In a recent poll of fans via Twitter, the NFL Network asked which two receivers make up the best duo in 2014. With stricter penalties and rule changes gradually favoring NFL offenses over the last few years, wide receivers have arguably become the most important position on the field after quarterback.
The results were tabulated and fans chose the Atlanta Falcons’ tandem of Julio Jones and Roddy White as the best with 45 percent of the vote, followed by Chicago’s Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery with 37 percent, Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate with 15 percent, Washington’s DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon with 3 percent and Indianapolis’s Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton with 1 percent.
But are the fans right? There are plenty of wide receiver tandems in contention for the label of “best,” but there are some clear cut favorites that fans omitted.
Here are the top 5 NFL receiver duos after three weeks of the 2014 season.
5.Pierre Garson and DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins
Both are dynamic playmakers, capable of getting over the top of opposing secondarys or eluding tackles for tons of yards after the catch. Injuries slightly hampered Jackson’s start to the season, but he exploded for 117 yards and touchdown off five catches in Week 3. Garcon’s been a little more consistent and he’s tied for fifth in the league so far with 22 receptions, and totaled 227 yards and one touchdown. Going forward this pair could shoot up, especially if they continue to have success with quarterback Kirk Cousins.
4. Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
Blessed with elite size and an incredible pair of hands, Johnson has been the best receiver in the NFL for the last half decade, and he’s on pace for another stellar year with 329 yards and two touchdowns off 19 receptions. Detroit added Tate via free agency and he’s really a perfect complement to Johnson, capable of playing in the slot to keep defenses honest and giving Megatron space to breakout along the sidelines.
3.Julio Jones and Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Jones has quickly shaken off any worries over his health by leading the NFL in receiver with 365 yards and three touchdowns off 23 receptions. He’s also tops in the league with nine catches for 20-plus yards, and he’s fifth among receivers with 56 yards after the catch. The only reason Atlanta’s slotted at No. 3 is White’s health and production so far. The 10-year veteran missed Week 3’s blowout win over Tampa Bay, and in two games he’s only tallied 10 catches for 114 yards and one touchdown. White’s still one of the most talented receivers in the league, but his production has to pick up for this pair to be No. 1.
2. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
Two 6-foot-plus, versatile receivers who can take and dish out big hits on opposing defense backs, Marshall and Jeffery are as explosive a duo of playmakers as the league has ever seen. Jeffery’s yet to score a touchdown, but he’s coming off a season-high eight catches for 105 yards. Marshall led the Bears comeback over San Francisco with three touchdowns in Week 2, and is one of the toughest players in the league.
1. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
Thomas admitted that his production’s slipped to start the year, but no injuries are holding him back and he will breakout at some point this season. At 26, Thomas is in the heart of his prime and he should put up his third-consecutive 1,000-yard season with 10-plus touchdowns. Sanders has arguably been the best free agency signing this season, ranking third in the league with 334 yards and first with 25 receptions. As a one-two, punch, Thomas and Sanders reign supreme.