Outside of quarterback, wide receiver might be the flashiest position in the NFL.
Not only are you asked to move the chains, but to make spectacular plays and blow the top off of the defense.
It’s evident how important NFL teams value the wide receiver as five went in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ja’Marr Chase (No. 5, Bengals), Jaylen Waddle (No. 6, Dolphins), Devonta Smith (No. 10, Eagles), Kadarius Toney (No. 20, Giants), and Rashod Bateman (No. 27, Ravens) all heard their name called on Day One.
Teams understand how much a play-making weapon in their receiving corps changes the entire complexity of the offense.
But not every team can be as lucky.
These three teams enter the 2021 NFL season with the weakest option at wide receiver.
It’s not like they can’t break out, but for now, they’ll need a big season to improve their stock and improve their team’s passing offense overall.
Note: All players listed are currently the WR1 on their team’s respective depth charts.
3. Henry Ruggs
Henry Ruggs’ position on this list comes more from what other teams have rather than the player himself.
That being said, the Raiders wide receiver was a bit of a disappointment in his first year in the NFL.
Las Vegas made Ruggs the first receiver off the board when they selected him No. 12 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.
As a rookie, Ruggs appeared in 13 games and started 12 of them for the Raiders.
He caught 26 passes for 452 yards and two touchdowns.
Ruggs did average 17.4 yards per reception and showed off his 4.27 wheels at various points throughout the season.
Since 2018, among WRs with a minimum of 12 starts, Henry Ruggs III has the 5th highest YPR (17.3). Let's hope Jon Gruden and the #Raiders give him more than 43 targets in Year 2. Looking to see more of that explosive play out of him this season!pic.twitter.com/t0fZm7biRt
— Cody Manning (@CodyTalksNFL) August 13, 2021
Ruggs certainly has time to turn it around at just 22 years old.
His rookie season shouldn’t even be considered a full bust.
It’s just the Raiders should’ve been expecting more out of him after investing such a high pick in the former Alabama receiver.
Ruggs will have another shot at the top of Las Vegas’ wide receiver room in 2021.
He just need to prove he is more than just speed and can be a well rounded WR1 on all parts of the field.
2. Nelson Agholor
After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008 last season, the New England Patriots decided to spend big in free agency.
While the addition of Nelson Agholor might’ve not made headlines at the time, he is now listed on top of the Patriots’ wide receiver depth chart.
New England signed Agholor to a two-year, $22 million contract.
Last season marked Agholor’s first and only year with the Raiders.
He went on to have his best statistical season as a pro, catching 48 passes for 896 yards and eight touchdowns.
While those numbers look solid, fans can’t forget about his time with the Philadelphia Eagles so soon.
Agholor spent five years with the Eagles and while he had some bright moments, he became a viral meme for his tendency to drop passes.
It appears that tendency has carried over to New England through numerous training camp practices.
Nelson Agholor broke Darius Slay’s ankles on a “shake” route in the end zone but dropped the pass in 1v1s. Best route by Jakobi Meyers with a sweet release on a fade and high-point to finish. #Patriots
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) August 17, 2021
N'Keal Harry won all five 1-on-1 reps I saw vs. Eagles DBs, including a nifty deep-ball grab against Avonte Maddox.
Jakobi Meyers was 3-0 in reps I saw with a nice grab over Maddox.
Agholor and Olszewski had drops.
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) August 16, 2021
The Patriots are clearly hoping they’re getting the Agholor that played for the Raiders last season.
But one strong year doesn’t change an entire player’s career.
If Agholor can’t limit the drops, the Patriots passing offense will struggle in 2021.
1. Tyrell Williams
The Detroit Lions passing offense is entering a whole new era with Jared Goff at quarterback.
Currently, Goff’s number one target appears to be veteran Tyrell Williams.
Williams did not play last season after dealing with a labrum injury.
Prior to that, he spent five years in the NFL with the Los Angeles Chargers and Raiders.
He appeared in 69 games, starting 49, and caught 197 passes for 3,181 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Williams is the WR1, but in name only.
The Lions’ WR1 is entering his age-29 season and is coming off of a lost season due to injury.
It’s hard to see him making much of a difference this season for Detroit.
But since the Lions have him listed as their top wide receiver, he earns the top spot on this list.