Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

24 Mar 2017

ESPN: Ranking NFL's Best Teams at Every Position Post-Free Agency

Back before the playoffs, I wrote for ESPN Insider ranking the units of all 12 playoff teams. This article is similar, but looks at the top-10 teams at each unit after free agency. The FO staff had some debate on some of my decisions at QB and WR/TE, where it's difficult to figure out just how to separate a quarterback from his receivers. And can you guess which NFL franchise is No. 1 for one unit but below-average everywhere else?

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 24 Mar 2017

7 comments, Last at 27 Mar 2017, 3:44pm by Aaron Schatz


by ChrisS :: Fri, 03/24/2017 - 12:55pm


by YoHoChecko :: Fri, 03/24/2017 - 1:49pm

I don't understand the omission of the Packers from the WRs/TEs position rankings.

In terms of DYAR, they have last year's #3 WR, #3 TE, #16 WR, and #44 WR.

In terms of DVOA, thye have last year's #3 TE, #9 WR, #24 WR, and #39 WR.

So a top TE, a top WR, and then two other top 45 WRs (including a top 20) doesn't make the list?

by YoHoChecko :: Fri, 03/24/2017 - 3:41pm

Going further one step;

Of the 12 teams that have three WRs ranked, Green Bay has the 3rd highest DYAR maximum, and the 3rd highest DYAR average of those three players. It has the 9th highest DVOA maximum, and the 4th highest DVOA average of those three players. Certainly, the TE position, with Martellus Bennett's addition, cannot be dragging them down, either.

Based on Football Outsiders' own numbers, I can't see a case for Green Bay being outside of the top 5, let alone top ten.

It is mentioned in the blurb that there is disagreement separating the QB from his receivers, but that didn't seem to harm New England, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, or Seattle.

by dank067 :: Fri, 03/24/2017 - 7:50pm

Cobb and Adams were both miserable in 2015. They put up terrible numbers and looked terrible doing it. Whatever happened last season (Adams improved, Cobb continued to struggle), it's much easier to separate their production from their superstar quarterback who has a much longer track record.

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 03/24/2017 - 6:39pm

I can only see the beginning, but I'd put NE before GB at QB. I still like Rodgers better than Brady; I am a Packers fan after all. But it's close, and Garoppolo and Brissett are more proven than Hundley and Joe Callahan.

by mehllageman56 :: Fri, 03/24/2017 - 7:39pm

I could understand that, but Hundley had a passer rating over a hundred his rookie preseason. Of course, both Garoppolo and Hundley got injured last year, and Brissett definitely has more experience than Callahan. It would not surprise me if Hundley ended up being better than Garoppolo in the long run. Interesting thing though; Hundley threw for 53 mph in the velocity test at the combine. Garoppolo threw for 56 mph, and Brissett threw for 56 as well. The average is 55. Not sure if that matters that much, though.

by Aaron Schatz :: Mon, 03/27/2017 - 3:44pm

To answer both questions above, and I say this as a Pats fan: Tom Brady very clearly gets more help from his receivers and his offensive coordinator than Aaron Rodgers does. And the backup played less of a role in ranking quarterback than any other position here, because the backup doesn't get playing time except in case of injury.

I understand the high ratings of the Packers' receivers, but as we often note, our receiving stats don't separate a receiver from the quarterback. There's a lot of debate about this among the FO staff, but even those of us who favored putting the Packers on the list for WR/TE only would have put them ninth or tenth.