A year ago, Jamison Crowder was a Redskin, Golden Tate was a Lion, DeSean Jackson was a Buccaneer, Terrance Williams was a Cowboy, Odell Beckham Jr. was a Giant, Amari Cooper was a Raider, Cole Beasley was a Cowboy.
The NFC East wide receiver landscape has changed dramatically since then.
Crowder signed with the Jets, Beasley signed with the Bills, Tate was traded to the Eagles and then signed with the Giants, D-Jack was traded to the Eagles, OBJ to the Browns, Cooper to the Cowboys, and Williams is now a free agent.
What does it all mean? Which NFC East team now has the best wide receivers?
We decided to rank the top 10 receivers in the division, taking into account both what they did last year and their consistency over the past several seasons.
1. Amari Cooper, Cowboys
In four NFL seasons, he’s averaged 70 catches, 977 yards and six TDs, and the 24-year-old Cooper gave the Cowboys a real lift after coming over from Oakland. His 217 yards in Dallas in December is second-most ever against the Eagles. You can debate the other spots on this list, but not No. 1.
2. Alshon Jeffery, Eagles
Alshon gets the nod for the No. 2 spot because of his consistency. He hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2014 in Chicago, but he’s one of only eight WRs with at least 750 yards in each of the last four seasons, and his 5,814 yards since 2013 are 10th-most in the NFL over the last six years.
3. DeSean Jackson, Eagles
Jackson has really built up a body of work in 11 NFL seasons. He’s one of only six players in NFL history with 10,000 receiving yards and over 17 yards per catch. The two years in Tampa weren’t great ones, but he’s still as explosive as anybody and led the league in yards per catch for the NFL-record fourth time last year.
4. Golden Tate, Giants
I didn’t want to rank Tate this high because the Golden Tate we saw in eight games was pretty mediocre (3.8 catches and 35 yards per game). But Tate did catch 75 balls for 795 yards in 15 games last year, and his 510 catches since 2013 are 6th-most in the NFL and his 5,917 yards are 8th-most.
5. Sterling Shepard, Giants
Shepard isn’t spectacular, but he has piled up 190 catches, 2,286 yards and 14 TDs in his first three seasons, which puts him right around what Jeffery and Jackson have done. Close call between him and Nelly for No. 5.
6. Nelson Agholor, Eagles
Nelly’s numbers are modest, but you can’t understate his importance to the Eagles in terms of big plays, and his Super Bowl performance was exceptional. And for the sake of comparison, he’s one of only 14 WRs in the league with 60 catches, 700 yards and 4 TDs in each of the last two seasons.
7. Michael Gallup, Cowboys
The Cowboys’ rookie third-round pick out of Colorado State had a promising rookie year with 33-for-507 and was the only rookie wide receiver in the NFC East to catch a pass. He finished with a career-best 119 yards in the playoff loss to the Rams, fourth-most yards ever by a rookie wide receiver in a postseason game. And he’s only 22.
8. Josh Doctson, Redskins
After barely playing as a rookie, Doctson has averaged 40-for-517 and 4 TDs the last two years for the Redskins. OK production but certainly not close to what the Redskins expected when they made him the 22nd pick in the 2016 draft.
9. Paul Richardson, Redskins
Richardson was only 20-for-262 in seven games in Washington last year but did have a 700-yard season a year earlier for the Seahawks with six TDs so he makes the list based on that.
10. Allen Hurns, Cowboys
Since his 1,000-yard season with the Jaguars in 2015, Hurns has averaged just 31 catches for 419 yards and 2 1/2 TDs per year for the Jaguars and Cowboys.
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