NFC East WR Rankings
July 7, 2013 in NFC East
By Guest Writer Scott Eastment (@SportsGeek02):
While the NFC East certainly is one of the most compelling divisions in football, it is due in large part to the major markets each team resides in more so than the players on each team. While there is some flash with RGIII under center for the Skins, none of these teams really have the high-octane offense, down field passing game that the league seems to be promoting these days. This is in no way the result of the receiving corps that makes up these four teams. The NFC East has some of the most talented wide-receiving corps in National Football League, no thanks to the Redskins of course. Ratings at this position generally are based on the top three to four players at the position, as simply having one All-Pro does not guarantee a team’s high grade. Here is how the four corps stacks up against one another:
1.) Philadelphia Eagles (DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant):
Giants, Eagles, or Cowboys, take your pick. These three wide receiving corps are very closely linked as they all possess two All-Pro caliber receivers and a third weapon that provides an above average option for each of their respective quarterbacks. The Eagles top this list in large part because of the fact that Jason Avant is a better third option than the Giant’s Rueben Randle or the Cowboy’s Dwayne Harris. DeSean Jackson will provide new Head Coach Chip Kelly with a top-notch downfield threat that compliments perfectly with the powerful possession game that Jeremy Maclin brings to the table. The key for this group will be determining who is throwing them the football, and what type of scheme Coach Kelly will implement.
2.) New York Giants (Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle):
Much like the Eagles, Eli Manning’s Giants has an incredible one-two punch to throw to every Sunday as Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz represent one of the better WR combos in the league. While Hakeem Nicks has struggled with health earlier on in his career, it is tough to argue against him as a top-5 receiver when he is on the field. Combine that with the impeccable hands and explosive yards after the catch provided by Victor Cruz, and you can see why Mr. Manning is quite content in New York. The new young gun on the scene Rueben Randle provides a second legitimate downfield threat that could take some of the pressure underneath off of Cruz and open some space downfield for Nicks.
3.) Dallas Cowboys (Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Dwayne Harris):
Tony Romo has always been a controversial quarterback that has struggled leading his team to the playoffs, but he certainly cannot use the excuse of his receiving corps being the problem in Dallas. Much like the Giants and Eagles, Romo’s group of receivers provides a great deal of talent and potential that most secondaries cannot keep up with. Dez Bryant and Miles Austin form an intriguing two-headed monster with Bryant being the flashy downfield man and Austin being the one in charge of possession receptions and yards after the catch. Add in an increasingly more reliable Dwayne Harris and Dallas has itself a solid starting three at the position. As always in the NFC East, health is a key factor; but if this group can trot out there 14 or more times this coming season, Romo will be a happy man.
4.) Washington Redskins (Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss, Joshua Morgan):
Regardless of the fact that the Washington Redskins represented the NFC East in last year’s playoffs, it is no secret that the team’s pass catchers are not the best on the block when compared with the Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys. Pierre Garcon certainly proved his worth as a big-play receiver for the team last year, and the ageless Santana Moss still provides RGIII a great check down receiver who can occasionally make the big play. Joshua Morgan seemingly has the physical talent, however his statistics last season (48 receptions, 510 yards)* and mental mistakes make him a question mark entering 2013. The zone-read scheme concocted by offense coordinator Kyle Shanahan allows wider open throws for quarterback Robert Griffin III, but based simply on talent the Redskins are clearly at the bottom of the pack in the NFC East.
* Statistics provided by ESPN.com