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PFF 2020 Unit Rankings: NFC West

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NFL: Super Bowl LIV-San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Background: Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) runs after a reception against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons

QB: ARI-29; LAR-13; SF-14; SEA-2

RB: ARI-28; LAR-30: SF-19; SEA-14

WR: ARI-8; LAR-17; SF-25; SEA-14

TE: ARI-28; LAR-5; SF-1; SEA-16

OL: ARI-21; LAR-25; SF-8; SEA-28

DL: ARI-18; LAR-8; SF-4; SEA-32

LB: ARI-17; LAR-32; SF-10; SEA-1

SC: ARI-19; LAR-9; SF-10; SEA-5

AVE: ARI-21.0; LAR-17.3; SF-11.4; SEA-14.0

Analysis (From a Cardinals’ Fan’s Perspective):

  • Cannot fathom why PFF has Kyler Murray rated as a 4th Tier QB and #29 in the NFL. They cite his struggles in the first two games after the bye week during the Cardinals’ lopsided losses to the Rams and Steelers—-but they don't reward Kyler much at all for the bounce back wins versus the Browns and Seahawks.
  • Note—-even Kliff Kingsbury acknowledged that giving the team an extra day off during the bye week was, in retrospect, a mistake. Kyler didn’t even want to go on a bye week—-but the team came back soft and out of sync. To Kyler’s and the team’s credit, they recouped and played some of their best football the last 3 games, winning 2 of 3.
  • Not only is PFF not buying the Kyler Murray buzz, they are also meh about Kenyan Drake and the Cardinals’ OL. Yet, when they talk about Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds’ impressive yards per carry, it makes one wonder why they lowball them for 2020.
  • I believe that the Cardinals’ OL can emerge as the most productive in the NFC West. I am not as sold on the 49ers’ OL as PFF is.
  • The Cardinals’ TEs, imo, are better than people think because Larry Fitzgerald is used as a flex TE the way the 49ers often use George Kittle, as Patrick Mahomes does with Travis Kelce and as Tom Brady does with Gronk. Plus, Maxx Williams was the best blocking TE in the NFL last year—-which PFF clearly under-values—-and Dan Arnold has clear upside, particularly as a red zone receiver.
  • Based on these unit rankings we can see what Madden Football had the Cardinals’ defense rated a point higher (80) than the offense (79). This, in a way, is good news for the Cardinals because the offense, regardless of PFF’s skepticism, has a chance to be spectacular this season, and if the defense does its job more often than not, this year’s win total could be twice as many as last year’s.
  • To see none of the Cardinals’ defensive units graded below the #20 mark is encouraging—-plus, PFF can’t take into account just yet what kind of impact Isaiah Simmons can have on the entire defense, particularly in the sub packages where he could thrive in coverage and, at times, in the pass rush.

Madden Rankings:

2. SF: 84 overall—-84 offense——85 defense

17. SEA: 80 overall—-80 offense—-81 defense

21. ARI: 79 overall—-79 offense—-80 defense

23. LAR: 79 overall—-80 offense—-79 defense

Strongest and Weakest Units By Team (per PFF):

ARI—-Strongest: WR (#8)—-Weakest: QB (#29)

LAR—-Strongest: TE (#5)—-Weakest: LB (#32)

SF—-Strongest: TE (#1)—-Weakest: WR (#25)

SEA—-Strongest: LB (#1)—-Weakest: DL (#32)

  • *What are your reactions to the unit rankings?*

Imo, the Cardinals’ success will depend on coaching, team chemistry and:

  • Continued improvement on the OL and DL
  • Significant upgrades in pass coverage
  • Big points on offense with better TD % in the red zone
  • Emerging as the best special teams units in the division.

PFF QB Unit Rankings 2020

Tier 1:

  1. Patrick Mahomes, KC
  2. Russell Wilson, SEA

Tier 2:

3. Lamar Jackson, BAL

4. Deshaun Watson, HOU

5. Matt Ryan, ATL

6. Tom Brady, TB

7. Drew Brees, NO

8. Aaron Rodgers, GB

Tier 3:

9. Cam Newton, NE

10. Joe Burrow, CIN

11. Ryan Tannehill, TEN

12. Derek Carr, LV

13. Jared Goff, LAR

14. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF

15. Kirk Cousins, MIN

16. Dak Prescott, DAL

17. Matthew Stafford, DET

18. Carson Wentz, PHI

19. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT

20. Baker Mayfield, CLE

Tier 4:

21. Philip Rivers, IND

22. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tua Tagovailoa, MIA

23. Josh Allen, BUF

24. Sam Darnold, NYJ

25. Gardner Minshew, JAX

26. Drew Lock, DEN

27. Tyrod Taylor, Justin Herbert, LAC

28. Teddy Bridgewater, CAR

29. Kyler Murray, ARI

30. Danile Jones, NYG

31. Dwayne Haskins, WAS

32. Nick Foles, Mitch Trubisky, CHI

What’s so hard to believe about Kyler Murray’s ranking is that as a rookie he played very competitive games versus Russell Wilson (at Seattle), Matt Ryan (at home), Lamar Jackson (at Baltimore), Matthew Stafford (at home) Jimmy Garoppolo (home and at San Francisco) and clearly outplayed Baker Mayfield (at home)—-and—-Joe Burrow gets a top 10 nod before ever playing a snap in the NFL?

I hope the Cardinals pin these rankings up on the board—-and game by game, it would be awesome to see them obliterate these rankings.