With no news to report yet as teams around the NFL begin the process of opening training camps, we have another surprising ranking from NFL.com to check out. It’s a ranking of triplets (quarterback, running back, wide receiver) for all 32 teams in the league.
The Falcons ranked at No. 6, not bad on the face of it. Based on estimated 2019 production Matt Ryan ranked No. 7, a little underrated but not bad for a preseason list. Julio Jones ranked as the No.2 receiver behind only DeAndre Hopkins (any argument about the rankings for these two is going to require another video). The shocker, the author ranks Devonta Freeman as the 24th best starting running back in the league.
The author bases his ranking on Freeman missing 16 of his last 23 games due to injury. Granted that Freeman isn’t one of the top, young backs in the league anymore. Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey are just three of the young stars in the league at the position.
Still, if Freeman is healthy this season he should gain from 1,000 to 1,100 yards. That should definitely put his worth higher than running backs like Kerryon Johnson of the Lions (ranked No. 16) and Aaron Jones of the Packers (No. 21).
The bonus with Freeman is that he adds value in the passing game that backs like LeSean McCoy of the Bills (ranked No. 22) and Leonard Fournette of the Jaguars (ranked No. 20) provide.
Granted that all of this isn’t worth getting too worked up over. Rankings don’t get real until players strap on the pads and start slamming into opponents for real. That’s coming soon. It’s just surprising to see the damage that can be done to a running back’s standing in the league because of injury.
Falcons fans also have a bright side they can look at with this ranking. Tevin Coleman of the San Francisco 49ers is ranked at No. 27.