Power Ranking Every NFL Quarterback's Supporting Cast

Cian Fahey@CianafFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2015

Power Ranking Every NFL Quarterback's Supporting Cast

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Evaluating NFL quarterbacks is a complex practice.

    There are 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL, but every single player is unique in what he is asked to do and what kind of support he receives. So, the minutia and subtleties must be taken into account. To do that, you must understand how to evaluate the quarterback separate from his surroundings but also evaluate his surroundings to understand how they affect the end result.

    Because each quarterback is intertwined with every position around him, those positions and the player's coaching staff must be evaluated. Furthermore, it should be understood that each position isn't weighted equally in terms of impact/importance.

    This article will subtract the quarterback from his offense to evaluate the separate pieces of his supporting cast and how they work together. This will give a better understanding of how each quarterback's situation impacts his statistical output.

Rating System

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    Offensive Line (30)

    Offensive lines are rated out of 30. This is the highest scoring category because offensive lines matter most for supporting a quarterback on the field. Offensive lines determine how much time a quarterback has to act in the pocket while also playing a major role in establishing the run and determining how many players the defense can keep in coverage while still applying pressure.

    Quality of starters and depth matter equally for this rating.

    Running Backs (10)

    Running backs are rated out of 10. Running backs are important but to a much lesser degree than offensive linemen. Running backs help to keep the offense balanced, but they also contribute in pass protection and as receivers.

    Depth is less significant than starter quality because teams primarily only have one running back on the field at a time.

    Wide Receivers (20)

    Wide receivers are rated out of 20. Receivers aren't necessarily more important than running backs for a quarterback's success, but they rate higher because there are typically more of them on the field on a play-by-play basis.

    Quality of starters and depth matter equally for this rating.

    Tight Ends (10)

    Tight ends are rated out of 10. This ranking is about helping the quarterback position, so two-way tight ends are rated higher than tight ends with major flaws in one area. That is because blocking contributes to a quarterback's pass protection and/or balancing the offense.

    Quality of starters matters more than depth for this rating, but not to the same degree as the running back spot.

    Coaching (10)

    Coaches are rated out of 10. Coaches help quarterbacks by game-planning and by the design of their scheme. Offensive coordinators and head coaches who appear to have a significant influence on the offense are considered for this rating. 

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Offensive Line: 14

    Logan Mankins, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Demar Dotson, Garrett Gilkey, Patrick Omameh, Kadeem Edwards, Kevin Pamphile.

    Running Backs: 7

    Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey, Mike James, Charles Sims.

    Wide Receivers: 15

    Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Louis Murphy, Robert Herron, Kenny Bell, Kaelin Clay, Russell Shepard, Tavarres King.

    Tight Ends: 6

    Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tim Wright, Brandon Myers, Luke Stocker.

    Coaching: 5

    Dirk Koetter.

    Overall: 47

    The Buccaneers have plenty of receiving options for Jameis Winston's rookie season. They lack depth at wide receiver behind Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson but can compensate for that with Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Tim Wright at tight end. Wright could ultimately become the team's de facto third receiver.

    While Evans and Jackson could potentially be the best starting receiver combination in the NFL, their impact may be dramatically limited by the team's offensive line.

    The Buccaneers look set to have the kind of offensive line that will consistently give up quick pressure to four-man rushes. This is the worst possible thing for an NFL quarterback, because it means he has to make pressure throws into tighter windows. Pressure makes every quarterback worse, and tighter windows exacerbate that problem.

    At the very least, the Buccaneers have made efforts to address their issues up front.

    Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet were both second-round selections in the 2015 draft. Little can be expected of Marpet in 2015, as he is making the transition from Division II football to playing against professional athletes. He will be a guard in the NFL, but it's unclear if he will even be able to start as a rookie.

    Smith will be expected to start at one of the tackle spots. Even though he was a high draft pick, there was a lot of skepticism from draft analysts about Smith's ability to play offensive tackle in the NFL leading up to the draft.

    Most significantly, NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, a noted expert on offensive linemen, considered Smith a third-round prospect who will likely end up playing guard:

    The frame of a guard and the skill set of a guard probably means Smith will end up moving to guard. His hands need work, but with power as his calling card and the ability to hide some of his athletic deficiencies by moving him inside, he has a good shot of getting drafted and fighting for a backup spot.

    That's not exactly a glowing report on a player who will be a key piece for the Buccaneers from the moment he steps on the field. It's unclear if Smith will be the left tackle by the time training camp comes around, but it will be either him or Demar Dotson.

    Dotson was the right tackle last season. He is an average starter on that side, with the size and strength to hold up against bigger defenders, but his questionable quickness and balance make it tough to trust him in space against the league's better pass-rushers.

    At center and left guard, the Buccaneers have recognizable veteran names, but the quality of play didn't meet the level of expectations last season.

    Evan Dietrich-Smith was always overrated in Green Bay because of the quarterback and guards he played with. He was a liability at center for the Buccaneers last season. Logan Mankins may still be the Buccaneers' best lineman, but at 33 years of age, he is no longer better than an average guard.

    Impressive depth at the running back position and two high-quality starting receivers will only do so much for a quarterback. Winston is going to be forced to buy time in the pocket and diagnose coverages instantly to be consistently effective in 2015.

31. Carolina Panthers

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    Offensive Line: 15

    Michael Oher, Andrew Norwell, Ryan Kalil, Mike Remmers, Jonathan Martin, Trai Turner, Chris Scott, Amini Silatolu, Nate Chandler, Daryl Williams. 

    Running Backs: 6

    Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, Darrin Reaves, Jordan Todman, Cameron Artis-Payne, Fozzy Whittaker.

    Wide Receivers: 13

    Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Ted Ginn, Jerricho Cotchery, Jarrett Boykin, Brenton Bersin, Corey Brown.

    Tight Ends: 8

    Greg Olsen, Ed Dickson.

    Coaching: 6

    Mike Shula.

    Overall: 48

    When Cam Newton misses throws, he typically misses high rather than low. It's been a trend throughout his whole career that doesn't look set to reverse itself any time soon.

    Recognizing this, the Carolina Panthers' front office has invested in two mammoth receivers over the past two offseasons. Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess are set to be the team's starters this year. Benjamin is 6'5" and 240 pounds. Funchess is 6'4" and 232 pounds.

    This seems like a rational, smart way of building around a quarterback's weaknesses. It is a direct, aggressive approach to fixing the problem.

    Unfortunately, it's not that simple. The Panthers have invested in two big receivers but not necessarily two receivers who can help Newton. Funchess is still an unknown commodity, but Benjamin proved to be exceptionally unreliable last season. His size and athleticism is negated by poor route-running, consistent failures at the catch point and a general lack of intensity/effort.

    His limitations hurt Newton as much as his strengths help him. Benjamin's problems as a receiver were often countered by his production last year, but that production came on an abnormal number of targets.

    Instead of focusing on the size of their receivers, the Panthers should have recognized the real source of the problem. Newton's mechanics cause him to throw the ball high. Part of it is his own approach to the game, but it's also how he is forced to hasten his process in the pocket behind awful offensive line play.

    Last year's unit was woeful, but it got better as the season developed. The franchise even found a couple of young guards who can be quality starters alongside Ryan Kalil this season.

    The problem is Carolina is expected to start the worst offensive tackle pairing in the league. Michael Oher has repeatedly failed to perform to his potential in the NFL, but the Panthers signed him as a free agent to be their starting left tackle.

    A few players will be competing for the right tackle spot, none of whom are enticing options. Mike Remmers finished last season relatively well as the starter. The former undrafted free agent has a limited skill set, though. Jonathan Martin, Nate Chandler and rookie Daryl Williams are all trying to take his spot from him.

    The departure of DeAngelo Williams shouldn't hurt the Panthers running game a whole lot as Jonathan Stewart was the team's best rusher last year. Stewart has a history of durability issues, but he is a talented player.

    Greg Olsen is the offense's best player outside of Newton. The athletic tight end is one of the most dangerous receiving options from that position in the league. His ability to stretch the field and track the ball through the air is very impressive.

30. Atlanta Falcons

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    Offensive Line: 14

    Jake Matthews, Joe Hawley, Jon Asamoah, Chris Chester, Ryan Schraeder, Tyler Polumbus, Jake Rodgers, Peter Konz, Lamar Holmes, Harland Gunn.

    Running Backs: 4

    Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Antone Smith.

    Wide Receivers: 15

    Julio Jones, Roddy White, Devin Hester, Leonard Hankerson, Justin Hardy.

    Tight Ends: 5

    Jacob Tamme, Tony Moeaki, Mickey Shuler, Levine Toilolo.

    Coaching: 10

    Kyle Shanahan.

    Overall: 48

    Kyle Shanahan may be the best offensive coordinator in the NFL right now. What he did with the Cleveland Browns offense, a unit that got awful quarterback play and was missing two of its three most valuable players for most of the season, was simply phenomenal.

    Much like Bill Belichick with defensive pieces, Shanahan can elevate players with limited individual talent to make them effective as part of the team.

    In Atlanta, he gets a high-quality quarterback in Matt Ryan, maybe the best he's ever worked with. He doesn't get much else, though. Julio Jones should be one of the most explosive receivers in the league again. Roddy White and Jones have been tied together for a while as a top-class starting combination, but that may not be the case in 2015.

    White is in the twilight of his career. He will turn 34 in November and appeared to slow down some in 2014. He no longer separates as comfortably as in previous seasons. Despite that slight decline, he can still be considered a good starting receiver.

    Rookie Justin Hardy could have an immediate impact as the team's third receiver, because Devin Hester didn't do enough last year to assure him of that spot. Leonard Hankerson is a talented player who has previously played with Shanahan. That could give him an edge in the competition for playing time.

    At tight end, Jacob Tamme will provide a steadying influence even though the depth chart as a whole is lacking.

    Shanahan has always relied on the running game to establish his offense. He will need to get the most out of the pieces available to him if he is to do that in 2015. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman can be adequate starters, but neither is an exceptional talent. Adequate starters would be an upgrade on the offensive line.

    The Falcons signed Chris Chester to improve a guard spot. Chester wouldn't be an upgrade for most teams, but he is a fit in Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme. The question is: Is anyone else a fit?

