Starting in 2014, we began identifying the top triplets in the league on this website, ranking every team based on its firepower at the top of the depth chart at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. I am honored to take up the mantle this year, after the baton has been passed down from Dave Dameshek to Ali Bhanpuri to Nick Shook.
Following the super scientific rubric set by Bhanpuri, our senior director of content and editorial, I've ranked the top rusher and pass catcher from every team, granting 32 points to the No. 1 player at each respective position and counting down from there. Quarterbacks, being the most valuable players in the game, get ranked by two different perspectives:
- Whom would I want in a one-game scenario? In the playoffs, when the windows get tighter and the defenses are better equipped to take away the strengths of an offense, can this quarterback deliver a counterpunch?
- Which quarterbacks do I think will post the best production in 2023? This is more of an indicator of how each field general will mesh with his play-caller and supporting cast than a strict assessment of his underlying talent.
This combined quarterback score is then multiplied by 1.5 to further emphasize the importance of the signal-caller to an offense. Add up the scores of each trio, and we get our pecking order. Let's dive in.
Quarterback: Bryce Young -- Rank: T-30 (One game: 29 | 2023 prod.: 31)
Running back: Miles Sanders -- Rank: 23
Pass catcher: Adam Thielen -- Rank: 31
Short quarterbacks not named Drew Brees have almost always struggled to target the highly valuable middle of the field. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds, Young will have to be a historic outlier, both in durability and play style, if he is to justify the war chest the Panthers gave up to draft him first overall. The good news is that Frank Reich has assembled an all-star coaching staff to help develop Young. The bad news: The Panthers could struggle to surround Young with talent after sacrificing so much to attain him. Young's top target is the 33-year-old Thielen, whose last 1,000-yard season was in 2018. And it remains to be seen if Sanders has the juice to thrive outside the near-perfect rushing environment he enjoyed while in Philadelphia.
Quarterback: C.J. Stroud -- Rank: T-28 (One game: 28 | 2023 prod.: 30)
Running back: Dameon Pierce -- Rank: 20
Pass catcher: Nico Collins -- Rank: 32
The most pro-ready quarterback in the 2023 draft class, Stroud should raise the floor of this offense. It certainly helps that the No. 2 overall pick will have his blind side protected by one of the best (and the highest paid) left tackles in the league, Laremy Tunsil. Stroud's weapons leave much to be desired, however. It's unclear who will be the No. 1 receiver. Collins is the only wideout remaining on the roster who started games for last year's team, but the 2021 third-round pick has yet to play more than 14 games or gain more than 500 yards in a season. Pierce could benefit from a healthier offense -- he was hit behind the line of scrimmage on a league-high 55 percent of his rushes last season (min. 100 carries). He had to earn almost every yard on the ground on his own, gaining 868 of his 939 rushing yards after contact (leading all rookies).
Quarterback: Josh Dobbs -- Rank: 32 (One game: 32 | 2023 prod.: 32)
Running back: James Conner -- Rank: 13
Pass catcher: Marquise Brown -- Rank: 30
Kyler Murray, coming back from a torn ACL suffered last season, is on the PUP list. After cutting veteran Colt McCoy, Arizona is left with Dobbs or Clayton Tune as the options under center while Murray is out. Whoever ends up starting won't have much to work with. "Hollywood" Brown seems best suited for a field-stretching No. 2 role, not a role as the top option in a passing attack. This offense will likely run through Conner as long as he can stay on the field. The workhorse back clocked a 90 percent playtime rate in five games last season, two more than any other RB.
Quarterback: Sam Howell -- Rank: T-30 (One game: 31 | 2023 prod.: 29)
Running back: Brian Robinson -- Rank: 28
Pass catcher: Terry McLaurin -- Rank: 13
The Commanders have plenty of talent, but some decisions they've made give me pause. Star receiver McLaurin is dealing with a turf toe injury suffered in the second preseason game, when Ron Rivera let the starters play well into the second quarter. The staff also handed the keys to the offense to Howell, who is entering his second year in the league, in lieu of veteran Jacoby Brissett, who performed well enough last season that I would have slotted him in the low 20s as a starter this year. I'm skeptical Howell will be the answer. I would not expect the ground game to carry this offense, either -- big-play ability is missing from the backfield, with Robinson (whose explosive run rate of 8.8% ranked him 30th out of 42 RBs with 100-plus carries) leading the way.
