In less than the span of three months, the AFC West went from the property of Patrick “blink twice if your wife and brother are holding you hostage” Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to a top-to-bottom bloodbath. Imagine watching the Royal Rumble and the final four happen to be The Rock, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart; there are rivalries, traditions, and no clues as to who will win. Makes you wonder which of the four are the Las Vegas Raiders in this scenario.
How many Raiders wide receivers cracked the top eight?
The division now includes four of the top twelve quarterbacks in all of football. It also features some of the most stacked skill position groups in the NFL (we’ll save the pass rush debate for another day). Today, let’s focus on the wide receiver position. Who are the top names in the AFC West?
No. 8 – Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs
- 2021 stats – *95 rec, 1292 yards, 10 TDs
*Moore attended Western Michigan in 2021
You can look at this one of two ways. One way is to think the Chiefs spent decent money on former Green Bay Packer wideout Marquez Valdes-Scantling with the intention of investing snaps in Mecole Hardman. Nonetheless, a second-round rookie is possibly their best option on the outside. The other way to view it is to give credit where it’s due; Skyy Moore is legit and a great fit for Andy Reid’s offense. The Western Michigan product can deliver at any level and has the speed to becomeÂ Mahomes’ new best friend in the absence of Tyreek Hill.
No. 7 Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos
- 2021 stats – 38 rec, 467 yards, 0 TD in five starts
I will die with my property on Jeudy Island. Big whoop. Want to fight about it?
The former Alabama standout dealt with a major injury as well as numerous liabilities at the quarterback position in 2021. His numbers weren’t eye-popping, but the talent was still there. The injection of Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson as well as a clean bill of health should do nothing but increase the ceiling of what Jeudy can become in Denver (much to my chagrin).
No. 6 Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
- 2021 stats – 58 rec, 776 yards, 2 TDs
We’ve got back-to-back Broncos.
Courtland Sutton gets the nod over Jeudy here due to what I believe will create instant chemistry with his new quarterback: size. Sutton had a strong comeback year after a major injury, and he, like Double J, will only improve with an actual competent passer under center to take advantage of his skillset outside the numbers.
No. 5 – JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City Chiefs
- 2021 stats – 15 rec, 129 yards, 0 TD in five games
The TikTok Titan has arrived in Kansas City. All jokes aside, if the former Steelers receiver is healthy, he provides an entirely new challenge to the Chiefs that they desperately needed last year. While Reid and the Chiefs were able to adjust admirably to the heavy two-deep safety look defenses deployed against Mahomes and co., Juju is the perfect option to help expose defenses underneath when Travis Kelce is inevitably being blanketed in coverage.
No. 4 – Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
- 2021 stats – 76 rec, 1146 yards, 9 TDs
After a solid 2020 campaign, Mike Williams finally started to unlock his sky-high potential last season. Williams’ drops and health are really the only things keeping Williams from being higher on this list. The Chargers lack true depth in the receiver room, so the former Clemson Tiger will be relied upon more than ever, as the AFC West is prime for a large number of shootouts.
No. 3 – Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders
- 2021 stats – 103 rec, 1038 yards, 9 TDs
The league is finally starting to show some respect to Hunter Renfrow’s name. We’ve all heard the “he looks like an accountant” jokes. Renfrow is too busy converting third downs to notice. Keep in mind, the Clemson alum did most of his damage when his counterpart was Zay Jones. Now he’ll be the safety valve for arguably the best receiver in football (spoiler alert).
No. 2 – Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
- 2021 stats – 106 rec, 1138 yards, 6 TDs
Keenan Allen has consistently been one of the best receivers for the better part of his career and has yet to show any signs of slowing down. Depending on who you ask, the former second round pick is the best route runner in football and puts those skills on display against the best corners in the game. Allen is one of the few receivers in the division that demands double coverage on nearly every meaningful down.
In any other season, he would still be the undisputed king of the position in the West. Unfortunately for him, the crown now resides in the desert.
No. 1 – Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders
- 2021 stats – 123 rec, 1553 yards, 11 TDs
The 2021 offseason arms race did not begin with Las Vegas acquiring Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers, but it certainly had the largest ripple effect. It’s not hyperbole to say this move may help to shift the balance of power in the AFC as a whole. Adams chose to reunite with his former Fresno State quarterback, Derek Carr, and fulfill his lifelong dream of playing for the Raiders. Adams will now be paired with Hunter Renfrow, forming the most potent duo in the division based on their most recent production. Add in great play calling, a top three tight end and a quality ground game, and Adams not only provides a three-level threat outside, but his redzone skills can help cure one of the Raiders’ biggest ailments from a scoring standpoint.
*Top Photo: Andy Cross/The Denver Post