We’ve covered the QBs and we’ve covered the RBs. All that’s left are the wideouts. Now that the NFL has fully transitioned into a pass-first league, wide receivers are more valuable than ever. They’re front and center for this revolution. Here are five WRs that could be in line for a huge 2021 campaign.
AJ Brown, Tennessee Titans
AJ Brown is entering his third year for the Tennessee Titans. This guy has been an absolute stud in his first two years, and he has produced despite having limited targets. He has only cracked 10+ targets a few times, and has absolutely shredded in those games.
This year, the Titans have one of the worst defenses and should be involved in plenty of shootouts. They lost a lot of targets from last year’s team when Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and Adam Humphries left. They added Julio Jones but that should help AJ Brown avoid double coverage. If he even gets a few more targets than last year, he can be one of the best receivers in the league.
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
Odell missed plenty of time last year with a knee injury. All reports indicate that he is fully healthy and ready to go. Baker Mayfield and the Browns are now under the second year of Kevin Stefanski’s offense, so that unit should explode now that they’re acclimated to the system.
The Browns have one of the best rosters in the league and are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. If the offense operates as efficiently as it did last year, and the Browns are competitive, Odell could have an amazing season.
Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
Jerry Jeudy was widely considered one of the best receivers coming out of last year’s loaded WR class. The second-year Alabama wideout is a route-running technician, frequently making defenders look like they are playing on roller skates. He dealt with a lot of inaccurate passes from Drew Lock, but that should change with Teddy Bridgewater at the helm. Given how effective Jeudy’s able to get to his spots on the field, Bridgewater should be in line for a lot of easy completions.
Corey Davis, New York Jets
Quietly, Corey Davis had an amazing 2020 campaign. He turned that season into a huge contract with the New York Jets. The Jets should be pretty bad this year, but that will lead to more passing and greater numbers for Davis.
In the preseason, newly-minted QB Zach Wilson targeted Corey Davis on nearly 70 percent of his throws. That’s sure to decrease during the regular season, but even half of that would put him at the top of the list in terms of targets. Remember, Davis is a first round pick, so he has plenty of pedigree behind him.
Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
Hardman is one of the fastest players in the league and gets to play with Patrick Mahomes. The analysis should end there. Additionally, Hardman should finally have a clear path to increased targets with Sammy Watkins out of the mix. Hardman can be a full-time player for the Chiefs now and the production should surely follow.
Henry Ruggs, Las Vegas Raiders: The first WR taken last year has bulked up and has a pretty big ceiling if he can get the targets.
Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens: Brown was hurt quite a bit last year and looks like he should be healthy to start the season.
Laviska Shenault, Jacksonville Jaguars: Could lead the team in targets and is an explosive athlete.