There’s so many variables that can help a NFL wide receiver succeed, and so many that can cause them to struggle. It’s one of the few positions in football, that nobody can fully make you look better. You may have a quarterback that can get the ball in your hands more often, but you’re succeeding because you have the ability to get open. But on the other side of things, they can make you look bad if you don’t get the football enough.
Needless to say, the wide receiver position is tough. And many people want to point fingers at receivers so quickly when they make a mistake. A dropped pass, a tipped pass into the hands of a defender, or a fumble, can easily have a fan base turn against you. As a receiver, you have to be mentally strong. It’s definitely not easy, and there’s a lot of pressure on you.
Wide receivers don’t always last very long because of the large amount of them, and the very few spots there are. Those who succeed may not even last in the NFL for 10 seasons. Fans and the media will try and show that after a few seasons, wide receivers are already on the decline.
The one good thing about the position, is that if you have one good season, you will get plenty of chances. That may be fair with most positions in the NFL, but you can likely get paid decent money too because teams know your potential, even if you can’t reach it. In the NFL, the 1,000-yard mark is the goal for every receiver; so, in 2018, who will hit it?
20 Will: Jamison Crowder - Washington Redskins
With the signing of Paul Richardson, fans would expect him to be the leader or receiving yards. It may not work out like that though. Jamison Crowder has been consistent throughout the first three seasons of his career. While everyone will be on Richardson, Alex Smith is going to get the football a lot to Crowder, a wide receiver that will often be overlooked due to the acquisition of Paul Richardson.
He won’t go far over 1,000, but he could go slightly over, no more than 1,100 yards. Alex Smith likes the spread the football around, but could see a new favorite in Crowder on his new team.
19 Won't: Allen Hurns - Dallas Cowboys
While Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys want to act like they don’t have a no. 1 wide receiver, it’s clear that Allen Hurns will act like one, but, don’t expect a 1,000-yard season for him.
Hurns caught for 1,000 yards in 2015 in Blake Bortles' best season as a passer, but now he plays with a quarterback who doesn’t pick favorites, and really spreads the football around.
The Cowboys have so many receivers on their team that they could really shuffle between receivers and have not one receiver who catches for over 600 yards. With so many different receivers, it will be tough for players to really stand out.
18 Will: Marquise Goodwin - San Francisco 49ers
With the extension of both Jimmy Garoppolo and Marquise Goodwin, it seems that will be the new duo in San Francisco. Goodwin caught 56 passes for 962 yards in 2017, while catching two touchdown passes. With a full season between the two, Goodwin truly could erupt into one of the better receivers in the league. There’s not many other options for Garoppolo, so he’s going to focus on getting the football to Goodwin.
Everyone’s focused on Garoppolo and his initial success as a starter, but if he wants to succeed, Goodwin needs to have a big season. Prediction: Goodwin catches for over 1,300 yards and catches at least seven touchdown passes.
17 Won't: Davante Adams - Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is back, so Davante Adams should get to 1,000 yards this season, right? Well, maybe not yet. Rodgers is back, but you have to hope he’s still going to stay healthy. We saw Tony Romo suffer the same injury and never get back to full health again. Plus, with the signing of Jimmy Graham, we very well could see a tight end catch for over 1,000 yards.
Graham has been one of the best receiving tight ends in the league, and now he connects with the best passer in the game. The Rodgers/Graham connection could be a magical thing.
16 Will: Kelvin Benjamin - Buffalo Bills
Maybe one of the biggest surprises on this list, is our prediction that Kelvin Benjamin of the Buffalo Bills will catch for over 1,000 yards. Let’s put it this way, if he doesn’t, whoever the starting quarterback will have had a very bad first season. Benjamin was traded mid-way through the season from the Panthers, and didn’t have much of a contribution with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback.
Now with an improved passer, the team should see more success in what they hoped to be their replacement for Sammy Watkins.
Neither A.J. McCarron or Josh Allen will have the best first season, but it will be enough to get Benjamin back to over 1,000 receiving yards.
15 Won't: Michael Crabtree - Baltimore Ravens
It’s a new start for the former Raiders wide receiver. The Baltimore Ravens signed Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal after his former team released him. Crabtree wasn’t as effective in the pass game last season, as he was in 2016. With a less talented quarterback, and more weapons for Flacco to throw to, Crabtree is lucky if he passes 800 yards.
