Wide Receivers in the NFL and Top College Wide Receivers, All Time and 2022

Super Bowl XXIII - Cincinnati Bengals v San Francico 49ers

The wide receiver position has seen a big boom in recent years as college and NFL offenses have shifted away from running backs and into pass heavy systems. AFC quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs and Josh Allen of the Bills have implemented, better than anyone, their ability to scramble outside of the pocket and make big plays down the field, forcing their wide receivers to use their route-running abilities to find an opening in the defense and get open.

From Alabama to Arizona, we are seeing young NCAA talent become stars right before our very eyes. So let’s take a look at who the best wide receivers were in both the NCAA and NFL in the 2022-23 season, as well as the greatest wide receivers in NFL history.

Who Were the Best Wide Receivers in College Football in 2022?

The NCAA serves as a proving ground for many young route runners, weeding the world class wideouts from the deep threat duds. This upcoming season was no different, so let’s take a look back at who the five best WR’s in college football were from this past season.

Missouri v Tennessee

1. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Jalin Hyatt was among the biggest contributors to the Vols’ 2022 success, totaling 67 receptions, 1,267 receiving yards, and 15 touchdowns. He became a household name in Tennessee’s monumental 52-49 win over Alabama in October, a game in which he recorded six receptions for 207 yards and five touchdowns.

2. Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

Marvin Harrison Jr. exploded onto the scene with his massive sophomore season, finishing the year with 77 receptions for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns. In Ohio State’s College Football Playoff game against the eventual champion Georgia Bulldogs, he finished with 5 receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

3. Nathaniel Dell, Houston

Statistically, no receiver in college football had a better season than Nathaniel Dell. He was second in the nation with 109 receptions, led the nation with 1,398 receiving yards and led the nation with 17 touchdowns. He recorded two touchdowns in six of the Cougars’ 13 games this season.

Vrbo Fiesta Bowl - Michigan v TCU

4. Quentin Johnston, TCU

After totaling just 114 yards in TCU’s first four games this season, Johnston exploded for 206 yards on 14 receptions and a touchdown against No. 19 Kansas. He followed that up by going for 180 yards on 8 receptions and another touchdown in a double-OT win over No. 8 Oklahoma State. He would go on to finish the season with 1,069 yards and six touchdowns, and exponentially increase his 2023 NFL Draft stock.

5. Charlie Jones, Purdue

Like Dell, not many receivers in college football had a better season than Jones on a statistical front. He led the nation with 110 receptions, was second in the nation with 1,361 receiving yards, and was tied for fifth with 12 touchdowns.

Arizona v USC

What WRs Were Drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft?

Speaking of college WR’s, many were taken in last year’s NFL draft, with the deepest class we have seen in years. Six wideouts were taken with the first twenty picks, an NFL first. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Drake London, USC | Atlanta Falcons Round 1, Pick 8
  • Garrett Wilson, Ohio State | New York Jets Round 1, Pick 10
  • Chris Olave, Ohio State | New Orleans Saints Round 1, Pick 11
  • Jameson Williams, Alabama | Detroit Lions Round 1, Pick 12
  • Jahan Dotson, Penn State | Washington Commanders Round 1, Pick 16
  • Treylon Burks, Arkansas | Tennessee Titans Round 1, Pick 18
  • Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky | New York Giants Round 2
  • John Metchie III, Alabama | Houston Texans Round 2

Who is the Best Wide Receiver in the NFL?

The 2022-23 NFL season saw the rise and fall of many prominent wide outs after the signing of some big offseason contracts. With the season officially in the books, let’s answer the question of who the best of the pass catchers of the 2022-23 NFL season were.

Tennessee Titans v Minnesota Vikings

1. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

2022-23 Stats: 128 REC, 1,809 YDS, 8 TD

2. Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins

2022-23 Stats: 119 REC, 1,710 YDS, 7 TD

3. Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders

2022-23 Stats: 100 REC, 1,516 YDS, 14 TD

Los Angeles Rams v Buffalo Bills

4. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

2022-23 Stats: 108 REC, 1,429 YDS, 11 TD

5. A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles

2022-23 Stats: 88 REC, 1,496 YDS, 11 TD

6. Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

2022-23 Stats: 75 REC, 1,356 YDS, 8 TD

7. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys

2022-23 Stats: 107 REC, 1,359 YDS, 9 TD

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Commanders

8. DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

2022-23 Stats: 95 REC, 1,196 YDS, 7 TD

9. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions

2022-23 Stats: 106 REC, 1,161 YDS, 6 TD

10. Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

2022-23 Stats: 87 REC, 1,046 YDS, 9 TD

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars

11. Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars

2022-23 Stats: 84 REC, 1,108 YDS, 8 TD

12. Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns

2022-23 Stats: 78 REC, 1,160 YDS, 9 TD

13. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

2022-23 Stats: 90 REC, 1,048 YDS, 6 TD

Los Angeles Chargers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

14. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2022-23 Stats: 77 REC, 1,124 YDS, 6 TD

15. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

2022-23 Stats: 56 REC, 632 YDS, 2 TD

Ranking the Ten Greatest Wide Receivers in NFL History

While some of these names may have a chance at the Hall of Fame, this list is of those who transcended entire generations of football. These are the innovators, the creators, and the pioneers of the position that has come to mean so much. These are the top ten NFL WRs of all time.

