Ranking the NFC East’s wide receivers, individually

Dan Graziano of the ESPN NFC East blog put out his WR rankings today, and his order went:

1. Giants 2. Cowboys 3. Eagles 4. Redskins

I couldn’t possibly disagree more vehemently on the placement of the Cowboys’ receivers, as Graziano is giving far too much credit to Roy Williams, who has been nothing short of a disaster in Dallas, and not enough credit to what DeSean Jackson brings to the table.  You can flip a coin between the Giants and Eagles.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to rank the players themselves, in order of who I would most want on my roster if I were starting a team.  In other words, age and upside matter, although I left contract situations out of the equation, especially since a couple guys are slated to become free agents (Smith and Moss, with Moss’ contract having already voided).  I’ll just get right to it.

Rank WR Team Comment
1 DeSean Jackson Eagles The premier playmaker in the NFL (apologies to Chris Johnson). TD distances of 85, 71, 64, 67, 57, 54, 48, 35, 72, and 60 (among other shorter ones) in 2009. TD distances of 91, 88, 61, 45, 34, 31, 65 (among other shorter ones) in 2010. True game-changing elite NFL player.
2 Hakeem Nicks Giants Very impressive 2nd season with 79-1052-11 in just 13 games. Most complete of the receivers on this list.
3 Miles Austin Cowboys 81-1320-11 in 2009 despite 9 starts (although he played in all 16). Came down to Earth a bit in 2010 with 69-1041-7 in 2010, albeit with awful OL play and Jon Kitna at the helm. Really debated putting him #2, but ultimately I’ll take the younger Nicks.
4 Dez Bryant Cowboys Ugh. I’m gonna get heat for this one. Bryant and Maclin had very comparable rookie seasons, and while I can see Maclin steadily improving, having a great pro career, and never worrying about off-the-field issues… the upside with Bryant is just ridiculous.
5 Jeremy Maclin Eagles Just like Nicks, a very impressive second season with 70-964-10.
6 Mario Manningham Giants The lightbulb is coming on.
7 Steve Smith Giants I’ll probably take heat here too. Monster season in 2009 with 107-1220-7, but was already playing below that level in 2010 when he began suffering an assortment of injuries including a serious knee injury which required surgery. I guess it really all depends on his health, but it’s a big question mark. I’m not Smith’s doctor, so I don’t know. I’ll err on the side of the healthy player, and go with Manningham over Smith.
8 Santana Moss Redskins Holy crap… Did Santana Moss really go off for 93-1115-6 last year? Good player. Turns 32 on Wednesday of next week.
9 Jason Avant Eagles True pro, solid as they come. Great locker room guy. No upside.
10 Leonard Hankerson Redskins I’ll take my chances with the rookie over Roy Williams. I’d strongly consider Anthony Armstrong, too.



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  2. john says:

    I meant nicks and bryant could become one of the best in the league in a couple of years

  3. john says:

    Sorry I meant they may become the best in the league in a couple of years

  4. john says:

    Maclin is better than desean jackson and there’s no way jackson is best in the division. Though I do hate when the giants play him. He’s a one trick pony.
    I dunno who’s the best in the division. Smith is definitely up there. But won’t I don’t understand is that people think he cant go deep, when he can. May not be a desean jackson deep threat but he is a threat nevertheless.
    Oh yeh manningham is slowly rising. If I had to choose it will be between nicks, austin. Smith and maclin.
    Bryant isn’t quite there yet, but soon I predict it will between him and nickds with maclin behind.
    Those 2 may even be one of the best in the league

  5. Jalarsen1 says:

    DeSean is unique. That is what separates him. I wouldn’t take him alone. You can take a Miles Austin, a Hakeem Nicks, or even a Jeremy Maclin alone. They’re complete receivers.

    DeSean is AWESOME at one thing, and paired with a consistent guy makes the combination incredible. If I were picking two receivers to start on my team from our division it would HAVE to be DeSean b/c his skill set is so different, and then I’d team him with either Nicks or Dez Bryant.

  6. norman says:

    Well, my list is posted over on bgn of 15 i’d take above Jackson, and I posted a short bEast list too (nicks, bryant, austin, maclin, smith) over desean…

    Am i really that full of dislike for the 789diva?

    Maybe I’m the one on tilt. I just like complete receivers who catch the ball. I scream frequently during the season, “I PAY YOU TO DO ONE THING, RECEIVER- THAT IS TO RECEIVE”. Just like I pay my defensive tackles to tackle, my linebackers to back the line, my safeties to be safe, and my fullback to make a full recovery (please, weave, make a full recovery).

    1. Talon Talent says:

      15? That is a little hard presssed, i must go and search out this post now. yes their are people I’d take over DeSean but 15?

  7. KD Drummond says:

    “For those that are wondering (or are just looking for another stat to rub in the face of competing fans), Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson rated as the worst receiver in the league in regards to dropping passes. The ballyhooed receiver dropped a jaw-flooring close to 20% of catchable throws (49 receptions, 12 drops, 19.67%).”

    1. In fairness, that’s per Pro Football Focus, which is tenuous, at best:


      A respected Philly beat writer that charted all the Eagles’ drops on the season has him down for 7 (PFF counted 12), which is a fairly large discrepancy. “Drops” are subjective. I plan on pulling film of all the drops in question and letting everyone decide what’s a drop, and what isn’t.

  8. Brian R says:

    Really tough call. I love Desean and he’s amazing to watch. I also wouldn’t trade him for any receiver on this list.

    With that said, he was frustrating at times. And objectively ranking these guys, it’s tough to ignore the fact that Desean would almost disappear for games at a time. He had 9 games with 50 or less receiving yards in 2010 (including the GB playoff game). Nicks had 2 games under 50.

  9. Chandus says:

    Dude, DeSean Jackson isn’t even the best receiver in his team… At least IMO…

    Maclin may be less of a playmaker, but I look at receivers like I look at CBs, I would take a healthy and in his prime Sheldon Brown over a healthy and in his prime Asante Samuel…

    But that’s me.

    Miles Austin (With Romo in the field he was very close to 500 yards, IN 5 GAMES and Romo’s rating throwing at him was close to perfect).
    Hakeem Nicks
    Jeremy Maclin
    DeSean Jackson
    Steve Smith
    Dez Bryant

    1. I won’t argue. They’re all very different players, which makes it fun. I prefer the guy that can score anytime he gets his hands on the ball over the sure and steady guy.

      1. Chandus says:

        Well, at least we can agree on which division has the best WRs… Interesting stat: which Division had a 1000 yard receiver in each team? The NFC East.

        For years to come, Defenses will look at their schedules, will see the NFC East and will cringe.

  10. FlashinEagle says:

    would have ranked the up in this order!

    great read!

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