Top 5 NFC East wide receivers ranked in 2024

Cry Eagles Cry.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys / Michael Owens/GettyImages

Even though they drop the occasional game to the Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys have utterly dominated the NFC East since Dak Prescott became the starting quarterback in 2016. They'll look to repeat as division champs in 2024, and while the division as a whole got stronger this offseason, it (seemingly) will once again be the Cowboys and Eagles fighting tooth and nail for first place.

With that said, the NFC East is still home to some of the most talented players in the league. The defensive line personnel speaks for itself, but the wide receiver position is another that boasts several world-class talents.

With that in mind, let's rank the top-five wide receivers in the division.

5. Brandin Cooks, Cowboys

This was a toss-up between Cooks and Giants' first-round pick Malik Nabers. While Nabers already looks the part of a stud in offseason workouts, Cooks ultimately got the nod because Nabers has yet to step foot on an NFL field. Make no mistake: the former LSU star will crack the top five next year.

Cooks proved last year to be as clutch as ever even though he was third in the target pecking order behind CeeDee Lamb and Jake Ferguson.

At age-30, Cooks caught 54 passes for 657 yards and his eight touchdowns were his most since 2016 and one off his career-high. His 38 first downs were his most in three seasons and a whopping 70.3% of his catches moved the chains. That was also a career-high.

Those are impressive numbers for someone who wasn't even involved in the offense for the first month of the season. Cooks and Dak Prescott's chemistry was at another level in spring practices, so expect the 11th-year pro to have a better second season in Dallas.

4. DeVonta Smith, Eagles

If DeVonta Smith isn't the best WR2 in the league, he's right up there with the Bengals' Tee Higgins and Dolphins' Jaylen Waddle. The No. 10 overall pick in the 2021 draft, Smith signed an extension a year early this offseason. He now makes $25 million per year that places him eighth amongst receivers.

That might be a steal given Smith's talent and production over his first three seasons. The NFL isn't kind to rookie WRs, but Smith burst onto the scene with 916 receiving yards and five touchdowns in year one. He followed that with 95 catches for 1,196 yards and seven scores in 2022. He ranked 11th in catches and ninth in yards, which is unheard of for a secondary option.

Smith's numbers weren't as gaudy last season, but they were nothing to sneeze at: 81 catches for 1,066 yards and seven TDs. He was more efficient and finished ninth in average depth of target, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

The former Alabama star absolutely would push for top-10 recognition if he didn't share an offense with superstar A.J. Brown.

3. Terry McLaurin, Commanders

It's shameful that Washington hasn't given Terry McLaurin better quarterback play. In five seasons, McLaurin has caught passes from Colt McCoy, Dwayne Haskins, Case Keenum, Kyle Allen, Alex Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke, Garrett Gilbert and Sam Howell.

Despite that, McLaurin has posted over 1,000 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons. He was nothing short of special in 2020 when Washington stole the NFC East and nearly upset the eventual champion Buccaneers in the wild card round. That year, he caught a career-high 87 passes for 1,119 yards and four touchdowns.

McLaurin earned his first Pro Bowl in 2022 when he finished 10th with 1,192 receiving yards. He's a contested-catch monster and has some of the stickiest hands in the game. Unfortunately, his elite-level talent has gotten overlooked because of the team he plays for.

With the arrow pointing up in Washington following the sale of the team and selection of quarterback Jayden Daniels with the second overall pick, McLaurin may finally get the recognition he deserves in 2024.

2. A.J. Brown, Eagles

Cowboys fans will never let A.J. Brown live down getting owned by Stephon Gilmore in the Cowboys' Week 14 blowout win over the Eagles. However, Brown without question is one of the most feared receivers in the game.

In two seasons with the Eagles, Brown has caught more passes (194) than he did in three years in Tennessee (185). He ranks eighth in catches during that span and only two receivers, Tyreek Hill and CeeDee Lamb, have more receiving yards than his 3,509. His 18 touchdowns are also sixth-most.

Brown has earned two second-team All-Pro nods and he set an NFL record in 2023 with six consecutive games with 125 or more receiving yards. The Eagles rewarded Brown this offseason with a mammoth extension that made him the then-highest-paid wide receiver in league history at $32 million per year. Justin Jefferson has since surpassed Browns' AAV, but Brown's No. 2 spot is fully deserved.

1. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys

It had to be CeeDee Lamb. Simply put, no receiver in football sans Tyreek Hill over the last two seasons has been better than the Cowboys' superstar. Since 2022, Lamb ranks first in catches, second in both receiving yards and touchdowns and third in targets.

Simply put, there is no defense for Lamb. His 189 touches gaining 10 or more yards since 2021 are the most in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. He was fourth in yards per route run last season and had the fourth-lowest drop rate despite logging eight more targets than any other receiver.

Having only turned 25 years old in April, Lamb is just entering the prime of his career. He's firmly entered the discussion of the five-best receivers in the world and he could continue climbing that latter if he posts similar numbers this campaign.

It would be a surprise if Lamb wasn't a First-Team All-Pro again and finished top three in Offensive Player of the Year voting. That says it all.

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