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Ranking DK Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, Calvin Ridley, and Justin Jefferson Because Why Not?

Liam McKeone
DK Metcalf
DK Metcalf / Michael Reaves/Getty Images
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Today, one of those things happened on Twitter where random athletes are trending in tandem because of a simple question asked. In this case, the PFF account asked users to rank four young and exciting NFL wideouts: DK Metcalf, Calvin Ridley, Terry McLaurin, and Justin Jefferson.

These four are among the very best young receivers the league has to offer. Ranking individual athletes based on entirely subjective ideas is an enjoyable activity. So therefore I will rank these receivers, as PFF requested. But because I want to! Not because I have to!

1. DK Metcalf

Metcalf is probably the closest player on here to being a fully developed player. He is an absolute monster of an athlete and a rare talent in that he can stretch defenses down the field while serving as a top-tier short-yardage threat outside the hashmarks. He also plays a big role on a winning team, which out of these four only Jefferson can also claim. Metcalf notched 83 catches for 1,303 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2020 and looks like he'll be a top-notch receiver in the game for a long time.

2. Terry McLaurin

The fact that McLaurin has managed to produce as much as he has over his first two NFL seasons despite being in one of the worst situations in the NFL for a receiver is remarkable. Catching passes from a rotation of quarterbacks consisting of Dwayne Haskins (cut, now the third-string QB in Pittsburgh), Alex Smith (retired), Kyle Allen (backing up Ryan Fitzpatrick), Taylor Heinicke (backing up Kyle Allen) Case Keenum (backing up Baker Mayfield in Cleveland), and Colt McCoy (backing up Kyler Murray), McLaurin still managed to rack up 145 catches, 2,037 yards, and 11 touchdowns in two years. That's absolutely remarkable. And unlike Metcalf, McLaurin isn't a physical freak of nature. He's fast, he runs great routes, and he has excellent hands. His production combined with the play of his supporting cast makes him a highly-regarded player indeed.

3. Calvin Ridley

Ridley is an elite route runner, already considered one of the best in the game despite entering only the fourth season of his career. He has benefitted much from starting off in the league with an extremely reliable quarterback in Matt Ryan, but it doesn't take away from his production: two 60-catch, 800-yard seasons to start his career followed by a breakout third season in 2020 when he racked up 90 catches, 1,374 yards, and nine TDs in 15 games. Ridley gets knocked in these particular rankings because he has Julio Jones to take up the majority of the defense's attention and the fact that he has a better signal-caller tossing him touchdown passes than anyone other than Metcalf.

4. Justin Jefferson

Jefferson could very well end up above his receiving brethren on this here list in a few years. For now, he ranks fourth, and that's no shame. He set the NFL world ablaze as only a rookie, passing the 1,000 yard mark before season's end and wrapping up the year with a final line of 88 catches for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns. Jefferson is most similar to Ridley on this list in that his biggest strength is route running, but has an extra gear to take the top off defenses and break away from that last defender that only the best wideouts in the game have. Jefferson already has more yards in a single season than any of the other players in these rankings, but will need to do it again before he can officially be counted among the upper echelon of receivers in the NFL. Competition is fierce, after all.

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