Lunchbreak: Thielen, Diggs Ranked 2nd Among NFL’s Top WR Tandems

NFL teams are always looking to either acquire or retain a game-changing wide receiver who can make big plays anywhere on the field.

If a team has one, they’re in a good spot. And if they have two, even better.

With that in mind, Gil Brandt recently combed through each NFL roster and picked out the best wide-receiver tandems across the league.

The senior media analyst with NFL.com, who did not include tight ends, recently released his 11-best pairs, with the Vikings tandem of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs coming in at the No. 2 spot.

Brandt wrote:

For the first time since Randy Moss and Cris Carter in 2000, two Vikings receivers recorded 1,000-plus receiving yards in the same season. Thielen got off to a quick start with new QB Kirk Cousins, becoming the first player in NFL history to begin a season with eight straight games of 100-plus receiving yards. He finished with a team-record nine such games.

Diggs, meanwhile, tied a franchise mark of his own, matching Carter (1994) by recording eight games with eight-plus receptions. Thielen and Diggs both cooled off, along with the rest of the offense, as 2018 wore on; the lack of a convincing third receiving threat did not help.

Coach Mike Zimmer's desire to run more could lead to a decrease in this duo's numbers, but Thielen and Diggs will remain one of the more potent pass-catching pairs in the NFL.

Thielen and Diggs each put together incredible seasons in 2018.

Thielen made his second straight Pro Bowl this past season after setting career highs with 113 catches for 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns. The Minnesota native opened the season with eight consecutive 100-yard games.

Diggs also posted the best season of his career as he recorded 102 catches for 1,021 yards and nine touchdowns.

The duo became the first pair of Vikings teammates to hit the century mark in catches in the same season in franchise history.

Thielen and Diggs were the top-ranked duo from the NFC, as Brandt ranked Cleveland’s Odell Beckham, Jr., and Jarvis Landry (who have not played a pro game together but did team up at LSU from 2011-13) as his top pair.

Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods of the Rams and Oakland’s Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams rounded out the top five.

Kiper’s new ‘Big Board’ heavy on defense

The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft is scheduled for four weeks from Thursday night, as teams will try to find impact players on the first of three days of selections.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., recently released the newest edition of his Big Board, which is his ranking of the top 25 players in this year’s class.

Kiper’s board, which can be found here, has a strong defensive flavor.

Of the 25 players listed, 16 play on the defensive side of the ball, including the first four players listed — Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams of Alabama, Kentucky’s Josh Allen and Devin White of LSU.

The collection of defensive linemen and edge rushers, which some consider to be the strongest position group in this class, makes up 11 of the 25 players.

Kiper also has three quarterbacks — Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray and Drew Lock — on his list.

As for offensive linemen, Kiper has Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor in the 12th spot, Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom at No. 17 and Alabama tackle Jonah Williams, whom some experts say could move to guard, in the 20th spot.

Kiper put on the third edition of his mock draft earlier this week and had the Vikings taking Williams at the 18th spot.

Speaking on an ESPN conference call, Kiper told Vikings.com that Williams “can be a plug-and-play standout right away, which is why I thought the Minnesota Vikings would be a great opportunity … because he presents so much versatility and is so NFL-ready from an experience and technique standpoint.”

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