NFL team skill-position rankings

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The Titans’ Julio Jones transfer brings a future Corridor of Famer to Tennessee, probably altering the AFC South outlook. Different groups made strikes to reinforce their pass-catching and ball-carrying conditions this yr. Right here is how the NFL’s skill-position teams stack up going into coaching camps.

 

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With two first-round picks within the 2022 and ’23 drafts, it is smart for the Lions to begin over. The hassle is obvious on the ability positions. Jared Goff will go from focusing on Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp to Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams. The Lions let five-year starter Marvin Jones stroll in free company and opted towards franchise-tagging Kenny Golladay or drafting a wideout early. D’Andre Swift confirmed flashes final season; the newest Detroit second-round working again will workforce with ex-Aaron Jones Inexperienced Bay sidekick Jamaal Williams. The Lions’ O-line seems good, however Goff will nonetheless have a troublesome time.

 

Houston Texans

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On this unusual pre-rebuilding place, the place lower-middle-class veterans arrived in droves, the Texans did a minimum of purchase underappreciated Broncos dynamo, Phillip Lindsay. Sadly, he’ll workforce with declining backs David Johnson and Mark Ingram and placeholder wideouts Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb. Much less recognizable vets Chris Conley and Donte Moncrief are behind them, whereas the Texans’ tight finish troops are unlikely to assist a lot. This reminds of the opening acts of a Madden franchise when a digital GM randomly provides free company’s prime names forward of his/her first season. The Texans have an extended street out of this place.

 

New York Jets

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This Jets receiver nucleus would make for attention-grabbing 2-for-1 trades in fantasy. A number of No. 2- and No. 3-type receivers line this roster, giving Zach Wilson depth Sam Darnold didn’t constantly possess. A quantity-for-quality-type swap would come in useful as a result of the additions of Corey Davis and slot Elijah Moore — pairing with two-year receiving chief/ice-cold pay-cut recipient Jamison Crowder — don’t clear up points at tight finish and don’t examine off the WR1 field. Fourth-rounder Michael Carter — the working again, not the security — has likelihood to steer the Jets in carries as effectively. An intriguing, incomplete combine.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

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Lastly rid of the onerous Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson contracts, the Eagles are actually relying on first-round receivers, DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor. The latter’s rookie-year dud — which got here as ex-second-rounder J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s NFL no-show continued — clouds Philly’s image, however it’s arduous to perform greater than Smith did in a school season. The Heisman winner’s sub-170-pound body can be a problem, nonetheless. Dallas Goedert can be relied upon, although trade-chip Zach Ertz stays on the roster, and Miles Sanders can be important for unproven QB Jalen Hurts.

 

Chicago Bears

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The Justin Fields-induced euphoria comes with the standard Bears caveat. Past Allen Robinson, surefire playmakers have but to emerge. David Montgomery navigated some dangerous defenses down the stretch to assist the 8-8 Bears to the playoffs, however the unremarkable runner has extra to show. Chicago tried to commerce Anthony Miller at a number of factors this offseason, which factors to Darnell Mooney (631 rookie-year yards with a foul QB setup) having a chance to be Fields and Andy Dalton’s WR2. Mooney and tight finish Cole Kmet present upside, however it’s too early to anoint anybody past Robinson.

 

Atlanta Falcons

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Spectacular quadriceps however, Mike Davis leads one of many NFL’s thinnest backfields. The Falcons will even ask 30-year-old return man Cordarrelle Patterson to again him up. Julio Jones won’t be round to propel Matt Ryan this yr, and Calvin Ridley has handled accidents in every of the previous two seasons. He’s now rehabbing a late-offseason foot surgical procedure. Ridley has the potential to be a top-10 receiver, nonetheless, and Russell Gage quietly displayed auxiliary-cog chops final season. This group will rely on Kyle Pitts being the uncommon quick-study tight finish. In any other case, the items right here don’t add up.

