NFL training camps are fast approaching, which means it is again time for the league's true insiders to have their say. As part of ESPN's 2023 NFL season preview, we surveyed league executives, coaches, scouts and players to help us rank the top 10 players at 11 positions, from quarterback to cornerback and all positions in between. This is the fourth edition of these rankings, and as usual, several players have moved up from or fallen off last year's lists.
By way of refresher, here's how our process works: Voters give us their best 10 players at a position, then we compile the results and rank candidates based on number of top-10 votes, composite average, along with dozens of interviews, research and film study from ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen. In total, more than 80 voters submitted a ballot on at least one position, and in many cases all positions. We had several ties, so we broke them with the help of additional voting and follow-up calls with those surveyed.
Each section includes quotes and nuggets from the voters on every ranked player -- even the honorable mentions. The objective is to identify the best players right now for 2023. This is not a five-year projection or a career achievement award. Who are the best players today? Check out who makes the list at every position on ESPN+.
We rolled out a position per day over 11 days. The schedule: off-ball linebackers (July 8), defensive tackles (July 9), edge rushers (July 10), cornerbacks (July 11), safeties (July 12), tight ends (July 13), running backs (July 14), offensive tackles (July 15), guards and centers (July 16), quarterbacks (July 17) and wide receivers (July 18).
Saying the NFL's wide receiver group is in good hands doesn't quite account for the number of elite hands available to hold it up.
The league showcases an embarrassment of receiver riches each Sunday, making the task of condensing the landscape into a top 10 an arduous one.
Each draft produces several star pass-catchers, while many veterans approaching age 30 continue to produce at All-Pro levels.
Consider this: Catching 100 passes in 2022 doesn't even guarantee a receiver a spot in the top 16. That was the case with at least one ultra-talented receiver. The pool is too good. It's a passing league more than ever before, and the 17-game schedule only amplifies the numbers.
This year felt like a proverbial torch was passed -- five players appearing in the top 10 are 25 years old or younger. And Tier 1 was an incredibly close three-man race. Let's look at some of the game's top receivers as ranked by execs, coaches, scouts and players around the NFL.