Top Wide Receivers for the 2023 season
With officially less than one month left I wanted to give official predictions for who I think is going to lead individuals in each major category. Coming at the end of the year this can be revisited. With the abundance of talent increasing every year and new potential stars coming in every day, it seems, these are incredibly hard to accurately call, but I’m going to give it a shot. Without further ado, let’s begin.
As the first-ever NFL draft pick straight from Europe, he’s a pioneer, but more recently he returned to the Unicorns to put up team-high numbers back in 2021. He’s now taken his talent to the Surge. With many of the previous staff and players from the Unicorns, there will be minimal adjustment needed. His versatility as a WR or TE option will also include him in more offensive concepts, opening even more opportunities.
The current Triple Crown winner, it would be absurd to not include him amongst the best names in the league. With his QB joining him in Paris, I imagine he will continue to be the go-to option, he’s more than capable on all routes and combinations up and down the field. Undoubtedly, he will be leading the league in a few receiving categories at various points in the season.
As a former All-Star, I still feel that Stanley is an underrated star in the league. He’s joined the two-time finalists in Hamburg and will be looking to make a real impact from day one, I expect him to be right amongst the best week by week as he is a bigger build receiver in a league where there isn’t particularly a large amount. I fore see another 1000-yard season.
Another player who cracked the 1000-yard milestone in only 12 games last season, Robitaille returns to Rhein Fire but with a supporting cast, an improved defense, and a former Coach of the Year as an OC. He’s lined up for an excellent season if the Rhein Fire can battle to the top of a stacked Western Conference. He will have other excellent recovering in his team vying for catches, however.
Jay Griffin IV
Arguably the best QB’s number-one option on offense, I expect him to have a big year in catches and yards. He’s a smaller-built player meaning he doesn’t have the concept flexibility like others do on this list, but with his speed, change of direction and big play ability I expect screens and extended short catches to be a large part of his yards. He’s a former star track specialist with several of his former university records in the 200-m, so I’m sure he will be able to step into the league and become a problem for defenses around the league.
Jéan is a former OPOTY nominee for the Dragons and was very close to 1000 yards with Hamburg last season. Joining Milano this year I think will push him past that milestone, with the departure of a great supporting receiver more of the weight of the offense will be put between him and Zahradka. He’s a fast and quick receiver with All-League burst and happens to be the league’s all-time receiving leader.
Robinson got 829 yards last season, in six games. If he continues that form in Cologne, he will absolutely be among the top of the league. He has a varied route tree and with his catching ability in traffic, he is, by all means, an elite receiver. He’s in a challenging division but considering he put up great numbers on a 1-11 Rams team, I have no doubt he’ll break over 1000 yards if he can play the full 12 games.
As previously mentioned, Sweet holds the triple crown. I believe he will remain the best at finding the end zone again in 2023 because of one simple factor. His versatility in a scheme. He’s a cheat code on slants, hitches and screens, but is also more than capable of creating big plays that earn him longer touchdowns. Meaning, it doesn’t matter where the Paris offense is on the field, Sweet is a threat for a score.
Robitaille had the longest YPC last season for receivers with over 40 catches, in addition, he was second in Touchdowns. This information makes him a clear pick for a top favorite for the title. With the improvements Rhein Fire has made during the off-season, they’ll have plenty of time on offense to get creative. With his deep-threat ability, I’m going further in my prediction and saying he will be top three in YPC and have the most touchdowns of 20+ yards.
Another player with multiple selections on this list, 12 in last season’s campaign. My only doubt is that in Hamburg, there are going to be more weapons around him that will take up red zone opportunities within the shorter yardage situations. I still strongly believe he will be able to get above the 10+ mark if he’s allowed to use his physicality and strong hands in the air.
Horn only played 8 games for the Galaxy last season but managed to put up 11 touchdowns, which was sixth in the league. He’s returning to Frankfurt this season and with more time to increase his numbers, he is an extremely strong favorite. As one of the more experienced players in the league, he has a lot of weapons at his disposal. In particular, his ability to keep the ball even the highest level of contact will serve excellently in the red zone.
