Where will DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown rank in the top 10 WR duos in Eagles history

Where will DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown rank in the top 10 WR duos in Eagles history

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The top 10 wide receiver tandems in Eagles history originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown are already one of the best wide receiver tandems in Eagles history.

And they haven’t played a snap together yet.

The Eagles haven’t had a lot of elite wide receivers in their recent history.

A grand total of two Eagles wideouts have made a Pro Bowl the last 25 years – T.O. in 2004 and DeSean Jackson three times. The only other 1,000-yard receivers they’ve had the last quarter century are Kevin Curtis once and Jeremy Maclin once.

Two legit receivers at the same time? That’s a rarity.

But it has happened, and with Smith and Brown both under contract through 2024, it sure looks like it’s going to happen again.

With that in mind, we put together our list of the top 10 wide receiving tandems in Eagles history. Some were together several years, some just a year or two.

Guys from the 1950s and 1960s like Pete Retzlaff and Pete Pihos were ends and closer to tight end than wide receiver, so they’re not on here.

You also won’t find Roy Green and Kenny Jackson, Dietrich Jells and Na Brown or Dorial Green-Beckham and Josh Huff. For other reasons.

1. DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin

D-Jack and Maclin were together from 2009 through 2013, but Maclin missed the entire 2013 season, so they had four years together, and during that span Jackson averaged 968 yards per season with 21 TDs and Maclin averaged 863 yards per game with 26 TDs. No other team had two WRs with those numbers during that span. Jackson and Maclin rank 3rd and 10th in Eagles history in receiving yards, 10th and 8th in TD catches and 6th and 10th in catches. Their best year together was 2010, when they combined for 2,020 yards and 16 touchdowns.

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2. Harold Jackson, Ben Hawkins

Jackson and Hawkins were the NFL’s top duo during their four years together, Jackson with 215-for-3,493 and 21 TDs and Hawkins 140-for-2,535 with 17 TDs. They were the only NFL teammates with 2,500 yards during that four-year span. The Eagles weren’t very good during those years – they won just 15 games from 1969 through 1972 – but Jackson and Hawkins were quiet a duo, and they put up those numbers with some mediocre QB play from Rick Arrington, John Reaves, Pete Liske and Norm Snead, who combined for 58 TDs and 86 INTs during that four-year stretch.

3. Harold Carmichael, Charlie Smith

Carmichael and Smith were the Eagles’ starting receivers for seven years in a row from 1975 through 1981. During that span, Carmichael had 363 catches for 5,594 yards and 93 touchdowns, and Smith was a reliable No. 2 behind the future Hall of Famer, with 217 catches for 3,321 yards and 24 touchdowns. During the 1980 Super Bowl season, Smith was actually the Eagles’ leading receiver with 10 more yards than Carmichael, and both averaged over 17 yards per catch.

4. Fred Barnett, Calvin Williams

Freddie and Calvin spent the 1990 through 1995 seasons together, and even though Barnett missed most of the 1993 season they were still one of the top six WR combos in the NFL during that span. Barnett averaged 893 yards per season with 28 TDs in his five full seasons, and Williams averaged 639 yards per season with 34 TDs.

Their numbers weren’t overwhelming during their three seasons together – 2017 through 2019 – but both were very good in 2017, especially during the Super Bowl run. From 2017 through 2019, Jeffery averaged 707 yards with 17 TDs from 2017 and Nelly averaged 622 yards with 15 TDs. Only four other WR tandems during that three-year span matched those numbers.

6. Terrell Owens, Todd Pinkston

OK, work with me here. T.O. and Pinkston only played 15 games together, but the Eagles went 13-2 in those 15 games and one of the two losses was in the Super Bowl. We all know what T.O. did in 2004, his only full season with the Eagles. Pinkston had 676 yards and averaged 18.8 yards per catch that year and then was 4-for-82 in the Super Bowl. With T.O. drawing constant double teams, Pinkston was productive enough to be a legit No. 2 option for Donovan McNabb.

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7. Irving Fryar, Chris T. Jones

Fryar and Jones only played together one season before injuries ended Jones’ career. But in 1996, Jones – a 3rd-round pick in 1995 – caught 70 passes for 859 yards with five touchdowns, and Fryar was 88-for-1,195 with 11 TDs. That’s the only time in franchise history the Eagles have had two wide receivers with 70 catches in the same season. Hard to believe. Jones’ 70 receptions to this day are second-most in Eagles history by a player in his first two years, behind only Jordan Matthews’ 85 in 2015.

8. Cris Carter, Mike Quick

Can you imagine if Quick and Carter played together in their prime? One Hall of Famer and one who would have been a Hall of Famer if the Vet turf hadn’t shredded his knees. As it worked out, by the time Carter began playing regularly in 1988 Quick was really struggling with injuries. But for the first half of 1988 and a handful of games in 1989 they were both playing at a high level, and in 1988 they were the Eagles’ top two WRs. That’s 13 Pro Bowls and eight 1,000-yard seasons between them. Just never the same year.

9. Riley Cooper, DeSean Jackson

OK, don’t laugh. In 2013, Chip Kelly’s first year as head coach, DeSean Jackson had one of his best seasons – 82-for-1,332 with nine TDs and a 16.9 average – and Cooper had a career season with 47 catches for 835 yards and a 17.8 average with eight TDs. That’s 2,167 combined yards, the most in franchise history by two WRs in the same season. There were only eight WRs in the NFL in 2013 who had 800 yards and a 16.0 average, and the Ealges had two of them.

10. DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown

Yes, they already deserve a spot on the list before playing a game together. This is only the second time in franchise history the Eagles will begin a season with two wide receivers who had 900 yards the previous year. The previous time was 2011 with Maclin and Jackson. Smith is coming off a 916-yard season as a rookie, and Brown has averaged just under 1,000 yards in his three NFL seasons (998). There were only 10 receivers in the NFL last year who had 850 yards and averaged over 13.5 yards per catch. The Eagles now have two of them.

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