tract: In recent years, Natural Language Processing (NLP) models have achieved phenomenal success in linguistical and semantical tasks like machine translation, cognitive dialogue systems, information retrieval via Natural Language Understanding (NLU), and Natural Language Generation (NLG). This feat is primarily attributed due to the seminal Transformer architecture, leading to designs such as BERT, GPT (I, II, III), etc. Although these large-size models have achieved unprecedented performances, they come at high computational costs. Consequently, some of the recent NLP architectures have utilized concepts of transfer learning, pruning, quantization, and knowledge distillation to achieve moderate model sizes while keeping nearly similar performances as achieved by their predecessors. Additionally, to mitigate the data size challenge raised by language models from a knowledge extraction perspective, Knowledge Retrievers have been built to extricate explicit data documents from a large corpus of databases with greater efficiency and accuracy. Recent research has also focused on superior inference by providing efficient attention on longer input sequences. In this paper, we summarize and examine the current state-of-the-art (SOTA) NLP models that have been employed for numerous NLP tasks for optimal performance and efficiency. We provide a detailed understanding and functioning of the different architectures, the taxonomy of NLP designs, comparative evaluations, and future directions in NLP.