Which AFC West team has the best wide receivers?

Jan 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (right) embrace following the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (right) embrace following the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

How does the Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver corps compare to the rest of the AFC West?

In my series covering how the Kansas City Chiefs offense matches up with the rest of the AFC West, we’ve already analyzed running backs, quarterbacks, offensive lines, and tight ends. This leaves only one remaining position: wide receiver. That’s what we’ll be exploring in this final installment.

To evaluate each team’s WR corps best, I will be looking mostly at their top 3 receivers, but factoring in their next 3 as well. This way, it’s not only their WR1 being taken into account but also their depth at this position. Unlike running backs, tight ends, and quarterbacks, there are changes to receivers on nearly every play. All of them need to be taken into account.

Broncos: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick

Courtland Sutton has been a notable receiver for the Broncos since he was drafted in 2018. An injury in 2020 during Week 2 against the Steelers took him out for the remainder of that season, but he bounced back well in 2021. He’s only recorded one 1,000-yard season so far in his career, but he always averages high yards per reception.

Jerry Jeudy has been above-average since being drafted in 2020. He just hasn’t had the chance to break out and show his full potential yet. In 2020, he had 856 yards on 52 receptions. However, he had 12 drops. In 2021, he had 467 yards on 38 receptions with 2 drops, most after returning from IR in Week 8. He went down with a high ankle sprain in Week 1 against the Giants.

Tim Patrick doesn’t record all that many yards per season. His max was 742 in 2020. However, he scores the most TDs out of the receiving corps. In 2020, he had 6. In 2021, he had 5. Though he’s not as much of a household name as Sutton or Jeudy, he’s got his place on the team.

Other WRs on the Broncos include: KJ Hamler, Kendall Hinton, and Montrell Washington.

Points: 3

Chargers: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Jalen Guyton

Keenan Allen has been an outstanding receiver since being drafted in 2013. He tore his ACL in Week 1 in 2016, ending his season, but he hasn’t missed a beat. In his career, he’s recorded 8,535 yards and 48 TDs. He’s also recorded 5 1,000+ yard seasons. Though his best years are likely behind him, as he just turned 30 a little over a month ago, he still makes the Chargers that much better.

Mike Williams is the big guy receiver I’ve always wanted on the Chiefs. He didn’t put on a show in his rookie year (2017), but has since been an elite, but oddly quiet, wide receiver. He isn’t as talked about since he plays the 2 behind Allen. But he should be. He averages no less than 15 yards per reception. One reason he may not be talked about as much is that he doesn’t get the touchdowns that Allen gets. In 2019 and 2020 combined, he played 30 games and only got 7 TDs. But that’s not a knock against him. He’s phenomenal.

Jalen Guyton doesn’t get the credit he deserves. PFF’s highest grade for him was last season at 57.4. However, his stats show a much better player. Sure, he doesn’t get high yardage, but that’s because he’s a WR3. His YPR is still high at 18.3 in 2020 and 14.5 in 2021.

Other WRs on the Chargers include: Jordan Palmer, DeAndre Carter, and Jason Moore.

Points: 4

Raiders: Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Demarcus Robinson

Let me be perfectly clear. Davante Adams is a monster. He is an absolutely insane receiver. He singlehandedly increases the Raiders’ offensive value. The only question I have is: will he be able to produce with that offensive line? Sure, that Packers line isn’t phenomenal either, but Derek Carr isn’t Aaron Rodgers. Considering that Adams will likely be force-fed the ball, I don’t expect his stat totals to go down, but I don’t think his YPR will remain as high as they have been.

Hunter Renfrow is a product of his environment. He’s best as a WR2. He can produce as a WR1, but it isn’t as much production as one would like to see in that position. Last season, in the 10 games after Henry Ruggs did what he did, Renfrow only put up 639 yards. That’s 63.9 yards per game. He’s just not good.

I’m so glad Demarcus Robinson isn’t a Chief anymore. In 5 seasons with the Chiefs, Robinson only recorded 1,679 yards and 14 TDs. His main issue is that he tries to imitate Tyreek Hill and run sideline-to-sideline after the catch, but he doesn’t have the speed for that.

Other WRs on the Raiders include: Keelan Cole, Mack Hollins, and Tyron Johnson.

Points: 1

Chiefs: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, Marquez Valdes-Scantling

JuJu Smith-Schuster is a decent WR. He’s not bad, but he isn’t elite. And he’s certainly no replacement for Tyreek Hill. However, we can’t judge him by his stats, because his quarterback for most of the time he was in Pittsburgh (Not accounting for the Mason Rudolph year) was the corpse of what used to be Ben Roethlisberger. I want JuJu to be good. I really do. But I’m not sure he’ll be WR1 material on the Chiefs.

Mecole Hardman is who I’m really holding out hope for. He’s been sitting behind Tyreek Hill since 2019. Can he finally have his breakout season now that Hill is gone? Who knows? He’s been steadily improving since he was drafted, so I hope he can finally show his skill. 538 yards in 2019, 560 in 2020, and 693 in 2021. I wonder if he can break 1,000 in 2022.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a big question mark. He’s played behind Davante Adams for his whole career. Not to mention Aaron Jones as well. Can he produce when there isn’t a clear WR1? In a (maybe) by-committee system?

Other WRs on the Chiefs include: Skyy Moore, Josh Gordon, and Justyn Ross.

Points: 2

The Best: Chargers

This one is a toss-up between the Broncos and the Chargers. Both are very good, but I’m going to hand this one to the Chargers. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen stand out more to me than Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy.

As for ranking the Chiefs over the Raiders. Yes, it’s bold. However, I value depth more than one standout WR. Davante Adams is really, really good. But, will he be able to produce when he’s doubled on every play? That’s the question. With the Chiefs, there will always be someone open who can catch the ball. That’s why I ranked the way I did.

Final Rankings

1. Chiefs (16)
2. Chargers (15)
3. Broncos (9)
4. Raiders (10)

Unsurprisingly, I have the Chiefs ranked as the best offense in the AFC West. With players like Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and a stacked offensive line, it’s hard to say that they don’t have the best in the division. The Chargers come close, with Herbert, Ekeler, and that WR corps, but I firmly believe that the Chiefs edge out the Chargers.

As I stated in the RB evaluation, it would be possible for a team to have more points and finish behind another team. I foresaw the Broncos having fewer points. My reasoning behind having the Broncos in third and the Raiders in last isn’t a personal preference. It’s that the Broncos have a QB and a WR corps that are above average. I don’t think Carr will get the job done. As stated in this very article, Carr isn’t Aaron Rodgers. I don’t think he will suffice with the O-Line he’s provided.

Thank you all for sticking with me through this series. It was very fun writing all five of these articles over the last week. I hope you all had just as much fun reading them.

Next. Ranking the Chiefs top 15 draft picks ever. dark