Wide receiver tandems are quarterbacks’ best friends. Knowing he can always rely on one of the two, a sexy receiving tandem creates havoc for defensive coordinators and cover corners. It becomes a ‘pick your poison’ situation, with the offense having the upper hand in a balanced offense.
I ranked the 10 best wide receivers heading into spring practice earlier in March, and SDS will re-rank the top 10 closer to August.
Several teams could develop strong receiving tandems throughout 2013. Georgia quickly comes to mind. With Tavarres King now graduated, Malcolm Mitchell steps into the spotlight as the offense’s game breaker, while Michael Bennett was leading the team in receptions before he was injured last year. Both are recovering from surgery and have several questions, but we know Aaron Murray will get them the football.
Another strong tandem that could develop is Missouri. Actually, Missouri has a trio that could put up big numbers, assuming the passing game gets a facelift. Marcus Lucas, L’Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham return a combined 99 catches for 1,347 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Offenses that have at least one homerun hitting deep threat is a must-have to keep defenses from creepin’ up to the line of scrimmage, but these five teams have not only one big-time receiver but another strong compliment. Here are the SEC’s most dangerous receiving tandems:
1. Amari Cooper and Kenny Bell, Alabama
2012 combined stats: 76 catches for 1,431 yards and 14 touchdowns
The Skinny: The most explosive receiver in the conference is Amari Cooper. Cooper averaged 16.9 yards per reception, and when you add in Kenny Bell to accompany Cooper, it turns into a headache for any defense. Bell caught just 17 passes for 431 yards and three touchdowns before his season-ending injury, but he averaged a nasty 25.4 yards per catch. Alabama has a splendor of riches in the receiving corps, but the most explosive are Cooper and Bell, who combined to average 18.82 yards per catch. AJ McCarron is loving life.
2. Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd, Vanderbilt
2012 combined stats: 144 catches for 2,097 yards and 13 touchdowns
The Skinny: Jordan Matthews led the SEC with 94 receptions last season, and you can make a case for Matthews as the best receiver in the SEC. After all, he did rack up a crazy 1,323 yards last season. Add Chris Boyd into the picture, and first-year starter Austyn Carta-Samuels has immediate talent around him for the Dores’ offense to not even skip a beat in 2013. If you’re looking for the most dependable tandem, Matthews and Boyd are your duo, and they could certainly top this list come December. Watch out for Matthews to become one of the highest wide receiver picks in the country in 2014’s draft.
3. Donte Moncrief and Vince Sanders, Ole Miss
2012 combined stats: 105 catches for 1,483 yards and 14 touchdowns
The Skinny: Just because Donte Moncrief is No. 3 on any list doesn’t mean he isn’t No. 1. In fact, you can make a case for Cooper, Matthews or Moncrief as the top receiver in the SEC. Vince Sanders and Ja’Mes Logan provide another strong option, but Bo Wallace has to limit turnovers. If he does, watch out for Moncrief’s numbers to explode, along with those of his partners in crime. Moncrief and Sanders are two to watch for the Rebels.
4. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, LSU
2012 combined stats: 99 catches for 1,286 yards and seven touchdowns
The Skinny: Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham could be the top receiving tandem in the SEC. But that’s just what they are right now: a potential No. 1. They aren’t as consistent as anyone in the LSU program would like for them to be. Landry is ready to explode in 2013, and Beckham was the most inconsistent in 2012. With an improved passing game, watch for Landry and Beckham to rise up draft charts. These two are ultra-talented, and with refined receiving skills and techniques, the Landry-Beckham duo could be the best in the SEC.
5. Mike Evans and Malcome Kennedy, Texas A&M
2012 combined stats: 108 catches for 1,390 yards and seven touchdowns
The Skinny: Mike Evans may not be a total game breaker, but The Human Radius will catch everything thrown in a 10’ range. Evans, next to Jordan Matthews, may have the SEC’s surest hands, and that must make Johnny Manziel so excited he can’t sleep at night. I look for Malcome Kennedy to take a major step forward this season, too, and Evans and Kennedy could move up this list…along with one of the 25 receivers the Aggies signed this past recruiting cycle.
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