Alexander and Brown provide the Chargers with a strong, young duo at the position, but Alexander has a resume plagued with injuries and Brown is coming off a lost season due to a broken ankle…Amendola has a low ceiling as an injury-plagued slot man, but figures to see a ton of underneath targets wherever he lands. He’s a better bet in PPR leagues…After missing most of 2012 due to injury, Holmes is closing in on 30 and the Jets are without a competent long-term quarterback. On the bright side, a ton of targets will be sent his way…The Seahawks’ offense is one of the league’s best, but Rice’s ceiling is limited by a run-first, spread-it-around attack. He’s only 26, though.
Next up, we have a rundown of sophomore-season breakout candidates. Randle is the favorite for the Giants’ No. 3 job, but will have trouble finding consistent targets behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz…Jeffery is the Bears’ big, downfield complement to possession receiver Brandon Marshall…Broyles tore his ACL during the 2012 season, but has a future as the long-term complement to Calvin Johnson…Quick was picked in the second round of the 2012 draft with the hopes that he’d provide St. Louis with a split end for the next decade. He showed flashes of dominance in a small sample of work…Sanu had been working as Cincinnati’s No. 2 wideout before a foot injury cut his rookie-season short. He’ll compete with Marvin Jones for the starting job opposite A.J. Green...Still only 21, Hill remains a project and the Jets’ incompetent offense certainly didn’t help his rookie-season progression. The return of Holmes will take some pressure off in year-two….Jenkins barely played as a rookie, but the improved 49ers’ pass offense and the likely departure of Randy Moss have him in position for a bigger sophomore-season role.
Hartline is closing in on a long-term extension with the Dolphins, but we may have already seen the best season of his career. He figures to settle in as an expensive No. 2 wideout for Miami…Unless the Steelers add an impact rookie or free agent, Sanders will get one final shot to prove he’s a capable complement to Antonio Brown in the starting lineup…Moore quietly eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark last season and will continue to work as Drew Brees’ third option in New Orleans…Boldin remains a strong possession receiver and featured target in Baltimore, but he’ll turn 33 this season.
For the most part, our seventh tier is loaded with young wideouts who will be competing for a significant role in the coming months.
Jones, Streater, Posey, Criner, Benjamin, and Brazill enter their sophomore season buried on their respective team’s depth chart. Jones will try to push Mohamed Sanu out of a starting job in Cincinnati. Streater and Criner need Darrius Heyward-Bey out of the picture in order to land a bigger role in Oakland. Posey’s 2013 season is in question after a torn Achilles cut his rookie campaign short. Benjamin could be first in line for a long look if Greg Little doesn’t take a step forward this year. Brazill will be in the mix for the No. 3 job in Indianapolis.
Hankerson, Little, Kerley, Morgan, and the two Baldwins are each entering their third season at the pro level. Hankerson was strong in a small sample of work this past season, but needs to beat out Santana Moss and Josh Morgan for a starting gig. The Browns are hoping Little will settle in as a strong complement to Josh Gordon. Kerley appears to have a future as a productive slot man, but the Jets’ quarterback situation is shaky. Morgan is the current favorite for the No. 3 job in the high-powered Saints’ offense. Jon Baldwin is the favorite for the No. 2 job in Kansas City, but has underwhelmed thus far. Doug Baldwin has the slot job in Seattle locked down for the long-term.
Lloyd’s future with the Patriots is in serious doubt, which has the 31-year-old’s arrow pointing way down…Roberts was strong for Arizona as their No. 2 receiver in 2012, but his ceiling is low due to the emergence of Michael Floyd…Bess could revert to part-time slot duties if the Dolphins re-sign Brian Hartline and add an impact free agent wideout…Tate and LaFell have emerged as competent No. 2 receivers opposite Sidney Rice and Steve Smith, respectively…Manningham didn’t get to play much with Colin Kaepernick this past season, but will be the No. 2 wideout if he sticks in San Francisco...Robinson has a ton of talent, but his concussion resume is scary and he’s fallen behind Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts in Jacksonville…The annually-underrated Floyd is closing in on 32 and is the likely loser with Vincent Brown back from injury…Underrated a bit by his recent injury troubles, Hixon figures to land a No. 2 or No. 3 job on the open market…Heyward-Bey hasn’t quite lived up to expectations after being selected in the first round back in 2009.
Toon and Boykin are buried on the depth charts in New Orleans and Green Bay, respectively, but both figure to be an injury away from regular snaps in one of the league’s elite pass offenses…Coale tore his ACL last season, but the 2012 fifth-round pick could enter the mix for Dallas’ No. 3 job…Graham is holding down the No. 2 spot opposite Steve Johnson in Buffalo, but the Bills figure to add some competition during the offseason.
Morgan and Bennett are journeymen role players with relatively low ceilings…Avery struggling with drops last season, but the wide receiver-needy Colts seem to be interested in bringing him back…Hawkins showed some flashes from the slot last season, but the presence of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones means plenty of competition for reps…Doss’ red zone workload rose as the 2012 season progressed. He’s a candidate to eventually replace Anquan Boldin in Baltimore…Young has a significant amount of skill, but his antics have his NFL future in serious doubt…Edelman figures to land a No. 3/slot job on the open market, but there’s not a ton of upside here unless he’s force-fed the ball…Moss is about to turn 34 and is not a lock to stick with Washington next season, especially with Leonard Hankerson and Morgan in the picture.