Moritz has had success in finding the end zone in his career, with nine receiving touchdowns in his last season with the Unicorns. I still expect him to break ten touchdowns, because realistically no one will be able to cover him in my opinion. He’s a dark horse for the reason I think many defenses will game plan around him in the red zone, but we shall see how defenses line up against the 1,95 m 39-inch vertical receiver.
The holder of the 2022 Rookie of the Year award found himself in the end zone eight times last season. With the addition of Sandro, the European League of Football defenses will massively open up to one of the most talented young players in the league. I believe that he will also hit the 10+ mark. If he can play the full season, he’s only going to get better as he’s developing around great Austrian and European talent.
Aaron Jackson / Robin Wilzeck / Max Zimmermann
The difficult part of predicting the Berlin Thunder receiving corps is that there are three legitimate number one receivers all on one team. Therefore, for this, I’m including them all as one place. I think that at least one, if not more, will be near the top of the touchdown list simply because I think Berlin will find the end zone several times. However, because of the volume of talent, we may see the ball spread out evenly, meaning that no one leads the pack, but they’re all among the elite standard. It all depends on whom Isom comes to lean on and connects best with on the field.
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Nothing controversial here, Sweet will remain a reliable weapon all over the field, regardless of down or distance. There’s a reason he was respected as the best receiver last season and even with more competition for that title, I don’t think that he’s going to give up his receiving titles very easily. He was miles ahead of his contemporaries last season, with the gap between him and Stanley at second being the same as Stanley to Knuettel in seventh place.
Constant’s second feature on his list, he was also a leading player in catches over the last two seasons. As mentioned earlier, the Milano receiving corps was weakened due to recent departures, and although I view Milano’s offense as a run-heavy scheme, Constant will be a massive part of keeping defenses honest and because of his slot or outside capability.
Vienna’s new weapon may see limited catches due to the strong offense in the reigning champions' team but as a long lengthy receiver with great ball skills, I can see him being a reliable safe target who can be a big part of their offense. He, Jordan Bouah and Michael Schachermayr are going to be a great trio but may suffer from the same situation as Berlin where there are so many great options that individual stats are put aside.
Duke is going to be a seriously big slot problem as Barcelona enters into a new era without their star players. They are going to have to rebuild and a reliable route runner who specializes in movement and speed while creating space is a great option to have. I can see him being in the 100-club for catches, with him being the focus of the offense and Landström being able to take the defense’s attention to the deep zones.
Jay Griffin IV
Again, Griffin is being featured on this list. Similarly, to his previous entry and to his peers in the above tiers, Griffin is the best option in his team who can create separation in important in-game situations, and with catches - which is extremely valuable. He is a reliable target and because of track speed combined with the short route running, I think that he can make a serious difference for the Hungarian franchise.
Although I previously mentioned Marco’s benefit from Sandro’s return, Jarvis is also a beneficiary. He is a great big play ability player, and for Tirol, the gameplan could be to get the ball in his hands as much as possible in order to exploit this. The former Crocodile was also the GFL scoring leader, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the touchdowns top 5 to 10 as well, but sadly, I cannot do a top 100 of my favorite receivers.
The Surge’s offensive additions are great and Böhringer shouldn’t be considered their only option. Nunnelly is a quick and fluid receiver who is a specialist with short and long routes combined with strong hands. I don’t think it’s a leap to say defenses will be so focused on the hype around other offensive weapons that Nunnelly can silently go to work and carve up the teams that don’t have a game plan around him.
Overall, I think that this season’s receivers are the best we’ve ever had in the European League of Football. I haven’t even had an opportunity to talk about fantastic receivers such as Mahoungou, Jallai, Kwofie, Mayr, Seck, Janota, Dragan, and many more. We are truly spoiled, and I’m very ready for this season to start as soon as possible.
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