 

Indianapolis Colts

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Carson Wentz’s 2021 setup is healthier than the mess he helmed final yr, however the Colts are missing weaponry. The soon-to-be 32-year-old T.Y. Hilton, who is ready to play with a fourth QB in 4 years, has produced back-to-back down seasons. Promising WR2 Michael Pittman Jr. will decide this receiving corps’ viability. With ex-second-round slot receiver Parris Campbell having missed 23 video games in two years, the 6-foot-4 Pittman is important. The Colts do have a probably dominant run recreation; Jonathan Taylor (feat. Marlon Mack) can be tasked with heavy lifting this season.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

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If used correctly, James Robinson and Travis Etienne give off Mark Ingram-Alvin Kamara vibes. The Jaguars higher obtain a middle-class model of the late-2010s Saints’ elite pair, as a result of City Meyer signed off on a first-round luxurious choose as coach of a workforce coming off a 1-15 season. Jacksonville’s receivers are nice. Marvin Jones ought to assist Trevor Lawrence, who additionally has D.J. Chark and versatile Laviska Shenault to focus on. Tight finish, nonetheless, may very well be a no-show for in regards to the tenth straight yr in Jacksonville.

 

New England Patriots

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Hoarding expertise at a difficult-to-staff job, the Patriots made Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith the NFL’s third- and fourth-highest-paid tight ends. The Pats might go from getting zilch from their post-Gronk tight finish corps to having the NFL’s prime 1-2 punch right here. New England additionally options Damien Harris, who quietly averaged 5 yards per carry because the workforce’s full-time starter final yr. These gamers might want to compensate for an understaffed wideout room. The Pats misinterpret the receiver market re: Nelson Agholor’s $11M-per-year deal and have gotten little from N’Keal Harry. They appear needy right here for a 3rd straight season.

 

Washington Football Team

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Washington paid up for gadget player-turned-contract-year climber Curtis Samuel, however the $11.5M-per-year receiver has a historical past with each Ron Rivera and faculty teammate Terry McLaurin. Samuel, buy-low slot cog Adam Humphries and third-rounder Dyami Brown (two 20-YPC seasons at North Carolina) ought to present an improve on Washington’s Sims tandem and assist burgeoning-star McLaurin. Logan Thomas has efficiently transitioned from quarterback to tight finish, including juice to this now-Ryan Fitzpatrick-dependent equation. Antonio Gibson nonetheless battling a toe harm from 2020 is troublesome, nonetheless.

 

Baltimore Ravens

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Submitting gives to many notable free agent broad receivers, the Ravens had hassle convincing veterans their offense works for outdoor cross catchers. However their new hires — Sammy Watkins and first-rounder Rashod Bateman — do complement undersized burner Marquise Brown. Lamar Jackson has not confirmed he can constantly contain wideouts outdoors the numbers, however the Ravens do have high-second-tier tight finish, Mark Andrews. This receiving crew is one of the best Andrews has performed with, and it also needs to assist a run recreation housing breakthrough candidate J.Ok. Dobbins (6.0 YPC in 2020). 

 

Arizona Cardinals

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The Cardinals made an effort to assist DeAndre Hopkins, drafting electrical menace Rondale Moore in Spherical 2 and overpaying  signing A.J. Inexperienced. The previous is 5-foot-7 and the latter is 4 years faraway from his final high quality season. Nuk’s help should fall closely on Christian Kirk, an inconsistent goal however a former second-rounder getting into a contract yr. Arizona has an environment friendly ball-carrying weapon in Chase Edmonds (217 profession carries); he possible will lead a backfield that additionally contains oft-injured James Conner. For many of their desert existence, the Playing cards have bothered little with tight ends. 

 

Las Vegas Raiders

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Maybe due to Jon Gruden’s different personnel struggles, the Raiders’ Darren Waller transfer doesn’t obtain enough credit score. The ex-Ravens wideout/suspension recipient has develop into a monster within the passing recreation, serving to Derek Carr submit back-to-back QBR top-11 marks. Josh Jacobs and, apparently, Kenyan Drake signify strong run-game help. Las Vegas wants to raised make the most of Henry Ruggs this season; 43 targets in 12 begins made for a woeful rookie yr. John Brown ought to assist the underside line, even at 31, and 6-3 Bryan Edwards surfacing in 12 months 2 can be vital to a quarterback which will have much less time to throw in 2021.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

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Since his mid-2010s run of dangerous luck, Keenan Allen has largely stayed wholesome. This Chargers setup seems weak if the 29-year-old separation maven goes down. Mike Williams usually runs into harm hassle, however the sometimes productive ex-top-10 choose goes right into a contract yr. Sub-4.4-second 40 performers Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson fared effectively in a nationwide TV spot with out Allen or Williams, however which will merely communicate to Justin Herbert’s immense expertise. The Bolts are skinny at working again, inserting significance on conserving Austin Ekeler in pads after his injury-limited 2020. Jared Cook dinner is now on Workforce 6.

