May 6, 2020

NFL post-draft offense rankings: Giants grade out near bottom, Buccaneers make jump, Packers drop a few spots


Before the 2020 NFL Draft, we spent a week digging into the best and worst offensive infrastructures in the league. We highlighted six teams who were not set up for success, nine teams who looked like they would struggle to reach average, 11 teams that should be good but not necessarily elite, and five teams who seemingly could only be held back by injuries. Of course, the draft changed things quite a bit. So we’re running it back and ranking these units again.

Who is your quarterback? Who is protecting him? Who does he throw to? Who does he have next to him in the backfield? Who’s scheming those players open? All the pieces matter. The degree to which they matter varies greatly, of course, but each plays a role in making an offense hum at peak efficiency. 

To go about ranking the offenses, we used a weighted grading system where each team was given a 1-5 grade (1 = terrible, 5 = elite) in the following areas: Quarterback, Offensive Line, Pass-Catchers (WR/TE), Running Backs, and Play-Caller (head coach or offensive coordinator). 

Those scores were then weighted so that quarterback was the most important component of the offense, followed by offensive line, play-caller, pass-catchers, and then finally running backs, so that the weights reflected as closely as possible the reality of the way modern NFL offenses work. 

32. Washington (2.20)

Washington remained in 32nd place after the draft. Drafting Antonio Gibson and Antonio Gandy-Golden did bump the team’s overall grade slightly upward, but there is still a paucity of talent on this offense.

T-30. Dolphins, Giants (2.80)

Miami remained second-to-last here, but the Giants fell behind the Jets and Bengals, who did more to add to their offenses in the draft. The Dolphins’ additions on the offensive line should help stabilize things, but adding Tua Tagovailoa helps more in the long-term than the short. It was additionally surprising to not see the Dolphins add a receiver early on, given the quality and depth of the class. The Giants, meanwhile, solidified their one weakness along the offensive line, which did bump their overall grade, but where the Jets and Bengals also added pass-catchers, they did not. 

T-28. Jets, Bengals (2.87)

New York spent most of the offseason upgrading Sam Darnold’s offensive line, then capped off that project by selecting Mekhi Becton at No. 11 overall. They added Denzel Mims in the second round to improve Darnold’s array of weaponry as well. The Bengals landed Joe Burrow, as expected, but also gave him a new receiver in Tee Higgins. We also gave the pass-catching group an upgrade with the increased expectation that A.J. Green will actually be in Cincinnati next year.

T-26. Bears, Broncos (2.93)

Adding Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler bumped the Broncos out of the very bottom tier and into a tie with the Bears. There are still questions about Drew Lock and the offensive line, but the way Denver attacked a weakness in order to turn it into a strength was a really admirable strategy. Chicago’s only notable addition in the draft was tight end Cole Kmet. Tight ends tend to not make much of a Year 1 impact, so the Bears dropped into a tie with Denver.

T-24. Patriots, Jaguars (3.07)

New England’s most notable offensive additions were Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene. Let’s just say we’re not all that optimistic that they’ll be the difference between a below-average offense and a good one. The Jags gave Gardner Minshew another target in Laviska Shenault, but it’s not like they didn’t already have a solid group of pass-catchers, led by D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook, with Keelan Cole and Chris Conley behind them.

23. Panthers (3.33)

Carolina spent all seven of its draft picks on defense.

T-19. Raiders, Chargers, Cardinals, Texans (3.47)

The additions made by the Raiders (Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, Lynn Bowden) and Cardinals (Josh Jones, Eno Benjamin) were enough to vault them into a tie with the Chargers (whose big offensive addition, Justin Herbert, is unlikely to be a Year 1 upgrade) and Texans (who didn’t have a first-round pick and added only a backup offensive lineman).  Each of these teams seems like it has a decently high ceiling, but also a pretty low floor due to obvious weaknesses.

18. Browns (3.53)

Snagging Jedrick Wills with the No. 10 overall pick was a great move for the Browns, who have now solidified each bookend of their offensive line after previously signing Jack Conklin. Baker Mayfield crumbled under the weight of poor line play last season, and should have a much better group in front of him this year.