Quarterback: Anthony Richardson -- Rank: 22 (One game: 23 | 2023 prod.: 21)
Running back: Deon Jackson -- Rank: 32
Pass catcher: Michael Pittman -- Rank: 27
Richardson could not have landed in a better spot, with head coach Shane Steichen having just helped develop Jalen Hurts into an MVP-caliber QB in Philadelphia. With his ridiculous blend of size and speed, Richardson could be the most physically dominant quarterback since Cam Newton. That makes him an instant weapon in the red zone and on scrambles, raising the floor of this offense. His arm strength puts his potential through the roof, provided he can stay disciplined with his footwork and make accurate throws. Jonathan Taylor wanted out, but the Colts did not trade him, and he will start the season on the PUP list with an ankle injury. Jackson, a former undrafted free agent who has averaged a middling 3.3 yards per carry on 81 career totes, appears set to slide into the lead role in Taylor’s absence. Pittman is a possession receiver who can work the short area to matriculate the ball down the field. I would not be surprised if Alec Pierce overtakes Pittman as Richardson's favorite target; his jump-ball ability meshes more with the young quarterback's skill set.
Quarterback: Baker Mayfield -- Rank: T-28 (One game: 30 | 2023 prod.: 28)
Running back: Rachaad White -- Rank: 27
Pass catcher: Mike Evans -- Rank: 12
The Buccaneers suffered the largest drop in these rankings of any team this year -- but losing Tom Brady will have that kind of effect. This is probably the best receiving corps Mayfield has ever had to throw to, but that might not matter; Mayfield has struggled with pocket presence in the NFL, and his propensity for getting happy feet and bailing from the pocket might only be exacerbated if the new-look offensive line (which will be without Ryan Jensen) falters. Issues in the trenches could also make it hard for White to break out in his first season as the lead back. Evans has topped 1,000 yards in each of his nine pro seasons. If he manages to extend that streak to 10, working in this environment at age 30, it might be the most impressive feat of his decorated career.
Quarterback: Kenny Pickett -- Rank: 27 (One game: 27 | 2023 prod.: 27)
Running back: Najee Harris -- Rank: 16
Pass catcher: Diontae Johnson -- Rank: 24
I'm certainly lower than many on Pickett, whose rookie-year production in 2022 was bolstered by smooth operation in the quick game, where he completed +8.0% of his passes over expected (second in the NFL). When Pickett was forced to hold the ball for longer than 2.5 seconds last season, however, he threw more than twice as many interceptions (nine) as he did touchdowns (four). I need to see more out of Pickett working in rhythm before I think of him as a long-term starter. Johnson is getting overshadowed by the highlight-reel acrobatics of George Pickens, but he is still the top option in this offense. Johnson has earned targets at a high rate despite facing press coverage on at least 30 percent of his routes in each of his four seasons as a pro. Harris has struggled with efficiency in each of his two seasons in the league, but the bruising back should have more room to gain some steam behind a revamped offensive line in his third year.
Quarterback: Mac Jones -- Rank: T-24 (One game: 22 | 2023 prod.: 25)
Running back: Rhamondre Stevenson -- Rank: 11
Pass catcher: JuJu Smith-Schuster -- Rank: 28
Jones suffered quite the sophomore slump under Matt Patricia and Joe Judge last season. Expect new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien to add a heavy dose of run-pass options to the offense to maximize Jones' strengths in the quick game. For reference, the Patriots ranked dead last in RPO usage during Jones' rookie season and 20th last year, per Pro Football Focus. Stevenson broke out in his second season, trailing only Nick Chubb (19) with 15 runs that gained at least 10 rushing yards over expected. With stout pass-blocking and pass-catching abilities, Stevenson rarely had to come off the field on third down and achieved the fourth-highest snap share among running backs. Smith-Schuster will give Jones a reliable target in the short middle. He can contribute as a run blocker as well.
Quarterback: Jordan Love -- Rank: 23 (One game: 24 | 2023 prod.: 22)
Running back: Aaron Jones -- Rank: 8
Pass catcher: Christian Watson -- Rank: 29
Love has earned the trust of the Packers’ coaching staff since being drafted in 2020, and now he gets the opportunity to reward their confidence. Love has had plenty of time to learn behind Aaron Rodgers, and I think he should at least be able to deliver competent play working with one of the best offensive lines in the league. Jones and his backfield mate, AJ Dillon, should be able to keep the offense on schedule, as both players ranked among the top six running backs in success rate last season (min. 100 carries). Watson leads an intriguing young receiving corps, but his athletic gifts still outpace his on-field skill set. Look for Matt LaFleur to manufacture touches for Watson and rookie tight end Luke Musgrave to get both players in space with room to show off their speed.
