September 29, 2023 12:00pm

The NFL and Elite Wide Receivers

Tyreek Hill is the most electric receiver in the NFL. He had a 215-yard game on opening day and his four touchdowns through three weeks lead all NFL receivers.

Photo of Rick Gosselin
NFL Correspondent

Tyreek Hill is the most electric receiver in the NFL. He had a 215-yard game on opening day and his four touchdowns through three weeks lead all NFL receivers.

But that’s not to say Hill is the NFL’s best receiver. That was the lead question in our NFL Power Poll this week. We asked our panel of former players, coaches, officials, talent evaluators, writers and broadcasters who would you rather have – Hill or Justin Jefferson., who led the NFL in both catches and yards in 2022 for the Minnesota Vikings and again leads in receiving yards with 458 in 2023.

Jefferson won by a comfortable margin, receiving 96 of the 175 votes cast. Hill received 75 and four votes were cast for “others.

Jefferson caught nine passes for 150 yards in the season opener against Tampa Bays, 11 passes for 159 yards in the second week against Philadelphia and seven more for 149 yards last week against the Chargers. This after catching 128 passes for 1,809 yards in 2022. He has reached 1,000 yards in all three of his NFL seasons.

“Hill has speed almost without equal” said Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “but Jefferson’s production in the first 3 1/2 years of his career is also unmatched. He’s putting up even bigger numbers this year despite the fact he’s seeing double (and sometimes triple) teams regularly. That’s a product of his ability to diagnose what teams are doing to him, adjust his routes, make contested catches and run after the catch. He’s perhaps the most complete receiver in the NFL, and he’s only 24. That’s why I picked Jefferson in a really close call between these two dynamic talents.”

Added Boston Herald Sports Editor Bruce Castleberry: “Hill's elite speed makes him a danger every time he touches the ball. But Jefferson is the closest thing to the ultimate standard, Jerry Rice, of anyone in the game.”

Hill has caught 25 passes for 412 yards this season, He caught 1,000 yards in passes in five of his seven NFL season with a career best 1,710 yards in his first season with the Dolphins in 2022.

“Jefferson is incredibly productive, maybe historically productive,” said Ira Kaufman, a Hall of Fame voter with “But nobody scares opposing defenses more than Hill, who has worked hard on his craft. Hill is more than just a speedster. He's an elite route runner with good hands and he opens up the field for everyone around him.’

Added Florida Timas Union columnist Gene Frenette: “The Hill-Jefferson choice is influenced by the quarterback throwing them passes. If Tua Tagovailoa was the Vikings' quarterback, I'd probably take Jefferson over Hill.”

But “others” also weighed into the equation.

“I like both and would take Jefferson over Hill … but Mike Evans is the guy I would trust more to make the crucial catches,” said Hall of Fame wide receiver Drew Pearson.

. Our second question focused on the big game of the week – the Miami Dolphins at the Buffalo Bills. The

Bills have won three consecutive AFC East titles but find themselves a game back of the unbeaten Dolphins heading into the fourth weekend of the season. Buffalo plays great defense and Miami plays great offense. So who wins this game?

Our panel gave Buffalo the nod with 98 of the 175 votes cast.

“I hear they're trying to brew up a big ugly storm for Sunday with snow and a windchill factor of 10 degrees,” said Bud Geracie, the sports editor of the Bay Area News Group.

Added Joe Reedy of the Associated Press: “The Dolphins also started 3-0 last year before dropping four straight. We'll see if they learned their lessons and if they are built better this time after being an extremely streaky team last season.”

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of significant key players in American sports today. It's member list draws on people from media, team management, and league management. It is not a scientific survey, but the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those who know most about the sport.

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