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Ranking the wide receiver corps in the NFC East

Which team in the division has the best collection of wideouts?

College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T - Alabama v Clemson Photo by Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

As part of a new series at Big Blue View, we are ranking the position groups across the NFC East. We began with the leader of the offense last week at quarterback. This week, we will take a closer look at each quarterback’s weapons by ranking the wide receiver corps’ across the division.

Dallas Cowboys

Receivers and 2020 Stats:

  • Amari Cooper – 92 receptions for 1,114 yards (12.1 yards per catch) and 5 TDs
  • CeeDee Lamb – 74 receptions for 935 yards (12.6 ypc) and 5 TDs
  • Michael Gallup – 59 receptions for 843 yards (14.3 ypc) and 5 TDs
  • Cedrick Wilson – 17 receptions for 189 yards (11.1 ypc) and 2 TDs
  • Simi Fehoko - Rookie

If you are keeping track, we ranked the Cowboys as having the best quarterback in the division in Dak Prescott in last week’s notebook. By our standards, he also has the most elite weapons.

This should not be a surprising ranking as the Cowboys’ receiving corps turned heads at the start of last season and it has not changed much since. Amari Cooper is a five-time Pro Bowler and has surpassed the 1000-yard receiving mark in five separate seasons, including last year. Michael Gallup already has one 1000-yard in his short three-year career and CeeDee Lamb had a strong rookie campaign last year, recording 74 receptions for 935 yards. The Cowboys also added fifth-round pick Simi Fehoko out of Stanford in the 2021 NFL Draft.

It’s important to note that Cooper is coming back from ankle surgery earlier this year and Gallup sustained a hip injury last season. Both are expected to be ready to play though. Gallup specifically is entering a contract year which should give him additional incentive to perform well on the field.

Even though Prescott played just five games last season, Dallas ranked in the top 10 in passing yards per game with 260.1. Imagine how this group could do with a healthy Prescott back under center.

Washington Football Team

Receivers and 2020 Stats:

  • Terry McLaurin – 87 receptions for 1,118 yards (12.9 ypc) and 4 TDs
  • Curtis Samuel – 77 receptions for 851 yards (11.1 ypc) and 3 TDs
  • Kelvin Harmon – 30 receptions for 365 yards (12.2 ypc)
  • Cam Simms – 32 receptions for 477 yards (14.9 ypc) and 1 TD
  • Adam Humphries - 23 receptions for 228 yards (9.9 ypc) and 2 TDs
  • Dyami Brown – Rookie

Terry McLaurin recorded 58 receptions for 918 yards in his rookie campaign and then exceeded the 1000-yard receiving mark last season. He has been stellar in his first two seasons in the league but the Washington Football Team has since added some additional depth at receiver.

Wide receiver was a major position of need for Washington heading into the offseason - and they attacked that need in free agency. The Football Team signed Curtis Samuel from the Carolina Panthers, who has improved steadily each season of his four-year career. Samuel is coming off of his best season as he caught 77 passes for 851 yards and three touchdowns in 2020.

The Football Team also signed Adam Humphries from the Tennessee Titans. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Humphries has experience working with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as the two overlapped with the Bucs in 2017-18. Humphries combined for the best stats of his career in those two season as he recorded 137 receptions for 1,447 yards and six touchdowns. He has been less successful in recent years with the Titans due to injuries, but he should fit in nicely in the slot, working in tandem with McLaurin and Samuel.

Kelvin Harmon and Cam Sims also stepped up to make some key catches last season; a pleasant surprise for the former sixth-round pick and undrafted free agent. In this year’s draft, the Football Team added Dyami Brown out of UNC.

The Football team was ranked in the bottom 10 last season in receiving yards and was not known for having explosive playmakers. Between having a new and experienced leader in Fitzpatrick and a more well-rounded receiving corps, Washington is poised to make some strides this upcoming season.

New York Giants

Receivers and 2020 Stats:

  • Sterling Shepard – 66 receptions for 656 yards (9.9 ypc) and 3 TDs
  • Darius Slayton – 50 receptions for 751 yards (15 ypc) and 3 TDs
  • Kenny Golladay – 20 receptions for 338 yards (16.9 ypc) and 2 TDs
  • John Ross III – 2 receptions for 17 yards (8.5 ypc)
  • Kadarius Toney – Rookie

The Giants and Washington Football Team are a close tie for the No. 2 spot in the division. Both teams made dramatic improvements to their wide receiving corps this offseason, but there is some uncertainty with the Giants’ receivers that is worth considering.

We know that the Giants offense was one of the worst in the league last season and the receiving group specifically was ranked 29th out of the 32 teams in receiving yards with 3,336. Daniel Jones had 23 of his passes dropped in the 2020 season. According to Pro Football Focus, the Giants had the second-highest rate of dropped passes last season. Evan Engram was responsible for many as he dropped 11 passes in 2020, but Darius Slayton also dropped six.

So New York went out and upgraded this offseason, signing Kenny Golladay in free agency. According to PFF, Golladay has the second-highest contested catch rate in the NFL since 2018. But Golladay also only played in five games last year due to a hip flexor sprain so he is two seasons removed from his Pro Bowl performance in 2019.

The Giants also added receiver Kadarius Toney in the 2021 NFL Draft, who fills a major yards-after-catch need for the Giants. The Florida Gator product promises to be explosive but brings some off-the-field concerns, such as a focus on rapping and a couple of run-ins with the police in college.

The Giants’ final big offseason acquisition was tight end Kyle Rudolph. He will provide some much-needed depth alongside Engram. And Rudolph recorded zero drops on 90 targets in the past two seasons, according to PFF.

These new receivers will join Slayton and Sterling Shepard in what promises to be an improved receiving corps despite the small causes for concern.

Philadelphia Eagles

Receivers and 2020 Stats:

  • DeVonta Smith – Rookie
  • Jalen Reagor – 31 receptions for 396 yards (12.8 ypc) and 1 TD
  • Travis Fulgham – 38 receptions for 539 yards (14.2 ypc) and 4 TD
  • Quez Watkins – 7 receptions for 106 yards (15.1 ypc) and 1 TD
  • John Hightower – 10 receptions for 167 yards (16.7 ypc)
  • Greg Ward Jr – 53 receptions for 419 yards (7.9 ypc) and 6 TDs

The Eagles have been in need of an elite wide receiver since last offseason and they finally filled that need by trading up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith out of Alabama.

Smith’s success has been well-documented. Despite sharing the field with Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Jaylden Waddle throughout his time in Tuscaloosa, Smith left Alabama with the most receiving yards and touchdown catches in SEC history. His 46 career touchdowns ranks No. 5 all-time in FBS history.

But after Smith, the Eagles remain thin at wide receiver. Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson were released this offseason. The team’s top receivers are now Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Quez Watkins and John Hightower. While this list does represent quantity, it is short on quality.

The Eagles were ranked in the bottom 10 of the league last season in receiving yards with 3,728. While Smith may turn out to be the top receiver in the division, he is still a part of a weak unit overall.