Ranking Every NFL QB's Supporting Cast for 2020
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, but it's also the ultimate team sport. Skill-position players—wide receivers, tight ends and running backs—play large roles in a quarterback's success (or lack thereof).
As Gisele Bundchen once famously noted, quarterbacks can't throw the ball to themselves.
Although we're still months away from teams deciding upon their regular-season rosters, we do have a good idea of what each signal-caller's supporting cast will look like.
As was the case last year, we've ranked each team's skill-position players based on past production, accolades, health and upside.
32. Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins
2019 Rank: 30
- Wideout Terry McLaurin was fantastic as a rookie last season, catching 58 passes for 919 yards and seven touchdowns. However, the Washington Redskins don't have much else at the receiver position. Guys like Trey Quinn and Cam Sims aren't going to keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night.
- Washington also lacks proven talent and depth at the tight end spot following the departures of Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. Undrafted rookie Thaddeus Moss may have the most upside at the position, but he has yet to play an NFL down. Veterans Richard Rodgers and Jeremy Sprinkle currently highlight the depth chart.
- Running back Adrian Peterson is a future Hall of Famer, although he isn't the same dominant player he once was. Derrius Guice is an injury-prone unknown, and rookie third-rounder Antonio Gibson is totally unproven. This group has some potential, but it isn't one of the better backfields in the NFL.
Dwayne Haskins could face competition for the starting job from former Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen, who played under new Washington head coach Ron Rivera for most of a season. Whoever wins the gig will play with the most underwhelming skill group in the NFL.
Opposing teams will be much more concerned with slowing No. 2 overall pick Chase Young and the Washington pass rush than either Haskins or Allen in 2020.
31. Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars
2019 Rank: 29
- Wideout DJ Chark looks to be a future No. 1 receiver, as he finished with 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019. However, he topped 50 yards only once over the final six weeks of the season. Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook are low-end complementary receivers, while rookie second-rounder Laviska Shenault Jr. is unproven and is coming off core muscle surgery.
- At tight end, the Jaguars are banking on a healthy Tyler Eifert. The former Cincinnati Bengals standout appeared in 16 games last season for the first time in his NFL career. However, he missed 34 of a possible 48 games over the previous three seasons.
- Running back Leonard Fournette is coming off a career year (1,152 rushing yards, 522 receiving yards) and could be the most important piece of this supporting cast. However, last season was the first time that Fournette averaged more than 4.0 yards per carry. There's no guarantee that he'll have a second consecutive strong season.
By trading Nick Foles, the Jacksonville Jaguars have given Gardner Minshew II a clear shot at being their next franchise quarterback. Minshew showed a lot of promise as a rookie, throwing for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns and six interceptions despite playing with one of the league's most pedestrian supporting casts.
Minshew isn't likely to get much more help in 2020 unless Shenault has the sort of rookie season that DK Metcalf and A.J. Brown had in 2019.
30. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
2019 Rank: 31
- The New York Jets have largely failed to surround Sam Darnold with a quality supporting cast, and things are only slightly better this year. The Jets at least drafted a potential future No. 1 receiver in second-rounder Denzel Mims. If he reaches his potential, Mims will give Darnold a top target for the first time in his career.
- However, the Jets have a lot riding on Mims' development, as Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson are complementary receivers even on their best days.
- Le'Veon Bell, who averaged a mere 3.2 yards per carry last season, is no longer the elite running back he once was. The Jets tight end group is also underwhelming. Chris Herndon missed all but one game in 2019 because of suspension and injuries, while Ryan Griffin produced a mere 320 yards.
Darnold has yet to establish himself as a legitimate franchise signal-caller, largely due to a lack of adequate support. While Mims and rookie tackle Mekhi Becton should upgrade Darnold's supporting cast, he could again struggle to do more than flash promise in 2020.
29. Brian Hoyer/Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots
2019 Rank: 23
- The New England Patriots had one of the league's more underwhelming supporting casts in 2019, and things aren't any better this year. They added Mohamed Sanu during the regular season and Marqise Lee this offseason, but the receiver group is largely unchanged otherwise.
- Julian Edelman remains the team's lone reliable wideout, though he is coming back from offseason knee surgery. N'Keal Harry was a rookie disappointment and will need a big second-year jump to be relevant. Matthew Slater is a special teams ace and a wideout in name only.
