The NFL has seen a shift in its offensive style of play over the last decade.
Teams are becoming reliant on throwing the ball down the field. This evolution has been hinged on the plethora of strong-armed quarterbacks entering the league.
As these offenses have developed, a number of quarterback-wide receiver duos have emerged across the league.
Here is a ranking of the top seven signal-caller-to-pass-catcher connections across the NFL, entering the 2022 NFL season.
7.) Derek Carr-Davante Adams (Las Vegas Raiders)
This duo has yet to play a professional game together, as Adams was sent to the Las Vegas Raiders in an offseason trade. However, these two players are among the top players at their respective positions.
This connection does have previous experience together, having played together for two seasons collegiately at Fresno State. Adams totaled 3,031 yards in two seasons lining up out wide for the Bulldogs, while Carr threw for 12,843 yards. In fact, Adams caught 24 of Carr’s school-record 50 touchdown passes in 2013.
This tandem will certainly be interesting to follow. The NFL won’t be the Mountain West Conference, where they did a majority of their damage in college. But, their previous experience together should make them dangerous in a competitive AFC West division.
6.) Jared Goff-Amon-Ra St. Brown (Detroit Lions)
This may be a surprise to some, but Goff and St. Brown developed a solid connection over the final stretch of their first season together. When Lions head coach Dan Campbell took over the play-calling duties midway through the year, both Goff and St. Brown found a new gear of production.
In Year 2 together, plenty is expected of this duo.
The Lions have a somewhat favorable schedule, and are viewed as dark-horse playoff contenders. Goff and St. Brown will play a major part in how the Lions fare in 2022.
With St. Brown playing the role of a slot receiver, first-year Detroit offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is tasked with finding unique ways to get him the ball. Expect the Lions to get creative in finding ways to get this tandem to connect.
5.) Joe Burrow-Ja’Marr Chase (Cincinnati Bengals)
This pairing is among the most young and exciting duos in all of football. After a knee injury derailed Burrow’s rookie year, he was reunited with his LSU teammate Chase, and proceeded to put the rest of the league on notice.
Some questioned the Bengals’ decision to draft Chase, instead of an offensive lineman, with their first pick in the 2021 draft, but Chase quickly put those concerns to rest. The eventual Offensive Rookie of the Year caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards and 13 scores.
It’s been just one year, so the next step for this pair is to establish consistency. However, Burrow and Chase began their time in the pros together with a bang, and should be exciting for years to come.
4.) Justin Herbert-Mike Williams (Los Angeles Chargers)
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In two seasons, he’s thrown for 9,350 yards and 69 touchdowns. He won the 2020 Rookie of the Year award, and looks to be one of the best young gunslingers in the league.
His arrival has unlocked Williams, who is coming off the best season of his career. In 2021, Williams set career-highs in receptions (76) and receiving yards (1,146). It was his second 1,000-yard season as a pro and the first time he’d been targeted over 100 times.
Williams figures to be the top target for Herbert going forward, though Keenan Allen will also play a pivotal part in the Chargers’ offense. With Herbert at the helm, the team appears to be in good hands.
3.) Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs (Buffalo Bills)
The Buffalo Bills caught a bad break that ended their 2021 season. After being the victims of an unlucky coin toss that fell the way of the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs, Josh Allen and company watched as Patrick Mahomes drove his team down the field for the win.
However, optimism is at a crescendo in Orchard Park, N.Y., as the Bills look to make a championship run. Allen and Diggs, his top receiver, will be key cogs in the machine.
The duo connected for 10 touchdowns last year, and Diggs has notched 2,760 receiving yards in his two seasons with the Bills.
Acquiring Diggs from Minnesota prior to the 2020 season has given Allen a true top target, which has, in turn, allowed the young quarterback to break out.
2.) Tom Brady-Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
After flirting with retirement briefly, Brady is back in action for the Buccaneers. The ageless wonder is coming off a season in which he threw for a career-high 5,316 yards at age 44.
Evans played a big part in that success as the team’s top receiving threat.
Last season, he caught 1,035 yards and a career-best 14 touchdowns. Together, the two create a duo that is fearsome for opposing defenses.
Brady can’t play forever, can he? "Father Time" will catch up to his production at some point, but until then, it’s tough to bet against Brady. Expect he and Evans to make more noise in 2022.
1.) Matthew Stafford-Cooper Kupp (Los Angeles Rams)
The reigning Super Bowl champions have the best quarterback-receiver duo in the league. This pairing was arguably the biggest piece in the Rams' championship run, especially on the game-winning drive of the Super Bowl in which Kupp caught the game-winning score.
The Stafford trade was the biggest NFL transaction last offseason, and the former Lions signal-caller gave the Rams the piece they believed they were missing on their road to the title. He delivered the title, and is back in search of more.
Kupp won Super Bowl MVP honors, and put together one of the best receiving seasons in NFL history. He won the league’s triple crown, leading in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947) and touchdowns (16).