Last Wednesday, NFL.com’s Ali Bhanpuri ranked the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive triplet of Russell Wilson, Chris Carson and Tyler Lockett as 10th-best in the NFL. Bhanpuri’s triplet system looked at the quarterback, running back and best pass catcher on each team.
Running backs and pass catchers were ranked 1-32 and then assigned points that matched their placement. Quarterback, the most important position in the NFL, was graded by two different metrics: 1) Who Bhanpuri would want in 2019 for one game and 2) projected 2019 production. Quarterbacks were given more importance by multiplying their score by 1.5.
Bhanpuri’s reasoning for the Seahawks placing 10th feels solid. He acknowledges that “former first-rounder Rashaad Penny could eat into Carson’s workload.” However, ranking Carson as only the 14th-best running back in the NFL, below players like James Conner (12th), Dalvin Cook (11th) and Nick Chubb (10th) , may surprise. For Carson to rise he must put up pass catching numbers—something he’s received little chance of doing as a Seahawk as he had just 24 targets in 2018.
Bhanpuri’s rankings of Wilson (one game: 4th overall, productivity 10th overall) and Lockett (21st) are limited by Seattle’s offensive style. Bhanpuri having Lockett as the 21st-best pass catcher feels harsh; and Wilson 8th overall feels ridiculous. Yet, as an author, productivity is clearly important to Bhanpuri. He even finishes accepting that his scale isn’t perfect:
”I wish my self-imposed point system resulted in a higher overall ranking for Wilson.”
You may be surprised to learn that Seattle wasn’t far behind the LA Rams on this list; the Rams trio of Jared Goff-Todd Gurley-Brandin Cooks was ranked eighth. Slotted between the NFC West rivals at nine is the Indianapolis Colts, where Andrew Luck ranked fifth among QBs, a few spots ahead of Wilson.
Fellow NFC West rivals Arizona (20th) and San Francisco (27th) were given spots on the back half of the list. The Cardinals feature a rookie QB, making it impossible for Bhanpuri to know what he’s really going to look like for a game or a season, but Kyler Murray was the first overall pick for a reason. David Johnson ranked ninth for RBs, while Larry Fitzgerald was 22nd.
Jimmy Garoppolo placed 24th for QBs, while free agent signee Tevin Coleman is 27th for running backs and tight end George Kittle is 18th for pass catchers. That feels slightly low for Kittle, while Coleman may still lose RB1 to 2018 free agent signee Jerick McKinnon.
The lowest ranked team was the Miami Dolphins, who feature former Arizona QB Josh Rosen, Kenyan Drake, and Kenny Stills. The New Orleans Saints won first place with Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas.
Of course, NFL football isn’t won or lost with just three offensive players. The New Egnland Patriots may have the best QB in the league, but you probably wouldn’t call RB or WR a “strength’ in most seasons. (Here, New England ranked seventh overall.)
The Seahawks’ offense has question marks at pass-catcher with the retirement of Doug Baldwin and torn patellar tendon of Will Dissly. D.K. Metcalf, a man who Bhanpuri could see knocking Lockett from the #1 receiver title, doesn’t answer the issues at tight end or slot receiver.
Though the offensive line was much-improved last year, concerns over sustained pass pro ability and interior durability still exist. The Seahawks have plenty of questions to answer and obstacles to overcome on offense and defense, but actually the QB-RB-WR1 trio is in fairly good shape.