AFC North Wide Receiving Tandems
Some teams in the AFC North have tried to maintain a flashy wide receiver group, while other teams have some quiet budding stars. That being said, here’s a ranking of all of the overall wide receiver tandems within the AFC North.
1. Cleveland Browns
When you have Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry working together on the same unit, that will earn you some high marks for sure. Though Beckham did miss more than half of the 2020 season due to an ACL tear he suffered in Week 7 against the Bengals, he is projected to be healthy and back in time for the start of the 2021 regular season. The two former Louisiana State Tiger teammates have a rising star quarterback in Baker Mayfield and are joined by Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, KhaDarel Hodge, and Jo Jo Natson. Rookie Anthony Schwartz also in the fold for the season. This group, when healthy, can be one of the most explosive teams in the AFC and the NFL.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
A majority of the offense is returning for Pittsburgh in the 2021 season. Chase Claypool put together a solid rookie season, and Diontae Johnson broke out for an impressive sophomore campaign (88 catches, 923 yards, seven touchdowns). If JuJu Smith-Schuster can avoid off-field drama (and also stop TikTok dancing on team logos in the middle of the field), this team could be going places with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger in tow this year.
3. Cincinnati Bengals
This ranking is one that I was torn between the Bengals and the other team in the AFC North. The Bengals still have A.J. Green, they’ve also got a budding star in Tyler Boyd, and a solid sophomore player in Tee Higgins. Add in developmental players like Auden Tate, Mike Thomas, and Trent Taylor, along with a healthy Joe Burrow, and these cats could make some noise come December and January.
4. Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson is such an explosive player on the offensive end (both throwing and running the ball), it almost seems like sometimes he doesn’t need his wide receiver corps to work with him. When Lamar does throw the ball, he usually likes to check it down to his reliable tight end Mark Andrews or one of his running backs. That being said, the Ravens do have a decent wide receiver group. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and free-agent signing Sammy Watkins are expected to be WR1 and 2 at the start of the 2021 season, and draft choice Rashod Bateman could factor into an interesting offense that could lead the Baltimore flock deep into the playoffs this season.
Overall, the AFC North features some flashy names and some solid stars in their groups. This division seems to contain the most high-flying offenses within the NFL.