It’s not that Crabtree isn’t talented, there’s just a crowd of receivers and he doesn't have a talented enough quarterback to get him 1,000 yards. Signing with Baltimore may be the only spot he becomes the top receiver, but he will definitely see his numbers plummet.
14 Will: Terrelle Pryor - New York Jets
With Terrelle Pryor signing with the New York Jets, the team finally has what you can consider a no. 1 wide receiver. His production went down in 2017, but back track to 2016, he caught for over 1,000 yards with the Clevelnad Browns. In New York, they have a pretty good quarterback situation that will set them up for success, so no matter who’s the quarterback, these wide receivers will get the football.
It's going to be a bounce back season for Pryor, where he will finish the season with over 1,100 receiving yards, and be the team’s leading receiver in 2018.
13 Won't: Emmanuel Sanders - Denver Broncos
It’s been two seasons since Peyton Manning retired, and the Denver Broncos have struggled at the quarterback position. This offseason, the Broncos signed Case Keenum to a two-year deal, after his incredible season with the Minnesota Vikings.
The Broncos already have a strong wide receiver coprs, and then added Courtland Sutton, which improved the receiver core even more.
With that being said, there’s a lot of talent that may make it difficult for Emmanuel Sanders to get back to over 1,000 yards. If anyone’s going to catch for over 1,000 yards on that team, the only player I can see doing that would be Demaryius Thomas.
12 Will: Dez Bryant - Free Agent
There’s no one who has more drive to succeed right now than Dez Bryant. After being released by the Dallas Cowboys, it seems that he has motivation to be the best receiver he can be. Between 2012-2014, Bryant was arguably one of the best receivers in the league. Whoever gets him, honestly might be shocked to get a receiver that can catch for over 1,000 yards. Bryant has been working out with trainers to improve his route running skills. Everyone’s going to count Bryant out, and then he’s going to come back and dominate with whoever he plays with. At this point, it seems like the best fit for him, and most likely would be with Jimmy Garoppolo in San Francisco.
11 Won't: Julian Edelman - New England Patriots
Will Tom Brady’s best wide receiver go without 1,000 receiving yards after coming off an injury that caused him to miss the whole 2018 season? He very well might. In 2016, Julian Edelman caught 98 passes for 1,106 yards. But after missing a full season, how will Edelman bounce back? The safe guess, is that he’s not going for over 1,000 yards, especially if he begins the season serving a four-game suspension.
Chris Hogan gained a bigger role in the Patriots’ offense, and they also added Cordarrelle Patterson and Jordan Matthews. With Brady possibly in his last season, he’s going to spread the football as much as he can to lead this team to success.
10 Will: Brandin Cooks - Los Angeles Rams
It came as a surprise that Brandin Cooks was traded this offseason. This is a receiver that has had three consecutives 1,000 yard seasons, while in his fourth season. The Los Angeles Rams needed a top receiver, and they got their guy.
While the run game was fantastic last season, Cooks gives Jared Goff the ability to be more effective in the passing game.
If the run game is as successful as it was last season, it will allow Goff to get a great connection with Cooks, who is only going to be 25-years old. This may be the most overlooked move made this offseason.
9 Won't: Jarvis Landry - Cleveland Browns
Everyone’s talking about how great the Cleveland Browns receiving corps is and how great it was that they traded for Jarvis Landry, but he may not even catch for 1,000 yards. There’s so much talent on that receiving corps, and a lack of proven talent at the quarterback position that may make it tough. Landry’s a great player, and once Baker Mayfield takes over, he could become a top five receiver, but with Tyrod Taylor throwing the football, it’s going to be tough. This isn’t like in Buffalo where Sammy Watkins at one point was the only legitimate threat in the air.
8 Will: Adam Thielen - Minnesota Vikings
A quarterback change won’t really affect Adam Thielen. While the Vikings did lose Case Keenum, they brought in Kirk Cousins. Cousins will actually help Thielen as he likes to throw the football around a lot more. On this list, this is probably the most obvious receiver to catch for over 1,000 yards.
