There is no doubt about it… the NFL is a passing league! With the start of the season still months away, let’s take a look at some of the receiving duos to watch in 2017.
Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant
Brown is top three in the NFL at his position. You could argue that he is THE #1 WR in the league. Last season, Brown had 106 receptions for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns. Now, Martavis Bryant returns from his suspension, where he sat out the entire 2016 season. In the 2015 season, Bryant had 50 receptions for 765 yards and 6 touchdowns. While he has had issues off the field, when he is on the field he is a beast. This duo should be exciting to watch this season!
Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall
Odell Beckham Jr. is an elite wide receiver in the NFL. Beckham’s career stats go something like this: 288 receptions, 4,122 yards, and 35 touchdowns. This will be the first time in his career that he has a solid #2 WR on the team. The other half of this duo is Brandon Marshall, who is a true #2 WR with #1WR ceiling. Marshall should be able to draw coverage away from Odell, leaving him in more one on one situations. This will be Marshall’s 12 NFL season and only 3 of those seasons did he not get 1,000+ yards. He is coming off of a down year with the Jets, which had a turnstile at the QB position. With Eli throwing the ball to these two guys, it will be exciting to watch if Marshall can bounce back.
Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams / Randall Cobb
Jordy is the true #1 here, but the interesting part of watching will be to see who he is paired with. I’m sure the Packers will run a lot of 3 wide receiver sets so all three of these guys will be out there. If Randall Cobb can return to form after two down season, the Packers can return to form with him and Nelson as the #1 and #2 WRs. Adams had a really good season last year and has shown steady growth as a WR, but I believe that last season was an outlier. Between the 2015 season stats and the 2016 season stats, they have almost doubled in 2016. I believe that Adams is a product of opportunity and the systems that he is in. I also believe that Cobb is the better receiver and can bounce back, making the duo of Nelson / Cobb back on top again. Plus it never hurts that Aaron Rodgers is throwing the ball.
Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree
Last season, each of these guys went for over 1,000 yards. Cooper did it on 83 catches, Crabtree had 89 catches. They combined for 13 touchdowns. However, their MVP caliber QB, Derek Carr, was injured in week 16 against the Colts. Carr suffered a broken fibula and required surgery to correct the issue. With a healthy Carr, these numbers would have been higher. The Raiders signed Carr to a massive contract extension, making him the highest player in the NFL. The core of these three players is already exciting to watch and the upcoming season should be just as much fun!
Brandin Cooks and Julian Edelman
What makes these two exciting in the 2017 season isn’t so much their stats, but more of how do all of the offensive weapons that the Patriots have amassed, fit together. Edelman has been the clear #1 WR on this team. He is a team-first kind of guy and that’s what I love about watching him. How will Edelman handle another #1 WR coming in? Will it be a #1 and #2 or a 1a/1b situation? Not to mention all of the other talent on the Patriots roster. You have Chris Hogan who is coming off of a good year with 180 yards in the AFC Championship alone. There is also Danny Amendola who took a pay cut to stay with the team. Not to mention promising rookie Malcolm Mitchell. And you always have Gronk! The Patriots have always spread the ball around and Coach Belichick game plans to each opponent.