Ranking The Rooms: AFC North WRs


Through two segments of the “Ranking the Rooms:  AFC North” series here at Steelers Depot, we’ve yet to have a serious controversy with the lists ranking each team’s standing in the division.

That could change moving forward, but today there shouldn’t be any surprises with the AFC North wide receivers.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Come on.

A room with arguably the best receiver in football in Antonio Brown, the return of star No. 2 receiver Martavis Bryant from suspension and the addition of rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster through the draft makes this a very scary wide receiver room.


That doesn’t even begin to look at slot receiver Eli Rogers and depth pieces Sammie Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Cobi Hamilton and Demarcus Ayers. I know, not all of these guys will make the roster, but that’s an incredibly deep room for the Steelers to work with.

Good luck stopping one of the top guys on a consistent basis, let alone stopping the entire group, especially with Ben Roethlisberger throwing passes once again.

The Steelers have the best receiving corps in the AFC North, and arguably one of the best in the entire NFL.

2. Cincinnati Bengals

Star wideout A.J. Green already gives this room a boost after losing veterans Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones last season to free agency, but the Bengals seem committed to getting Green help over the last two years by adding Tyler Boyd through the draft last year before drafting John Ross No. 9 overall this year.

Not a bad way to restock the receiver room for Cincinnati.

Green is on the same level as Brown in terms of talent, but last season he had a tough time dealing with double and triple teams with a lack of talent around him. That won’t be the case this season.

The addition of Ross allows Boyd to slide back into the slot, where he was dominant during his collegiate career at the University of Pittsburgh. Ross will be the speedy deep threat that will look to take the top off of defenses while providing a run-after-catch threat for the Bengals as well.

Behind the trio, Cincinnati has some intriguing pieces to work with, including veteran Brandon LaFell, second-year wide receiver Cody Core and rookie Josh Malone.

Much like the Steelers, the Bengals have a very deep receiving group just one year after really struggling to put good talent on the field at the position on a consistent basis.

Don’t be surprised if Andy Dalton has a great season this fall.

3. Cleveland Browns

Say what you will about the Browns as a whole, but I am really intrigued with the receiving corps despite letting veteran Terrelle Pryor leave for Washington in free agency.

Signing veteran receiver Kenny Britt away from the Los Angeles Rams this offseason was a great move by the organization, giving whichever quarterback that plays this season a good, consistent presence to rely on out wide.

Second-year receiver Corey Coleman appears poised for a breakout year following an okay rookie season, while second-year guys Rashard Higgins, Jordan Payton and Ricardo Louis should see an increase in targets this season.

There’s no doubt that it’s a group with a lack of experience throughout, minus Britt, but it has plenty of upside, which is more than you can say about the last group in this list.

4. Baltimore Ravens

Yikes.

There’s very little to like about this group, especially after Steve Smith Sr. hung up his cleats this spring.

Third-year wideout Breshad Perriman has yet to put it all together since the Ravens spent a first-round pick on him out of Central Florida in 2015, while veteran Mike Wallace had a decent season last year in his first go-round with the purple and black.

Behind the duo, Baltimore will look to second-year receiver Chris Moore to emerge as the true deep threat that Joe Flacco covets, while third-year receiver Michael Campanaro has to step up and provide Flacco with the possession skills that Smith took with him into retirement.

Vince Mayle, Chris Matthews, Kenny Bell and Keenan Reynolds don’t provide much upside at all, but the one true hope that Baltimore has with this group is the upside of undrafted free agent Quincy Adeboyejo out of Ole Miss.

The speed receiver should have been drafted, but the Ravens did a good job of snatching him up early in the free agency process following the draft. It wouldn’t shock me if he emerges as a possible No. 1 in this group because I just don’t see it with Perriman.


Last Year’s Rankings

1. Pittsburgh
2. Cincinnati
3. Cleveland
4. Baltimore

  • Michael James

    “Don’t be surprised if Andy Dalton has a great season this fall.”

    It’s not out of the question, but given the horrendous state of his OL and the fact that he always seems to play horrible after taking some hits, I would be surprised if he had a great year.

  • Gluebucket

    You even forgot Justin Hunter in the Steelers analysis. There is so much depth there; they need to see if anyone is up for a trade. Maybe could pick up an extra late round pick.

  • AndyR34

    Teams will just wait for the inevitable cuts after summer camp.

  • Q Fourtyfive Unowho

    This article is pretty much spot on..the only thing I disagree with is saying A.J. Green is on the same level as AB as far as talent… Very close….. but no cigar…

  • Chris92021

    Yeah, I believe Whitworth leaving for LA is going to hurt Dalton a lot, literally and figuratively. Ogbuehi and Fisher were high draft picks and great athletes but neither one of them are knife fighters in a ditch that Whitworth is. I for one am happy Whitworth is out of our division.

  • Dubai Steeler

    Yep – agree. They have good starting talent…but if they can’t keep him upright it doesn’t matter who is outside. If their plan is to use John Ross on deep shots….that O-line could get him killed.

  • jsteeler

    Considering who is throwing AJ the ball he is on par or better than AB. AJ is a speedster who can combat catch and attack the jump ball. AB has to almost be high school open for Ben. Both YAC totals are similar and both are mostly doubled. Edge AJ Green.

  • Q Fourtyfive Unowho

    AB has to almost be high school open for Ben ?? Maybe we’re not watching the same games..but AB has made some ridiculously tough catches consistently in tight coverage..he’s just flat out a better pure receiver than AJ Green…he has the best hands in the league..his footwork is unrivaled…his route running is better …he gets in and out of his breaks quicker..and to boot (no pun) he’s a dangerous punt returner..He’s widely considered the best receiver in the league for a reason..not just because of who’s throwing to him..Jerry Rice is on record saying that AB is the best in the game right now..and that right there speaks volumes…