NFL Power Rankings: Ranking the Top 10 QB-WR Combos in the League
As the NFL continues to progress into more of a passing league, teams are looking for a franchise quarterback while also giving him at least one top target to throw to.
The duo you see at the top of this slideshow was integral in changing the fortunes of the entire Falcons franchise, and both players have become fan favorites. Matt Ryan and Roddy White without question form one of the top duos in the league.
So as we look at the top quarterback-wide receiver combos in the league, we'll go over the guidelines of the list. The players will be looked at as equally important to making the group great. Thus, a top quarterback that doesn't have a top wide receiver will be lower than a slightly lower quarterback that has a top-notch wide receiver. This makes it so the tandem has to be great, not just one of the players.
We will also be looking at what the pair has done together more so than what the players have done separately. This means that a guy that had a down year with a new team following several dominating seasons with another may be downgraded a bit and vice versa.
Sadly, the way I'm going to do it, some guys like Calvin Johnson won't make the list for lack of a consistent quarterback, though he and a healthy Matthew Stafford could make this list next season.
The way we will be placing them is like this: Of the 10 players at each position that I list, I will give them a number of where I think they rank compared to other players on the list. The highest number will be one, lowest number 10. The group with lowest average will be the top duo.
The top 10 duos are all very close together with no one group being tons and tons better than the rest. Let's get on to the top 10 quarterback-wide receiver tandems.
10. Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens
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Joe Flacco 2010 Stats: 308-of-489 (62.6 percent), 3,622 yards, 25 TD, 10 INT
Anquan Boldin 2010 Stats: 64 Rec, 837 yards, seven TD
Flacco will forever be linked to Matt Ryan and Matt Ryan always to Flacco because they were the top quarterbacks drafted in 2008. Both have progressed and made the playoffs a couple of times. Flacco is a very good young quarterback and has the talent to become one of the game's best.
Boldin didn't have great numbers last season, but I look for him to get back to where we expect him to be. This means close to 100 catches, well over 1,000 yards and several touchdown catches. He's still one of the better receivers in the league.
Joe Flacco Ranking: 10
Anquan Boldin Ranking: 8
Average Ranking: 9
9. Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Ben Roethlisberger 2010 Stats: 240-of-389 (61.7 percent), 3,200 yards, 17 TD, five INT
Mike Wallace 2010 Stats: 60 Rec, 1,257 yards, 10 TD
For all the problems he has had off the field, all that Roethlisberger has proven on it is that he is a winner. He doesn't put up the eye-popping stats that you expect from an elite quarterback but still is one of the better playmakers at the position.
Wallace is a young and very fast receiver that is quickly becoming one of the best in the league. He's still a year away probably from becoming a top-notch receiver, but he has the tools and playmaking ability to become one very soon.
Ben Roethlisberger Ranking: 7
Mike Wallace Ranking: 8
Average Ranking: 7.5
8. Philip Rivers and Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers
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Philip Rivers 2010 Stats: 357-of-541 (66 percent), 4,710 yards, 30 TD, 13 INT
Vincent Jackson 2010 Stats: 14 Rec, 248 yards, three TD
Rivers is as good as just about any quarterback in the league. He's put up the numbers, picked up wins and done so with different supporting casts around him. He continues to improve and seems to be poised to take the next step in the playoffs.
Jackson wasn't on the field much in 2010, but in 2009 he picked up 68 receptions for 1,167 yards and nine touchdowns. He's not the best receiver, but he makes plays and has the traits that teams look for.
Philip Rivers Ranking: 4
Vincent Jackson Ranking: 10
Average Ranking: 7
7. Drew Brees and Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints
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Drew Brees 2010 Stats: 448-of-658 (68.1 percent), 4,620 yards, 33 TD, 22 INT
Marques Colston 2010 Stats: 84 Rec, 1,023 yards, seven TD
The interceptions hurt Brees' ranking a bit, but he is still an elite-level quarterback that can make plays and throws that other quarterbacks can't.
Colston has the hands and size to be an elite wide receiver, and so far in his career he has played like it. He lacks big-time speed but makes up for it with his route-running and production.
This duo will be working hard this offseason to try to retake the NFC South title.
