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Ranking new QB-WR duos for 2024 NFL season: C.J. Stroud-Stefon Diggs pairing atop list; Bears rookies make cut

With yet another fascinating NFL offseason, we have seen the creation of some new quarterback-wide receiver duos. What constitutes a new duo? A starting signal-caller signing or being drafted by a new team, who will now throw to a new WR1. Or, it could be a new WR1 with a new team catching passes from a new quarterback.

In some cases, the duos are pretty clear-cut, but others will take projection. Additionally, we will not only have to predict which rookie quarterbacks will start right away, but who their No. 1 targets will be. And just because you’re a first-round pick doesn’t guarantee you’re automatically part of a duo. For example, Brian Thomas Jr. (Jaguars) and Xavier WorthyΒ (Chiefs) will have to prove they are the No. 1 targets for their respective squads.Β 

With all that said, let’s rank the new QB-WR duos around the NFLΒ complete with the receiver’s projected 2024 statline from CBS Sports’ Fantasy team, beginning with the new-look Denver Broncos.Β 

Sutton’s projected receiving stats: 61 receptions, 835 yards, 10 TDs

The former Oregon Duck finds himself in competition with a few other signal-callers, but after Sean Payton drafts you No. 11 overall, you’re probably going to start right away. Nix will be paired with Sutton, who is coming off a campaign in which he caught 59 passes for 772 yards and 10 touchdowns.Β 

Is the most experienced quarterback in college football history Payton’s new Drew Brees? We’ll see.Β 

Nabers’ projected receiving stats: 68 receptions, 969 yards, 5 TDs

The New York Giants elected not to draft a quarterback this offseason, instead gifting Jones a crafty, explosive pass-catcher in Nabers. He caught 89 passes for 1,569 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, and in this three total years at LSU, Nabers recorded the most receptions (189) and receiving yards (3,003) in program history. Can Jones remain healthy and get the most out of this new weapon? That remains to be seen.

Pickens’ projected receiving stats: 55 receptions, 1,010 yards, 7 TDs

Pickens led the league in yards per reception (18.1) last year, and had 12 catches on balls thrown 20+ air yards outside the numbers, which ranked No. 2 behind Tyreek Hill. Wilson was a nice deep-ball thrower during his time in Seattle, but he’s coming off a season in which he averaged his worst yards per attempt ever (6.9). Plus, he has a motivated, more athletic Justin Fields breathing down his neck.Β 

McConkey’s projected receiving stats: 71 receptions, 948 yards, 5 TDs

Here is a sleeper duo for you to consider, and I think it has incredible potential. Herbert’s outside targets are now Josh Palmer, Quentin Johnston and DJ Chark, but will they be able to replace what Keenan Allen and Mike Williams provided for the Los Angeles Chargers offense? Expect more running of the football with head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman in charge, but Herbert could opt to lean on his new slot receiver, who looks like a great route-runner. Call it a projection, but McConkey is someone to watch. Β 

Ridley’s projected receiving stats: 62 receptions, 899 yards, 9 TDs

Levis will have to take that next step in his development, but with a new coach like Brian Callahan and a top-three WR trio in the league, he’s going to have a chance to prove he’s a franchise quarterback. Last year, Ridley returned to the NFL and led the Jacksonville Jaguars with 76 receptions for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns. He told reporters this offseason that he may beΒ 29-years-old on paper,Β but actually like 25 “in real life.”

Odunze’s projected receiving stats: 56 receptions, 804 yards, 5 TDs

It’s a total shot in the dark to size up a brand new rookie duo compared to established players, but there’s a ton of potential for the No. 1 overall pick and the wide receiver that recorded more receptions of 20+ air yards than anyone in the FBS last season. Odunze also led the FBS in receiving yards last year with 1,640, which is why he was picked in the top 10. He will have to compete withΒ D.J. MooreΒ and Keenan Allen for touches, but Odunze has star potential. Then again, this rookie duo won’t make headlines if Williams struggles with his transition to theΒ NFL. A lot of projection with this one.Β 

McLaurin’s projected receiving stats: 79 receptions, 1,074 yards, 6 TDs

I’m actually very excited about this new duo. Daniels is, of course, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner coming off one of the best campaigns for any quarterback in college football history, while McLaurin is an underrated wideout who isn’t recognized as he should be because of all the different quarterbacks he’s had to play with. McLaurin is one of just six players to record 900+ receptions in each of his first five seasons, along with Hall of Fame talents such asΒ Mike Evans, A.J. Green, Randy Moss and Jerry Rice. Again, he’s done this with an absurd amount of QB turnover. If Daniels comes as advertised, watch out.Β 

Coleman’s projected receiving stats: 61 receptions, 826 yards, 5 TDs

Coleman is Allen’s newΒ Stefon Diggs, and he’ll have a shot to be a star playing with one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Coleman led the ACC in receiving touchdowns last season with 11, and was a stud specialist as well. His unique personality has already made him beloved. Now comes the task of being a WR1.

Jefferson’s projected receiving stats: 105 receptions, 1,570 yards, 7 TDs

Maybe Jefferson is downgrading a bit at quarterback, but McCarthy went No. 10 overall in the draft for a reason. The Michigan product threw 44 touchdowns and nine interceptions over the past two seasons, but also became the first top-10 quarterback to be drafted with zero collegiate seasons of 3,000 passing yards or 500 rushing yards. Jefferson is a monster and will have an impact regardless. We’ll see how quickly McCarthy can make an impact.Β 

London’s projected receiving stats: 85 receptions, 1,214 yards, 6 TDs

Cousins helped Jefferson and Jordan AddisonΒ put up prolific campaigns, which is what the Atlanta Falcons are hoping happens with London and Kyle Pitts. The former No. 8 overall pick caught 69 passes for a career-high 905 yards and two touchdowns last season. London has great size and turns 23 next month, so he’s someone who is definitely primed for a big year with the quarterback change.Β 

Harrison’s projected receiving stats: 94 receptions, 1,297 yards, 8 TDs

Murray has his new No. 1 wide receiver in Harrison, and he’s going to be peppered with targets immediately. The two-time Unanimous All-American recorded the most receiving yards (2,474) and receiving touchdowns (28) in a two-year span in Ohio State history, and is the only player in Big Ten history to record 14 receiving touchdowns in multiple seasons.

Diggs’ projected receiving stats: 89 receptions, 1,124 yards, 7 TDs

The last time Diggs switched teams was great for him. Since joining the Buffalo Bills, no player caught more passes than Diggs, and his 5,372 receiving yards and 37 receiving touchdowns ranked fourth. Diggs has crossed 1,000 receiving yards in each of the last six seasons, and caught at least 103 passes in all four seasons with Buffalo. I’m not sure Diggs was brought in to be the unquestioned No. 1 in Houston, but he’s been one of the most notable “No. 1 wideouts” in the NFL for almost a decade, and is now paired with a young talent in Stroud.Β 

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Author: Jordan Dajani
June 6, 2024 | 10:11 am

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