    Jake Matthews was a high pick in the 2014 draft. He didn't have a great rookie season but is a talented player and should be improved in his second season. Jon Asamoah is the team's most talented offensive lineman. Asamoah will start at right guard between Joe Hawley and Ryan Schraeder.

    The Falcons have had offensive line problems for a long time. How much Shanahan can mask them in 2015 will have a huge impact on the fortunes of their season.

29. St. Louis Rams

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 17

    Greg Robinson, Rodger Saffold, Barrett Jones, Rob Havenstein, Jamon Brown, Andrew Donnal, Cody Wichmann, Garrett Reynolds, Brandon Washington.

    Running Backs: 9

    Tre Mason, Todd Gurley, Benny Cunningham, Malcolm Brown, Isaiah Pead.

    Wide Receivers: 13

    Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Chris Givens, Devon Wylie.

    Tight Ends: 5

    Lance Kendricks, Jared Cook, Cory Harkey.

    Coaching: 5

    Frank Cignetti.

    Overall: 49

    It appears that four of the St. Louis Rams' top seven offensive linemen will be rookies this season. As such, it's very difficult to measure the quality of the unit. However, the Rams do have a left tackle who played outstanding football as a rookie, Greg Robinson, and an offensive guard with huge talent, Rodger Saffold.

    Even if Barrett Jones, Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown are just below-average linemen, this unit shouldn't be one of the worst in the NFL.

    Those linemen will be made to look better than they are by the Rams running backs. Tre Mason is inevitably going to be overlooked entering the season, but he is one of the better runners in the NFL. Mason can wear down defensive fronts and explode into the secondary for big gains.

    Although he may be limited early in the year, Todd Gurley will have a huge impact on the Rams' season in 2015. He is the most talented running back prospect to come out of the draft since Adrian Peterson. Any Trent Richardson comparisons shouldn't be entertained because their skill sets are so vastly different.

    Jeff Fisher's Rams have worked hard to find receivers over the years. Yet Kenny Britt was an afterthought free-agent signing last season, and he appears set to be a key starter this year.

    Britt and Brian Quick will be the main outside receivers, while Tavon Austin needs to make major leaps forward to be a viable slot receiver. Austin's performances are often brushed aside, blamed on the coaching staff, but he has proved to be too linear in his routes and too unreliable catching the ball in the NFL.

    In an ideal world, Austin could alleviate the pressure on his quarterback by becoming a consistent yards-after-the-catch threat underneath. With Britt and Quick winning 50-50 balls downfield, that would round out the receiving corps.

    Unfortunately, the Rams haven't lived in an ideal world for a long time.

28. San Francisco 49ers

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 20

    Joe Staley, Marcus Martin, Brandon Thomas, Alex Boone, Erik Pears, Daniel Kilgore, Joe Looney, Ian Silberman.

    Running Backs: 5

    Carlos Hyde, Mike Davis, Reggie Bush, Kendall Hunter, Phillip Tanner.

    Wide Receivers: 12

    Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Bruce Ellington, Quinton Patton, DeAndrew White, DeAndre Smelter, Jerome Simpson.

    Tight Ends: 7

    Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Blake Bell, Derek Carrier.

    Coaching: 5

    Geep Chryst.

    Overall: 49

    Anthony Davis' retirement really hurt the San Francisco 49ers offense.

    With Davis inserted at right tackle, the offensive line could have expected to be one of the better units in the NFL once again. Davis, Joe Staley and Alex Boone would act as the three established, high-quality players, with Brandon Thomas and Marcus Martin as the exciting youngsters in the lineup.

    Davis' departure simultaneously takes away the team's most talented run-blocker and also creates a void in pass protection the 49ers don't appear equipped to fill.

    If Davis had remained, the 49ers could have built their offensive success around the quality of their line. They could have returned their identity to running the ball like they did during the early years of Jim Harbaugh's reign.

    Now, they will have to carry Erik Pears (or whoever else can win that spot) while also hoping both youngsters continue to develop while playing starting roles.

    Losing Frank Gore is going to hurt the 49ers. Carlos Hyde is a talented, explosive player, but it's unclear if he has the skill set to carry the ball as much as Gore did in San Francisco. He will be helped by the declining Reggie Bush and the intriguing Mike Davis.

    Davis is a talented rookie who has the explosiveness and vision to be a full-time starter if he proves to be consistent. First he will need to establish himself ahead of Kendall Hunter, a veteran who is returning from a torn ACL.

    It's hard to get excited about the 49ers' receiving options this season.

    Anquan Boldin will turn 35 during the regular season. Boldin is still a productive player, but he has a narrow skill set that limits his separation and yards-after-the-catch ability. He can't afford to lose any more of the movement skills that he currently has.

    Torrey Smith has plenty of movement skills, but the 26-year-old has struggled to produce in recent years. Smith's skill set is similar to Boldin's in the sense that it is narrow. Unlike Boldin, he relies on his straight-line speed to come free deep down the field. He lacks the versatility of a polished receiver, though.

    Bruce Ellington is a talented slot receiver who should enjoy a breakout year in the absence of Steve Johnson. Ellington is strong with impressive quickness and overall speed. His natural catching ability will allow him to produce if Colin Kaepernick can consistently find him.

    Tight End Vernon Davis should be the focal point of this passing game, but the same could have been said in previous seasons. Davis told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee that game-planning was to blame:

    "It was just game-planning. And nothing really ever opened up. But I wasn't really ever a factor in the offense last year....The first game, yeah. But the second game, the tight ends (weren't) really involved as a whole."

    Geep Chryst is an unknown in terms of offensive coordinators in the NFL, so it's unclear if he will put a greater focus on Davis.

27. Buffalo Bills

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 13

    Cordy Glenn, John Miller, Richie Incognito, Cyrus Kouandjio, Eric Wood, Seantrel Henderson, Kraig Urbik, Cyril Richardson, Chris Williams.

    Running Backs: 8

    LeSean McCoy, Fred Jackson, Karlos Williams, Anthony Dixon, Bryce Brown.

    Wide Receivers: 16

    Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Percy Harvin, Chris Hogan, Marquise Goodwin, Dezmin Lewis, Justin Brown.

    Tight Ends: 7

    Charles Clay, Chris Gragg, Nick O'Leary.

    Coaching: 5

    Greg Roman.

    Overall: 49

    Much of what happens in Buffalo will be determined by offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

    The Bills presumably brought Roman in to replicate the work he did with Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith earlier on during his stint as the San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator. He completely reversed his approach last season, over-stressing the quarterback position with his play-calling.

    Getting the most out of the Bills' personnel will require Roman to encourage his quarterback to get rid of the ball quickly. That will ease the pressure on the team's very limited group of offensive linemen while putting the ball in the hands of its dangerous receivers.

    Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Percy Harvin are talented receivers who can be productive in different ways from different areas of the field. With Charles Clay and LeSean McCoy complementing them from other positions, the Bills are stocked with weapons.

    If Roman doesn't take this approach, the Bills will be hoping the younger players on their offensive line can step up.

    Rookie John Miller is expected to start at one guard spot, while second-year player Cyril Richardson must try to beat out veteran Richie Incognito to earn his spot. Cyrus Kouandjio was the team's second-round pick in the 2014 draft, but Seantrel Henderson was the rookie starter at right tackle.

    Kouandjio is a physically gifted player who needs to refine his technique and show off better balance in space to be a quality starting offensive lineman. If he can establish himself as a good right tackle, that will give the offensive line a huge boost because it will be easier to compensate for poor guard play with a quality left tackle-center-right tackle combination.

26. New York Giants

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 16

    Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Geoff Schwartz, Marshall Newhouse, John Jerry, Brandon Mosley, Dallas Reynolds.

    Running Backs: 6

    Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Andre Williams.

    Wide Receivers: 14

    Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris, Preston Parker.

    Tight Ends: 5

    Larry Donnell, Adrien Robinson, Daniel Fells.

    Coaching: 8

    Ben McAdoo.

    Overall: 49

    Odell Beckham Jr. is the main attraction of the entire NFL at this point. His explosiveness, consistency and tenacity allowed him to be arguably the best receiver in the NFL last year. Yet despite Beckham's quality, the New York Giants lack receiver talent.

    Victor Cruz is coming off a serious knee injury, while Rueben Randle has proved to be very inconsistent throughout his career. Dwayne Harris appeared to be overpaid in free agency, as he may not be a significant upgrade over Preston Parker.

    With Larry Donnell as their primary tight end, the Giants can't offset their lack of receiver quality with a high-quality receiving tight end.

    On the offensive line, Will Beatty's absence is going to have a major impact. Beatty tore a pectoral muscle, meaning that he will likely miss the season. Even though he's not a great left tackle, he was by far the best option the Giants had to start there. His injury will ultimately weaken two spots on the line.

    That is because Ereck Flowers is expected to move from right tackle to left tackle. Flowers was the team's top draft pick this year. He was supposed to start at right tackle, allowing Justin Pugh to move to left guard and improve the line at multiple spots.

    Weston Richburg, Geoff Schwartz and Pugh should still sustain the overall quality of the offensive line, but the expected improvement can no longer be relied on.

    At running back, the Giants made a major addition ahead of the season. Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams will still be the primary ball-carriers, but Shane Vereen is now expected to be the third-down back. Vereen is an outstanding receiver and a big mismatch working out of the backfield. He is an ideal fit in Ben McAdoo's offense.

25. Minnesota Vikings

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 13

    Brandon Fusco, John Sullivan, Matt Kalil, Phil Loadholt, T.J. Clemmings, Tyrus Thompson, David Yankey.

    Running Backs: 10

    Adrian Peterson, Jerrick McKinnon, Matt Asiata, DuJuan Harris, Joe Banyard.

    Wide Receivers: 11

    Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs.

    Tight Ends: 7

    Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison, MyCole Pruitt, Chase Ford.

    Coaching: 9

    Norv Turner.

    Overall: 50

    In a league where Michael Oher is expected to start at left tackle, the Minnesota Vikings may have the worst one in the league. That is how far Matt Kalil has fallen. The former first-round pick was a major liability in pass protection last season.