San Francisco 49ers v Atlanta Falcons

1. Jerry Rice

San Francisco 49ers (1985-2000), Oakland Raiders (2001-2004), Seattle Seahawks (2004)

When talking about the wide receiver position, nobody has ever, and no one likely will ever, do it better than Jerry Rice. Over the course of his 20-year career, Rice accounted for the most career receptions in NFL history (1,549), the most career receiving yards in NFL history (22,895), the most career receiving touchdowns in NFL history (197), the most career total touchdowns in NFL history (208), and the most career all-purpose yards in NFL history. Add on three Super Bowl rings and Jerry Rice is far and away the greatest to ever do it.

Minnesota Vikings receiver Randy Moss (C) celebrat

2. Randy Moss

Minnesota Vikings (1998-2004, 2010), Oakland Raiders (2005-2006), New England Patriots (2007-2010), Tennessee Titans (2010), San Francisco 49ers (2012)

Randy Moss became a household name right off the bat in his rookie season, where he finished with 69 catches for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns in 16 games. He would go on to finish his career with 15,292 receiving yards and 156 touchdowns while being named 6X Pro Bowler.

Boston Patriots v San Diego Chargers

3. Don Hutson

Green Bay Packers (1935-1945)

Hutson is widely considered the pioneer of the modern wide receiver position, and many credit him with creating several of the routes that NFL receivers run today. Over the course of his 11-year NFL career, he was a three-time NFL Champion, 2X NFL MVP, 8X NFL receptions leader, and 7X NFL receiving yards leader, earning him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Owens celebrates a touchdown

4. Terrell Owens

San Francisco 49ers (1996-2003), Philadelphia Eagles (2004-2005), Dallas Cowboys (2006-2008), Buffalo Bills (2009), Cincinnati Bengals (2010)

After being drafted in the third round out of Tennessee Chattanooga, Owens played alongside Jerry Rice for the 49ers and quickly made a name for himself. He recorded a then-record 20 catches in a single game against the Chicago Bears in 2000, and caught 290 passes for 4,163 yards and 42 touchdowns over the best three-year span of his career from 2000-2002.

Seattle Seahawks v Cincinnati Bengals

5. Steve Largent

Seattle Seahawks (1976-1989)

At the time of his retirement, Largent stood atop the record books in several major receiving categories: most receptions (819), most consecutive games with a reception (177), most receiving yards (13,089), most receiving touchdowns (100), most seasons with 50 or more receptions (10), most seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards (8). He did it all at 5-11, 187LBS, making this Hall of Famer’s career that much more impressive.

Cris Carter of the Minnesota Vikings (80) runs awa

6. Cris Carter

Philadelphia Eagles (1987-1989), Minnesota Vikings (1990-2001), Miami Dolphins (2002)

Carter, a fourth round pick in the 1987 Supplemental Draft, caught his first career NFL pass for a 22-yard touchdown. He would go on to score 129 more, and rack up 13,899 career receiving yards on 1,101 receptions in his 8X Pro Bowl, 2X First Team All-Pro career.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Arizona Cardinals

7. Larry Fitzgerald

Arizona Cardinals (2004-2020)

Larry Fitzgerald’s 17-year career with the Arizona Cardinals is one of the most respected in modern NFL history. Fitzgerald ranks second in NFL career receiving yards with 17,492, second in career receptions with 1,432, and sixth in receiving touchdowns, with 121. The beloved star was also named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2016.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts

8. Marvin Harrison

Indianapolis Colts (1996-2008)

Marvin Harrison burst onto the scene for the Colts in his rookie season after being a first round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, leading the team in receptions, receiving yards, and total touchdowns. He would go on to finish his career as an 8-time Pro Bowl selection and Super Bowl Champion.

Philadelphia Eagles v Detroit Lions

9. Calvin Johnson

Detroit Lions (2007-2015)

“Megatron” was one of the most unique and physically gifted players ever seen in the NFL. At 6’5”, he was a constant matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, and finished his career with seven 1,000-plus receiving yards. He still holds some NFL records, including the most receiving yards in a season (1,964), in which he leads Rams wideout Cooper Kupp by 17 yards.

Lance Alworth - San Diego Chargers - File Photos

10. Lance Alworth

San Diego Chargers (1962-1970), Dallas Cowboys (1971-1972)

At the time of his retirement, Alworth ranked second in receiving yards in pro football history. He finished his career with 542 catches for 10,266 yards and 85 touchdowns. He was a Super Bowl Champion and is a member of the NFL’s 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams.

NFL Receiving Leaders

NFL Receiving Leaders in 2023. Justin Jefferson has the most receiving yards with 1,809 yards. Davante Adams has the most receiving touchdowns with 14 touchdowns. Last updated: May 12, 2023.

NFL Receiving Leaders 2022



Receiving Yards

Receiving Touchdowns

Davante Adams

Las Vegas Raiders



A.J. Brown

Philadelphia Eagles



Stefon Diggs

Buffalo Bills



CeeDee Lamb

Dallas Cowboys



Travis Kelce

Kansas City Chiefs