The NFL has long been known as a copycat league. Whenever a team finds success, rival coaches and general managers have little shame taking the strategy and employing it for themselves.
Examples of this in the last couple of decades include the proliferation of no-huddle offenses after Tom Brady and Peyton Manning successfully ran them, the spread of the Wildcat formation after the Miami Dolphins flummoxed foes with it and a hiring craze for young head coaches following the early success of Sean McVay with Los Angeles Rams.
A new trend now seems to be emerging around the league: Reuniting college quarterbacks with some of their top wide receivers.
In Week 1, there were three new batteries who played together at the collegiate level, now showcasing their talents for the same NFL team. This group includes Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith, Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase, and Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle. All three of these connections were completed early in the 2021 draft.
Five of these six players were early first-round draft choices, with Hurts—a second-round selection by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020—being the lone exception.
The Cincinnati Bengals have the most highly drafted players of the group, getting Burrow at No. 1 in 2020 before taking his LSU teammate Chase at No. 5 this year. The Dolphins aren't far behind, having drafted Alabama's Tagovailoa No. 5 two years ago before taking Waddle at No. 6 back in April. Smith was the final wideout to be reunited with his former college QB this year after the Eagles traded up to No. 10 to secure the Crimson Tide star's services.