    Although injuries affected the rest of the offensive line's performance, the overall talent of the unit is concerning.

    The Vikings' best linemen are primarily good run-blockers but limited pass protectors. Center John Sullivan turns 30 this offseason and showed signs of decline last year. Right tackle Phil Loadholt is in a similar situation, as he offers little value in pass protection but is a plus run-blocker.

    Between those two players, rookie T.J. Clemmings could be taking over the right guard spot. Clemmings is a physically talented offensive tackle who doesn't initially appear to be an ideal fit on the inside. He is a talented player, but transitioning to a new position while adjusting to the NFL game will be tough.

    Brandon Fusco is the only truly impressive pass protector on the Vikings offensive line.

    The Vikings ran the ball well without Adrian Peterson last season, but there's no doubting his value to the team. Peterson offers an obvious improvement to the production of the running game, but he also makes it easier for his quarterback by affecting how the defense approaches each game.

    Offensive coordinator Norv Turner will likely rely on Peterson a lot considering the state of Teddy Bridgewater's receiving options. Tight end Kyle Rudolph has a huge amount of talent, but there are major questions with each wide receiver.

    Cordarrelle Patterson's career is on the verge of being brushed aside. His route-running is not only unrefined, but he also shows off no intensity or physicality without the football. He is essentially just an oversized special teams/gadget player until he proves otherwise.

    Mike Wallace of the Pittsburgh Steelers was a truly great deep threat. Mike Wallace of the Miami Dolphins was not. It's easy to blame the quarterback in Miami, but it would be unfair. Wallace repeatedly failed at the catch point in Miami because he struggled to track the ball, had poor footwork and tried audacious one-handed receptions when simpler catches could have been made.

    Jarius Wright is an explosive player who can threaten the defense in different ways. He needs to show more consistency catching the ball and develop a more well-rounded game, though. Charles Johnson showed promise last season, but he is essentially still an unknown commodity because he hasn't played enough.

24. Denver Broncos

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 13

    Chris Clark, Ryan Harris, Shelley Smith, Gino Gradkowski, Louis Vasquez, Ty Sambrailo, Max Garcia.

    Running Backs: 7

    C.J. Anderson, Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, Juwan Thompson.

    Wide Receivers: 15

    Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Cody Latimer, Andre Caldwell, Kyle Williams, Jordan Norwood.

    Tight Ends: 6

    Virgil Green, Owen Daniels, James Casey.

    Coaching: 9

    Gary Kubiak, Rick Dennison.

    Overall: 50

    Peyton Manning has masked the inefficiencies of offensive lines for over a decade now. He did so to great effect two seasons ago, until the Seattle Seahawks steamrolled Denver's offense in the Super Bowl.

    Last year, it became more difficult for Manning to mask the inefficiencies of his offensive line because of his health and diminishing arm strength. Entering this season, the Broncos are without two of their three best linemen from last season.

    Orlando Franklin left in free agency to sign with the San Diego Chargers before Ryan Clady tore his ACL.

    The Broncos now face the prospect of starting Ryan Harris, Shelley Smith, Gino Gradkowski and Chris Clark on their line alongside Louis Vasquez. That would mean that Vasquez is the only player on the line who is at least an average starter. The only hope for the Broncos is that Ty Sambrailo and Max Garcia can start as rookies.

    Manning won't even have an abundance of talent at the skill positions to rely on this season. Wes Welker and Julius Thomas are gone, and Thomas' replacement, Jeff Heuerman, tore his ACL before the season even began.

    Gary Kubiak's offense typically relies heavily on two-tight end formations. Virgil Green and Owen Daniels appear set to be those two tight ends this season. Green is a better blocker than receiver, and Daniels is at the back end of his career at this point.

    Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and C.J. Anderson are going to be huge for Manning this season. Thomas' and Sanders' ability to turn short gains into big plays will be crucial, while Anderson will need to prove he can be effective behind less-than-stellar run blocking.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 19

    Luke Joeckel, A.J. Cann, Stefen Wisniewski, Zane Beadles, Luke Bowanko, Brandon Linder, Jermey Parnell, Austin Pasztor.

    Running Backs: 6

    T.J. Yeldon, Denard Robinson, Toby Gerhart, Storm Johnson, Bernard Pierce.

    Wide Receivers: 12

    Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns, Rashad Greene, Ace Sanders.

    Tight Ends: 9

    Julius Thomas, Marcedes Lewis, Clay Harbor.

    Coaching: 5

    Greg Olson.

    Overall: 51

    Adding Julius Thomas to Marcedes Lewis should prove to be a masterstroke by the Jacksonville Jaguars' front office if the coaching staff understands how to use both players.

    Lewis is the more traditional tight end. He can be a dangerous receiver, mostly relying on his size, while also being a strong in-line blocker. Thomas is more likely to blur the distinction between tight end and receiver. He should line up all over the formation to find the best matchups for Blake Bortles to attack.

    The Jaguars need Thomas' explosiveness and size outside. That's because they have some talented receivers but no established players and questionable depth.

    Allen Robinson showed promise before suffering a serious injury that brought his rookie season to a premature close. Robinson is a big, bulky receiver with impressive ball skills. He and Marqise Lee are good complements to each other, as Lee is the more explosive and elusive receiver in space. He needs to develop better technique catching the football, though.

    Catching the ball is a concern for Allen Hurns too. Hurns showed off some very impressive athleticism and natural ball skills to adjust to Bortles' passes in the air last season, but his focus cost him opportunities too often. Hurns will face stiff competition for playing time from rookie Rashad Greene.

    Greene should comfortably beat out Ace Sanders for the fourth spot on the depth chart.

    Bortles needed more weapons and the Jaguars gave them to him, but their most significant work came on the offensive line. Adding Stefen Wisniewski, A.J. Cann and Jermey Parnell to the depth chart has made the unit one of the deepest in the league. Consistent quality up front can make up for a lack of truly elite individuals.

    The redone offensive line will also be blocking for a new running back. The Jags selected T.J. Yeldon in the second round of the draft. The Alabama prospect is expected to start despite the impressive play of Denard Robinson last season.

    Yeldon is already making an impression on Jaguars defenders in practices. "He looks really good in short-area change of direction," middle linebacker Paul Posluszny told John Oehser of Jaguars.com. "He looks really, really good there. It's, 'How does a guy move in space? How athletic is he?' That's what stands out. With him, he definitely has it."

    Upgrading the running game was less of a necessity than upgrading the passing game, but both needed to improve from 2014.

    According to Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings, which measure efficiency, the Jaguars had the second-worst offense in the NFL last season. They were the 32nd-ranked pass offense and 20th-ranked run offense. Much of that is on Bortles' play, but adding pieces around him should help him improve in 2015.

22. Oakland Raiders

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 20

    Donald Penn, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, Austin Howard, Menelik Watson, Khalif Barnes, Jon Feliciano, J'Marcus Webb, Matt McCants. 

    Running Backs: 6

    Latavius Murray, Trent Richardson, Roy Helu, Michael Dyer.

    Wide Receivers: 13

    Rod Streater, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Andre Holmes, Kenbrell Thompkins, Brice Butler, Kris Durham.

    Tight Ends: 7

    Mychal Rivera, Clive Walford, Lee Smith.

    Coaching: 5

    Bill Musgrave.

    Overall: 51

    One of the most talked-about elements of the 2014 season was the state of the Oakland Raiders' passing game. Those who support Derek Carr as a franchise quarterback blamed the wide receivers, while those who are more skeptical of Carr suggested the wide receivers weren't as bad as advertised.

    Regardless of who was right, this year's group is much improved.

    Injury prematurely ended Rod Streater's season in 2014. He should be the Raiders' best receiver in 2015, as he has an abundance of talent and has endured the development years that lie ahead of Amari Cooper. Cooper, Streater and Michael Crabtree are all versatile and effective players, while Andre Holmes and Brice Butler offer matchup problems in four-receiver sets.

    Adding Clive Walford to Mychal Rivera at the tight end position extends the Raiders' pass-catching options beyond their wide receivers.

    The Raiders' running game was downright awful last year. It ranked 32nd in Football Outsiders' DVOA, producing just 77.5 yards per game. The running backs were a problem, but the primary problem was the offensive line's inability to move defensive tackles off the line of scrimmage.

    Adding center Rodney Hudson to the middle of the line to play alongside the developing Gabe Jackson should improve both the pass protection and run blocking. Pass protection wasn't a problem for the Raiders line last year. Left tackle Donald Penn stood out in particular, as he played some of the best football of his career.

    Latavius Murray is expected to be the primary runner for the Raiders. Murray barely played last season, but he showed flashes of explosiveness.

    Murray and the much-maligned Trent Richardson are atop the depth chart, but Roy Helu should expect to have a huge role as a receiving back. Helu has been an impressive player throughout his career, but Alfred Morris' presence in Washington limited his role.

21. New Orleans Saints

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 18

    Max Unger, Andrus Peat, Zach Strief, Jahri Evans, Tim Lelito, Terron Armstead, Mike Brewster, Mike McGlynn.

    Running Backs: 7

    Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, Khiry Robinson, Edwin Baker, Tim Hightower, Marcus Murphy.

    Wide Receivers: 12

    Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks, Nick Toon, Josh Morgan, Jalen Saunders, Seantavius Jones, Brandon Coleman.

    Tight Ends: 5

    Josh Hill, Benjamin Watson, Orson Charles.

    Coaching: 10

    Sean Payton, Pete Carmichael.

    Overall: 52

    The Saints attempted to have a miniature rebuild this offseason in the hopes of improving their defense and running game. They were successful in their goals, but how successful is unclear.

    It's tough to argue that the team isn't immediately better at the running back position. Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller perfectly complement each other as a backfield combination. Ingram can wear defenses down between the tackles, while Spiller is going to be a great fit in head coach Sean Payton's screen-heavy approach.

    While it's clear what the backfield is supposed to look like, the offensive line is a greater mystery.

    The selection of Andrus Peat in the first round of the draft gave the Saints a new lynchpin for their offensive line. However, it's not immediately clear how he will fit into the starting lineup. He will eventually start at left tackle, but if he does as a rookie, it will force multiple moves.

