Ranking The AFC West Wide Receiver Groups

Chase Bendel
Ranking The AFC West Wide Receiver Groups

Ranking The AFC West Wide Receiver Groups

As everyone knows, the AFC West as a whole is probably the best division in the NFL. After this offseason, you can argue that any team can make the playoffs. All 4 teams look to have a dynamic passing attack that is built around the pass catchers on the team. Where do you think the Chargers rank in the AFC west by receiver groups? This was actually very difficult to rank these 4 teams receiver groups, 3 of them were extremely close that I would’ve been fine going any way with it. This will not include tight ends in the rankings, only the wide receivers. In the rankings I will list the team and then their top 4 receivers. Also, I will include what the different teams can do to get to number 1 by the end of the season. We will start with #4.

4. Kansas City Chiefs: Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Mecole Hardman, and Skyy Moore (R)

This feels weird to even put here, but the Chiefs quite easily, have the worst receivers group in this division. The group will still look good because they still have Patrick Mahomes throwing to them. Talent wise, they aren’t on the same level that the other teams are. With Tyreek Hill being traded to the Dolphins, the Chiefs are going to significantly miss their most dynamic player from the past few seasons. Tyreek opened up so much in the offense where it will be interesting to see how this goes. Now they go into the season with three new receivers in their top 4 with Juju, Valdez Scantling, and Moore the rookie. Moore was arguably the biggest steal of the second day of the draft and will do his best to fill in part of Tyreek’s production, but it’s likely going to be a committee approach.

How could the Chiefs get to number 1 by the end of the season? Getting Juju to recapture some of his 2018 magic (1,400 yards that season), and ensuring that Moore hits the ground running would certainly help. Even if these things happen, it is an uphill climb for the Chiefs to get to the top considering what they lost with Tyreek and what the other teams have.

3. Denver Broncos: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler

This is where things get really, really difficult. At the beginning of writing this, I considered the Broncos for the #1, eventually I decided to put them at #3. I would say the Broncos have the best depth of the 4 teams in the division, but the main issue with them is that they are still mostly an unproven commodity as a group. Sutton tore his ACL and missed most of the 2020 season, and did not look like himself in 2021. Another offseason of rehab should be very beneficial for him, however.

Jeudy is extremely talented but has struggled mightily with inconsistent play – namely drops. Hamler has also struggled to stay on the field. Patrick has been an incredible success story as a former undrafted free agent and is arguably their most consistent option.

You could argue that this is mostly a future projection, as none of the receivers on the team broke the 800 yard mark last season. But that was with Drew Lock starting at quarterback, not Russell Wilson. I believe the talent is there with this group and Wilson’s presence will make a significant difference.

How do the Broncos get to #1? Pretty simple here actually, first and foremost, Jeudy needs to figure out how to be a consistent playmaker and have a breakout season. Second on that list would be getting Sutton to rekindle some of his pre-injury production. If they are able to get those two things to happen, Patrick’s consistency and Hamler’s speed could push them to the top of the list.

2. Los Angeles Chargers: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Josh Palmer, Jalen Guyton

It is difficult to put bias aside, but I ultimately decided that I couldn’t put the Bolts at the top spot. Why are they number 2? A significant part of why I have them ahead of the Chiefs and Broncos, respectively, is the presence and return of Williams, who I beleive is in the conversation for best #2 option in the league.

Then you have Allen, who is still one of the best route runners in the NFL and is essentially a lock to surpass 100 catches and 1,000 yards. There are some questions after that, though. I like Palmer a lot and he really came into his own at the end of the season. Palmer could be in store for a mini-breakout sophomore season.

The main reason I couldn’t put them at number 1 is the lack speed. Guyton continues to improve and is a solid #4 option, but he is their only real speed threat. Williams being a vertical receiver helps, but the Chargers lack a true gamebreaker in this group.

How do the Chargers get to number 1? I believe a lot of it comes down to Williams. We pretty much know what we are getting from Allen at this stage of his career, but Williams is the one that has potential to continue to grow. He had his best season of his career last season and ranked highly in several categories, but he had several key drops throughout the season. If he solves that issue, takes another step with Justin Herbert we could be looking at a 1,300 yards season.

1. Las Vegas Raiders: Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Demarcus Robinson, Keelan Cole

My thought process here was the opposite of the Broncos. I originally had the Raiders at #3, and eventually talked myself into putting them first. Looking at 3 and 4, I understand why some would disagree with me. I really like Renfrow and he’s continuing to play super well and is constantly proving that he is one of the best slot receivers in the league. However, the reason I have them all the way at 1, is 100% because of Adams. He has been my favorite receiver to watch in the NFL the past few seasons, and I believe he is the best receiver in the NFL at this point. Adams’ greatness really overcompensates for the awful depth in this group that just got worse after they traded Bryan Edwards to the Falcons – if there’s one group that would be absolutely crushed by one injury, it would be this one.

How do the Raiders stay here? If Adams and Renfrow stay healthy they should produce like one of the best duos in the league. If Robinson and Cole prove to be decent depth options, that should be enough to hold down the fort.

Final Thoughts

I understand if people disagree with me on these rankings, I second guessed everything multiple times. I tried to put aside the play of quarterbacks as well and based it upon the talent of the receivers alone – although the Broncos make that last part very difficult. I am excited to see what the Chargers do this season to continue to get Williams more involved, I believe he is the key to open up so much more to this offense. While I believe the Chargers are at number 2 at this moment, I do believe that they will end the season at the top.

Ranking The AFC West Wide Receiver Groups