- The Patriots will ask rookies Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene to lead their tight end group, so things are largely unproven there. The one promising area for New England is a backfield that features Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead and Damien Harris. Expect the Patriots to be a run-first, run-often team this season.
Whether it's journeyman Brian Hoyer or second-year man Jarrett Stidham under center, New England is likely to struggle to adapt to life without Tom Brady. The six-time Super Bowl champion often made the Patriots' supporting cast better, and this iteration is one of the worst in recent New England history.
However, Brady is now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so this supporting cast won't be getting the Brady bump.
28. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins
2019 Rank: 32
- Miami Dolphins wideout DeVante Parker emerged as a legitimate No. 1 receiver in 2019, catching 72 passes for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. However, he and tight end Mike Gesicki were arguably Miami's only two reliable skill-position players, and things aren't much better this season.
- The Dolphins did add running backs Jordan Howard and Matt Breida in the offseason, but Breida hasn't had success outside of the San Francisco 49ers offense, and Howard is now on his third team in three years.
- Behind Parker and Gesicki, the Dolphins have complementary pass-catchers like Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns and Preston Williams, all of whom are average at best.
There is potential on Miami's offense, but the new-look backfield will have to come together quickly for that potential to deliver results. This is no longer the worst skill-position group in the NFL, but it's far from elite.
Along with health concerns, the weak supporting cast is why the Dolphins may lean on journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick rather than rookie Tua Tagovailoa to start the 2020 season. Tagovailoa is coming off a dislocated and fractured hip and could struggle with a mediocre supporting cast in Year 1.
27. Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts
2019 Rank: 7
- The surprise retirement of Andrew Luck last season exposed many of the Indianapolis Colts' offensive flaws. With the duo of Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer at quarterback, the Colts' lack of depth at wide receiver behind T.Y. Hilton became readily apparent. Sophomore Parris Campbell and rookie Michael Pittman Jr. can potentially bolster the group, but they are both unproven.
- Tight end Jack Doyle is serviceable, but he isn't a game-breaker, and the Colts allowed Eric Ebron to walk in free agency following a disappointing season sans Luck. Fresh off his own disappointing 84-yard season in Chicago, Trey Burton will replace Ebron.
- The one high-end area of the offense is at running back, where Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins and rookie Jonathan Taylor have the potential to be one of the league's better committee backfields.
This group has a chance to take a big step forward with Philip Rivers under center instead of Brissett. However, there are serious questions at receiver behind Hilton and at tight end.
While Rivers may be able to elevate the talent level of this group, the Colts may again heavily rely on the run in 2020.
26. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2019 Rank: 14
- The Green Bay Packers have an elite No. 1 receiver in Davante Adams but lack proven depth behind him. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has failed to develop into a reliable secondary option, and offseason addition Devin Funchess may be better suited to play tight end than receiver. Allen Lazard showed promise last season but needs to prove he can take on a bigger role.
- The tight end group is exceedingly lackluster, with 36-year-old Marcedes Lewis leading the way.
- Green Bay does feature an intriguing running back tandem of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. The addition of rookie AJ Dillon could push the Packers backfield into elite territory.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. However, the team hasn't done an adequate job of building around his talent, which is why this position group falls in the bottom third.
Rodgers' supporting cast seems to be custom-built for a different quarterback. Green Bay can lean on the run and occasionally take deep shots down the field with Adams, but that doesn't play to Rodgers' strengths.
If a tight end like Jace Sternberger and a receiver like Lazard can emerge as high-end targets, this group will move up these rankings. But for now, the receiving corps seems to fall off drastically after Adams.
25. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
2019 Rank: 18
- Health concerns are why the Seattle Seahawks' supporting cast is ranked in the bottom third here. Running backs Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson are both coming back from significant injuries, as is tight end Will Dissly.
- Receiver depth is also a question mark, as Seattle features virtually no proven talent behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The Seahawks added Phillip Dorsett in the offseason, but the 2015 first-round pick has never quite lived up to his draft status.
- Seattle did make some insurance moves in the offseason, bringing in running back Carlos Hyde and tight end Greg Olsen. Along with tight end Jacob Hollister, they should allow Seattle to field a functional offense early in 2020, though perhaps not a high-end one.