    If he plays left tackle, Peat would force Terron Armstead to move to right tackle and Zach Strief either to left guard or the bench. If he plays right tackle, the Saints will have the same decision to make on Strief. If Peat plays left guard, they can keep both tackles in their current spots. 

    Regardless of where Peat lines up, the line protecting Drew Brees should be more effective than it was last year with the addition of center Max Unger.

    Brees will likely need more time in the pocket because his receiving options appear limited. Trading away Jimmy Graham left the team with Josh Hill in position to assume a huge role in the offense. Hill is entering his third year and has only 20 career receptions.

    Hill could fall into a complementary role, but the Saints don't appear to have the wide receiver depth and quality to take on that approach.

    Marques Colston is in the twilight of his career, while Nick Toon hasn't lived up to expectations. Josh Morgan is an inadequate replacement for the departed Kenny Stills. And there is a huge amount of pressure on Brandin Cooks to have a big year in this offense.

    Colston should still be effective, but Cooks will likely draw more attention. He was relatively impressive before getting injured during his rookie season, and there is reason to be concerned about how he will hold up against the better defensive backs in the NFL because of how he plays.

    Cooks isn't big, but more importantly, he didn't consistently play through contact in college.

    Payton is always going to find ways to get the most out of the players available to him. He understands the specific strengths and weaknesses of each skill position player in his offense, meaning he should be able to account for the lower standard of player available to him this season.

20. Seattle Seahawks

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 14

    Russell Okung, Alvin Bailey, Lemuel Jeanpierre, J.R. Sweezy, Justin Britt, Terry Poole, Mark Glowinski, Kristjan Sokoli.

    Running Backs: 10

    Marshawn Lynch, Christine Michael, Robert Turbin.

    Wide Receivers: 13

    Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Kevin Norwood, Paul Richardson, Tyler Lockett, Ricardo Lockette, Chris Matthews.

    Tight Ends: 8

    Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Anthony McCoy, Cooper Helfet.

    Coaching: 7

    Darrell Bevell.

    Overall: 52

    The Seattle Seahawks have a huge amount of trust in offensive line coach Tom Cable. Maybe too much trust.

    By trading away Max Unger, the Seahawks took away a talented player from an offensive line that already lacked talented players. Then they waited until late in the draft to address what appears to be the weakest part of their team.

    Russell Wilson doesn't need great offensive line play to be effective, but moving into the season with Alvin Bailey and Lemuel Jeanpierre as starters without great pieces around them to offset their limitations seems reckless.

    Sacrificing Unger to acquire Jimmy Graham did alter the overall appearance of the team's skill positions. With Graham as the primary pass-catching option, the rest of the team's receivers should benefit from him drawing extra coverage/stretching the defense.

    Doug Baldwin is an outstanding receiver who was constantly open last season. Unfortunately for him, and the Seahawks, Wilson played with too much hesitation, limiting his production.

    If Baldwin continues to play to his established expectations and Chris Matthews can sustain his breakout play from last year's Super Bowl, the Seahawks receiving corps will be much improved. Furthermore, Jermaine Kearse was a more valuable player as a third option than as a starter.

    As much as the Seahawks improved at receiver and tight end, the offense will still revolve around Marshawn Lynch. That is something general manager John Schneider touched on after re-signing him in the offseason, per Nick Eaton of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "The Marshawn deal for is us huge because he's such a big part of what we're doing. Our offense starts with the run game, and there's no better guy to start it with than Marshawn."

    Lynch is 29 years old. He may begin to slow down this year. He hasn't actually shown any signs of slowing down, though, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he had another 300-carry season. If the Seahawks do try to ease his workload, it could finally be the season when Christine Michael sees extended time on the field.

    Michael is very explosive, but he needs to fight his way past Robert Turbin, who is entrenched as the team's primary backup.

19. San Diego Chargers

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    John Cordes/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 17

    King Dunlap, Joe Barksdale, Orlando Franklin, D.J. Fluker, Chris Watt, Kenny Wiggins, Trevor Robinson, Johnnie Troutman, Chris Hairston.

    Running Backs: 7

    Melvin Gordon, Branden Oliver, Danny Woodhead, Donald Brown.

    Wide Receivers: 14

    Keenan Allen, Steve Johnson, Malcom Floyd, Jacoby Jones, Austin Pettis.

    Tight Ends: 7

    Antonio Gates, Ladarius Green, David Johnson.

    Coaching: 7

    Mike McCoy, Frank Reich.

    Overall: 52

    The San Diego Chargers have a peculiar supporting cast because there aren't any great strengths or great weaknesses around Philip Rivers.

    Antonio Gates is the standout name. Gates will be a Hall of Fame player one day, but he no longer plays to that level. He is still a valuable tight end capable of taking over games, as evidenced against the Seattle Seahawks last season, but an argument can be made that he's the team's second-best tight end now.

    Ladarius Green has been a contentious topic in San Diego. He barely features in the offense, but when he does, he flashes outstanding ability.

    Rivers needs to rely on his tight ends because his wide receiving corps lacks stars. Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd and Steve Johnson are good, but not great, wide receivers. They each fit into a specific role in the receiving unit, complementing each others' skill sets to stretch the defense in different directions.

    The biggest concern with the team's receivers is Floyd. Floyd had an impressive season last year after coming back from a serious neck injury. He was a constant deep threat, showing off the athleticism to get downfield and adjust to the ball in the air.

    But Floyd will be 34 in September, so the potential for physical decline is great. While he is a good deep threat, he isn't so fast that he can afford to lose a step or two. If Floyd can't stretch the field, Allen and Johnson will be under pressure to do so, and they're not built to do that consistently.

    It's clear the Chargers are attempting to be a more balanced team in 2015.

    Adding Orlando Franklin and Joe Barksdale to the offensive line should stabilize a unit that suffered from injuries last season. The Chargers have lots of big-bodied linemen who should be able to push defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage in the run game.

    That will create space for Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown.

    Gordon was the Chargers' first-round pick in 2015. The franchise traded up to select him, so he is expected to be the focal point of the rushing attack from the start of his rookie season. Although a very explosive player, it's unclear how Gordon's running style will translate to the NFL.

    He relied heavily on his speed in college. His squatting, slow-footed style behind the line of scrimmage and lack of discipline breaking to the outside may not work against professional athletes.

    At the very least, Gordon has obvious complements in Woodhead and Brown, who are impressive receiving options.

18. Chicago Bears

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    Matt Marton/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 16

    Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson, Kyle Long, Will Montgomery, Jordan Mills, Vladimir Ducasse, Hroniss Grasu, Michael Ola.

    Running Backs: 8

    Matt Forte, Jacquizz Rodgers, Ka'Deem Carey, Jeremy Langford.

    Wide Receivers: 14

    Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, Eddie Royal, Marquess Wilson, Marc Mariani.

    Tight Ends: 9

    Martellus Bennett, Zach Miller, Dante Rosario.

    Coaching: 5

    Adam Gase.

    Overall: 52

    The Chicago Bears are making some headlines with Kyle Long at the moment. Long, a two-time Pro Bowler at right guard, has lined up at right tackle and left tackle during offseason workouts. This appears to simply be a part of head coach John Fox's philosophy. He wants all of his players to be versatile.

    Fox told the Chicago Tribune's Brad Briggs just that after a recent practice:

    Whether you are doing it with a corner, an outside backer, a guard or a tackle, they need to practice it. This is a good time of year to get the techniques, get the sets and all of the different communication that has to happen with the O-line getting those valuable reps and experience.

    Long was an offensive tackle in college, but realistically, his value in the NFL is on the inside. It's there he can use his superior athleticism to handle defensive tackles, whereas that athleticism would likely be less superior if put in space on the edge.

    The Bears offensive line needs to be a lot better this year. Long was fine individually, but he was the only one who lived up to expectations.

    Left tackle Jermon Bushrod is a talented, proven player who should offer greater pass protection for his quarterback than he did last season. Matt Slauson is an important piece at left guard who missed most of last season with an injury. The hope will be that younger players Jordan Mills and Hroniss Grasu can combine to solidify the line alongside those established veterans.

    Pass protection is more important for this line than run blocking because of the presence of Matt Forte in the backfield. Forte is getting old—he turns 30 this seasonbut he should still be a very effective runner and receiver out of the backfield.

    He will be aided by the addition of Jacquizz Rodgers, an impressive receiving option, and youngsters Ka'Deem Carey and Jeremy Langford.

    By trading away Brandon Marshall, the Bears definitely got worse at wide receiver this season. Marshall may have come with off-field issues and struggled to play to his established standards in 2014, but he was still the team's most talented receiver. Alshon Jeffery is going to struggle to replicate what Marshall did.

    Jeffery is a narrow skill set player. He wins in specific ways and consistently wins in those ways. But Marshall offered a greater versatility that neither Jeffery nor rookie Kevin White will be able to replace.

    Instead, the team will look to Eddie Royal to be its possession receiver. Royal is a fine player who can be a consistent possession receiver while also offering some big play threat. He should play most of his snaps in the slot because of the construction of this offense.

    Royal won't need to do all the work over the middle of the field, though. Presuming his contract concerns don't push him away from the team or affect his play, Martellus Bennett should be one of the best tight ends in the NFL again next year.

    His value as a two-way option for the offense is massive, while his athleticism as a receiver allows him to consistently threaten every area of the defense. 

17. Arizona Cardinals

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 20

    Jared Veldheer, D.J. Humphries, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Cooper, Ted Larsen, Bobby Massie, Earl Watford, A.Q. Shipley.

    Running Backs: 4

    Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor, David Johnson, Kerwynn Williams.

    Wide Receivers: 17

    Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Jaron Brown, Brittan Golden, J.J. Nelson.

    Tight Ends: 3

    Troy Niklas, Darren Fells, Gerald Christian.

    Coaching: 8

    Bruce Arians, Harold Goodwin.

    Overall: 52

    Steve Keim's work to rebuild the Arizona Cardinals' offensive line has been magnificent.

    The Cardinals should have at least three quality starters on their line next season, with the potential for four. Importantly, the two most likely of those four will start on the left side. Jared Veldheer was very valuable for the cavalcade of quarterbacks who passed through the starting spot in Arizona last season.