Quarterback: Justin Fields -- Rank: 18 (One game: 18 | 2023 prod.: 18)
Running back: Khalil Herbert -- Rank: 25
Pass catcher: DJ Moore -- Rank: 20
Fields’ running ability was finally unleashed midway through last season, as he rattled off at least 60 rushing yards in nine of his last 10 games. He compiled +492 rushing yards over expected (200 more than the next-closest player), with nine carries reaching 20+ mph, a record in the NGS era (since 2016). However, Fields' league-high 14.7 percent sack rate resulted in the Bears losing 97.7 passing EPA on his dropbacks. That ranked dead last in the NFL. Moore, acquired from Carolina in the trade for the No. 1 overall pick of this year’s draft, brings a dynamism that has been severely lacking from the Bears’ receiver room. Herbert steps into the starting role after the departure of David Montgomery. The physical running back should benefit from his dual-threat quarterback continuing to make the defense play 11-on-11 football.
Quarterback: Desmond Ridder -- Rank: 26 (One game: 26 | 2023 prod.: 23)
Running back: Bijan Robinson -- Rank: 4
Pass catcher: Drake London -- Rank: 21
A top-five ranking might be bold for a player who has never played a snap in a regular-season NFL game, but Robinson is the most complete running back prospect to enter the league since Adrian Peterson, and he landed in the perfect spot. The former Longhorn should feast in Arthur Smith's inventive run game. The Falcons' ground attack ranked among the top three in success rate, first downs over expected and rushing EPA on running back carries last season, despite featuring a fifth-round rookie and converted wide receiver as their lead backs. London is poised for a breakout after commanding an impressive target share during his rookie season. Among all the receivers on this list, I would not be surprised if he made the biggest jump in the rankings by the end of the season. As long as Ridder can provide competent quarterback play (and I believe he can), this unit has a chance to do plenty of damage.
Quarterback: Russell Wilson -- Rank: T-14 (One game: 13 | 2023 prod.: 15)
Running back: Javonte Williams -- Rank: 21
Pass catcher: Courtland Sutton -- Rank: 26
As bad as Wilson looked last season, I believe Russ is still salvageable, even if he has lost a step. New head coach Sean Payton remade the roster to emphasize a physical, downhill run game. Williams might be the biggest benefactor from the identity change. During his first two seasons, Williams was hit behind the line of scrimmage on nearly half of his runs, posting the fifth-highest such rate among running backs with at least 200 carries (48.4 percent). Given more room to gain steam, the running back will be able to show off his elusiveness in the open field. This should take some of the pressure off Wilson and allow him to do what he does best: push the ball downfield. With Jerry Jeudy currently sidelined by a hamstring injury, Sutton could have an opportunity to cement himself as Wilson's go-to option.
Quarterback: Daniel Jones -- Rank: 19 (One game: 20 | 2023 prod.: 20)
Running back: Saquon Barkley -- Rank: 5
Pass catcher: Darren Waller -- Rank: 25
Head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka helped Jones put up a career year in 2022 by utilizing his mobility on bootlegs and simplifying his reads, sacrificing firepower to lean on steady gains and stay ahead of the sticks. Jones averaged a league-low 6.3 air yards per attempt (min. 150 attempts) but achieved a career-high 45.2 percent success rate on dropbacks. He consistently kept the offense on schedule when he kept the ball, whether on designed runs or scrambles, leading the NFL with a 62.5 percent rushing success rate (min. 100 carries). But the Giants lacked much juice outside of Barkley, who has become the ultimate boom-or-bust rusher. Barkley ranked in the bottom five of rushing success rate (35.3 percent) but reached 20 mph on six carries, tied for the most among running backs. The Giants made a clear effort to target speed during the offseason. Waller has led tight ends by a substantial margin in average route speed in three consecutive seasons.