Quarterback Russell Wilson makes the Seahawks offense go, and that isn't going to change this season. Metcalf and Lockett are tremendous perimeter weapons, and Wilson will have a strong backfield behind him once it's healthy.
However, this supporting cast will look like one of the worst in the league if Seattle must rely on backup quarterback Geno Smith at any point this season.
24. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
2019 Rank: 19
- The Tennessee Titans offense is mostly reliant on 2019 rushing leader Derrick Henry, though it does have talent elsewhere. Wideout A.J. Brown exploded as a rookie, emerging as the No. 1 receiver that Corey Davis was supposed to be.
- While Davis and slot receiver Adam Humphries were both disappointing in 2019, quarterback Ryan Tannehill made the most of his receiver trio and was able to play an efficient brand of football thanks to the attention Henry commanded. However, when the Kansas City Chiefs contained Henry during the AFC title game, the Titans failed to compensate.
- Tight end is perhaps the biggest question mark of this group, as MyCole Pruitt, Jonnu Smith and Anthony Firkser are underwhelming individually. However, the three combined for 733 yards last season, so as a group—minus Delanie Walker—it is serviceable.
The Titans' offensive success will again largely hinge on Henry's hard-charging style and Tannehill's arm. If Henry struggles or Tannehill takes a step back in the efficiency department—his 117.5 passer rating led the league last season—the rest of the supporting cast is unlikely to pull Tennessee back into the playoffs.
The addition of rookie Darrynton Evans gives the Titans some insurance behind Henry, although he's effectively replacing Dion Lewis as the No. 2 back.
23. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
2019 Rank: 15
- Trading away star wideout DeAndre Hopkins will undeniably hurt the Houston Texans offense. While a group featuring Will Fuller V, Kenny Stills, Randall Cobb and Brandin Cooks can still be good, it lacks a dominant No. 1 wideout of Hopkins' caliber.
- Houston also has a lot riding on the health of running back David Johnson. He was elite when healthy, but he hasn't been healthy since 2016. Last season, he averaged only 3.7 yards per carry. While Duke Johnson Jr. is an elite receiving back, he could struggle to carry the load if Johnson proves ineffective.
- The tight end trio of Darren Fells, Jordan Thomas and Jordan Akins is solid but unspectacular.
Hopkins' departure could significantly change how Deshaun Watson operates in 2020.
Watson was rated as the league's second-best deep-ball thrower by Pro Football Focus last season. Cooks, Fuller and Stills should give him a trio of speedy downfield targets that may greatly benefit him.
However, the lack of the always reliable Hopkins and the potential liability of Johnson could force Watson to play a brand of hero ball that leaves him open to excessive sacks. Considering he's been sacked 106 times over the past two seasons, that could be a major problem.
22. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
2019 Rank: 13
- While the Chicago Bears lack an elite supporting cast, it's good enough that Mitchell Trubisky has only himself to blame for his 2019 struggles. David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen proved to be a high-end running back tandem, while Anthony Miller and Allen Robinson are a serviceable wide receiver duo.
- However, the Bears lack reliable depth behind Miller and Robinson, and they have some significant question marks at tight end.
- Chicago added Jimmy Graham in free agency and drafted Cole Kmet in the second round. While both could prove to be terrific additions at tight end, Graham is in the back end of his career, while Kmet remains unproven as a pro.
We're assuming that Trubisky remains the starter in Chicago, though it's entirely possible that offseason addition Nick Foles wins the starting job at some point before or during the regular season. If that happens and Foles can elevate his receiving corps, the Bears could easily field a top-16 offense in 2020.
With a strong backfield, Chicago will at least be competitive if it can get adequate quarterback play.
21. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
2019 Rank: 3
- After having one of the league's most prolific offenses two seasons ago, the Los Angeles Rams could field a decidedly average unit in 2020. The departures of Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley significantly impact the makeup of L.A.'s supporting cast.
- With Cooks gone, the Rams have a budding star in Cooper Kupp and two fine complementary receivers in Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds. However, the offense could lack balance, as running backs Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson and rookie Cam Akers are not proven NFL starters. If none of them emerge, Los Angeles could be even more unbalanced than it was last season, when it ranked fourth in passing and 26th in rushing.
- The tight end tandem of Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett is strong, though it isn't quite elite.
The major unknown of L.A.'s backfield is responsible for the significant drop here. Quarterback Jared Goff long enjoyed the attention commanded by Gurley, but with him gone, opposing defenses will scheme to stop the passing game.