    Veldheer isn't one of the best left tackles in the NFL, but he's comfortably above average. He offers quality in both run blocking and pass protection, relying on his mammoth body to engage and control defenders.

    Inside of Veldheer, the Cardinals are expecting to start a new but familiar face. Mike Iupati has his flaws as a left guard, but they are dramatically overshadowed by his strengths. The three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro may be the most dominant run-blocking guard in the NFL. When healthy, he is also effective enough in pass protection to not be a liability.

    At center, Ted Larsen will likely start and be the weak link on the line. That is, presuming that Jonathan Cooper finally realizes his potential, because he is set to be healthy for the first time in his relatively short career.

    Cooper is a veteran compared to the Cardinals' starting right tackle, though. D.J. Humphries was the team's first-round pick in the 2015 draft. He is an impressive athlete, with consistent technique and enough overall ability to immediately start and succeed at the professional level.

    The Cardinals could have one of the best offensive lines in the league, but they must disprove some legitimate doubts once the season begins.

    Considering the state of their running back depth chart, they'll need their line to be good. Andre Ellington's health was an issue last year, but so is his vision. Stepfan Taylor is more consistent but less explosive. Kerwynn Williams is an intriguing talent but still largely unproven.

    Rookie David Johnson could be in position to steal the majority of the running back snaps, but the Cardinals are expected to rely on a rotation at the position this season.

    Arizona has a similar dynamic with its receivers and tight ends that it has between its offensive line and running backs. The Cardinals receiving corps is one of the deepest in the league.

    Michael Floyd endured a down year last season but should rebound. He is a talented receiver who has sustained success in the past despite his relatively short career. Larry Fitzgerald is a proven veteran on his way to the Hall of Fame. He may have slowed down significantly, but he is still an above-average starter.

    John Brown was one of the breakout stars of the 2014 draft class last year. Head coach Bruce Arians has a track record of developing young receivers with similar skill sets to that of Brown, so his expectations are heightened this season.

    Jaron Brown draws less attention than his teammate, but he offers the Cardinals one of the best fourth receiving options in the league. 

16. Detroit Lions

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 18

    Laken Tomlinson, Riley Reiff, Manny Ramirez, Travis Swanson, Larry Warford, Cornelius Lucas, LaAdrian Waddle.

    Running Backs: 7

    Joique Bell, Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah.

    Wide Receivers: 15

    Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Corey Fuller, Jeremy Ross, Ryan Broyles, Lance Moore, T.J. Jones, Greg Salas.

    Tight Ends: 5

    Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron, Joseph Fauria.

    Coaching: 8

    Joe Lombardi.

    Overall: 53

    Golden Tate enjoyed a breakout season with the Detroit Lions last year. He established himself as one of the best receivers in the NFL and proved he could carry the team while Calvin Johnson struggled with his health. If Johnson is healthy in 2015, this could be the best starting receiver combination in the league.

    The concern for Matthew Stafford is what comes after those two players.

    Ryan Broyles is arguably the most talented receiver that the Lions have outside of their starters, but his career has repeatedly been derailed by injuries. Corey Fuller and Jeremy Ross have limited skill sets, while Lance Moore looked like a shadow of his former self in Pittsburgh last season.

    Expectations for Eric Ebron should be high, but only because he was the team's first-round pick in 2014. Ebron is a great athlete, but his ball skills are concerning, while his consistency was a major issue during his rookie season. He hasn't played enough to create strong feelings in either direction, but he should still be a key player this season.

    Health is going to be vitally important for the Lions offensive line. They lack the depth to cover injuries to key starters.

    Larry Warford is one of the better guards in the NFL, while Riley Reiff and LaAdrian Waddle are competent starting tackles. First-round pick Laken Tomlinson should start at left guard, and how his strength-size combination translates to the NFL will have a huge bearing on his success.

    At running back, the Lions have three individually impressive players. Joique Bell's vision could be better, but he is a versatile, abrasive player who can carry the load. Theo Riddick is a receiving specialist who can do a variety of things in the passing game, while Ameer Abdullah has the most upside.

    While many viewed him as just a receiving back early in his career, Abdullah has the potential to steal snaps from Bell. He is very powerful and explosive, with the intelligence to set up his running lanes.

    If Abdullah was assured of more snaps, then he would push the running back rating for this group up. However, with him further down the depth chart, the Lions appear set to rely on players who are more specialized.

    Regardless of who is on the offensive line, who emerges down the depth chart as a receiving option or who lines up in the backfield, the most important aspect of Stafford's supporting cast is the health of Johnson.

    The receiver completely alters what the defense can do when he is fully effective. He pushes safeties farther downfield, draws more coverage than anyone and can even be a key blocker for specific plays.

    Not a single team in the NFL can boast a player of his quality. Just like J.J. Watt, Robert Quinn, Earl Thomas, Adrian Peterson, Rob Gronkowski and a select few others, Johnson impacts the game more than his position suggests he should be able to impact the game.

15. Houston Texans

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 20

    Ben Jones, Duane Brown, Derek Newton, Brandon Brooks, Xavier Su'a-Filo, David Quessenberry.

    Running Backs: 7

    Arian Foster, Chris Polk, Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes.

    Wide Receivers: 14

    DeAndre Hopkins, Cecil Shorts, Nate Washington, Jaelen Strong, Damaris Johnson, Keshawn Martin.

    Tight Ends: 5

    Garrett Graham, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin.

    Coaching: 7

    Bill O'Brien.

    Overall: 53

    Letting go of Andre Johnson wasn't a major mistake by the Houston Texans—but only because of their quarterback situation. Johnson was still a star receiver while enduring some uncharacteristic drops last year. Without him on the field, DeAndre Hopkins is going to be put under a huge amount of pressure.

    Hopkins is a star. He will be very productive regardless of what is happening around him. However, it would help to have a viable starter instead of Cecil Shorts, Nate Washington and Jaelen Strong competing for time.

    Shorts and Washington are proven veterans. But both players would be better suited to being complementary pieces who aren't required to play more than 500 snaps. Strong wowed onlookers in college with some spectacular catches, but he can't separate, lacks explosiveness and is inconsistent winning at the catch point.

    With a less talented top receiving option, this group of receivers would be extremely demoralizing for any quarterback. That may be the case anyway considering the team's options at tight end.

    Arian Foster was arguably the best running back in the NFL last year. He excelled but couldn't stay healthy for 16 games. That is essentially where Foster is at this point of his career. If he can stay on the field, he will be a superstar who can carry his offense. It's just unlikely he will stay on the field.

    That's not a knock against Foster; he has taken a beating over his career. The Texans are going to need more help from Alfred Blue and the exciting Chris Polk to alleviate some of the pressure on Foster.

    Those running backs will have the benefit of playing behind a talented offensive line. Duane Brown is still one of the best left tackles in the NFL, while Brandon Brooks is set to compete to be the best guard in football.

    Derek Newton and Ben Jones should be solid starters, while Xavier Su'a-Filo has the talent to be a valuable pass-protecting left guard. He needs to show more in his second season than he did as a backup during his rookie season, though.

    Bill O'Brien may have made many questionable decisions when it comes to how he handles his roster, but in terms of scheme and player usage on the field, he was very impressive last season.

14. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 15

    Eric Fisher, Ben Grubbs, Eric Kush, Jeff Allen, Donald Stephenson, Mitch Morse, Zach Fulton, Derek Sherrod, Paul Fanaika.

    Running Backs: 10

    Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis, Cyrus Gray.

    Wide Receivers: 11

    Jeremy Maclin, Frankie Hammond, De'Anthony Thomas, Jason Avant, Albert Wilson, Chris Conley, Junior Hemingway, Da'Ron Brown.

    Tight Ends: 8

    Travis Kelce, James O'Shaughnessy, Richard Gordon, Demetrius Harris.

    Coaching: 10

    Andy Reid, Doug Pederson.

    Overall: 54

    The Kansas City Chiefs' offensive line is going to be a major concern again this season. Losing center Rodney Hudson hurts, but the addition of Ben Grubbs at left guard should help to offset that loss. Grubbs is a good fit in head coach Andy Reid's offense because of his comfort working in space.

    It's unclear if second-round pick Mitch Morse or Eric Kush will start at center.

    Former first overall draft pick Eric Fisher needs to play better than he has to this point in his career, but the right side of the line should be effective. Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson aren't stars by any measure, but they fit well in Reid's offense.

    Much was made of the Chiefs wide receivers not scoring a touchdown last season. In truth, that statistic reflected Alex Smith more than it did the receivers, but it's still unsurprising that changes have been made at that spot.

    Jeremy Maclin is theoretically a better fit with Smith than Dwayne Bowe was, but it would have been nice if they could have kept both veterans. By releasing Bowe to sign Maclin, they minimized the value of his addition. Maclin is the only proven receiver the Chiefs have outside of a 32-year-old Jason Avant.

    Third-round draft pick Chris Conley has been gaining traction as a potential starter early in the offseason, and he doesn't have much competition to surpass. Albert Wilson has shown off flashes of his ability as a deep threat, while Junior Hemingway and Frankie Hammond haven't shown enough to be relied on as starters.

    De'Anthony Thomas is a running back who appears set to move into the role of a receiver, but Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce should be the team's second and third receiving options, respectively.

    Charles is a major part of the offense. He elevates the offensive line in the running game and can turn short passes into important gains on a regular basis. Kelce caught 67 passes last season, but his potential still hasn't come close to being realized at this level.

    A huge part of Alex Smith's success behind a limited offensive line and with limited receivers in Kansas City has been Reid's coaching.

    He does a better job of using play action and screens to minimize his quarterbacks' responsibilities than any coach in the NFL. He is able to do that partially because of the kind of running backs he has, but his creativity in designing plays is also phenomenal.

13. New York Jets

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 18

    D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Willie Colon, Nick Mangold, Breno Giacomini, James Carpenter, Brian Winters, Jarvis Harrison, Dakota Dozier, Charles Brown.

    Running Backs: 7

    Chris Ivory, Stevan Ridley, Zac Stacy, Bilal Powell.

