Every team out there covets the top wide receivers.
This offseason, we have seen several around the league break the bank.
Just in this last draft alone, six receivers were selected in the first round. The Lions’ Jameson Williams was one of them.
A total of 17 receivers have been taken in the first round since 2020 alone.
When it comes to the NFC North, there are four capable quarterbacks throwing the ball. But, who are the five best receivers?
5.) Romeo Doubs, Packers
2021 Nevada stats: 80 receptions for 1,109 yards (13.9 average) and 11 touchdowns
Part of scouting is pounding on the table for the players the scout believes in, and I am going to pound on the table for the rookie Doubs.
I went as far as to compare Doubs to Packers legendary receiver James Lofton pre-draft.
With the departure of Davante Adams and with receiver Allen Lazard looking ho-hum on game film, I am predicting Doubs becomes Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' go-to guy.
Doubs is coming from a classic pro-style offense in college, which fits Rodgers. He is a natural-looking, long-striding receiver who can find the ball in the intermediate level, tiptoeing along the sidelines or going across the middle.
He also excels getting deep.
Doubs was a fourth-round steal, and you heard it here first.
4.) Darnell Mooney, Bears
2021 stats: 81 receptions for 1,055 yards (13.0 average) and four touchdowns
Chicago QB Justin Fields is poised to have a breakout season, and that is great news for Mooney, who has come on for the Bears.
Mooney caught 20 more passes in 2021 than he did in the previous season. He’s a strong, smooth-looking receiver who has soft, natural hands, and he shows excellent concentration.
Mooney additionally excels at finding soft spots in coverage, and he is tough to bring down after the catch.
Everything is lined up for Mooney to make a push for his first Pro Bowl this season.
3.) Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions
2021 stats: 90 receptions for 912 yards (10.1 average) and five touchdowns
A scrappy possession, slot receiver who poured it on late last season, with eight or more catches in his last six games. In fact, St. Brown broke franchise rookie records for receptions and yardage.
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He excels in the short-to-intermediate route levels, and he competes hard for the ball.
A sort of jack-of-all-trades type of player, St. Brown showed a season ago that he has the toughness to take a handoff on an end-around (averaged 8.7 yards rushing on seven attempts).
While the first 10 games of his rookie season in 2021 looked rather domestic, he showed he can be depended on with increased opportunities.
This bodes well, especially when the next receiver on this list gets in the game and frees him up even more.
2.) Jameson Williams, Lions
2021 Alabama stats: 79 receptions for 1,572 yards (19.9 average) and 15 touchdowns
Yes, another rookie cracks the top five. He didn’t just crack the top five, either. He’s almost the best receiver in the division, without even ever playing a snap.
Let me start by saying that Detroit has never had a receiver quite like this in the 40 years I have been watching the game.
Williams can flat-out fly, and he has the kind of afterburners that can take the top off a defense.
Granted, the pre-draft knee injury that Williams sustained has put him on pause, but do not let that change the narrative on this one.
Lions general manager Brad Holmes saw enough to trade up in the first round and select Williams at No. 12 overall.
That’s how good he is.
My scouting mentor taught me to stick with the dynamic ones.
Williams is dynamic.
1.) Justin Jefferson, Vikings
2021 stats: 108 receptions for 1,616 yards (15.0 average) and 10 touchdowns
With the departure of Davante Adams from Green Bay, Jefferson has become the top receiver in the NFC North.
Jefferson is a smooth receiver with good length, which he uses to his advantage against cornerbacks.
He can get you from the short and intermediate route levels, because of his toughness and the competitiveness he has to pick up additional yardage after the catch.
Jefferson can go over the middle, and he shows great concentration and ball instincts working the sidelines.
He also has the hips to slam on the brakes and run a mean whip route down by the goal line, like he did against Seattle last season. And, he can also get behind a defense. Just ask Baltimore.