Inside the Article:
The NFL season is just 45 days away when the Detroit Lions kick off the season against the Kansas City Chiefs. Last week I ranked the Quarterback and Running Back units in the NFC North; today, I'll rank the Wide Receiver group in the division. The division has a lot of talent at wide receiver, with Justin Jefferson leading the charge and even being the top wide receiver in the league. So who ranks as the number one wide-receiving group in the NFC North?
Ranking NFC North Wide Receiver Position
Number Four: Green Bay Packers
The Packers receiving unit took a step back when they lost Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders, and last season, their top receiver was Allen Lazard, who caught 60 passes for 788 yards. Now Lazard and Adams are both gone, and the Packers will have Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs as their top two options for Jordan Love.
The Packers also brought in Jayden Reed, who they drafted 50th overall in this year's draft out of Michigan State. Reed caught 55 passes for 636 yards and five touchdowns for the Spartans last season. He does provide a target on the outside with speed. However, it's the rest of the depth and the question marks of Doubs and Watson that the Packers come in fourth in these rankings.
Number Three: Chicago Bears
The Bears last season had a total of 1,588 receiving yards from their wide receivers, with the top yardage guy being Darnell Mooney. Last season they also added Chase Claypool, who they acquired at the trade deadline, and he would play in seven games catching 14 passes for 140 yards. The Bears went out and added another weapon for Justin Fields by acquiring D.J. Moore from the Carolina Panthers.
Moore last season had 888 yards on 63 catches with seven touchdowns, and that was with Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker, and Jacob Eason, which Fields is a better quarterback than those four so Moore's numbers should go up in 2023. He should finish the season with 1,000 yards for the first time since 2021.
Number Two: Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have Justin Jefferson, which automatically puts them towards the top of these rankings; he is looking for his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season after posting 1,400, 1,616, and 1,809-yard seasons his first three years.
The Vikings lost Adam Thielen in free agency and replaced him with Jordan Addison, who they drafted 23rd overall in this season's draft; they also bring back K.J. Osborn, who last year had 650 yards on 69 catches and five touchdowns. They also have some depth, with Jalen Nailor and Jalen Reagor behind their starting three.
Number One: Detroit Lions
The Lions have Amon-Ra St. Brown leading their wide receiver room, and he is a top ten wide receiver in the league entering this season; last year, he had 106 catches for 1,161 yards and six touchdowns. St. Brown ranked 11th in the league in receiving yards last season.
Unfortunately, the Lions also have speedster Jameson Williams who will miss the first six games of the season due to suspension—not having Williams led the Lions to bring in Denzel Mims from the New York Jets. They also brought back Marvin Jones Jr. and have depth pieces in Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond, which provides them the most depth in the division and puts them at number one.
Bottom Line: NFC North is Loaded with Talent at Wide Receiver
The NFC North had one of the best quarterbacks and best wide receivers in football, but both have left the division over the last two seasons and left the door wide open for a change in the division. The North still has the best wide receiver and features another top-ten receiver.
The Detroit Lions and Vikings finished fifth and sixth last season in receiving yards, and that's due in part to the big names of Amon-Ra St. Brown and Justin Jefferson, and you can expect them both to lead their teams again in 2023.