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2020 NFC West Offenses: Pre-Season Paper Grades

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NFL: Preseason-Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Player Ratings:

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

Rookies:

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

Final Totals:

SF: 46

ARI: 44

LAR: 42

SEA: 41

Best in NFC West (On Paper): Position Groups

QB: SEA

RB: Even

WR: ARI

TE: LAR; SF

OL: SF

K: ARI, SF

Commentary:

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.