Drew Brees Ranking: 6
Marques Colston Ranking: 6
Average Ranking: 6
6. Tom Brady and Wes Welker, New England Patriots
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Tom Brady 2010 Stats: 324-of-492 (65.9 percent), 3,900 yards, 36 TD, four INT
Wes Welker 2010 Stats: 86 Rec, 848 yards, seven TD
What more can be said about Tom Brady that hasn't already? He's among the greatest quarterbacks to have ever played the game and continues to play it at as high a level as anyone in the league.
Wes Welker has been as solid and as consistent as any fan could hope for. He's one of the best chain-moving receivers in the league and plays very big despite his size. He is lifted up to an upper level of receivers by the play of Brady.
This duo should continue to give the league fits going forward.
Tom Brady Ranking: 2
Wes Welker Ranking: 9
Combined average: 5.5
T4. Matt Ryan and Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
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Matt Ryan 2010 Stats: 357-of-571 (62.5 percent), 3,705 yards, 28 TD, nine INT
Roddy White 2010 Stats: 115 Rec, 1,389 yards, 10 TD
This duo was good enough to lead the Atlanta Falcons to a 13-3 record, which was the best in the NFC last season. Both were named to the Pro Bowl, and both are relatively young (Ryan is 25, and White is 29).
White was without question Ryan's top target last year, as he led the league in receptions and targets in what would become a career season. Ryan also took the next step in 2010 and seems to be on the brink of complete stardom. He's been one of the better quarterbacks in the league since being drafted and could be poised for a true breakout season.
Matt Ryan Ranking: 8
Roddy White Ranking: 2
Combined Ranking: 5
T4. Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
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Michael Vick 2010 Stats: 233-of-372 (62.6 percent), 3,018 yards, 21 TD, six INT, 676 yards rushing, nine TD
DeSean Jackson 2010 Stats: 47 Rec, 1,056 yards, six TD
Vick came back from all of his struggles to put together one of the better seasons in recent memory from a quarterback. It was far and away his best passing season while still leading all quarterbacks in rushing yards and touchdowns.
Jackson is the ultimate speed receiver, and perhaps the only thing holding him back is durability and slightly more production. Some are wondering how long he will last in the league at his size, but so far he has been among the very best playmakers in the league.
Michael Vick Ranking: 5
DeSean Jackson Ranking: 5
Average Ranking: 5
3. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
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Matt Schaub 2010 Stats: 365-of-574 (63.6 percent), 4,370 yards, 24 TD, 12 INT
Andre Johnson 2010 Stats: 86 Rec, 1,216 yards, eight TD
Schaub can put up numbers as big as anybody in the league, but he hasn't had a ton of success in the win column. Some of this is bad defense; other parts of it are because of him. He's still growing, though, and should continue to progress as one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Johnson is considered at worst the second-best receiver in the league, but I think he is the best. He has all of the physical traits you look for and has been very productive as a pro. He has a chance to have a special career.
Matt Schaub Ranking: 8
Andre Johnson Ranking: 1
Average Ranking: 4.5
2. Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
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Aaron Rodgers 2010 Stats: 312-of-475 (65.7 percent), 3,922 yards, 28 TD, 11 INT
Greg Jennings 2010 Stats: 76 Rec, 1,265 yards, 12 TD
The Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers have a young duo that is easily among the best in the league. Rodgers took the next step in 2010 and can be argued as the best quarterback in the league right now. Going forward, he, Roethlisberger, Ryan and Flacco will be competing for the top quarterback spot.
Jennings has fairly quietly become one of the best receivers in the game. He possesses good all-around tools and has been Rodgers' favorite target for a while now.
Aaron Rodgers Ranking: 3
Greg Jennings: 4
Combined Average: 3.5
1. Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
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Peyton Manning 2010 Stats: 450-of-679 (66.3 percent), 4,700 yards, 33 TD, 17 INT
Reggie Wayne: 111 Rec, 1,355 yards, six TD
Its crazy how a 4,700-yard, 33-TD season is a "down" season for any quarterback, but Peyton Manning has been that great over his career. Even with the down year, I give him the top slot in the quarterback ranking for at least one more year, though he and Brady are more 1A-1B to me.
Reggie Wayne has put up huge numbers over his career and at the age of 32 still has a few seasons left in him to pad what should be a Hall of Fame career.
Both guys make up the top duo this year, and all signs point to them probably being tops on the list next season as well.
Peyton Manning Ranking: 1
Reggie Wayne Ranking: 3
Average Ranking: 2