That could lead to another uneven season like the 22-touchdown, 16-interception campaign Goff had in 2019.
20. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
2019 Rank: 28
- The Baltimore Ravens' skill-position group lands at No. 20 because it is extremely reliant on its tight ends and running backs. Wideout Marquise Brown is a big play waiting to happen, but there is little reliable depth behind him at wide receiver.
- However, Baltimore's collection of tight ends and running backs is fantastic. Mark Andrews is an elite pass-catching tight end, and Nick Boyle is a quality backup. Mark Ingram II was a Pro Bowl running back in 2019, and rookie second-rounder J.K. Dobbins has the potential to be a future star.
- Gus Edwards rounds out a potentially elite backfield that should prevent Lamar Jackson from again having a 1,000-yard rushing season. Edwards rushed for 711 yards and two scores as a backup last season.
The imbalance of Baltimore's supporting cast speaks volumes about how special Jackson is. Despite having a relatively lackluster receiving corps, he still managed to lead the NFL with 36 touchdown passes last year.
While Jackson's supporting cast is barely a top-20 unit in a vacuum, it's perfectly suited to his skill set. The Ravens didn't lead the league in scoring last season by accident, and the end result should be more important than where the Ravens' skill-position players rank as a group.
19. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
2019 Rank: 22
- Unlike a typical No. 1 pick, Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow should have a solid supporting cast at his disposal. Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard are one of the better backfield duos in the AFC, and wideout Tyler Boyd is a budding star.
- However, Burrow's supporting cast doesn't crack the top 16 because it has several question marks. Wideout A.J. Green has been elite when healthy, but after missing all of the 2019 season with an ankle injury, there's no guarantee he'll be the same player. John Ross is explosive but inconsistent, while the tight end duo of Drew Sample and C.J. Uzomah is average at best.
- The wild card in the group is rookie wideout Tee Higgins. The 33rd overall pick in April's draft has the potential to be an elite pass-catcher in the mold of Green, but he's currently unproven at the pro level.
High on potential and with a few proven assets, the Cincinnati skill-position group should help make Burrow's transition to the NFL easier. The proverbial cupboard is not bare, and this group could approach top-10 status if Green returns to form and Higgins reaches his potential early.
A lot will hinge on how Burrow performs as a first-year signal-caller and whether second-year head coach Zac Taylor can maximize the talent on his roster.
18. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
2019 Rank: 21
- The Pittsburgh Steelers offense was a massive disappointment in 2019, largely due to poor quarterback play from the duo of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges. If Ben Roethlisberger returns to form following elbow surgery and can stay healthy, the Steelers could have one of the better offenses in the AFC.
- The biggest question is at running back, where James Conner took a major step back last season. After having a Pro Bowl campaign in 2018, Conner was decidedly average last year.
- Between JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington and rookie Chase Claypool, the Steelers have plenty of receiving talent. They also have one of the better tight end duos in Vance McDonald and free-agent addition Eric Ebron. With Roethlisberger pulling the trigger, this receiving core could go from average to elite in a hurry.
Essentially, Pittsburgh's skill positions will go as Roethlisberger's health goes. Big Ben led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards in 2018, and he could once again be among the league leaders in statistical production with this group. He can turn guys like Johnson and Conner into stars.
But as last year proved, Pittsburgh's supporting cast isn't good enough to elevate a lesser quarterback.
17. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
2019 Rank: 11
- The Detroit Lions have surrounded Matthew Stafford with a strong receiving corps, headlined by elite pass-catcher Kenny Golladay and savvy veterans Danny Amendola and Marvin Jones. They also have a serviceable tight end duo in Jesse James and T.J. Hockenson.
- That group could become elite if Hockenson becomes more consistent and lives up to his status as a 2019 first-rounder.
- Detroit's biggest question mark is its rushing attack. Kerryon Johnson has flashed elite traits but has also struggled to stay healthy as a pro. Rookie second-round pick D'Andre Swift has the potential to be an every-down back but has yet to take an NFL snap. The Lions backfield could be either a middling unit or a top-tier one in 2020, but it truly could go either way.
If all of the pieces fall into place, the Lions could have one of the league's better offenses this season. Stafford will have to stay healthy—he missed eight games in 2019—but this group is high on potential and could emerge as one of the better supporting casts of his career.
16. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
2019 Rank: 10
- The Minnesota Vikings' skill-position group takes a bit of a step back this season because of the trade of No. 1 receiver Stefon Diggs. Minnesota replaced him with rookie first-rounder Justin Jefferson, who hauled in a nation-high 111 passes at LSU last year.
- Adam Thielen is also coming off an injury-hampered season in which he hauled in only 30 receptions over 10 games. The Vikings lack a reliable No. 3 receiver, too, although offseason addition Tajae Sharpe could fill that role.
- Minnesota does feature an elite tight end duo in Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr., as well as a premier running back in Pro Bowler Dalvin Cook. With Cook and fellow back Alexander Mattison leading the way, quarterback Kirk Cousins should rarely be asked to carry the offense this season.
Could the Vikings have a top-10 offense in 2020? It's possible, but things could also go in the opposite direction quickly. If Thielen cannot regain his pre-injury form and Jefferson struggles to make the jump to the NFL, Minnesota may have to lean even harder on its rushing attack.
That rushing attack could be without Cook if the Vikings don't give him a new long-term contract, as a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
With so many variables in play, it's impossible to rank Cousins' supporting cast as a top-10 unit for now.
15. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
2019 Rank: 9
- A highly rated group last year, the Philadelphia Eagles' receiving corps proved to be one of the more average units in the NFL. Philly struggled to field healthy receivers near the end of the season, while Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor were inconsistent all year.
- The Eagles allowed Agholor to walk in free agency and replaced him with rookie first-round pick Jalen Reagor. If Reagor lives up to expectations and DeSean Jackson can stay healthy, the Eagles' receiving corps could be a top-10 group.
- Philadelphia has few questions at running back and tight end. Zach Ertz is one of the NFL's best pass-catching tight ends and is the Eagles' de facto No. 1 receiver. Miles Sanders, who amassed 818 rushing yards and 509 receiving yards as a rookie last season, is already blossoming into a star.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz already has an above-average supporting cast. It could be even better depending on how quickly Reagor develops and what his role in the offense becomes.
"He's electric with the ball in his hands, so getting it to him quickly rather than asking him to consistently make plays for himself as a ball-winner could be crucial," NFL Media's Lance Zierlein wrote of Reagor.
It's also worth mentioning rookie backup quarterback Jalen Hurts as part of the supporting cast, as he could be used as a gadget player in the Eagles offense.
14. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
2019 Rank: 16
- Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr didn't have a tremendous supporting cast in 2019, but he did get a few emerging stars throughout the year.
- Rookie running back Josh Jacobs proved to be a true every-down back and was one of the top candidates for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Rookie wideout Hunter Renfrow proved to be a reliable pass-catcher, while tight end Darren Waller had his first 1,000-yard season.
- With Tyrell Williams, Nelson Agholor and rookie speedster Henry Ruggs III rounding out the receiving corps, Carr's supporting cast has both a high floor and an extremely high ceiling.
With Marcus Mariota joining the Raiders in the offseason, this could be a make-or-break season for Carr. Fortunately, the Raiders made enough offensive additions to give him a good chance to succeed.
Jacobs and Waller are budding stars, and Ruggs has the potential to become the legitimate No. 1 receiver that Carr has lacked for much of his career. This group could soar if everything falls into place.
13, Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers
2019 Rank: 20
- Teddy Bridgewater will benefit from having one of the most versatile and explosive running backs in NFL history, Christian McCaffrey. Last season, McCaffrey amassed 1,387 rushing yards and 1,005 receiving yards, making him one of only three players ever to tally at last 1,000 yards on the ground and in the air during the same season.
- McCaffrey isn't Carolina's only weapon, though. The budding receiver duo of D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel is more than serviceable. With free-agent speedster Robby Anderson also now in the mix, Bridgewater won't lack weapons on the perimeter.
- The biggest question is whether Bridgewater he will have a quality tight end at his disposal. Ian Thomas flashed near the end of the 2018 season but caught only 16 passes last year.
The Panthers made the decision to cut ties with quarterback Cam Newton this offseason, adding Bridgewater to replace him. While Bridgewater went 5-0 as a starter last season, he did so with the New Orleans Saints' elite supporting cast.
