As a feature in the 2023 Sharp Football Preview Book, the Sharp Football Analysis team ranked positional units across the league for the 2023 season.
The ranking guidelines were up to the specific voter with the only requirement that the focus is on the upcoming season only, not the future outlook.
With a combination of numbers, film, and projections, the rankings were averaged for quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers/tight ends, offensive line, defensive front seven, defensive secondary, and head coach.
Next up: 2023 NFL wide receiver and tight end rankings.
These insights are an excerpt from Warren Sharp’s 500+ page book “2023 Football Preview” which is now available for download.
2023 NFL Wide Receiver & Tight End Rankings
Score based on average ranks of positional unit (on a 100 point scale) for all 32 teams, from Sharp Football staff voters. If all voters had a team at #1, that score would be 100. Ties are broken by the highest vote on any ballot.
What team has the best wide receivers and tight ends in the NFL?
32. Carolina Panthers
Carolina’s pass catchers are the team’s lowest-ranked unit and landed no higher than 30th on any ballot. If the unit exceeds expectations, rookie Jonathan Mingo will likely be the reason. Mingo’s ability to produce after the catch pairs well with Young’s skill set at quarterback.
31. Houston Texans
The Texans’ pass catchers ranked no higher than 29th on any ballot and appear to be the weakest link on the roster. That said, a number of young receivers on the depth chart provide Houston with some hope the unit could exceed our low expectations. Former second-round pick John Metchie, who missed the entire 2022 season, is the wildcard who could elevate the group if he lives up to the team’s expectations.
30. New York Giants
The Giants pass catching unit is a mess and placed in the bottom six on every ballot. The biggest mystery is what Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka plan to do with all these slot receivers. Parris Campbell, Sterling Shepard, Jamison Crowder, Jalin Hyatt, and Wan’Dale Robinson are all best suited for roles in the slot. On a positive note, at least there’s considerable depth, and perhaps someone emerges as a legitimate weapon for Jones.
29. Indianapolis Colts
Michael Pittman has shown flashes of developing into a true No. 1 receiver, but he must prove he’s a dynamic downfield weapon to fully earn that title. Pittman caught just three passes at 15 or more yards downfield last year. If second-year pros Alec Pierce and Jelani Woods make strides, perhaps this unit can outplay their low ranking.
28. New England Patriots
New England’s worst unit is the pass catchers, which checks in at 28th overall. Last season, we had seven teams ranked 20th or worst at quarterback and pass-catchers. Only the Giants made the playoffs. So there’s little reason to believe the Patriots can overcome this lack of offensive talent.
27. Green Bay Packers
The Packers are going through a youth movement in their receiving corps, pairing Christian Watson with fellow 2022 rookie Romeo Doubs and this year’s second-round pick Jayden Reed. Starting tight end Luke Musgrave is also a rookie second rounder, and they added Tucker Kraft in the third round. As a result, the Packers didn’t receive any votes above 25th in this category.
26. Los Angeles Rams
Cooper Kupp is propping up a receiving corps severely lacking in proven depth. When throwing 10 or more yards downfield last season, Rams quarterbacks completed 58% of their passes targeted at Kupp and 45% to everyone else.
25. Atlanta Falcons
After adding pass catchers in the first round in consecutive years, the Falcons neglected the unit this offseason. As a result, there’s not much depth behind Drake London and Kyle Pitts. For this unit to develop further, Pitts must develop a connection with Desmond Ridder. On 19 targets at least 15 yards downfield last year, Pitts hauled in just three receptions.
24. Tennessee Titans
The Titans were dead last in these rankings before signing DeAndre Hopkins in July. Hopkins showed he still had gas left in the tank by finishing 25th in yards per route run in nine games with the Cardinals last season. He will join sophomores Treylon Burks and Chig Okonkwo in a pass catching group that still lacks depth but suddenly looks much better at the top of the roster.
23. Arizona Cardinals
Even without DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona’s pass-catchers are one of the team’s top units. With Marquise Brown, Greg Dortch, and Rondale Moore, the team has plenty of speed at receiver. Zach Ertz is returning from a torn ACL, but last year’s second-round pick Trey McBride gives the team excellent depth at tight end.
22. Detroit Lions
The Lions traded T.J. Hockenson midseason last year but added his replacement, Sam LaPorta, with the 34th-overall pick. The wide receiver group looked to be poised for a big season after Amon-Ra St. Brown’s breakout season, but Jameson Williams will miss six games while serving a suspension for gambling. Marvin Jones’ return will be a welcome sight after spending two years in Jacksonville.
21. Washington Commanders
Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson are a respectable one-two punch at receiver, but there’s little talent around them. Curtis Samuel has struggled to carve out a role since arriving in Washington. In 2022, Samuel caught just 65% of his targets between zero and 10 yards downfield, which ranked 67th out of 77 qualified receivers.
20. Chicago Bears
The addition of D.J. Moore raises the profile of the receiving corps significantly after Darnell Mooney was the only wide receiver to top 400 yards in 2022. The team will also get a full year of Chase Claypool after trading for him at the deadline, but he’s enjoyed mixed results as a Bear so far.
19. New Orleans Saints
Votes for the Saints’ pass catchers ranked from ninth to 24th, likely due to the uncertainty of injury-prone Michael Thomas and the addition of rookie A.T. Perry. If Thomas stays healthy, Chris Olave builds on his strong rookie season, Perry makes an impact as a deep threat, and tight end Juwan Johnson continues to develop, the high end of that spectrum is achievable.
