In a recent post from Pro Football Focus, they ranked the best wide receiver corps in the NFL. The Denver Broncos (+78.3) came in third place behind the Indianapolis Colts (+79.0) and the Dallas Cowboys (+78.9). Before you get up in arms over that ranking, they did note that the Broncos have the best one-two punch in the NFL.
3. Denver Broncos (78.3)
The Broncos are a receiving group that keeps getting better. Last year, the addition of Emmanuel Sanders gave them arguably the best one-two punch at wide receiver in the NFL. They are the only team with both starting wide receivers with a PFF rating above 84. They added Owen Daniels in free agency, who is one of five tight ends to receive a positive receiving grade each of the last four years. The rest of that list? Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. This leaves the only unknown as Cody Latimer, who had just 37 snaps as a rookie.
This year, the big unknown is Cody Latimer who had just 37 snaps on offense in 2014. If he has a pretty good year then the Broncos could very easily boast the best group of starting wide receivers in the NFL.
Here's how the projected starters graded out by PFF in 2014:
- Demaryius Thomas (+19.3). DT had a monster year, posting a +1.0 or higher in ten of his games in 2014. He is a Top 3 wide receiver in the NFL and will easily continue with that trend upwards.
- Emmanuel Sanders (+15.6). Sanders burst onto the NFL stage with a career year in 2014. He too boasted ten games of a +1.0 PFF grade or higher in 2014. As a true deep threat, he will continue to be the Broncos lightning in a bottle in 2015.
- Virgil Green (+5.7). Green is more of a run blocker than a passer, but he saw the field more than you think in 2014 with over 400 snaps on the year. He'll be on the field a lot in 2015, because Gary Kubiak is going to want to run the ball.
- Owen Daniels (-0.1). Don't let that negative PFF rating fool you. Daniels is not a blocking tight end and graded out fairly badly in the run game, but posted a (+4.9) in the receiving game. He'll play a big role in the passing game in 2015.
As I looked over the rest of the Top 10 from this list, I was shocked to see the Green Bay Packers omitted from the Top 10 and the Kansas City Chiefs included. It seems absurd not to include the quarterback when considering the top wide receiver corps in the NFL, because, well, the ball still needs to get to the guy trying to catch it.
9. Kansas City Chiefs (76.2)
A year ago the Chiefs would have been much lower on this list. Since then they had Travis Kelce emerge as one of the best tight ends in the NFL. He ranked No. 2 in the league among tight ends in yards per route run, just behind Rob Gronkowski. In free agency they added Jeremy Maclin, who had the lowest drop rate among all wide receivers last season at 1.16. Rookies both De’Anthony Thomas and Albert Wilson played decently on small sample sizes last season, and should help make the group look better than it has in the past.
Um, but they still have Alex Smith throwing the ball. I'm willing to admit the Chiefs have gotten better, but as we all remember from the Kyle Orton days - a below average quarterback can only take you so far in the NFL. That's why John Elway dropped a $100 million on an aging Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning. You just can't put a high enough price on an elite quarterback.
So what do you think of these rankings, Broncos Country?