Analyzing NFC East WR Corps for 2021

Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) reacts after his touchdown catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2020 season, three of the four NFC East teams struggled in the passing game, which made it a huge focus point in the off-season. Coming into this season, the NFC East teams’ receiving corps looks much improved on paper, and it should result in much better passing success for these teams. 

The NFC East division is full of young talent at the wide receiver position, but there is still is a lot of uncertainty for most of these teams. With the combination of young receivers and young quarterbacks, the NFC East could be a really interesting and entertaining division on the offensive side of the ball. 

1. Dallas Cowboys

Despite the Giants, Eagles, and the Washington Football Team making big changes to their receivers, the Cowboys still have the best receivers in the division. Dallas ranked in the top ten in passing yards per game (260.1 YDS/G) and this was with quarterback Dak Prescott playing just five games. 

The Cowboys top receiver is Amari Cooper, who’s coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons. The 26-year-old is one of the best route runners in the game, making him the best receiver in the entire division. The Cowboys’ corps is rounded out with a couple of other 1.000 yard threats in Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb. Last season, Lamb impressed in his rookie season, showing his versatility and athleticism while tallying 935 yards receiving and five touchdowns. Gallup totaled 843 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2020, but in 2019, he had over 1,100 yards and 6 touchdowns. These three dangerous options paired with a full season of Prescott make them the top threat in the passing game for this division. 

2. New York Giants

The Giants were one of the worst offensive teams in the league last season and ranked 29th in passing yards per game with only 189.1. In the off-season, it was clear that this was a top priority. This season, the Giants have the deepest receiving corps in the division with free-agent signings Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, John Ross, and first-round draft pick, Kadarius Toney. The key to this team will be health. Last season, Shepard played 12 games, Golladay played only five and John Ross played just three games. 

New York went out and signed Golladay to a four-year, $72,000,000 contract in the off-season and they believe he will be their number one guy. In the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Golladay recorded back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and if he can stay on the field, he could really help out the Giants’ offense. The other off-season acquisition was Toney, who they drafted with the 20th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Toney is a shifty, versatile weapon that the Giants will be able to utilize in a multitude of ways in their offense. The combination of all their receivers should provide more than enough weapons for Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense. 

3. Washington Football Team

Terry McLaurin has solidified himself as one of the best young receivers in the NFL. But after McLaurin, Washington didn’t have many other weapons. In the off-season, Washington went out and signed speed-threat Curtis Samuel to a three-year, 34,500,000 contract. In addition to Samuel, Washington also signed Adam Humphries to a one-year deal. In the 2020 season, the Football Team also got solid performances from Steven Sims Jr. and Cam Sims. 

McLaurin flourished in his second season in the league, racking up 1,118 yards and four touchdowns. McLaurin has shown quickly that he can be a number one receiver for any team in the league with his athleticism and dynamic ability. In his first two seasons, McLaurin has 2,037 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. Washington went out and signed Samuel to try to help McLaurin and the offense. Samuel is coming off his best season in the league where he caught 77 passes for 851 yards and three touchdowns. With McLaurin and Samuel, they could provide a solid 1-2 punch for the Washington offense. 

4. Philadelphia Eagles

In the 2020 season, the Eagles ranked 28th in passing yards per game with 207.9 and Philadelphia addressed this need in the draft as they traded up to select Heisman Trophy Winner DeVonta Smith with the 10th pick. Overall, the Eagles’ offense is extremely young with Jalen Hurts being the presumed starting quarterback and a lot of unproven receivers. Philadelphia didn’t go out and sign any big-name players in free agency. It will be a very interesting year for the Eagles. Coming into this season, Philadelphia’s top receivers are DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, and Greg Ward. 

There is a ton of uncertainty with these receivers as Smith will come in and try to be the team’s number one option. Smith certainly has the skillset and athleticism, but it will have to be seen if it will translate to the NFL level. The Eagles would like to see their 2020 first-round draft pick, Reagor, make a big jump this season as he totaled 396 yards and one touchdown in 11 games. In the 2020 season, Fulgham was the team’s top receiver, recording 539 yards on 38 catches through 13 games. With so much to prove, the Eagles’ offense will be something to watch. But for now, they have the worst receiving corps in the NFC East.