 

Miami Dolphins

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Jaylen Waddle rated Mac Jones as a superior thrower to Tua Tagovailoa, however the No. 6 general choose will attempt to elevate the embattled southpaw to begin his profession. Miami buying Waddle and Will Fuller might rework its aerial assault, although Fuller is coming off a PED ban, and supply a greater image of Tua’s capabilities. Mike Gesicki quietly completed fourth amongst tight ends in receiving yards (703) final season. Whereas the Dolphins have the extra vital ability spots staffed, their backfield — that includes seventh-rounder Myles Gaskin and ex-Ram Malcolm Brown — doubles as one of many league’s weaker ball-carrying battalions. 

 

Cincinnati Bengals

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Three members of the Bengals’ 2021 offense had been on the sphere for the LSU-Clemson NCAA title recreation. Ja’Marr Chase becoming a member of the Tee Higgins-Tyler Boyd tandem provides Joe Burrow one of many NFL’s finest wideout trios. Considered as essentially the most well-rounded of this yr’s receiver prospects, Chase dominated as a sophomore and can be tasked with filling a WR1 function A.J. Inexperienced had not really held since 2017. The 6-foot-4 Higgins almost reached 1,000 yards as a rookie, regardless of Burrow’s harm. This trio will assist a Bengals workforce missing a confirmed tight finish and one relying on Joe Mixon to return to well being after shedding longtime RB2 Giovani Bernard.

 

New Orleans Saints

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Identical because it ever was. The Saints, who made Emmanuel Sanders a one-and-done for cap functions, are rolling with Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and unproven staffers. Whereas Thomas’ accidents and his punching of fast-rising NFL troublemaker C.J. Gardner-Johnson damage the 2020 Saints, the two-time All-Professional racked up 3,130 receiving yards from 2018-19 with a declining Drew Brees. Kamara is the NFL’s most versatile playmaker, and Latavius Murray has delivered two 600-plus-yard dashing seasons as his backup. Past this, New Orleans’ Jameis Winston- Taysom Hill duo lacks dependable choices. Hill might additionally assist Winston as a chain-mover.

 

Green Bay Packers

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Within the time since Aaron Rodgers’ 2017 shoulder harm, Davante Adams has develop into an all-around dynamo. Rodgers’ WR1 caught 18 TD passes — the third-most ever in a season — final yr and did it in 14 video games. The Packers have tried to complement him with bargain-bin cross catchers, however Rodgers made it work with Allen Lazard and deep-threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Ex-Clemson slot Amari Rodgers is now within the combine too. UDFA Robert Tonyan caught 11 TDs, whereas dual-threat again Aaron Jones deservedly cashed on this yr. What’s going to this group appear to be with out the reigning MVP? The Packers could also be poised to seek out out.

 

Denver Broncos

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Maybe no ability array matches Denver’s depth. The Broncos have three first- or second-round wideouts, and WR4 Tim Patrick proved helpful filling in for the injured Courtland Sutton in 2020 with a 742-yard, drop-less season. Sutton is again and set to workforce with intriguing playmakers Jerry Jeudy and Ok.J. Hamler. Tight finish Noah Fant has elite tight finish velocity and could also be on the verge of a tier soar, whereas the Broncos have Melvin Gordon and ex-North Carolina tackle-shedding maven Javonte Williams within the backfield. Now on Workforce No. 5, Teddy Bridgewater has an attention-grabbing alternative.

