My player grades are based on a combination of recent performance grades (per PFF) and my own eye for talent. Thus, they are subjective and are thereby wide open for debate (which I encourage you to wage, where you see fit).
For example—-I gave the Cardinals’ TE Maxx Williams a 4 star rating, because he, imo, is the best blocking TE in the division, he had the highest 2019 PFF grade on the offense last season—-and look at how his PFF grades rank in the NFL:
Overall: 79.1 (#9)....Pass Blocking: 82.1 (#3).....Run Blocking: 84.7 (#1 in NFL).
Now—-we know that Maxx Williams was not a highly targeted receiver in the Cardinals’ offense—-thus I gave him a 4.
if you are uncertain why I graded a player the way I did, please offer your assessment and I will explain why I graded the player as such.
5 = Elite——4 = Pro Bowl Potential——3 = Solid——2 = Developing
Arizona Cardinals————Los Angeles Rams———SF 49ers————Seattle Seahawks
QB: Kyler Murray (4)——--Jared Goff (4)————Jimmy Garopollo (4)——Russell Wilson (5)
RB: Kenyan Drake (3)——Malcolm Brown (3)—-Raheem Mostert (3)——Chris Carson (3)
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins (5)—-Robert Woods (4)—-Deebo Samuels (4)—-Tyler Lockett (4)
WR2: Larry Fitzgerald (4)—Cooper Kupp (4)—-Kendrick Bourne (3)——-D.K. Metcalf (4)
WR3: Christian Kirk (3)——Josh Reynolds (3)—-Dante Pettis (3)————Philip Dorsett (3)
TE1: Maxx Williams (4)——Tyler Higbee (4)——George Kittle (5)———-Greg Olsen (4)
TE2: Dan Arnold (2)———Gerald Everett (4)—-Ross Dwelley (2)———-Will Dissly (2)
LT: D.J. Humphries (3)—Andrew Whitworth (4)—-Trent Williams (4)——Duane Brown (4)
LG: Justin Pugh (4)——--Austin Corbitt (2)———Laken Tomlinson (4)——Ethan Pocic (2)
C: Mason Cole (2)———Brian Allen (2)———-Weston Richburg (3)——-B.J. Finney (2)
RG: J.R. Sweezy (3)——Austin Blythe (2)——-Tom Compton (2)———-Phil Haynes (2)
RT: Justin Murray (3)—-Rob Havenstein (3)—-Mike McGlinchey (4)——Cedric Ogbuehi (2)
K: Zane Gonzalez (4)—-Sam Sloman (2)———Robbie Gould (4)————Jason Myers (3)
Totals: ARI: 44—————-LAR: 41————————SF: 45———————— SEA: 40
Arizona: T Josh Jones, RB Eno Benjamin
Los Angeles: RB Cam Akers (+1), WR Van Jefferson (+1), TE Brycen Hopkins; K Sam Sloman; G Tremayne Anchram
San Francisco: WR Brandon Aiyuk (+1), T Colton McKivitz, TE Charlie Woerner; WR Jauan Jennings
Seattle: G Damien Lewis (+1), TE Colby Parkinson, RB DeeJay Dallas; WR Freddie Swain, WR/TE Stephen Sullivan
Best in NFC West (On Paper): Position Groups
TE: LAR; SF
K: ARI, SF
The San Francisco 49ers remain the most highly rated and talented offense in the NFC West, but with the addition of All-Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins and with the improvements along the offensive line (graded #2 OL in the division in this assessment), the Arizona Cardinals have edged slightly ahead of the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks and are climbing closer to the 49ers.
Note: as football gurus and fans know—-talent on paper is one thing—-maximizing the talent on the field is another. The offensive coaching in the NFC West is impressive:
ARI: Kliff Kingsbury (HC/OC)
LAR: Sean McVay (HC/OC)
SF: Kyle Shanahan (HC/OC)
SEA: Brian Schottenheimer (OC)
As always, game planning will be an essential aspect of each team’s performance in 2020.
I believe that the Cardinals have a legitimate opportunity to be a top 5 offense. In terms of the innovation and coordination of the offense by Kliff Kingsbury and Sean Kugler—-and with QB Kyler Murray’s potential emergence as an all-star QB, the Cardinals’ air and ground games could captivate the imagination and excitement of football fans everywhere.
Do you share in this perception? Please explain.