Quarterback: Deshaun Watson -- Rank: 21 (One game: 19 | 2023 prod.: 24)
Running back: Nick Chubb -- Rank: 1
Pass catcher: Amari Cooper -- Rank: 23
The Browns’ offense stagnated once Watson returned from suspension in Week 13 last season. I am doubtful he'll return to the elite form he showed during the 2020 season in Houston. Cooper was as inconsistent as any receiver last season, but he had better chemistry with Jacoby Brissett throwing him the ball (+6.7 receptions over expected) than he did with Watson (-1.4). Regardless of the passing game, Chubb should keep the Browns competitive. The most consistent rusher in the league since he was drafted in 2018, Chubb has ranked among the top three running backs in rushing yards over expected in every season of his career. He's gained almost twice as many first downs over expected (+40) as the next-closest RB (Derrick Henry, +23) in that span.
Quarterback: Jimmy Garoppolo -- Rank: T-24 (One game: 21 | 2023 prod.: 26)
Running back: Josh Jacobs -- Rank: 7
Pass catcher: Davante Adams -- Rank: 2
The addition of Adams was a key component to Jacobs’ rushing crown last season. Defenses elected to devote resources to stopping Adams from beating them over the top, clouding coverage and playing with two deep safeties. In fact, no offense faced a higher rate of Cover 6 (14.8 percent) than the Raiders last season. They were the only offense to face a split-safety pre-snap shell on over 60 percent of their plays. This left defenses vulnerable to the physicality of Jacobs, who took full advantage. Jacobs gained 1,016 of his league-leading 1,653 rushing yards against two-high shells. No other player has eclipsed 700 rushing yards against split-safety looks in a season since 2016. It will be interesting to see if defenses change their tune with Garoppolo at quarterback. He ranks last in deep passing rate (7.3 percent) since 2016.
Quarterback: Jared Goff -- Rank: 16 (One game: 17 | 2023 prod.: 14)
Running back: David Montgomery -- Rank: 17
Pass catcher: Amon-Ra St. Brown -- Rank: 14
Goff enjoyed a renaissance under offensive coordinator Ben Johnson in 2022. Detroit generated +94.0 passing EPA when Goff dropped back to pass, which trailed only Patrick Mahomes (+148.8). The key to this efficiency was a lack of negative plays. With an elite pass-protection unit, Goff was sacked at the second-lowest rate in the NFL (3.8 percent) and set a career-low in interception rate (1.2 percent). St. Brown was an essential ingredient to this recipe for success. With his ability to win underneath, Goff was able to get rid of the ball 0.20 seconds faster on average when St. Brown was on the field and was sacked at less than half the rate. Goff generated negative EPA without St. Brown on the field last season. On the ground, Montgomery will be the thunder to first-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs' lightning, providing steady production in the Lions’ diverse run scheme.
Quarterback: Matthew Stafford -- Rank: 12 (One game: 9 | 2023 prod.: 16)
Running back: Cam Akers - Rank: 29
Pass catcher: Cooper Kupp -- Rank: 7
Stafford went through the concussion protocol twice and suffered a spinal cord contusion in 2022, while Kupp's season was cut short by a high ankle sprain. Akers ended last season with three consecutive 100-yard outings, but it would be surprising if he kept that momentum going, given his production over the rest of his career. The connection between Stafford and Kupp remained strong when they were healthy. Kupp ranked fourth in the NFL in receptions over expected (+7.1) in the first 10 weeks of the season and commanded a target on nearly 30 percent of his routes. With plenty of question marks along the offensive line and among the rest of the skill-position group, I expect Stafford's production to be underwhelming. But I would still rather have him under center than most quarterbacks in the league if I wanted to win a playoff game.
Quarterback: Geno Smith -- Rank: 11 (One game: 11 | 2023 prod.: 12)
Running back: Kenneth Walker III -- Rank: 19
Pass catcher: DK Metcalf -- Rank: 19
Do not discount Smith's 2022 resurgence as a flash in the pan. The former journeyman excelled while operating a true dropback passing game last season, leading the NFL in completion percentage over expected (+4.8 percent) and deep touchdown passes (13). Presuming his wrist injury is not a problem, first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be a reliable target over the middle, complementing Metcalf's big-play ability, and second-round pick Zach Charbonnet should be a balancing force in the backfield. Walker needs to be more consistent before he can be considered among the top half of running backs in the league. While he gained at least 10 rushing yards over expected on 15 carries last season (tied for second among running backs), he ranked second-to-last in success rate (32.5 percent) among backs with at least 100 carries.