    Wide Receivers: 16

    Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, T.J. Graham, Devin Smith.

    Tight Ends: 5

    Jeff Cumberland, Jace Amaro, Kellen Davis.

    Coaching: 8

    Chan Gailey.

    Overall: 54

    The Jets offense hasn't looked this good on paper for a long time.

    Chan Gailey is a proven offensive coordinator who understands how to spread the defense out to attack its weaknesses. Gailey may not have any ideal running backs to fit his system, but Stevan Ridley could be a high-quality addition if healthy after a torn ACL last season.

    Running backs and the offensive line were always the focus of the offense under Rex Ryan, but the past two offseasons have given the Jets a variety of talented receiving options. Eric Decker and Jace Amaro arrived last year, before Brandon Marshall and Devin Smith this year.

    Marshall is still one of the most talented receivers in the NFL, while Smith is going to be an immediate deep threat during his rookie season. Smith has the ball skills and explosiveness to replicate what Mike Wallace did for the Pittsburgh Steelers all those years ago when he was the Steelers' third receiver as a rookie.

    With Decker and Marshall providing consistent threats on intermediate routes, it will be very difficult to match up with the Jets' receivers next season.

    The offensive line, however, is a significant concern. The unit has talent and experience, but it's devoid of standout players. Nick Mangold isn't the star center he once was, while the James Carpenter-Breno Giacomini combination proved to be underwhelming in Seattle.

    D'Brickashaw Ferguson is an average starting left tackle, while Willie Colon is a problematic pass protector but talented run-blocker. Jarvis Harrison is the rookie hope for the Jets.

    Harrison wasn't selected until the fifth round of the draft, but he was widely considered a more talented prospect than that. He fell because there are question marks about how much he really wants to play football. If the Jets can motivate him, they could reap immediate rewards.

    Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote this about Harrison:

    Dancing bear who possesses the talent, technique and physical traits to be a high-end NFL starter. Not asked to fire out on defenders often in Texas A&M scheme, so that might be an area where he has room for growth. Teams might have to decide between the film and the football character when slotting him. Keeping his weight under control could be a tall task during his career.

    Furthermore, Zierlein added insight from an AFC scouting director:

    "I believe he has Pro Bowl-caliber talent, but his work ethic is a major concern for me. I know he loves basketball, but not sure if he feels the same about football. The talent? That's a given. He's really, really talented."

    The Jets don't need Harrison to earn a starting spot to have a functional offensive line, but moving Colon to the sideline would make for a better unit. Even with Colon in the lineup, however, the Jets should still have one of the better supporting casts in the NFL next year.

12. Tennessee Titans

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 20

    Chance Warmack, Andy Levitre, Jeremiah Poutasi, Taylor Lewan, Byron Stingily, Brian Schwenke, Byron Bell, Fernando Velasco, Jamon Meredith.

    Running Backs: 5

    Bishop Sankey, David Cobb, Antonio Andrews, Dexter McCluster.

    Wide Receivers: 14

    Justin Hunter, Dorial Green-Beckham, Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas, Hakeem Nicks, Tre McBride, Clyde Gates.

    Tight Ends: 9

    Delanie Walker, Craig Stevens, Anthony Fasano.

    Coaching: 7

    Ken Whisenhunt, Jason Michael.

    Overall: 55

    Ken Whisenhunt's track record as an offensive coach has bought him some equity after the 2014 season. Whisenhunt made some bizarre play calls last year, most notably during the second half of a loss to the Cleveland Browns.

    It was tough to judge Whisenhunt's offense, though, because he didn't get competent quarterback play. That shouldn't be the case in 2015 with Marcus Mariota.

    Mariota is going to play behind a line that appears to be improving. Left guard Andy Levitre has underperformed since signing in free agency, while right tackle Michael Oher was released after one season. Levitre's struggles can be offset by the impressive play of Taylor Lewan and Chance Warmack.

    Both Lewan and Warmack improved as last season went on. Both are still young, talented starters who could develop into All-Pro-caliber players.

    The offensive line will need to be good to give the Titans an effective rushing attack. In 2014, Tennessee had the 21st-ranked rushing attack by DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Bishop Sankey's struggles played a major role in that. Sankey and David Cobb appear set to share the load in 2015, but Sankey needs to improve to hold on to the majority of touches.

    After bringing in Mariota to be their starting quarterback, the Titans made efforts to improve his receiving options.

    Delanie Walker is one of the best tight ends in the NFL and a two-way player. Walker and Kendall Wright are possession receivers with the explosiveness to create big plays down the field or with the ball in their hands. Justin Hunter is the other carryover from last season. He is a talented athlete who hasn't found consistency in the NFL yet.

    Hunter is under pressure for his place in the starting lineup from rookie Dorial Green-Beckham. Green-Beckham fell in the draft for character concerns, but his talent is very impressive. He has the size and natural receiving skills to immediately be a contributor during his rookie season.

    If Green-Beckham or Hunter doesn't prove to be reliable, Harry Douglas is waiting in line as a proven veteran. Douglas had a good season for the Falcons last year, but he is primarily a complementary receiver rather than a full-time starter.

    Hakeem Nicks, Tre McBride and Clyde Gates will all be competing for roster spots, providing a talented trio for the bottom of the depth chart.

11. Indianapolis Colts

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 17

    Todd Herremans, Jack Mewhort, Donald Thomas, Khaled Holmes, Anthony Castonzo, Hugh Thornton, Gosder Cherilus, Lance Louis, Joe Reitz.

    Running Backs: 7

    Frank Gore, Vick Ballard, Dan Herron, Josh Robinson.

    Wide Receivers: 18

    Andre Johnson, T.Y. Hilton, Phillip Dorsett, Donte Moncrief, Griff Whalen, Duron Carter, Vincent Brown.

    Tight Ends: 7

    Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, Jack Doyle, Sean McGrath.

    Coaching: 7

    Pep Hamilton.

    Overall: 56

    Andrew Luck finally has a supporting cast.

    Frank Gore and Andre Johnson may be old, but both are major upgrades at their respective positions. Johnson is still one of the best receivers in the NFL. He had issues with drops last year, but part of that was the quality of his service. Gore has repeatedly proved his doubters wrong to the point that it's hard to doubt him.

    Vick Ballard and Dan Herron are proven backups to Gore, though Ballard is returning from serious injury. Rookie Josh Robinson can potentially wear down defenses later in games if Gore can't play four effective quarters.

    The greatest improvement over the past few years has come at the wide receiver spot.

    Adding Johnson gives the team a No. 1 option, but T.Y. Hilton is already at that level. Hilton and Johnson will complement each other perfectly, while Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett will compete for the third receiver role. Both Moncrief and Dorsett are explosive receivers.

    Despite the added receiver talent, Pep Hamilton likely won't move away from his two-tight end sets. Coby Fleener can be a matchup problem, but he is an unreliable receiver with limitations as a blocker. Dwayne Allen is the better all-around player, but he struggled somewhat in his return from injury last year.

    The added talent at receiver could push the Colts toward playing Allen more than Fleener, prioritizing his blocking ability.

    Luck has played behind some awful offensive lines in his career to this point. The 2015 version of the line doesn't look awful, but there are reasons to be concerned. Khaled Holmes as the starting center is a major problem. He hasn't proved to be a capable starter in the NFL to this point.

    Jack Mewhort started at left guard for most of last season, but he also played some right tackle. If the Colts look to incorporate Donald Thomas and Todd Herremans in their starting lineup, Mewhort could move to right tackle permanently. That wouldn't go well. Mewhort lacks the athleticism to be a starting tackle in the NFL.

    The more likely option would be to keep Mewhort at left guard and start Gosder Cherilus outside again.

    Cherilus was an average starter at best before a groin injury sidelined him in 2014. He will be 31 years old this year too, so it's unlikely he will be a better player in 2015 than he was in 2014 or previous seasons.

    The Colts have an offensive line that is good enough for Luck. It would be a problem for most quarterbacks, though.

10. Baltimore Ravens

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    David Richard/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 28

    Marshal Yanda, Eugene Monroe, Jeremy Zuttah, Kelechi Osemele, Ricky Wagner, Jah Reid, James Hurst, Robert Myers, John Urschel.

    Running Backs: 6

    Justin Forsett, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Javorius Allen, Fitzgerald Toussaint.

    Wide Receivers: 12

    Breshad Perriman, Steve Smith Sr., Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken, Aldrick Robinson.

    Tight Ends: 5

    Maxx Williams, Crockett Gillmore, Dennis Pitta, Nick Boyle.

    Coaching: 6

    Marc Trestman.

    Overall: 57

    Gary Kubiak's departure is a big loss for the Baltimore Ravens.

    His offensive scheme got the most out of the personnel available to him last year, and it's unclear how much of that Marc Trestman is going to replicate. The offensive line is very talented regardless of what scheme it plays in, but it does appear better suited to zone blocking.

    Marshal Yanda is a name that is perennially mentioned when discussing the best offensive linemen in the NFL, and for good reason. He is an outstanding player who can handle the toughest of assignments in the passing game and dominate in the running game.

    Yanda and Kelechi Osemele are pivotal pieces for the offense as the starting guard pairing. Both players are versatile enough to make an impact both as run-blockers and pass protectors. Bracketing two high-quality guards with Eugene Monroe, Jeremy Zuttah and Ricky Wagner makes for an offensive line without a significant flaw.

    That offensive line in Kubiak's scheme allowed veteran Justin Forsett to become one of the most productive running backs in the NFL last year. Forsett has hung around for years because of his ability in the passing game. As a runner, he is limited physically but disciplined with good vision.

    If Forsett can't replicate what he did last season, the quarterback and his receiving options will be under more pressure.

    Breshad Perriman was the team's first-round pick this year. He is a raw receiver who has the potential to develop into a well-rounded player, but he also struggled to consistently catch the ball in college. Drops were a major issue, and they have already shown up in minicamp this year.

    Drops in minicamp aren't a big issue, but they are a bad sign for his potential transition to the professional game. Perriman can't simply take his time to ease his way into the Ravens offense. Steve Smith is the team's first option, with Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown as unproven second choices to start across from him.