The group Bridgewater has in Carolina isn't quite that good, but it is strong enough to allow him to have similar success. The Panthers should find out quickly whether he can be their new franchise signal-caller.
12. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
2019 Rank: 26
- The New York Giants' 2020 season will be all about developing quarterback Daniel Jones. Fortunately, he won't have to carry the offense by himself, as the Giants have an elite running back in Saquon Barkley.
- Despite missing three games last season, Barkley still finished with 1,003 rushing yards, 438 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns. For a young quarterback like Jones, he is the ultimate security blanket.
- New York also has a high-end tight end in Evan Engram and a promising if underwhelming receiving corps. The Giants don't have a true No. 1 on their roster, but the trio of Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Golden Tate is more than serviceable.
The Giants could have a top-10 offense in 2020, though a lot will hinge on Jones and Slayton's development. The latter could emerge as the No. 1 wideout Jones lacked in 2019, as he caught 48 passes for a team-high 740 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
If Slayton can make a big second-year jump, so will Jones and the New York offense as a whole.
11. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
2019 Rank: 7
- The San Francisco 49ers didn't ask quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to do much during their run to the Super Bowl last season. They could afford to take that approach because of an explosive rushing attack headlined by Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida.
- While the Niners traded Breida to the Dolphins in the offseason, they could finally have a healthy Jerick McKinnon in their backfield in 2020. Only the Ravens finished with more rushing yards last season, and San Francisco should continue fielding a dominant ground attack this year.
- San Francisco has an elite tight end in George Kittle and a budding star in wideout Deebo Samuel. However, the depth behind Samuel is questionable, as rookie first-rounder Brandon Aiyuk is an unproven talent. That alone keeps Garoppolo's supporting cast out of the top 10.
Do the 49ers truly believe in Garoppolo? They've backed him publicly, but they also considered adding Tom Brady this offseason, according to ESPN's Seth Wickersham.
While San Francisco will likely again lean on the run this season, Garoppolo will have to prove himself in clutch games and big moments to solidify himself as the Niners' franchise quarterback.
With such a strong supporting cast, Garoppolo will have zero excuses if he fails to do so.
10. Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
2019 Rank: 27
- The Denver Broncos are betting big on second-year quarterback Drew Lock, which is why they used their first two draft selections on wideouts Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler in April. Along with budding star Courtland Sutton, the two rookies have the potential to give Denver one of the better receiver trios in the AFC.
- At tight end, the Broncos have second-year man Noah Fant, who racked up 562 yards and three touchdowns on 40 catches last season. He is an explosive pass-catcher with the physical tools needed to have a Travis Kelce or George Kittle-type impact on Denver's offense.
- Between Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, the Broncos were already fairly solid at running back. Their addition of Melvin Gordon pushes this supporting cast into the top 10.
Lock could be in store for a significant sophomore-year jump if Hamler and Jeudy can approach their rookie ceilings. The latter may quickly develop into Lock's most reliable option in the passing game.
"In 20 years of doing this, he's the best college route-runner I've ever seen," ESPN's Todd McShay said of Jeudy.
The Broncos have put Lock in position to succeed in 2020.
9. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
2019 Rank: 5
- The trade of Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper hurts the Atlanta Falcons supporting cast a bit, but Matt Ryan still has a top-10 unit at his disposal. Julio Jones is still one of the most dominant receivers in the league, and Calvin Ridley is a tremendous No. 2 option.
- At tight end, the Falcons replaced Hooper with 2018 first-round pick Hayden Hurst. The 26-year-old hasn't lived up to his draft status, but he quickly fell behind Mark Andrews on Baltimore's depth chart. Hurst hypothetically could be as productive as Hooper in Atlanta's offense.
- The addition of running back Todd Gurley gives the Falcons a powerful inside running presence to complement their explosive passing attack. Gurley is also a wonderful checkdown option, as evidenced by his 218 receptions in five pro seasons.
The Falcons could field a top-five offense this season if all goes right. Ryan is a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback with plenty of weapons at his disposal.
The only questions are whether Hurst can match Hooper's productivity and whether Gurley can stay healthy enough to regain his Pro Bowl form.
8. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
2019 Rank: 24
- With one brilliant offseason move, the Buffalo Bills gave quarterback Josh Allen a top-10 supporting cast. The trade to acquire Stefon Diggs gave Allen the true No. 1 option he has been missing and made the duo of Cole Beasley and John Brown one of the league's top complementary units.
