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AFC West reigns supreme in wide receiver talent

After a swap of star wideouts, the AFC West remains packed with pass-catching talent.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Fans within the AFC West (minus those in the Chiefs Kingdom) celebrated in the streets when it was announced that Kansas City was trading away Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins.

No more would the Raiders, Broncos, and Chargers have to deal with the closest thing to a “cheat code” in the NFL. Hill’s blazing speed and impossible agility would no longer be the massive thorn in the side of the division’s secondaries.

Unfortunately that euphoria was short-lived as the Raiders welcomed in another All-Pro talent at wideout in Davante Adams. Reuniting him with his college quarterback in Derek Carr was just another cherry on top of the transaction.

Since the division essentially landed net-neutral following those two moves, the talent level amongst the wide receivers was going to remain one of the best in the NFL. But just how high does this group rank compared to the entire league?

In CBS Sports’ latest rankings of position groups by division, the AFC West came out on top, just beating out their counterpart on the other side of the league, the NFC West.

“Sure, the AFC West lost Tyreek Hill,” says NFL analyst Jared Dubin. “But it added Adams, Smith-Schuster, Valdes-Scantling, and Moore, while retaining the Allen-Williams duo, Renfrow, and a Broncos wide receiver trio that is only beginning to scratch the surface of its potential and should reach a new level with Russell Wilson in town. We have been talking all offseason about the various reasons the AFC West should be the best, most exciting division in football, and its wide receivers are among the many reasons that’s the case.”

Across all four teams, there are six receivers who have posted at least one season with over 1,000 receiving yards. When it comes to both the Chargers and Raiders, they each have two such players.

For context, here are all four teams and their top four receivers currently on the roster:

  • Chargers: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Josh Palmer, Jalen Guyton
  • Chiefs: Juju Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Mecole Hardman, Skyy Moore
  • Broncos: Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler
  • Raiders: Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Keelan Cole, Demarcus Robinson

This season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see six, or even seven, different receivers potentially cross that 1,000-yard threshold. The AFC West was already ranked as the top division in terms of quarterback talent by this same outlet so it’s only right that expectations should be sky-high for the players they’ll be throwing it to.