 

Seattle Seahawks

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Whereas exhibiting the sizable hole between elite sprinters and swift-footed NFL receivers, D.Ok. Metcalf brings a uncommon ability set to the gridiron. The 230-pound freak broke Steve Largent’s single-season Seahawks document, with 1,303 yards. Coming off consecutive 1,000-yard slates, Tyler Lockett is overqualified to be labeled a sidekick . Metcalf enhances the 5-foot-10 Lockett and new 5-9 long-range goal D’Wayne Eskridge, and it will likely be attention-grabbing to see if the Seahawks coax consistency from Gerald Everett in a manner the Rams couldn’t. Depth behind Chris Carson is a matter; it will likely be a high-stakes season for post-ACL-tear Rashaad Penny.

 

Carolina Panthers

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Sam Darnold ought to have a ability corps that surpasses Bridgewater’s (and much outflanks what Cam Newton largely labored with), with Christian McCaffrey again from the excessive ankle sprain that value him 13 video games. A relaxation yr for Run CMC truly advantages Carolina’s 2021 outfit. Robby Anderson took a step ahead final yr, and D.J. Moore was one in all simply 5 wideouts to submit 1,100-yard seasons in 2019 and ’20. OC Joe Brady additionally has ex-LSU pupil Terrace Marshall, the Tigers’ No. 1 2020 goal after Chase’s opt-out, to combine after Curtis Samuel’s exit. Main upside right here.

 

Minnesota Vikings

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The Vikings make it straightforward on fantasy execs, funneling their assault by way of two influence broad receivers and one of many league’s finest backs. Justin Jefferson’s 1,400-yard season — essentially the most by a rookie in 60 years — made Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs commerce a win-win, and Adam Thielen, at 31, ought to have a minimum of another prime season in him. Dalvin Cook dinner’s almost 1,918 scrimmage yards surpassed all however one Adrian Peterson season. Irv Smith Jr. displayed attention-grabbing potential as a backup, and the ex-Alabama pass-catcher ought to have a much bigger pie piece after the Vikings minimize Kyle Rudolph.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

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Whereas the Steelers drafting a first-round working again regardless of questions throughout their O-line will be questioned, their broad receiver intel can’t. Pittsburgh’s wideout-development manufacturing unit has 4 ready-made fashions for Ben Roethlisberger’s age-39 season, with JuJu Smith-Schuster surprisingly again within the image. Within the WR4 function as a rookie and missing an offseason, Chase Claypool confirmed a scary ceiling. Diontae Johnson ought to cling onto extra passes this yr, whereas James Washington would begin on most groups. Hopefully, the Steelers’ new-look line can provide Najee Harris sufficient working lanes. 

 

Buffalo Bills

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Stefon Diggs confirmed the worth a dominant broad receiver can present for a younger quarterback, and the Payments could also be even higher at this place in 2021. This may very well be Emmanuel Sanders’ final journey as a wideout common, at 34, however he has a greater observe document than John Brown. Diggs, Sanders, Cole Beasley, and Gabriel Davis — seemingly primed for a much bigger workload after being a frequent Josh Allen recurring actor — type the NFL’s finest receiver quartet. The Payments can add to this with an simply makeable Zach Ertz commerce. Buffalo wants extra from its Devin Singletary-Zack Moss duo, nonetheless.

 

San Francisco 49ers

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We now have not seen the 49ers’ optimum ability contingent since Tremendous Bowl LIV. Accidents to only about each key get together (and its conductor) wrecked the 2020 season. Jimmy Garoppolo’s final Bay Space journey, which ought to characteristic Trey Lance taking the keys sooner or later, stands to incorporate the league’s finest all-around tight finish, the anticipated yards-after-catch metric’s ruler, one of many league’s quickest backs, and a first-round choose who was not round for that Chiefs loss. San Francisco’s George Kittle-Deebo Samuel-Raheem Mostert-Brandon Aiyuk quartet rivals nearly anybody’s, and backfield reinforcements are coming. Can these chain-movers keep wholesome?

 

Tennessee Titans

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If Julio Jones has another nice season in him, Ryan Tannehill’s setup will by some means enhance regardless of Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith’s exits. Jones’ run from 2014-19 is on one other continent in comparison with everybody else, statistically talking, in that span. And the long run Corridor of Famer can most likely educate monster-in-training A.J. Brown some tips. Tennessee’s bodily imposing M.O. clearly facilities on Derrick Henry — he of three,567 dashing yards and 35 TDs since 2019 — however after 378 carries final yr, the wrecking-ball again wants relaxation on this 17-game season. Darrynton Evans must take a step ahead after principally a redshirt yr.