- Running back Devin Singletary was explosive as a rookie in 2019, racking up 775 rushing yards and 194 receiving yards while splitting time with veteran Frank Gore. With rookie third-rounder Zack Moss replacing Gore, Allen should have a strong backfield to support his own rushing ability.
- At tight end, the Bills have Dawson Knox, who proved to be a fine contributor as a rookie last season. The Mississippi product is a reliable if unspectacular checkdown option who should split time with a healthy Tyler Kroft in 2020.
While Allen has yet to emerge as a consistent and reliable passer, Buffalo has put the pieces in place for him to do exactly that in 2020. Diggs and Brown have the downfield ability to make the most out of Allen's howitzer of an arm, while Beasley and Knox are fantastic mid-level options.
With Singletary and Moss leading what should be a strong rushing attack, Allen should be able to pick his spots and avoid forcing throws as he has done at times throughout his young career.
7. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
2019 Rank: 25
- Could Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray have the sort of sophomore leap that Lamar Jackson experienced last season? It's possible, as the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year now has DeAndre Hopkins headlining his receiving corps.
- The acquisition of Hopkins immediately gave Arizona one of the NFL's best receiver trios. Larry Fitzgerald is a future Hall of Famer and one of the most reliable pass-catchers in the league, while Christian Kirk is an ascending talent and potentially a high-end third receiver. Should running back Kenyan Drake build on his strong finish to 2019—he racked up 643 rushing yards and 171 receiving yards in eight games after being acquired from the Dolphins—Murray should helm one of the more explosive offenses in the NFC.
- The one big question mark is at tight end, where Maxx Williams headlines a relatively underwhelming group.
Reliability is the theme for Murray's supporting cast, as both Fitzgerald and Hopkins are capable of being a young passer's best friend. Meanwhile, Drake has enough home run ability to keep pressure off Murray.
Murray's ability to attack with both his arms and his legs should ensure that opposing defenses stay off-balance and give Arizona one of the league's more explosive offenses in 2020.
6. Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers
2019 Rank: 4
- The Los Angeles Chargers will presumably roll with journeyman quarterback Tyrod Taylor rather than rookie Justin Herbert to open the season. Taylor was a Pro Bowler in 2015 and should make good use of one of the AFC's better supporting casts.
- The Chargers parted with running back Melvin Gordon this offseason but still have the duo of Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson in their backfield. This should give Taylor a strong ground game to lean on when necessary.
- Meanwhile, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are one of the more league's dangerous wide receiver duos, as both topped the 1,000-yard mark in 2019. Tight end Hunter Henry is an absolute terror of a downfield target when healthy and will give Taylor and/or Herbert a wonderful third option.
The versatility and pass-catching ability of Ekeler—he had 92 receptions for 993 yards and eight touchdowns last season—should set the stage for Taylor to succeed. Taylor has been at his best when taking what the defense gives him, and Ekleler is an elite dump-off target perfectly suited to that approach.
With Williams, Allen and Henry stretching the field, the Chargers could have an offense capable of keeping pace with the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West, provided that Taylor acts as a serviceable placeholder.
5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
2019 Rank: 8
- There is a slim chance that the Dallas Cowboys won't have Dak Prescott under center this season, as he could hold out while he awaits a new long-term deal. But if he does suit up, Prescott will enjoy one of the best supporting casts in the NFL.
- Ezekiel Elliott is one of the league's top running backs, and backup Tony Pollard amassed 455 rushing yards and 107 receiving yards in a complementary role last season. Meanwhile, Dallas has two 1,000-yard receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup and added rookie CeeDee Lamb to the mix in the first round of the draft.
- The lone question mark on Dallas' offense is at tight end. The duo of Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin leaves plenty to be desired and prevents the Cowboys from cracking the top four here.
If the Cowboys can get some solid production out of their tight ends, they will again have one of the top offenses in the NFL this season. The addition of Lamb could give them the league's best receiver trio.
"His ball skills and explosiveness with the ball in his hand should allow teams to scheme him into explosive opportunities right away," NFL Media's Lance Zierlein wrote of Lamb.
The Cowboys would be hard-pressed to put a better group around Prescott. They just need to get him under contract and into camp.
4. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2019 Rank: 17
- New Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady couldn't ask for a better wide receiver duo than the one he has in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Both were Pro Bowlers in 2019, and both are among the most dangerous downfield pass-catchers in the league.
- Brady also couldn't ask for a better tight end group than the one he has in O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate and Rob Gronkowski. Howard and Brate combined for 770 receiving yards last season, while Gronk has plenty of preexisting chemistry with Brady from their Patriots days. Even if Gronkowski, who spent last season away from football, is the third wheel of the group, Tampa's tight ends will be a matchup nightmare with Evans and Godwin on the perimeter.
- The lone question in this group is at running back. Ronald Jones II was average at best in 2019, and rookie third-rounder Ke'Shawn Vaughn is unproven at the pro level.
If the Buccaneers cobble together a quality rushing attack, Brady could have the best supporting cast of his career since 2007. There's a reason why Caesars Palace is giving the Buccaneers 12-1 odds to win it all in 2020, and it isn't merely the addition of Brady.
Brady and his supporting cast should give Tampa one of the NFL's most indefensible offenses this year.
3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
2019 Rank: 2
- The New Orleans Saints are going to make perhaps one last run with Drew Brees at quarterback, and they've given him arguably the best supporting cast of his career. It's headlined by the top receiver in the game today, Michael Thomas, who has caught a ridiculous 470 passes in his first four NFL seasons.
- However, Thomas is no longer the lone playmaker at receiver for the Saints. The free-agent addition of Emmanuel Sanders should give New Orleans one of the better one-two punches out wide in the NFC. With Pro Bowl tight end Jared Cook and utility man Taysom Hill throwing and catching the ball, the Saints will have one of the more difficult passing attacks to contain.
- With a stellar backfield duo of Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray rounding out the offense, the Saints should be as balanced and as dangerous as any offense in the league.
The stage is set for Brees and Co. to make a strong run at another Lombardi Trophy.
If the 41-year-old signal-caller can stay healthy, there will be little to prevent New Orleans from making a deep postseason run except for perhaps another bout of bad luck or the ascent of Brady and the Buccaneers.
2. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
2019 Rank: 1
- Baker Mayfield's supporting cast didn't live up to expectations last season, but that was largely because of poor offensive line play and the ineptitude of head coach Freddie Kitchens. The fact that Odell Beckham Jr. played the season with a sports hernia did not help matters. In terms of talent, only the Kansas City Chiefs have a better skill-position group—and it's very close.
- The wide receiver duo of Beckham and Jarvis Landry is one of the best in the league, and Cleveland should have a serviceable third receiver in Rashard Higgins or rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones. Kitchens severely underused Higgins and tight end David Njoku last season.
- The tight end duo of Njoku and free-agent addition Austin Hooper could rival the Beckham-Landry pairing in terms of explosiveness, and the backfield duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt might be even better. According to Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, "This is one of the rare backfields where both backs could be RB1 for a majority of NFL teams."
Mayfield took a step back in 2019 after a strong rookie campaign. With a new head coach in Kevin Stefanski and an offensive line upgraded by the additions of Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills Jr., it will solely be Mayfield's fault if he fails to bounce back.
Mayfield will not be able to blame his supporting cast for any lack of success in 2020.
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
2019 Rank: 12
- The Chiefs' skill-position group was downgraded for two reasons last offseason. Kansas City parted with running back Kareem Hunt during the 2018 season, and wideout Tyreek Hill faced uncertainty because of child-abuse allegations brought by former fiancee Crystal Espinal. Hill was not suspended, however, and Damien Williams proved to be a serviceable back during Kansas City's Super Bowl run.
- With rookie first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire joining the backfield, the Chiefs should have a high-end rushing attack this season. When combined with arguably the league's best receiving corps, quarterback Patrick Mahomes should have a supporting cast for the ages.
- The wide receiver trio of Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman is a track team, while Travis Kelce is perhaps the most explosive tight end in the game. This corps can stretch the field, create space underneath and turn short passes into massive gains.
The Chiefs rode Mahomes and their explosive offense all the way to a victory in Super Bowl LIV, and this year's group could be even better. The addition of Edwards-Helaire should help balance the unit, while a second-year leap by Hardman would take the passing attack into the stratosphere.
Even though Mahomes and Hill missed time with injuries, Kansas City finished last season fifth in scoring and sixth in yards. There is zero reason to believe this group won't be better in 2020.