    At the tight end spot, the Ravens will be hoping Dennis Pitta can return from another serious injury.

    Pitta has dislocated his hip twice over the past two years. He has played just seven games, catching 36 passes for 294 yards and a touchdown, since the 2012 season. Since he's 29 years old, it's hard to be optimistic about his outlook for this season.

    The suffering of Pitta likely played a big role in leading the Ravens to selecting Maxx Williams in the second round of the draft. Williams is an impressive athlete with incredible ball skills. He will be a limited route-runner early in his career but can still provide value in the right situations.

9. Washington

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 19

    Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, Shawn Lauvao, Spencer Long, Kory Lichtensteiger, Morgan Moses, Arie Kouandjio, Josh LeRibeus, Tom Compton.

    Running Backs: 7

    Alfred Morris, Silas Redd, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson.

    Wide Receivers: 17

    DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder.

    Tight Ends: 6

    Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen.

    Coaching: 8

    Jay Gruden, Sean McVay.

    Overall: 57

    Adding Brandon Scherff should have a huge impact on the Washington offense.

    Trent Williams is already one of the very best offensive linemen in the league. Adding a second star-caliber talent to the line will allow the unit to be more versatile in its assignments. Head coach Jay Gruden expressed his high expectations for Scherff, per Rich Tandler at CSNWashington.com:

    Obviously, moving over to right tackle is not just a transition that's going to be immediate and easy for him. He's going to have to take some lumps, but the good thing about Brandon is he's a very focused individual. He studies very hard, he takes coaching extremely well and he's got the best coach to coach him up.

    Scherff is an incredibly strong player with good feet and consistent technique. He should comfortably transition to the NFL as a right tackle. Scherff's presence could push Morgan Moses to guard. It may not be an easy transition for the 2014 third-round pick, but he did play inside early on during his time in college.

    Washington has a number of talented offensive linemen, but it needs to find fits for each player. Arie Kouandjio and Josh LeRibeus in particular will be hoping to compete for starting spots inside.

    Regardless of who starts on the interior of the offensive line, Alfred Morris should continue to be one of the more productive runners in the NFL. The 26-year-old averaged 4.1 yards per carry last year and scored eight touchdowns despite not playing in ideal conditions.

    To complement Morris' running ability, Washington relied on a huge percentage of short throws to its talented wide receivers last season. DeSean Jackson is known as a deep threat, but he is a very refined, well-rounded receiver. Pierre Garcon offers potential for a big play whenever he touches the ball, and Andre Roberts is a dangerous third option.

    With Morris to rely on, two high-quality offensive tackles and a group of receivers who can create big plays on simple throws, Washington is close to an ideal spot to be a quarterback. 

8. Cleveland Browns

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    David Richard/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 29

    Joe Thomas, Cam Erving, Alex Mack, Joel Bitonio, Mitchell Schwartz, John Greco, Michael Bowie, Eric Olsen.

    Running Backs: 7

    Isaiah Crowell, Terrance West, Duke Johnson, Shaun Draughn.

    Wide Receivers: 12

    Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline, Andrew Hawkins, Taylor Gabriel, Vince Mayle, Marlon Moore, Travis Benjamin.

    Tight Ends: 4

    Rob Housler, Gary Barnidge, Jim Dray.

    Coaching: 5

    John DeFilippo.

    Overall: 57

    Adding Cameron Erving to the Cleveland Browns' offensive line is unfair.

    Erving won't reach his full potential as a right guard, but he can still be an upgrade over John Greco. If he does start at right guard, then the Browns will have a starting unit of Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, Alex Mack, Erving and Mitchell Schwartz.

    Thomas is the best left tackle in the NFL, while Bitonio, Mack and Erving project to be one of the best interior trios in the league. Schwartz has struggled with his consistency, but he is coming off a very impressive season last year.

    Each of the Browns' starting linemen is at least an above-average player at his position, while the unit as a whole blends youth and experience nicely. The players can fit into any type of offense and are strong contributors to both the running and passing game.

    Because of the importance of the offensive line, the Browns' supporting cast is very good. However, if we equally weighted each part of the offense, this would be one of the worst units in the NFL.

    Dwayne Bowe is the best receiver the team has had outside of Josh Gordon in recent years, but Brian Hartline isn't a viable starter. Andrew Hawkins is a fine slot receiver who hasn't proved capable of playing outside consistently during his career. Taylor Gabriel played well last year, but he has a limited skill set.

    Adding Duke Johnson to a backfield that already features Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West may seem like overkill, but it has stocked the depth chart with different kinds of talents. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the tight end position, where the Browns don't appear to have a viable starter.

    Gary Barnidge is a good blocker. Jim Dray is a limited receiver and blocker, while Rob Housler has never realized the talent he promised early in his career.

7. Miami Dolphins

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 20

    Branden Albert, Mike Pouncey, Billy Turner, Ja'Wuan James, Dallas Thomas, Jamil Douglas, JD Walton.

    Running Backs: 8

    Lamar Miller, Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams, LaMichael James, Mike Gillislee.

    Wide Receivers: 15

    DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills, Greg Jennings, Rishard Matthews, Jarvis Landry, Michael Preston, Matt Hazel.

    Tight Ends: 8

    Jordan Cameron, Dion Sims, Arthur Lynch.

    Coaching: 9

    Joe Philbin, Bill Lazor.

    Overall: 60

    Ryan Tannehill has been in the NFL for three seasons now. For the first two years, he had dysfunctional supporting casts. During his first year, his offensive line was awful, and during his second, his receivers were awful. His receivers were very bad again in 2015, but Bill Lazor's scheme allowed the offense to function.

    In 2015, Tannehill looks set to have one of the best supporting casts in the NFL because the team has aggressively invested in weak areas.

    Jarvis Landry is the only carryover from last year's primary receiving options. The slot receiver will be joined by Kenny Stills, an outstanding deep threat from the New Orleans Saints, Greg Jennings, a veteran possession receiver who struggled last season, and DeVante Parker, the team's first-round pick.

    Stills and Parker are the two most intriguing additions. Stills is a deep threat, but he's not a burner like Mike Wallace. Instead, Stills uses more of his ball-tracking ability and route running to create big plays downfield. Parker is the team's most well-rounded receiver. He may take some time to adjust to the NFL, but his skill set should allow him to be effective if not consistent.

    One of the Dolphins' four receivers is going to spend more time on the sideline than the others, but Lazor's offense keeps three receivers on the field a lot.

    Along with those three receivers will also be a tight end. Jordan Cameron has durability question marks because of concussions, but he can be a consistent deep threat when healthy. Cameron's size and athleticism make him a very difficult matchup for all kinds of defenders.

    He is too fast for linebackers and too big for every kind of defensive back. His ball skills allow him to dominate at the catch point even when he can't create separation.

    Tannehill's receiving options are much better than they were in 2014, but he only needs his running backs and offensive line to be as good as they were last year. Branden Albert's health will be important, but he should be ready to play in Week 1. Albert's value in pass protection isn't just about his play.

    If he is available, the Dolphins can keep Ja'Wuan James at right tackle where he fits best. The team doesn't have viable tackle depth, so James would need to move to the left side if Albert can't play.

    Running the ball was something the Dolphins excelled at last season. Lamar Miller led the way to a second-ranked finish in rushing DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. Miller had his touches limited, but the Dolphins didn't invest heavily in a complement for him. Instead, they sought value with Jay Ajayi in the fifth round.

    Ajayi may not even make it to the regular season if his knees are as bad as some suspect. A lack of cartilage will shorten his career, but to what degree is unclear. If he does play, Ajayi offers the Dolphins a big back who perfectly complements Miller's explosiveness.

6. Green Bay Packers

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 21

    Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, David Bakhtiari, Corey Linsley, Bryan Bulaga, J.C. Tretter, Don Barclay.

    Running Backs: 7

    Eddie Lacy, James Starks.

    Wide Receivers: 17

    Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis, Ty Montgomery.

    Tight Ends: 6

    Richard Rodgers, Andrew Quarless, Kennard Backman.

    Coaching: 9

    Mike McCarthy, Tom Clements.

    Overall: 60

    Playing with Aaron Rodgers makes everyone's job easier. The quarterback's mobility, quick release and intelligence in the pocket make it easier for his offensive line to protect him. It also makes teams reluctant to send more than four rushers after the quarterback.

    According to Football Outsiders, the Packers faced the fifth lowest percentage of blitzes in 2014. If the offensive line has fewer defenders to block with an elusive quarterback behind it, then it will be easier for the players to execute.

    That's not to say the Packers don't have a good offensive line, but it tends to be overrated.

    David Bakhtiari is a decent starting left tackle, while Josh Sitton is an impressive pass protector inside of him. Corey Linsley, T.J. Lang and Bryan Bulaga are all above-average starters without being All-Pro-caliber individuals.

    Behind Rodgers, the Packers have limited depth at running back.

    Eddie Lacy and James Starks are both proven runners, but fullback John Kuhn is the only established player behind them. Lacy took a step back during his second season as the Packers starter. He was slower to get through running lanes and lacked the same elusiveness in tight areas.

    Starks was arguably better than Lacy last year, but both players should remain prominent pieces of the running game. The Packers may look to pick up a receiving back later in the offseason if one of their options on the depth chart doesn't pan out.

    By re-signing Randall Cobb during the offseason, the Packers kept the continuity of their receiving corps. Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams are a strong trio atop any depth chart.

    It's unlikely anyone cracks that trio for playing time, but Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis are interesting prospects for different reasons. Rookie Ty Montgomery is listed as a receiver, but it's more likely that he spends his career in the NFL playing solely on special teams.

    At tight end, Richard Rodgers looks set to be a quality contributor after a limited but impressive rookie season. Neither Rodgers nor Andrew Quarless is as imposing as Jermichael Finley was, but both can still be effective, complementary pieces in this offense.

    The Packers have talent throughout their whole offense. Regardless of Rodgers' impact on its perception, the unit is still very strong when compared to its peers.

5. Dallas Cowboys

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 29

    Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Ronald Leary, Doug Free, Zack Martin, La'el Collins, Chaz Green, Mackenzy Bernadeau.

    Running Backs: 4

    Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar, Ryan Williams.

