Just before last Thanksgiving, Around The League ranked the NFL's best wide receiver duos. Nearly five months later, we decided to revisit the exercise to reflect free-agent signings and players returning from injuries.
Impact playmakers such as Julio Jones, Randall Cobb and Reggie Wayne have returned after being ineligible for the previous list. Where do newly signed wide receivers such as DeSean Jackson, Hakeem Nicks, Eric Decker and Golden Tate rank?
Our answers are below:
1. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
A prototypical go-to target on third downs and in the red zone, Marshall is among the NFL's top handful of receivers from the past decade. He was outplayed at times last season by Jeffery, who was a big-play machine en route to finishing second among NFL receivers with 1,521 yards from scrimmage.
2. Julio Jones and Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
The engine that makes the Falcons' offense go, Jones was on pace for a monstrous season of 130 receptions and 1,850 yards before October foot surgery. White's season was ravaged by ankle and hamstring injuries, but he still showed well down the stretch, averaging nearly nine receptions and 100 yards per over the final five games.
3. Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
Megatron's greatness is undeniable. He's been the best in the game for three years running. For the first time, he now has a playmaking sidekick in the underrated former Seahawks receiver. Owner of the NFL's best drop rate since 2011, Tate also led all eligible receivers in forced missed tackles, yards after the catch per reception and punt-return efficiency last season, per Pro Football Focus.
4. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
Is Nelson the league's most undersold superstar? He consistently makes spectacular catches look routine. Now healthy after missing 10 games in 2013, Cobb is not just one of the most versatile offensive weapons but also an elite slot receiver.
5. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins
Garcon led the NFL with 113 receptions and finished second only to Demaryius Thomas in yards after the catch. He is one of the rare receivers capable of toasting cornerbacks deep and beating double teams on key third downs. Jackson is more one-dimensional than Garcon, but only T.Y. Hilton and a properly motivated Mike Wallace can match his speed and quickness.
6. Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Two receivers going in opposite directions. Andre Johnson is second only to Calvin Johnson with 3,005 receiving yards over the past two seasons, but he turns 33 before the start of the 2014 season. Father Time remains undefeated. Hopkins is a major breakout candidate after shoddy quarterback play held him back as a rookie.
7. Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker, Denver Broncos
Thomas has led all NFL receivers in passer rating on throws in his direction since Peyton Manning took control of the Broncos' offense. Welker seemed to take a step back after suffering a pair of concussions in the second half of last season. If Eric Decker was still in Denver, he and Thomas would be higher on this list.
8. Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals
Even if we give Fitzgerald a pass for playing through a pair of hamstring injuries last season, he hasn't been an elite playmaker since 2011. That doesn't mean he can't recapture that form again, but he has to show it on the field. Floyd cleared 90 yards in four of the final six games en route to a quiet 1,000-yard season. Still improving, Floyd is a fine second fiddle and emerging deep threat.
9. T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
Returning from an ACL injury, Wayne still gets the nod over Hakeem Nicks, who has been lacking playmaking ability for two years. A sizzling Hilton averaged roughly 10 receptions and 160 yards over the last three games of the Colts' season. Wayne and Nicks might have bigger names, but Hilton has the game.
10. A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals
Would you believe Jones was one of just 10 receivers to reach double digits in touchdowns last season? Much like his quarterback, Jones was highly inconsistent last season as a fledgling playmaker. Fortunately, Green carries the Bengals' aerial attack as a true difference-maker.
Honorable Mention: Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys; Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers; Torrey Smith and Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens; Stevie Johnson and Mike Williams, Buffalo Bills.
In the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast" the guys do the news, open the mailbag and play "Win Wess' Toaster."