We may have hit training camp, but it never stops being ranking season in the NFL, and there’s never a shortage of rankings to get upset about. Today’s Exhibit A: This article ranking offensive skill position players for all 32 NFL teams, which somehow delivers a fair ranking and still is making Falcons fans angry.
I like and respect Bill Barnwell at ESPN, but as with any NFL writer, there are times where I feel he’s pretty wildly off-base. This is one time where he’s not fatally wrong—he does have the Falcons as a top-five collection of players, which is more than fair—but he has made a curious choice. He has the Falcons at #4, behind the Patriots (okay, I’m receptive to the argument), the Steelers (ditto), and the...Dolphins?
This is where I get lost. Jay Ajayi is a promising young back, but is he as good and versatile as Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman? I’d say no.
Are perennial slight disappointments Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills better than Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel, even if they’re younger? I’d say no.
Is Julius Thomas, who looked pretty lousy in years prior, really that much better than Austin Hooper? Probably, but I don’t think it’s the tremendous gap Barnwell may be forecasting, even if Thomas should thrive again under Adam Gase.
So what you have here, in my mind, is a pretty poor argument for ranking Miami as the better collection of talent, even if you account for the fact that they’re young, exciting, and working under one of the best offensive-minded head coaches in the NFL.
Anyways, I’ve said what I wanted to say. At the end of the year, it would be surprising if there wasn’t widespread acknowledgement that the Falcons have the better offense and skill position players than the Dolphins, but perhaps I’ll eat crow when the year’s over.