Tee Higgins is in a quartet of Tigers in the PFF rankings.  (Photo: Denny Medley / USATODAY)
Tee Higgins is in a quartet of Tigers in the PFF rankings. (Photo: Denny Medley / USATODAY)

'WRU' Clemson well-represented in 2022 NFL wide receiver rankings


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DeAndre Hopkins leads a group of four Clemson pros ranked among the top receivers in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.

Hopkins is listed in the "Elite" tier at No. 3 overall behind only Las Vegas' Davante Adams and the Rams' Cooper Kupp.

"Hopkins' nagging injury meant that the Cardinals couldn’t get the most out of him in 2021. And now they’re guaranteed not to have him for a minimum of six games due to an offseason suspension for a positive PED test. Still, there’s no denying that the 10th-year pro is one of the NFL’s best when healthy," Anthony Treash writes. "Hopkins finished sixth or better in receiving grade in five of the six seasons between 2015 and 2020, seasons filled with highlight-reel toe-tappers, contested wins and spectacular grabs from off-target throws. Since joining Arizona in 2020, his 1.8% drop rate is the second-best in the NFL."

In the "Young Talents" area is the Cincinnati Bengals' Tee Higgins at No. 13 overall.

"The 6-foot-4, 215-pound pass-catcher can make some difficult grabs over the middle of the field and use his large catch radius to reel in slightly inaccurate targets," Treash said. "Even Joe Burrow — one of the most accurate passers in the league — can misfire from time to time, but Higgins can help him out. His eight explosive receptions of 15-plus yards on inaccurate targets were tied for the fifth-most last season."

Mike Williams checked in at No. 24 overall after a monster 2021 campaign.

Tee Higgins is in a quartet of Tigers in the PFF rankings.  (Photo: Denny Medley / USATODAY)
Tee Higgins is in a quartet of Tigers in the PFF rankings. (Photo: Denny Medley / USATODAY)"

"Bodying defensive backs in tight coverage is where Williams wins. Since 2018, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound wide receiver ranks third in contested catches (66) and second in yards coming from tight coverage targets (1,016)," Treash said.

Las Vegas' Hunter Renfrow isn't far behind at No. 27.

"Renfrow is among the league’s best slot receivers," said Treash. "He turned in the seventh-best slot receiving grade in 2021 and brought in 96.5% of his catchable targets when on the inside. Renfrow also doesn’t get the recognition he deserves as a route runner. The 5–foot–10, 184-pound receiver’s separation rate last season stood at the 95th percentile among qualifying NFL receivers."

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