status. 

Now, there’s no doubts about what the 2021 fourth-round pick can bring to the Lions’ offense. Known mostly for his work as a slot receiver, St. Brown has proven he can play on the outside as well. He’s a true multi-faceted pass-catcher and belongs in the conversation amongst the league’s best. 

He’s an excellent route-runner and has proven to be nearly unguardable on third downs, as he possesses a savvy for eluding defenders and finding ways to get open. He has an insatiable work ethic and will likely continue to play at a high level after being rewarded with a four-year extension.

Through three seasons, St. Brown has amassed 315 receptions for 3,588 yards. Last year, he surpassed 1,500 receiving yards for the first time and scored 10 touchdowns. With another strong season, he will continue to mark his place among the league’s elite. — John Maakaron, All Lions

First team: D.J. Moore

The top Bears receiver faces a different situation this season. So, what else is new?

They acquired Moore in the trade that keeps on giving when they dealt away the first pick of the 2022 draft. His first season only indicated how valuable he can be in a season like this one, when they have a different quarterback firing passes in a new offense.

Moore’s entire career in Carolina was with five different offensive coordinators and 10 quarterbacks passing and three systems. So, the switch in Chicago with a new attack and quarterback was no mysterious challenge. And now it won’t be again this year as he adjusts to playing alongside talented receivers like Keenan Allen and Rome Odunze while chasing Caleb Williams’ throws.

Moore’s strength has always been the catch and run, but being open enough to achieve this when he attracted most of the coverage last year was a Bears problem. With other receivers on board, look for Moore to make fewer catches but gain more yards, something like in 2020, when his catches declined from 87 to 66 but his yards per catch soared from 13.5 to a career-high 18.1. That receiving corps also had Robbie Chosen (formerly Anderson) and Curtis Samuel in a loaded receiver corps, much like the Bears now have Allen and Odunze. -- Gene Chamberlain, Bear Digest

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John Maakaron


John Maakaron has covered Detroit Sports since 2013. Brings a vast array of experience covering the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Michigan Wolverines, Michigan State Spartans, Detroit Mercy Titans, and Oakland University Golden Grizzlies. John brings a wealth of sports broadcast experience. In 2013, John had the vision to establish the Detroit Sports Podcast Network. Has recorded over 3000 podcasts analyzing Detroit Sports. In 2019, Sports Illustrated Media Group, a historical sports media outlet, partnered with Detroit Sports Podcast to provide daily Lions content for their growing and expanding digital media outlet. Our Lions content can also be read in the newspaper at The Oakland  Passionate about Detroit Sports and it is reflected in his coverage of the local teams!