18. Kansas City Chiefs
It was difficult to rank the Chiefs pass catchers as an isolated unit because Patrick Mahomes elevates everyone around him and Travis Kelce is the best tight end in the league. As a result, votes ranged from 12th to 26th. There’s a lack of proven talent, but Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore, and second-round pick Rashee Rice give the Chiefs a number of potential weapons to replace JuJu Smith-Schuster’s production.
17. Denver Broncos
Votes for Denver’s pass catchers ranged from eighth to 20th. The unit could reach the high end of that spectrum if a third downfield weapon emerges to pair with Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. Last year, Wilson completed 52% of passes at 10 or more yards downfield when targeting Jeudy and Sutton but just 39% when throwing to anyone else. That will be more difficult with Tim Patrick already lost for the season, but a step forward from Greg Dulcich would help.
16. Cleveland Browns
Amari Cooper arrived in Cleveland as advertised in 2022, earning his third 1,100-yard season in the past four years, but that only bumped the Browns up three spots in our rankings for 2023. Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Njoku are coming off career years. The team also traded for former Jet Elijah Moore and drafted Cedric Tillman in the third round.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers finished with three players over 700 receiving yards in 2022: Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, and Pat Freiermuth. Pittsburgh’s depth is a bit concerning considering Chase Claypool was the only other player to top 300 yards last year, and he was traded to Chicago midway through the season. They added Allen Robinson, who was dreadful in Los Angeles last year, averaging a career-low 0.93 yards per route run.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas will miss Dalton Schultz at tight end, but the upgrade from Noah Brown to Brandin Cooks at receiver should be significant. On targets 10 or more yards downfield, Brown caught just 63% of his catchable targets, the league’s second-worst rate. Cooks caught 73%.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa’s best unit remains its pass-catchers, thanks to Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. The biggest question mark is at tight end, where Cade Otton and rookie Payne Durham will need to provide a spark in the passing game.
12. New York Jets
As a rookie, Garrett Wilson established himself as a No. 1 option. Wilson led the team with 35 targets at 15 or more yards downfield last year, but less than half (16) were catchable. Expect another sophomore-year leap for Wilson with better quarterback play. While there isn’t a great second option behind Wilson, there’s plenty of proven depth with Corey Davis, Allen Lazard, and Mecole Hardman.
11. Baltimore Ravens
The biggest jump for the Ravens came at receiver where they climbed from 23rd last year thanks to a litany of moves. They signed Odell Beckham in free agency and drafted Zay Flowers with the 22nd pick. Mark Andrews took a step back in 2022 after an All-Pro season, and Rashod Bateman is looking to bounce back after playing just six games. Only Andrews, Devin Duvernay, and Demarcus Robinson had over 400 receiving yards for the Ravens last season.
10. Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers’ pass catchers land at number 10 for the second consecutive year, but votes ranged from eighth to 22nd. The biggest concern is health, as Mike Williams and Keenan Allen combined to miss 11 games last year. Rookie Quentin Johnston may provide some reinforcement, but he’s a developmental prospect. It’s unclear how much value he will add in 2023.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars’ pass catchers jumped 21 spots in our rankings from a season ago, the largest improvement of any pass catching unit. Depth is the unit’s greatest asset. It goes four deep with proven weapons in Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram. The only lingering question is can Ridley return to his peak form after nearly two full years away from the field? This unit needs Ridley to emerge as a true No. 1 weapon with everyone else better suited as a secondary option.
8. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo’s pass catchers checked in at number eight, with a lack of depth holding them back despite Stefon Diggs clearly standing out as a legitimate No. 1 weapon. The addition of rookie Dalton Kincaid adds an unknown element to this unit, which received votes ranging from seventh to 15th.
7. Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas’ pass catchers are the team’s top-ranked unit. Despite losing Darren Waller, they may have upgraded the unit overall with the additions of Jakobi Meyers, Austin Hooper, and rookie Michael Mayer to go with alpha WR1 Davante Adams.
6. Minnesota Vikings
Justin Jefferson remains the best wide receiver in the NFL, and as a result, the Vikings’ receiving corps is their highest-ranked unit. T.J. Hockenson averaged a career-high six receptions per game after being traded from Detroit midseason, and the Vikings used their first-round pick on Jordan Addison to replace Adam Thielen.
5. Miami Dolphins
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are an elite one-two punch, though a lack of depth slightly holds back the pass-catchers from a higher ranking. An injury to either player would be devastating to the unit, and the lack of talent at tight end limits the diversity this offense can offer.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Thanks to the addition of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seattle’s top-ranked unit is its pass catchers, with votes ranging from second to sixth. The biggest weakness last year was the lack of a third option, as former second-round pick Dee Eskridge has failed to develop. Smith-Njigba should immediately solve that issue.
3. San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco’s pass catchers landed in the top five on every ballot, though we have to give some credit to the coaching staff for making this unit look great every year. Based on route-adjusted data, 49ers receivers gained 22% more yards after the catch than expected, the second-highest rate in the league.
2. Cincinnati Bengals
After having the top receiving corps in last year’s rankings, the Bengals fell to second behind the Eagles, earning votes ranked between second and fourth. Cincinnati was still able to produce a pair of 1,000-yard receivers despite Ja’Marr Chase missing four games. They also added Irv Smith Jr. to replace Hayden Hurst as the team’s top tight end.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Philly’s pass-catchers were a unanimous No. 1 selection. If this unit fails to live up to lofty expectations, it will likely be due to injuries and a lack of depth. A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert accounted for 69% of the team’s targets and 80% of their intended air yards in 2022.
Ranking each NFL Unit for 2023:
For all of the team-by-team unit rankings and full team chapters, including a dozen more visuals & info-graphics, defensive breakdown, and detailed Fantasy football implications — plus all 32 team chapters — pick up a copy of Warren Sharp’s new ‘2023 Football Preview’ book