This is hands down the Vikings' best receiver, and there’s no way Cousins will shy away from throwing the football to him.
Thielen may even have some of the best numbers in the game next season, especially if this Vikings team continues to get better with a new quarterback.
7 Won't: Sammy Watkins - Kansas City Chiefs
It doesn’t make any sense why Sammy Watkins was considered the top free agent wide receiver this offseason. Watkins has only had one season throughout his career where he reached 1,000 yards, and that was two seasons ago. Since then, Watkins has struggled, and has even been compared to a worn out Dez Bryant.
If Watkins couldn’t succeed with the Rams, arguably one of the best offenses in football, what is going to change when he plays with the Chiefs? Plus, no one even knows what to expect from Patrick Mahomes, who will be playing his first season as a starter in the NFL.
6 Will: DeVante Parker - Miami Dolphins
With Jarvis Landry on the other side of the offense, DeVante Parker has been able to catch for over 1,200 yards total over the past two seasons. Imagine what he can do without Landry, and with Ryan Tannehill back. This is the wide receiver to watch out for. Parker can easily hit 1,000 yards, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he reaches around 1,300 yards. His athleticism and ability to make plays while being defended is a great thing about him. If there’s ever a time for DeVante Parker to step up and prove he’s one of the next receiver stars of the NFL, the time is now.
5 Won't: Jordy Nelson - Oakland Raiders
New team, new quarterback, more weapons. This offseason was the time for heart breaks, and one of them included the Green Bay Packers releasing long time wide receiver, Jordy Nelson. After a struggling season with Aaron Rodgers out, the Packers thought it may not be worth paying him.
The Oakland Raiders scored big with this move, as well as the rest of the offseason.
Their top three receivers include Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant. This may very well be the best receiving corps in the NFL. With a connection between Cooper and Derek Carr, that would be the only receiver who touches 1,000 yards this season.
4 Will: Allen Robinson - Chicago Bears
After missing the 2017 season, the other big receiver question is how will Allen Robinson play? Well before he got hurt, he was fantastic for a team that was the joke of the league, with the biggest joke of a quarterback. Now, Robinson plays with the top quarterback of the 2016 draft, and alongside a great receiving core with Taylor Gabriel and Bennie Fowler.
The connection to look for is between Mitchell Trubisky and Allen Robinson. Robinson could truly erupt into a strong force on the Bears offense, and help take this offense to the next level. As long as he has recovered from his injury, this is a huge upgrade.
3 Won't: Julio Jones - Atlanta Falcons
Most people will probably think this is crazy, but Julio Jones has been so dominant throughout his career. Going into year eight, he has to slow down at some point, right? For the past four seasons, he has caught for over 1,000 yards and been one of the most dominant receivers in the game. With adding Calvin Ridley, and already having Mohammad Sanu, is this team planning for after Jones? Probably not, but it’s going to be the start of Matt Ryan spreading the ball out more.
All of this is hypothetical, but don’t be surprised if Jones suffers an injury or struggles this season. It seems like that type of year.
2 Will: Nelson Agholor - Philadelphia Eagles
Before last season, Nelson Agholor looked like one of the most disappointing wide receivers in the NFL. A year later, he could catch for over 1,000 yards? How could that be? Well, the Eagles have the most dominant offense in football, and one of the best young talents in Carson Wentz. You can’t expect Alshon Jeffrey to consistently play well, especially with his history of injuries.
Agholor is young and has a lot of energy, and proved that he could be a real playmaker last season.
Jeffrey may suffer an injury, as he has several times in his career, and with that Agholor's career could explode and he can become a force that scares the NFC East. He won’t catch for well over 1,000, but he may make it there.
1 Won't: Devin Funchess - Carolina Panthers
As the star receiver for the Carolina Panthers last season, Devin Funchess caught 63 passes for 840 yards, and scored eight touchdowns. That was with having practically no other receivers around him. Usually receivers would grow and get more involved, but Funchess likely won’t catch for over 900 yards. With the acquisitions of Torrey Smith and D.J. Moore, there’s now a decent receiver corps for Cam Newton to target. But unfortunately, that will lead to a drop in Funchess’ production. Plus, Christian McCaffrey has a season under his belt, so you can assume he will get more involved in the pass game this season.