 

Los Angeles Rams

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Sean McVay remodeled the Rams in 2017 , taking them from the NFL’s worst offense to its top-scoring assault. If Matthew Stafford can elevate the Rams’ established ability troops to larger heights, the Buccaneers can be examined. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are going into 12 months 5 as a pair, and the Rams have DeSean Jackson and two second-round receivers ( Van Jefferson, tiny Tutu Atwell) behind them. This gives tight finish Tyler Higbee with stellar help, and Los Angeles might current one of many NFL’s prime backfield tandems in Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson. This group’s progress can be a pivotal 2021 storyline.

 

Dallas Cowboys

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Dak Prescott’s ankle illness ruined a historic tempo, however the Cowboys have the identical vehicles of their snazzy storage. CeeDee Lamb needs to be additional alongside in comparison with the place he was when Dak final performed, and he almost hit 1,000 yards regardless of Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert factoring into final yr’s QB equation. The Cowboys have two different 1,000-yard wideouts — Amari Cooper and 2022 free agent Michael Gallup — and most well-liked tight finish Dalton Schultz missed most of final yr. Ezekiel Elliott’s type can be value monitoring, however the two-time dashing champ will solely be 26 this season. And Tony Pollard is a high-end backup.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

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Placing himself on the Canton radar, Travis Kelce has not missed a recreation resulting from harm since present process microfracture surgical procedure in 2013. Kelce will flip 32 this yr, so his run within the tight finish stratosphere could also be winding down. For now, he and Tyreek Hill don’t have any friends by way of aerial 1-2 punches. Hill has averted scandals since his second one in 2019, and the NFL’s premier velocity demon has missed simply 4 video games resulting from harm in 5 seasons. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and whoever the Chiefs tab at WR2 post-Sammy Watkins will proceed to journey shotgun to the duo that has helped the workforce to 2 Tremendous Bowls.

 

New York Giants

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The Giants drop off this tier if Saquon Barkley is just not totally recovered, however Daniel Jones has a full closet of flashy choices in his third season. Kenny Golladay rapidly seized WR1 duties in Detroit, from two established vets, and first-round choose Kadarius Toney gives a boom-or-bust — for this yr, a minimum of — gadget. Sterling Shepard transferring again to the slot will assist unshackle him, whereas Darius Slayton has carried out effectively in spurts. Kyle Rudolph figures to help within the crimson zone, serving to contract-year starter Evan Engram. Jones, OC Jason Garrett, and a suspect O-line might foil this group’s hopes, however few can beat its expertise and depth.

 

Cleveland Browns

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Even when Odell Beckham Jr. doesn’t recapture his early-career superstardom, the Browns’ environment friendly offense hinges on the most effective backfields in NFL historical past. Cleveland’s Nick Chubb-Kareem Hunt pair mixed for two,362 scrimmage yards and 23 TDs final season. Hunt needs to be an RB1 elsewhere, however his ugly Kansas Metropolis exit routed him to his hometown. The Browns have capitalized. Jarvis Landry now has two extra Professional Bowls than OBJ (5); each are simply 28. Additionally deep at tight finish, the Browns don’t have any holes of their ability corps, as unusual as that sounds. If Beckham can bounce again, the group might discover new territory.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Though Tom Brady’s Corridor of Fame-bound mercenaries are actually 32 and 33, respectively, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown may very well be higher in 2021 after spending time in Bruce Arians’ offense. Brady’s age can be a problem at some point, however the cliff has by some means not emerged but. The Bucs retained their soon-to-be 44-year-old QB’s unbelievable arsenal, which nonetheless homes Scotty Miller as a WR4. Tampa Bay could have one of the best receiving corps, one of the best tight finish steady — which has O.J. Howard again — and a robust backfield. Giovani Bernard is now a part of that steady. The Bucs are working a clinic on easy methods to construct round a title window.



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