EVERY modern day quarterback needs a good receiving core to throw to, it’s no secret. Last season two pass heavy offenses clashed in the SuperBowl and (spoiler alert) both teams appear on my list as owners of some of the best quarterback/wide receiver combo’s in the entire NFL. With 99% of the offseason moves now complete, which duo reigns supreme as the most elite in the NFL?
IF you like what you read be sure to check out more SportsbyFry articles by hitting this link. Make sure you keep up to date with the latest NFL article and follow our fan pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to never miss a minute of the action!
Honourable mentions: Carson Palmer & Larry Fitzgerald, Ryan Tannehill & Jarvis Landry, Andrew Luck & T.Y. Hilton, Aaron Rodgers & Jordy Nelson.
Image from indystar.com
6. Jameis Winston & Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
ONE of the fast rising youthful pairings, both Jameis Winston and Mike Evans are on the fast track to stardom. At the tender age of 23 both players have Pro Bowl nods under their belt and own plenty of Bucs franchise records already. Evans’ first three years in the league has seen him has post three consecutive seasons of 1,000+ receiving yards, while Winston has cleared the 4,000 yard passing mark (while adding 50 TD’s) in his two pro seasons to date. The sky’s the limit for the Tampa Bay talents and they should make some playoff noise for the first time in their career’s this season too.
5. Eli Manning & Odell Beckham Jr. – New York Giants
YOU can make the argument that Odell Beckham is the best receiver in the NFL. Unfortunately for the sake of this article, you can’t make the argument that Manning is the best quarterback. Having played every single game since his second season in ’05, there is no doubt Eli is one of the most dominant quarterbacks to ever lace them up. But at the age of 36, he isn’t the same player he once was. He hasn’t shown too much of a decline yet, still throwing for 4,027 yards last season, although Manning posted his lowest QBR since 2013, throwing 16 interceptions (tied for 4th most in the league). Ever since his breakout rookie season in 2014, OBJ has been turning heads too, with logic defying catches and a shit ton of receiving yards. In his first season he led the league in yards per game with a tick over 108 and hasn’t tipped below 1,300 yards in a season yet. Due for a big pay day in the near future, Beckham no doubt will continue to star in the NFL, but the curtain is slowly coming down on Manning’s illustrious career.
4. Andy Dalton & A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals
IN 2011 the Cincinnati Bengals spent their first two picks on offensive weapons A.J. Green (4th overall) and Andy Dalton (35th overall). 7,135 receiving yards and 22,214 passing yards later and it seems like that was a pretty smart move by the front office. The sometimes forgotten AFC North combo have been a staple in highlight reels for the better part of a decade and continue to give the Bengals the chance to be successful. Green may have had an injury interrupted 2016, but he still boasted the best yards per game (96.4) and catch percentage (66%) of his career in his first sub 1,000 yard season. A large part of that was due to Andy Dalton, who still managed to throw for the 2nd most yards in his career, despite his main target missing six games. Expect them to once again challenge for the postseason and provide highlight reel plays along the way!
3. Tom Brady & Brandin Cooks – New England Patriots
A large reason that the Brady/Cooks combo doesn’t feature higher is because I don’t know how the two will pay together. Sure, the Patriots are coming off a SuperBowl where Brady etched his name into sporting folklore and Cooks has posted back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons, but we don’t know exactly how these two will mesh. Now that Brady has arguably the best receiving group of his career, Gronk, Edelman, Amendola, Hogan, Mitchell and Hawkins are all bound to receive a share of the targets, which will somewhat impact Cooks’ potentially mind boggling stats. Brady’s ability throwing the ball is second to none, so it’s likely that he and the 1st year Patriot Cooks will connect with regularity. Until I see it with my own eyes though, they don’t up-seed the top two pairings in the league.
2. Ben Roethlisberger & Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers
ORIGINALLY I had ‘Big Ben’ and Antonio Brown does as the 2nd best combo in the league. Then I thought about it some more and had them 1st. Then I changed my mind again and ranked them 2nd again. The point being, it’s tough to split the top two on my list, but at the end of the day you still can split the pair. Antonio Brown’s 1,284 yards receiving last year were considered as somewhat of a failure by his lofty standards after chalking up over 5,000 in his previous three seasons. Considered by many as the best wideout in the game (including myself), Brown’ has been toying with NFL pass defenses for the better part of a decade, with Roethlisberger hoisting him those catches. The elite play caller is nearing the end of his fabled career and currently ranks inside the top 10 for career passing yards and touchdowns. This may be the last season we see the ultimate duo together, so let’s not take it for granted!
1. Matt Ryan & Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
THE reigning MVP and receiving yards per game leader seem like a good pair to be at the top of our list. Julio Jones would have likely led the league in receiving yards for the 2nd straight year, had he not sat out two games en route to his fourth Pro Bowl selection. Ryan and Jones were at the peak of their powers in Week 4 last season, combing for over 500 passing yards and 300 receiving yards against Carolina. They became the 1st ever duo to record such numbers in a single game and continued to wreak havoc on the league all the way up to a SuperBowl berth. Julio Jones has long been an illustrious wideout in the league and Matt Ryan has been a good quarterback, but is starting to enter the great group after a career best season in 2016. There’s no reason that the two can’t replicate their stardom in 2017 and in turn, be sitting atop this list once again in a years time.
Banner from rukkus.com