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Washington WR Terry McLaurin Top-10 Target? Not So Fast, Says PFF

Pro Football Focus isn't ready to call Terry McLaurin at top 10 receiver in the NFL just yet

It hasn't taken long for Terry McLaurin to make his mark with the Washington Football Team. Two seasons into his budding career and some are considering him the next "it" wide receiver. 

As one of the NFL's rising pass-catchers, it would make sense to solidify his status as perhaps a top-10 target before 2021. Pro Football Focus, though, isn't sold yet on if he's reached that potential. 

Entering June, PFF has McLaurin ranked as the No. 17 receiver for the year. Yes, you read that right — his jersey number and rankings are the same.  

The reasoning? According to Anthony Treash, it's due to his dip in yards prior to the throw. 

With some additions to the receiver unit and a new arm at quarterback, McLaurin will hopefully get back to doing what he does best in 2021: stretching the field. His average depth of target dipped from 14.6 yards as a rookie in 2019 to 9.9 yards in 2020. The percentage of his catches that turned into a 15-plus-yard gain decreased from 40% to 30%, and his yardage total from vertical routes was nearly cut in half from 404 to 207 despite him seeing 37 more targets overall.

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No one can deny the drop off in that sense from Year 1 to Year 2. One though must also consider the circumstances McLaurin and the wide receiver group was impacted by last fall. 

Washington used four different quarterbacks on the way a postseason berth and 7-9 finish. McLaurin was the one constant despite the mixed play from Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke. 

Although the depth of the throw was down, the receptions went up. McLaurin finished with a career-best 87 catches for 1,118 yards and four touchdowns. The year prior he tallied 57 grabs for 919 yards and seven scores. 

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His yards total through the first two seasons are more than Baltimore's Marquise Brown, San Francisco's Deebo Samuel, Kansas City's Mecole Hardman and Pittsburgh Diontae Johnson — all receivers drafted before him that April. 

Keep in mind most receivers also had a No. 2 option in the passing game. The next closest wideout in yards for the D.C. franchise was Cam Sims, who finished the year with just 477 yards. 

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Although No. 17 is far from a bad spot, who were the 16 ahead of McLaurin? 

There's little surprise with some names, including Green Bay's Davante Adams, Arizona's DeAndre Hopkins, Atlanta's Julio Jones, Buffalo's Stefon Diggs and Kansas City's Tyreek Hill. Others could be argued with McLaurin, with players such as Minnesota's Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson or Atlanta's Calvin Ridley. 

Two receivers from 2019 are considered to be in the same category as McLaurin for success entering Year 3. Both rank ahead of him as Tennessee's A.J. Brown falls in at No. 6 while Seattle's D.K. Metcalf lands at No. 15. 

Brown leads the way from 2019 with 19 receiving touchdowns in two years. Metcalf leads though has more yards with 2,203 and a career average of 15.5 yards per catch. McLaurin, however, leads both them in receptions with 145. 

This isn't to say that McLaurin is a top-10 receiver just yet — even he'll be the first to tell you there's room for growth in his game. 

To place him at No. 17? That might be a bit far-fetched without knowing if Jefferson will repeat his rookie season success and both Evans and Godwin's production dropping off in 2020. Suffice to say, the WFT thinks more highly of McLaurin than this ... and collectively, Washington will be out to prove themselves right.

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