Pro Football Focus has come out with its receiving corps rankings for 2022 and the Bucs are ranked No. 2. Tampa Bay has a great trio of starters in Pro Bowler Mike Evans, $20-million man Chris Godwin and newcomer Russell Gage. But the Bucs don’t claim the top spot in the new PFF rankings. So which team beat out the Bucs?

The Cincinnati Bengals.

Fresh off a surprise Super Bowl appearance, the Bengals’ trio of receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd is ranked No. 1. And it’s hard to argue with that distinction. Here’s how those three Cincinnati receivers produced in 2021.

Ja’Marr Chase – 81 catches for 1,455 yards (18 avg.) and 13 TDs
Tee Higgins – 74 catches for 1,091 (14.7 avg.) and 6 TDs
Tyler Boyd – 67 catches for 824 yards (12.4 avg.) and 5 TDs

Here is how Tampa Bay’s top trio performed last year, including Gage’s numbers with Atlanta.

Bucs WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin

Bucs WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Chris Godwin – 98 catches for 1,103 yards and 5 TDs
Mike Evans – 74 catches for 1,035 yards and 14 TDs
Russell Gage – 66 catches for 770 yards and 4 TDs

The Bengals’ trio totaled 222 receptions for 3,370 yards and 24 touchdowns. The Bucs’ trio totaled 238 catches for 2,908 yards and 23 TDs.

PFF’s Receiving Corps Analysis

Here is what PFF had to say about the Bengals receivers.

No team has a more impressive collection of young pass-game talent than the Bengals. Obviously, quarterback Joe Burrow is a big part of that, but the starting wide receiver trio of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd that came together last offseason contributed heavily to Burrow’s progression from his rookie season to 2021. 

Chase established himself as one of the NFL’s best deep threats (league-high eight touchdowns on throws 20-plus yards downfield) and after-the-catch weapons (third among wide receivers in yards after the catch) at the position. Cincinnati’s decision to reunite him and Burrow also allowed Higgins and Boyd to profile as some of the better No. 2 and No. 3 options in the league, respectively. 

And this is what PFF had to say about the Bucs receivers.

Tampa Bay’s receiving corps isn’t quite as talented as it was at full strength last season. Antonio Brown and O.J. Howard are no longer on the roster, and neither is Rob Gronkowski (for now). However, the Buccaneers still have Mike Evans and Chris Godwin — a stellar one-two punch when healthy — and added Russell Gage from Atlanta via free agency and tight end Cade Otton in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

Gage makes a lot of sense as a fit alongside Evans and Godwin. He profiles as a possession receiver who can work the middle of the field from slot or wide alignments. Gage steadily improved his receiving yards per route run from 1.18 in 2019 to 1.96 last season (19th among qualifying wide receivers). 

Perhaps if Gronkowski re-signs with Tampa Bay prior to training camp the Bucs can get elevated over the Bengals?

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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AlbJack65
AlbJack65
8 days ago

The fact that OJ Howard is no longer on the roster is not pertinent to the conversation. He was not on the roster half of the time he was here and was a first round bust. Only a hardcore Alabama fan would disagree with facts.

fredster
fredster
Reply to  AlbJack65
6 days ago

Agreed OJ didn’t do crap here for most part. Now if Gronk is gone that makes us less dynamic for sure. I don’t care who ranks or is better WR wise long as we win the Super Bowl!

scubog
scubog
7 days ago

Kind of funny that the Bengals fans were worried Ja’Marr Chase might be a bust when he dropped a few balls in Training Camp and in the early games to start his career.