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The Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles are off to great starts in 2022, thanks in large part to standout wide receivers Stefon Diggs, Justin Jefferson and A.J. Brown. Those three stars caught a combined 27 of the 33 passes thrown their way in Week 1 victories.
Meanwhile, the only real other wideouts with an increase of than 121 yards receiving last weekend were familiar elite pass-catchers Davante Adams, Ja’Marr Chase and Cooper Kupp of the NEVADA Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals and LA Rams, respectively. Those teams weren’t as fortunate, but big numbers from their website and also Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Indianapolis Colts top weapon Michael Pittman Jr. served up to now another reminder that the NFL’s shifting focus to dominant receivers is evident and justified.
All eight of these league-leading receivers play for teams that currently rank in the very best 15 in Bleacher Report’s NFL power rankings. The majority of the other seven teams for the reason that group aren’t exactly hurting for wideouts, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mike Evans/Julio Jones), LA Chargers (Keenan Allen/Mike Williams), Baltimore Ravens (Rashod Bateman), SAINTS (Michael Thomas/Jarvis Landry), Miami Dolphins (Tyreek Hill/Jaylen Waddle) and Denver Broncos (Jerry Jeudy/Courtland Sutton) all in “good hands.”
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On the far side of the coin, teams that struggled offensively from the gatethe Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars, to mention a fewlack clear-cut game-changing wide receivers.
Seven days doesn’t a trend make, but it offers to feel just like reaffirmation entering the next weekend of the growing season for individuals who supported the shift to emphasizing receivers in recent offseasons.
And that movement has carried to the draft, where one-third of the initial 18 players selected in the 2022 edition were wide receivers, with seven more going off the board in Round 2.
That has been extraordinary however, not surprising considering that 17 wideouts have already been chosen in the initial round of days gone by three drafts combined, in comparison to just seven in the preceding three-year span between 2017 and 2019.
It isn’t as if every person in that 17-receiver group has flourished (see Jalen Reagor during his time with the Eagles and GAMBLING sophomore Kadarius Toney), but Jefferson, Chase, Waddle, Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb of the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia’s DeVonta Smith have flashed to varying degrees.
Meanwhile, rookie first-round pass-catchers Drake London and Jahan Dotson stood out for the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Commanders, respectively in Week 1. (And we’d be remiss not forgetting Atlanta’s Kyle Pitts, who, like Kelce, is really a game-altering receiver at the tight end position.)
So yeah, you can understand and track the leaguewide infatuation with wide receivers. No position will soon threaten quarterback atop the NFL’s positional hierarchy, however the battery of passer and catcher is now more of a focus.
We saw more from a few of the current veteran pass-catching elites Thursday night in Kansas City, and much more will undoubtedly be on display through the entire weekend. Hill, Waddle and Bateman will need exactly the same field for Dolphins-Ravens in Baltimore, while Thomas, Landry, Evans and Jones can do a similar thing for Bucs-Saints in New Orleans. There is also Chase vs. Lamb with Cincinnati in Dallas, and Jefferson vs. Brown on Monday night with the Vikings in Philly.
It could continually be a quarterback’s league, however the NFL’s prized receivers have become the show. And they are lots of fun. Enjoy.