NFL’s 10 Highest Graded Wide Receivers Against Man Coverage: Lions’ Amon-Ra St. Brown edges out of top spot | NFL news, rankings and stats

  • Amon-Ra St. Brown dominates man coverage: He had an impressive 127.7 NFL passer rating when targeted in man coverage, which ranked within the top 10. Not only did he rank top 10 in that area, but also with 2.82 yards per carry. route.
  • Ja’Marr Chase is not far behind: Chase was cut off by just one decimal point to St. Brown, as his 90.7 reception grade against man coverage was good enough for second among NFL WRs.
  • CeeDee Lamb proves to be elite: Lamb tied for second with the Chase and came as close as possible to being first on this list. Lamb showed up when defenses tried to man him – hauling in 32 catches for 458 yards and three touchdowns.
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Last week, we looked at the 10 highest-rated receivers in terms of zone coverage. Now let’s take a look at the top 10 receivers when it comes to face coverage. Even though zone coverage has become the much more prominent coverage in today’s NFL, teams still love to line up mono e mono across the board – typically on late, pivotal down and distances as well. We used PFF’s Premium Stats to check which receivers consistently get open and make plays when covered man-to-man.


1. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions

Reception grade vs. man coverage: 90.8

St. Brown came in as the No. 9 when we looked at performance against zone coverage, but when it came to man coverage, he was the best man. St. Brown was a phenomenal under-weapon working from the slot as he had 25 first downs on one of the lowest average depth of target (6.9) of the qualified receivers.

St. Brown had a career year last season for Detroit, proving to be one of the league’s best slot receivers. He had an impressive 127.7 NFL passer rating when targeted in man coverage, which ranked within the top 10. Not only did he rank top 10 in that area, but also with 2.82 yards per carry. route; both of which were better numbers than what he posted when facing zone coverage.


T-2. Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

Reception grade vs. man coverage: 90.7

Chase was edged by just one decimal point to St. Brown, since we’re splitting hairs here. Chase is such an incredible receiver in all facets of the game, he can take shorter routes in the distance, but also plays much bigger than his listed size. Of course he plays with his guy Joe Burrowand they obviously have one of the best reports in the league.

Chase really is a big play waiting to happen, and manning him makes it even more dangerous – he hauled in 29 catches against man coverage for 444 yards and five touchdowns. He ranked in the top 10 in both of those categories, and he ranked in the top five with 197 yards after the catch when facing man coverage. His 3.31 yards per route running was third among those 10 receivers on the list; this young connection between Burrow and Chase is one we’ll continue to hear about for years to come.


T-2. CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys

Reception grade vs. man coverage: 90.7

Lamb tied for second with the Chase and came as close as possible to being first on this list. Lam primarily played from the slot, which you typically face a lot of subzones to get open. However, Lamb showed up when the defense tried to man him as well – hauling in 32 catches for 458 yards and three touchdowns.

Lamb averaged 2.90 yards per carry. route, which ranked eighth when facing man coverage, and he ranked exactly the same when facing zone coverage as well. Of Lamb’s 167 total targets, only 45 of them were against man coverage schemes, but he managed to get 23 first downs on his 32 receptions. Among those 10 receivers, his 58.3 contested catch percentage ranked second, snagging seven of his 12 opportunities.


4. AJ Brown, Philadelphia Eagles

Reception grade vs. man coverage: 90.4

Arguably the last receiver you want to play man-to-man, Brown has great speed and quickness to match his incredible physicality. The numbers speak for themselves, as Brown led all receivers against man coverage with 39 receptions, 674 yards and six touchdowns. If Regret hurts saw the defense play man coverage, good chance he looked Brown’s way, as his 62 targets tied for first with the Bills’ Stephen Diggs.

Brown can create great separation for his size, but his specialty is his physicality when the ball is in his hands. He also led the league with 249 yards after the catch and 10 missed tackles forced when facing man coverage. Brown also tied for first with 29 first downs versus man coverage schemes, meaning only 10 of his receptions against those schemes didn’t move the chains.


5. Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

Reception grade vs. man coverage: 89.4

Williams dealt with some injuries last season, appearing in just 13 games for the Chargers. However, he is a nightmare for a defensive back to cover one-on-one, as the 6-foot-4, 218-pound receiver led all receivers with 10 contested catches when facing man coverage. His 10-of-16 contested catches just goes to show that a cornerback can be in tight coverage, but it just won’t be enough against a player his size.

Williams has been a downfield weapon for the quarterback Justin Herbert, with an average depth of field of 15.5 yards. He also posted an exceptional 3.70 yards per carry. route running, which was second among all eligible receivers. Williams had zero drops against man coverage and is an extremely reliable, big-bodied weapon for Herbert who pairs perfectly with a veteran receiver such as. Keenan Allen.


6. Garrett Wilson, New York Jets

Reception grade vs. man coverage: 88.2

Two rookies appeared in the top 10 when looking at the highest-rated receivers in terms of zone coverage, but Wilson stands as the only first-year receiver on that list. Despite not having much stability at the quarterback position, Wilson found ways to create separation and make plays in his debut season as a Jet. He really excelled against man coverage, hauling in 33 catches, which ranked in the top five among all qualified receivers.

On those 33 catches, Wilson gained 448 yards and found the end zone on two separate occasions. He had a first down on 23 of those receptions, being one of just 10 receivers to have 20 or more first downs when facing man coverage. Wilson’s nine missed tackles only forced behinds AJ Brown. Oh, now he’s going to catch passes from Aaron Rodgers – get the popcorn ready.


7. Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

Reception grade vs. man coverage: 87.3

It’s safe to say that Joe Burrow loves to play against man coverage as his two best weapons appear on the roster. Higgins is another big receiver who doesn’t need to create separation to excel against man coverage. Higgins picked up six of his 11 contested catches playing man-to-man.

Impressively, 19 of Higgins’ 22 receptions against man coverage went for a first down. Higgins is a nightmare to cover one-on-one because he can easily win over the top with his 6-foot-4 frame and 97th-percentile arm length. With his basketball background, it shows on film with his ability to box out smaller defensive backs and attack the catch point.


8. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

Reception grade vs. man coverage: 86.9

Jefferson is one of three receivers to appear in both the top 10 lists vs. zone and man coverage, which should come as no surprise. Jefferson is a dominant force no matter what coverage is thrown at him. On 34 receptions against man coverage, he tallied 642 yards, which was just behind AJ Brown. His 238 yards after the catch was also second only to Brown.

Jefferson has already proven to be an extraordinarily elite receiver in such a short time, breaking some of Randy Moss’ records in Minnesota. He is a special separator and chain mover, as his 83 total first downs led all receivers in 2022. Man or zone, Jefferson simply just wins.


9. Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

Reception grade vs. man coverage: 86.8

Jeudy has had a solid NFL career to this point, but with new head coach Sean Payton, this could be Jeudy’s breakout year. Jeudy is just a natural separator and we noticed that early when he played for Nick Saban at Alabama. Last season, when facing man coverage, his 4.19 yards per carry led the way. route run all eligible receivers.

It was a bit of a small sample as only 19 of Jeudy’s 100 targets came when facing man coverage schemes. However, he produced when given those opportunities, converting 11 first downs on 14 receptions. His 306 yards led him to a top-three 21.9 yards per carry.


10. Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins

Reception grade vs. man coverage: 86.2

Hill joins St. Brown and Jefferson as the only three receivers to make both top 10 lists when facing zone and man coverage. Hill ranked first against zone coverage, whereas he comes in No. 10 against man coverage. That’s probably because teams would much rather play zone against the lightning-quick duo Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

Hill was targeted 181 times last season, but only 31 of those came against man-to-man coverage. Hill did what he could, though, converting 13 first downs on 20 receptions for 232 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His 81 total first downs trailed only Jefferson as the only two receivers to move the chains 80 or more times in 2022.

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