    Wide Receivers: 14

    Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Devin Street, A.J. Jenkins.

    Tight Ends: 6

    Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar, James Hanna.

    Coaching: 8

    Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan.

    Overall: 61

    The best offensive line in the NFL? It's either the Dallas Cowboys or the Cleveland Browns.

    It's easier to give the Cowboys the edge because of their depth. Ronald Leary, Mackenzy Bernadeau and third-round pick Chaz Green would start for a lot of teams in the league. The Browns have good depth, too, but not to the same degree as the Cowboys.

    Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. Those are three All-Pro-caliber talents on one offensive line. La'el Collins may soon be a fourth, while Doug Free is an above-average right tackle. Compiling that kind of talent is incredibly difficult in a league that lacks offensive line quality in general.

    Without DeMarco Murray behind them, those linemen will need to play to their expectations again in 2015.

    Joseph Randle is the most talented back the team has. He is young, explosive and elusive. He needs to prove his intelligence as a runner over a greater sample, but it's been impressive to this point. The major concern with Randle is ball security. Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar are strong backup options.

    If the running back depth chart is underwhelming, the wide receiver depth chart isn't much better. The Cowboys need to pay Dez Bryant for a couple of reasons, most notably his importance to the passing game.

    A starting lineup of Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams with A.J. Jenkins as the third option would be catastrophic. Bryant elevates the receiving corps as a whole by drawing attention and allowing the other players to simply carry out specific roles. Williams is the deep threat, while Beasley works underneath.

    In previous seasons, the Cowboys could rely on Jason Witten to carry a large workload and essentially be another starting wide receiver. He has declined physically, though, and Gavin Escobar doesn't look set to steal snaps from him any time soon.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 22

    Jason Peters, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Allen Barbe, Dennis Kelly, Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner.

    Running Backs: 9

    DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles.

    Wide Receivers: 13

    Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews, Riley Cooper, Josh Huff, Miles Austin.

    Tight Ends: 7

    Zach Ertz, Brent Celek.

    Coaching: 10

    Chip Kelly, Pat Shurmur.

    Overall: 61

    The release of Evan Mathis wasn't a surprising move because there had been plenty of speculation over recent months. It was difficult to comprehend, though. The Eagles appeared to let Mathis go for financial reasons even though they could have forced him to play on his current deal.

    Forcing a player to play is never ideal, but Mathis played through his disgruntlement last season, and the football team isn't any better for releasing him.

    In fact, his loss will have a huge impact on the offense. Allen Barbe and Dennis Kelly are now set to start. Neither player has anywhere near the talent level of Mathis, and it's unclear if they can sustain success as starters.

    The line should still be effective in Chip Kelly's scheme because Jason Peters, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson are very talented players. Keeping Peters and Johnson is particularly important because they are two of the more versatile starting tackles in the NFL. Both players' ability to function in space is valuable.

    Offsetting some of the decline on the offensive line is the improvement in the backfield. DeMarco Murray is a more decisive runner than LeSean McCoy at this point, while Ryan Mathews will be one of the best backups in the league.

    Darren Sproles is old, but he showed last season that he can still be a good receiving back.

    Sam Bradford will need a running game to rely on because his receiving options aren't spectacular. Jordan Matthews was effective from the slot in Kelly's scheme last year, but this was usually due to the design of the play. It's unclear if he will be able to consistently beat man coverage as a boundary receiver.

    Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff should be the other starters since Riley Cooper struggled last season. Agholor is a great talent, but he's also a rookie, so there is some uncertainty with him as a starter. Huff is a second-year player who played very little last season. He has the skill set to excel in the slot, though.

    Bradford should look to use Zach Ertz as a receiver more than the previous quarterbacks did. Ertz can be a matchup nightmare for safeties and linebackers down the seam.

    Every individual player on the offensive side of the ball for the Eagles benefits from playing under Kelly. His scheme is beautifully designed and his play-calling consistently keeps defenses off balance. The only concern is how much the loss of Mathis will impact the effectiveness of the offensive line.

3. New England Patriots

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    Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 23

    Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Bryan Stork, Ryan Wendell, Tre' Jackson, Shaquille Mason, Cameron Fleming, Marcus Cannon.

    Running Backs: 5

    LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, Travaris Cadet, James White, Brandon Bolden, Dion Lewis, Tyler Gaffney.

    Wide Receivers: 14

    Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Brian Tyms, Aaron Dobson.

    Tight Ends: 10

    Rob Gronkowski, Michael Hoomanawanui, Scott Chandler, A.J. Darby.

    Coaching: 10

    Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels.

    Overall: 62

    The versatility and flexibility of the New England Patriots' offense played a huge role in helping the team to the Super Bowl last season. Few offenses boast the ability to throw the ball 50 times in a week after running for 200 yards.

    There may be only one, actually.

    The 2015 version of the Patriots could do the same thing, but they will need their running backs to overachieve. The departures of Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley have sapped most of the talent from that particular area of the depth chart.

    LeGarrette Blount and Travaris Cadet complement each other well, but they are both one-dimensional players. Cadet in particular can't replace what the team lost in Vereen. The former New Orleans Saints back is essentially a wide receiver in how he plays. He lacks the explosiveness and running ability of Vereen.

    Returning four established starters on the offensive line will create continuity that should allow the unit to excel once again. Nate Solder didn't have his best season last year, but it was later revealed that he had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Solder should rebound in 2015.

    Across from the left tackle, Sebastian Vollmer is entrenched as a high-quality starter at right tackle. With Bryan Stork at center, the Patriots have three foundational pieces on their line. Ryan Wendell is a limited pass protector but a valuable run-blocker as the fourth returning offensive lineman.

    Maybe the most impressive aspect of the team's offensive line is its depth. Cameron Fleming, Tre' Jackson, Shaquille Mason and Marcus Cannon are all young, talented pieces competing for playing time.

    Everything the Patriots do passing the ball begins with Rob Gronkowski. The tight end completely alters the game because his presence alone limits what the defense can do. Teams are more reluctant to blitz the Patriots because of Gronkowski's presence, while he is always a matchup problem no matter how much extra attention he receives.

    Talented players in their own right, each of the Patriots' receivers are essentially complementing Gronkowski.

    Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell are consistent route runners with good ball skills. Danny Amendola has struggled during his stint in New England. Aaron Dobson and Bryan Tyms are still trying to establish themselves as deep threats who can stay on the field.

    Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels game-plan brilliantly on a weekly basis while understanding exactly how to best use the skill sets of the players available to them.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 24

    Kelvin Beachum, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster, Mike Adams, Cody Wallace.

    Running Backs: 9

    Le'Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams, Dri Archer.

    Wide Receivers: 16

    Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, Sammie Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey.

    Tight Ends: 6

    Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Jesse James.

    Coaching: 9

    Todd Haley.

    Overall: 64

    The Steelers have built a young, outstanding offense.

    Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are the focal points. Bell is comfortably the best receiving back in the NFL and a very intelligent, explosive runner. Brown is one of the very best receivers in the NFL. He isn't big but is extremely strong, aggressive and refined as a route runner.

    Bell has very little help as a runner—DeAngelo Williams is old and Dri Archer is limited—but Brown has an abundance of talent around him. Martavis Bryant showed off his big-play ability despite not playing a huge amount as a rookie. Markus Wheaton was reliable, if unspectacular, during his first full season as a starter.

    Adding Sammie Coates to the depth chart was an odd move. Coates is a physically talented player who will likely need to be accommodated by specific play designs that put the ball in his hands so he can create after the catch. He has the athleticism to get open downfield but struggles to track the ball over his shoulder.

    Heath Miller is still a trusted receiver for Ben Roethlisberger, but he has declined physically. With the receiver talent in Pittsburgh now, Miller should become more of a blocking tight end.

    The Steelers have never had weapons like this, but the most significant improvements have come on the line of scrimmage. David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey are All-Pro-caliber players. Both are staples of the running game while carrying out major roles in pass protection.

    Kelvin Beachum, Marcus Gilbert and Ramon Foster surround Pouncey and DeCastro. None of them are above-average players, but none would be considered a liability either. Their value as a collective unit is much higher than when they are separated as individuals.

    Assistant coach Mike Munchak played a major role in improving those players' performances last season, while offensive coordinator Todd Haley is primarily responsible for the development of the offense.

1. Cincinnati Bengals

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Offensive Line: 27

    Andrew Whitworth, Clint Boling, Russell Bodine, Kevin Zeitler, Andre Smith, Jake Fisher, Cedric Ogbuehi, Trey Hopkins.

    Running Backs: 9

    Jeremy Hill, Gio Bernard, Rex Burkhead.

    Wide Receivers: 15

    Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones, A.J. Green, Denarius Moore, Brandon Tate.

    Tight Ends: 7

    Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft, C.J. Uzomah.

    Coaching: 8

    Marvin Lewis, Hue Jackson.

    Overall: 66

    The Cincinnati Bengals may not have a great quarterback, but they have given him a great supporting cast.

    By selecting Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher in the first two rounds of the 2015 draft, the Bengals built depth on their offensive line. They already had four quality starters in Andrew Whitworth, Clint Boling, Kevin Zeitler and Andre Smith.

    Ogbuehi is recovering from a torn ACL, but Fisher could offer them a way to change their starting lineup.

    If Fisher can start at left tackle, then Whitworth could move inside to guard and Boling could take over for Russell Bodine at center. Bodine is the weak link on the line, but even if he continues to start, it will be one of the best units in the league.

    The Bengals line offers Andy Dalton great pass protection while opening holes for Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard in the running game. Hill had an incredible rookie season. His abrasive, explosive running style made him a great between-the-tackles runner.

    With Hill wearing the defense down, Bernard can be left to act as the receiving back whom the offense works to put into space.

    Bernard is a dangerous receiver, but he is far down the list of the team's receiving options. A.J. Green is obviously a star, while Mohamed Sanu enjoyed somewhat of a breakout season last year. Sanu will need to fend off the returning Marvin Jones for his starting spot in 2015.

    Jones isn't the only receiving option returning as the supremely talented Tyler Eifert is coming back from a significant injury. Eifert's career hasn't really got going yet, but his skill set is undeniable.


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