Hakeem and The Dream: The Best WR Tandem in the NFL?
Added by Ken R. on July 19, 2012.
Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are often talked about as one of the best wide receiver duo's in the NFL.
The New York Giants are perennially known as a pound the football, physical, hard-nosed team. But I have noticed a sharp change in the Giants offense since the beginning of last year. Kevin Gilbride has finally handed the reigns to Eli Manning, and the results are this: the Giants have a dangerous and ultra-exciting pair of receivers that lead Big Blue’s passing attack. But, how good are they?
Let’s look at the numbers. In the ’11-’12 season, Hakeem Nicks, the stud wide receiver out of North Carolina, and Victor Cruz, the salsa-dancing phenom from Paterson, combined for 158 receptions, 2,728 yards, and 16 touchdowns. To make a comparison, let’s remain in the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles’ tandem of Jeremy Maclin and Desean Jackson combined for 121 receptions, 1,820 yards, and 9 touchdowns. Not even close.
Let’s take it a step further and compare the numbers to one of the more celebrated wide receiver pairs in the NFL – Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. The Packer receivers combined for 135 receptions, 2,212 yards, and 24 touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers threw for 45 touchdowns last season, which makes sense when looking at the gaudy touchdown numbers of the Packer receivers. But, the Packers still fail to match the Big Blue twosome in yards or receptions.
The next step takes us to the New England Patriots. The Giant playmakers can’t possibly be better than Welker and Company could they? Well, here is where things get tricky. If you stick strictly to wide receivers, Nicks and Cruz still trump Wes Welker and Deion Branch in all categories. However, if you include tight ends, the combination of Welker, and the Beast of the AFC East, Rob Gronkowski, cannot be topped.
Finally, we cannot leave out a comparison with the New Orleans Saints, yet another crushing passing attack led by the handsomely compensated Drew Brees. Here, we run into the same scenario as with New England. If you include Jimmy Graham, then Nicks and Cruz do not hold up. If you leave out tight ends, the numbers tip in favor of New York.
Conclusion: Yes and no. In yards and receptions, then Nicks and Cruz are tops. Yet, there are teams that have a better wide receiver pair regarding touchdown catches. Heck, Calvin Johnson tied them by himself with 16. It seems a gaping hole for the Giants is a game-changing tight end. Imagine adding a Graham caliber tight end to the mix of Nicks, Cruz and Reuben Randle?
Although the addition of Martellus Bennett does not appear too promising, especially after coming into mini-camp near 300 pounds, there may be some justified excitement surrounding Adrien Robinson, the “JPP of tight ends,” according to Jerry Reese. This might be the only thing keeping Eli Manning from the gaudy touchdown numbers of the Brees and Brady led passing attacks.
Although the answer here is not definite, in the end, Giants fans can take solace in the fact that the duo of Hakeem and the Dream is far and away the best in the NFC East.