T-16. Packers, Bills (3.60)

I have no idea what the Packers were doing in the draft. The Bills upgrading from T.J. Yeldon to Zack Moss in the second part of their backfield committee alongside Devin Singletary bumped their running back grade, which helped them jump into a tie with Green Bay.

T-14. Vikings, Seahawks (3.67)

Minnesota stole Justin Jefferson with the No. 22 overall pick, and also added both depth and a potential starter in the second round with tackle Ezra Cleveland. Trading Stefon Diggs is still a loss, but the draft haul might actually be enough to call it a net win. The Seahawks used several mid-round picks on potential offensive contributors, but the most likely to have a role in 2020 might be running back DeeJay Dallas, who is terrific as both a pass-catcher and blocker and would make for a nice complement to Chris Carson

T-12. Falcons, Lions (3.73)

The Falcons passed on the chance to add offensive help in Round 1 in favor of taking a corner. It’s justifiable, but also doesn’t help them here. Detroit using a second-round pick on D’Andre Swift might not be the best use of resources, but it’s likely to help their offense in 2020. The latter is also true of guard Jonah Jackson, who could step into the starting lineup right away if he has a good camp. (Assuming camp happens.)

11. Rams (3.80)

Since we did the previous version of the rankings, the Rams traded Brandin Cooks and added Van Jefferson and Cam Akers. Seems kind of like a wash overall, so they kept the same overall grade. They moved down in the rankings, however, due to additions made by other teams. 

10. Titans (3.87)

Tennessee used its first-round pick to replace departed right tackle Jack Conklin with another first-round right tackle in Isaiah Wilson. We’ll consider that an upgrade over Dennis Kelly in the long-term, but it’s not a guarantee that he’ll be an upgrade right away.

T-8. Steelers, Colts (4.00)

The Steelers added Chase Claypool, who is a terrific athlete but did not necessarily have college production that reflected that. Perhaps he becomes a contributor early on, but with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington already on the depth chart he seems unlikely to be a major impact player right away. The Colts, on the other hand, brought in Michael Pittman and Jonathan Taylor, which helped them upgrade two different units and leap their way into the top 10 on our list.

T-6. Eagles, Buccaneers (4.13)

Did the Eagles add the best receiver on the board at No. 21? Your mileage may vary. What Philly definitely did in the draft, though, was add speed. Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, Quez Watkins, plus a trade for Marquise Goodwin. We saw this offense fall apart without DeSean Jackson to take the top off the defense last year; that shouldn’t happen in 2020. Tampa, meanwhile, solidified its only obvious weakness by drafting Tristan Wirfs, then went ahead and added Ke’Shawn Vaughn at running back and Tyler Johnson at wide receiver. These guys should be good. 

5. 49ers (4.40)

The Niners dropped to five through no fault of their own. Brandon Aiyuk makes a lot of sense for their system and could contribute in a similar fashion to how Deebo Samuel did last year. Replacing Joe Staley with Trent Williams keeps the offensive line among the elite units in the league. 

T-3. Cowboys, Saints (4.47)

The Saints’ two offensive additions (Cesar Ruiz and Adam Trautman) are unlikely to be big Year 1 contributors, but the base of an elite offense was already here. The Cowboys, meanwhile, stacked on top of a strength by adding CeeDee Lamb to Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, giving Dak Prescott arguably the most explosive pass-catching group outside of Kansas City. Add in the philosophical improvement in going from Jason Garrett to Mike McCarthy and that should be enough to stave off any growing pains associated with learning a new system. 

2. Ravens (4.60)

We had the Ravens and Chiefs tied last time around, but KC adding a running back who is a far greater threat in the pass game pushed them ahead. Still, J.K. Dobbins makes a ton of sense for Baltimore in both the short and long-term, as a complement and then successor to Mark Ingram.

1. Chiefs (4.80)

The champs stay on top.





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