Quarterback: Brock Purdy -- Rank: 20 (One game: 25 | 2023 prod.: 17)
Running back: Christian McCaffrey -- Rank: 2
Pass catcher: Deebo Samuel -- Rank: 11
Kyle Shanahan has built his roster around playmakers who can maximize the space his system gives them. This offense features four of the top 15 players by total yards after the catch over expected since 2020, including the No. 1 overall player (Samuel, with +694), the second-ranked tight end (George Kittle, +338), the second-ranked running back (McCaffrey, +292) and the 10th-ranked receiver (Brandon Aiyuk, +246). Shanahan's excellent play-calling allowed the Niners to plug Mr. Irrelevant in seamlessly after injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance last season. It's honestly eerie how similar the passing game's efficiency metrics were between Purdy and Garoppolo. I am less bullish on Purdy than many in the public seem to be -- I think his propensity for improvisation will eventually get him in trouble, and I would not be shocked if the 49ers end up turning to Sam Darnold at some point during the season. Regardless, McCaffrey will be the centerpiece of this offense as the best running back Shanahan has ever had at his disposal.
Quarterback: Tua Tagovailoa -- Rank: 13 (One game: 16 | 2023 prod.: 11)
Running back: Raheem Mostert -- Rank: 26
Pass catcher: Tyreek Hill -- Rank: 3
Just like his former boss Kyle Shanahan, Mike McDaniel was able to coax elite production out of a system quarterback last season with sublime play-calling and a dynamic receiving corps. The Dolphins created an almost comical amount of open windows over the golden middle of the field, allowing Tagovailoa to do what he does best: get rid of the ball quickly and hit his receivers in stride. Ex-Chief Hill might have had the best season of his career, despite the obvious downgrade at quarterback from Patrick Mahomes. Hill averaged a ridiculous 3.3 yards per route, the most by any receiver with at least 200 routes run in a season in the NGS era (since 2016). Mostert, Jeff Wilson and rookie De'Von Achane form one of the fastest backfields in the league -- although Miami struggled to convert speed to production in 2022 behind a mediocre offensive line.
Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill -- Rank: 17 (One game: 14 | 2023 prod.: 19)
Running back: Derrick Henry -- Rank: 3
Pass catcher: DeAndre Hopkins -- Rank: 15
At his peak, Tannehill represented the platonic ideal of the system quarterback, with just enough arm strength and athleticism to maximize the efficiency of a well-designed offense. With his penchant for holding onto the ball, it remains to be seen how Tannehill will fare behind what might be the worst pass-protection unit he has had in Tennessee. Henry is still one of the most physically dominant forces in the league, but after logging 1,906 career carries (including playoffs), how many more hits can he take? Hopkins fills a vacuum at the top of the receiver room and should help Treylon Burks develop a more complete skill set, with less pressure to produce than Burks dealt with as a rookie last season.
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins -- Rank: 10 (One game: 12 | 2023 prod.: 10)
Running back: Alexander Mattison -- Rank: 31
Pass catcher: Justin Jefferson -- Rank: 1
Jefferson has been nearly flawless from Day 1. He has gained a whopping 4,825 receiving yards thus far, shattering Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss' record for receiving yards in the first three years of a player's career by 662 yards. Jefferson's 2022 Offensive Player of the Year campaign cemented his status as the top receiver in the league. Cousins' strong arm and consistent accuracy are enough to maintain his status as a prototypical game manager, as long as he gets to avoid the bright lights of prime time. The Vikings moved on from Dalvin Cook, and Mattison is expected to lead the backfield, at least to start the season. The former backup struggles in pass protection and lacks big-play ability. I expect the Vikings to eventually settle into more of a committee approach, with the speedy Ty Chandler and ex-Dolphin Myles Gaskin getting plenty of opportunities.
Quarterback: Lamar Jackson -- Rank: T-4 (One game: 5 | 2023 prod.: 4)
Running back: J.K. Dobbins -- Rank: 24
Pass catcher: Mark Andrews -- Rank: 17
The offense stagnated under offensive coordinator Greg Roman in 2022, especially the passing game, which struggled with spacing. Expect new coordinator Todd Monken to open things up for Jackson and empower his abilities as a dropback passer. Andrews is still the top dog in the passing game, but new receivers Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr. are a natural fit for Jackson, who has averaged the third-most EPA per attempt (+0.42) targeting in-breaking routes since 2019. The makeup of this offense will look drastically different this year. Baltimore used 11 personnel on just 12 percent of plays last season; the Ravens were the only team to fall under the 30 percent mark. Dobbins has missed more games than he's played in since he was drafted in 2020, but he has been super efficient in limited action. Regardless of who lines up next to Jackson in the backfield, the RB should benefit from the attention defenses have to pay to the QB's game-breaking mobility.
Quarterback: Derek Carr -- Rank: T-14 (One game: 15 | 2023 prod.: 13)
Running back: Alvin Kamara -- Rank: 6
Pass catcher: Chris Olave -- Rank: 10
Carr offers a definite upgrade over Andy Dalton, who started 14 games for New Orleans in 2022. The former Raider averaged 9.3 air yards per attempt last season (fourth most in the NFL) and should be able to continue to push the ball down the field with a promising receiving corps. Olave is already a star; he joined elite company as just the fourth rookie receiver to average over 2.5 yards per route since 2016, joining A.J. Brown, Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase. If Michael Thomas isn’t always available this fall, Rashid Shaheed has home run ability with his blazing speed, and rookie A.T. Perry looked strong during the preseason. Once Kamara returns from his three-game suspension, he will be able to turn Carr's checkdowns into positive plays with his elusiveness in the open field.
Quarterback: Jalen Hurts -- Rank: 9 (One game: 10 | 2023 prod.: 7)
Running back: Rashaad Penny -- Rank: 22
Pass catcher: A.J. Brown -- Rank: 6
Development is rarely linear, but Hurts has shown consistent improvement for four consecutive years -- dating back to his senior season at Oklahoma -- and is significantly more complete as a quarterback than most analysts likely could have imagined when he was coming into the league. Still, his 45.4 percent success rate on dropbacks ranked 15th among qualified quarterbacks last season. I need to see another year of improvement after the departure of Shane Steichen before I am ready to move him into the elite QB tier. Only Deebo Samuel (+775) has gained more YAC over expected than Brown (+619) since 2019. Last season, Brown brought his game to the next level on vertical routes, logging more receptions (14) and yards (547) on go routes than he did in his first three NFL seasons combined (all in Tennessee). It remains to be seen who will lead this year’s backfield, but Penny has been one of the most effective backs in the league over the last two seasons when healthy. If he can remain on the field, the sky is the limit for this rushing attack that features Hurts and a stellar offensive line.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers -- Rank: T-7 (One game: 7 | 2023 prod.: 9)
Running back: Breece Hall -- Rank: 10
Pass catcher: Garrett Wilson -- Rank: 16
Will Rodgers return to MVP form in his first season in New York? Or will he look closer to the version we saw last season with the Packers, when an overreliance on passes behind the line of scrimmage and performative deep balls resulted in negative EPA and a below-average success rate? The Jets’ offensive line could be his Achilles’ heel, so don't be surprised if the 39-year-old quarterback shortcuts his route distribution to avoid contact, should he start to feel pressure. Still, Rodgers provides a massive upgrade for this aerial attack. Wilson was the 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year despite having 24 incomplete targets that were attributed to the quarterback, tied for fourth-most in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. His potential is through the roof with a passer who can get him the ball on time. Hall was another member of the Jets’ 2022 draft class who showed promising potential as a rookie, and Dalvin Cook's presence in the backfield should allow Hall to ease his way back from injury.
Quarterback: Trevor Lawrence -- Rank: 6 (One game: 4 | 2023 prod.: 6)
Running back: Travis Etienne -- Rank: 14
Pass catcher: Calvin Ridley -- Rank: 18
In his second season, Lawrence looked like the generational prospect he was labeled as in the pre-draft process. Under the competency of Doug Pederson, Lawrence ranked fifth in total passing EPA (+63.5) and success rate (48.9 percent) in 2022, a drastic improvement over his disastrous rookie season, when only Zach Wilson had fewer EPA on dropbacks. After the addition of Ridley, this passing attack is expected to reach new heights with Lawrence taking another step forward and having an alpha receiver to lean on. Etienne is one of the most explosive running backs in the league, but his struggles in pass protection and smaller frame have prevented him from taking over as an every-down back so far.
Quarterback: Dak Prescott -- Rank: T-7 (One game: 8 | 2023 prod.: 8)
Running back: Tony Pollard -- Rank: 15
Pass catcher: CeeDee Lamb -- Rank: 9
After the departure of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Mike McCarthy will be calling plays for the Cowboys, although the head coach let Prescott handle those duties during the final preseason game. The Cowboys’ offense is in good hands with Dak. With Tom Brady retiring, Prescott could have the best command at the line of any quarterback in the league. The Dallas passer will look to build off the excellent chemistry he established with Lamb after returning from injury last season. According to Next Gen Stats, only Justin Jefferson (+11.2) had more receptions over expected than Lamb (+11) from Week 7 on. Pollard has excelled as a change-of-pace back over the past few seasons and is now The Guy in the backfield after the Cowboys parted ways with Ezekiel Elliott this offseason. I need to see how Pollard handles a full workload before vaulting him into the next tier of running backs.
Quarterback: Justin Herbert -- Rank: 3 (One game: 3 | 2023 prod.: 5)
Running back: Austin Ekeler -- Rank: 9
Pass catcher: Keenan Allen -- Rank: 22
Another year, another disappointing Chargers season. The offense was decimated by injuries in 2022, losing its Pro Bowl left tackle (Rashawn Slater) and top two receivers (Keenan Allen and Mike Williams) for extended periods of time. Herbert’s production took a step back as he was hampered by rib and shoulder injuries and a conservative offensive scheme. When Allen and Williams were on the field, Herbert looked more like the exciting gunslinger he was during his first two seasons, averaging +0.18 EPA per play and a 50.3 percent success rate on 177 dropbacks, per Next Gen Stats. Herbert's efficiency on both of those numbers would have ranked in the top three league-wide had they been season-long figures. The Chargers added depth to their receiving corps this offseason, selecting Quentin Johnston in the first round. Ekeler is in a contract year, but it would be a bad sign for the offense if he once again led the team in the targets. Less checkdowns and more high-value opportunities for Ekeler would benefit both parties.
Quarterback: Josh Allen -- Rank: 2 (One game: 2 | 2023 prod.: 2)
Running back: James Cook -- Rank: 30
Pass catcher: Stefon Diggs -- Rank: 5
Outside of Patrick Mahomes, no quarterback has the game-breaking ability Allen has when he’s in peak form. The sixth-year pro enters the season fully recovered from the partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow that he sustained midway through last season, which caused his EPA per dropback to decrease from .15 through Week 9 (when the injury occurred) to .07 from Week 10 on, according to Next Gen Stats. But beyond having the strongest arm in the league, Allen is a deadly scrambler. He's picked up 21 more first downs using his legs than any other quarterback since 2018. Cook will take over at RB1 in his second season, adding some much-needed juice to the run game. Diggs has been nothing short of elite in his three years in Buffalo, leading the NFL with +31.2 receptions over expected.
Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes -- Rank: 1 (One game: 1 | 2023 prod.: 1)
Running back: Isiah Pacheco -- Rank: 18
Pass catcher: Travis Kelce -- Rank: 8
Mahomes took home his second MVP and Lombardi trophies in what was supposed to be a transition year for the Chiefs' offense after the trade of Tyreek Hill to Miami. One of the greatest quarterbacks we’ve ever seen continues to get better and evolve with each passing season. Mahomes is inarguably in his own tier, having more than doubled the next-closest QB in passing EPA since becoming the Chiefs’ starter in 2018, per Next Gen Stats. With Mahomes at the helm, anything less than a Super Bowl victory will be a disappointment for Kansas City. Kelce looks to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards for the seventh consecutive season, continuing his march to the Hall of Fame. Still dynamic at 33 years old, Kelce gained +155 YAC over expected last season, his most in a season with Mahomes at quarterback. Pacheco took command of the Chiefs’ backfield midway through his rookie campaign, finishing the season with the fourth-highest success rate among running backs (46.5 percent).
Quarterback: Joe Burrow -- Rank: T-4 (One game: 6 | 2023 prod.: 3)
Running back: Joe Mixon -- Rank: 12
Pass catcher: Ja'Marr Chase -- Rank: 4
The Bengals take the top spot in this exercise for the second year in a row, and this ranking doesn’t even include Tee Higgins, who I would argue would be the No. 1 receiver on two-thirds of the league's teams. Burrow has been the most accurate quarterback in the NFL since he was drafted, completing a league-high +4.4 percent of his passes over expected, per Next Gen Stats. His connection with Chase has carried over seamlessly from their days at LSU, as no QB-WR duo has scored more touchdowns (22) over the last two seasons. Mixon can be counted on for steady gains, but don’t expect him to break off any game-changing plays.