Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Ranking Every NFL QB's Supporting Cast for 2019

Brad Gagnon

Currently bloated NFL rosters will change substantially between now and the start of the 2019 regular season, but most of those changes will be peripheral. With the heart of free agency and the draft in the books, most teams have their cores in place as summer approaches.

As a result, we already have a feel for the level of support each projected starting quarterback will enjoy and/or endure come September.

Dealing with primary skill-position players only—running backs, wide receivers and tight ends—and taking past accomplishments, accolades and, to a lesser degree, upside into account, here's how we rank every NFL quarterback's supporting cast ahead of the 2019 campaign.


32. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins

Tight end Mike Gesicki is hoping for a second-year leap. Associated Press

There's still a chance Josh Rosen will beat out Ryan Fitzpatrick for the Miami Dolphins' starting quarterback gig, but the winner of that competition will likely have his work cut out for him. 

This weapons unit might not be bad if Drake, depth running back Kalen Ballage and/or Gesicki improve significantly in 2019, but the Dolphins don't have a lot of past production to hang their hat on. We know what Stills brings to the table, and it feels as though the ship is failing on Parker. It's not likely a group that will make a quarterback look better than he is, which isn't ideal for Fitzpatrick or Rosen.

31. Sam Darnold, New York Jets

Le'Veon Bell has a lot to prove. Mark Brown/Getty Images

Young New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold might be better supported in 2019 than he was as a rookie, but there's still plenty of reason to be concerned about whom the 22-year-old will be throwing and handing off to in his second year. 

If Bell gets back on track, this unit will merit a much higher ranking. But there's a good chance he'll never be the same player he was in his prime in Pittsburgh, where he had more support. There's some room for the pass-catching corps to grow. But Crowder has his limitations, and nobody else has proved anything. And that could be problematic for Darnold.

30. Case Keenum, Washington Redskins

Adrian Peterson is shooting for 2,000 yards again. Associated Press

It's possible first-round pick Dwayne Haskins will earn the Week 1 starting job for the Washington Redskins, but he or Case Keenum will likely have to deal with an erratic, inconsistent batch of weapons. 

The Redskins are in a weird spot. They're hoping vets like Peterson, Reed and Davis can hold on while also hoping youngsters like Guice and Doctson can emerge. But that's a lot of hoping. They don't have one solid, reliable offensive skill-position player in his prime. That's no bueno. 

29. Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars

Can Leonard Fournette finally deliver for the Jaguars? John Raoux/Associated Press

Congratulations, Nick Foles. You finally have your own NFL offense to run! Sorry, Nick Foles. That offense is the Jacksonville Jaguars'.

If Fournette and Westbrook shine, there's hope for the Jaguars on offense. But it's hard to trust Fournette at this point, and the Jags also lack an accomplished weapon in his prime. That'll make it tough on Foles.

28. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Willie Snead IV will play a big role in the Baltimore offense. Associated Press

Lamar Jackson needs help if he's going to improve as a passer in his second season, but the Baltimore Ravens quarterback lost his most accomplished receiver (Michael Crabtree) and his top deep threat (John Brown) in the offseason. That doesn't leave the cupboard bare, but Jackson lacks established weapons in a major way.

Andrews is coming off an impressive rookie season in which he accumulated 552 receiving yards despite starting just three games, while Hurst is a phenomenal athlete with Pro Bowl potential. Those two can save Jackson, but it's too early to tell if that'll happen. And the backfield and receiving corps leave a lot to be desired. 

27. Joe Flacco, Denver Broncos

Can Phillip Lindsay replicate his surprise rookie season? David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Joe Flacco has jumped from the Ravens to the Denver Broncos, where he might have a chance to revive his career in a new environment. Problem is, his weapons arsenal won't be significantly stronger than it was in Baltimore. 

The Broncos are praying that Lindsay truly is a diamond in the rough or that Freeman can take off. They're hoping that Sanders can bounce back or that Sutton or Hamilton can take a leap forward. And they're praying that Fant can make a significant impact early at a tough position for a rookie. There just aren't enough certainties for Flacco. 

26. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Golden Tate isn't likely to save the Giants. Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Eventually, longtime New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will hand the baton to rookie first-round pick Daniel Jones. But it's possible that won't happen this year, which might not be bad for Jones considering the lack of depth and talent plaguing the Giants at the pass-catching positions. 

Barkley is a stud, and there's hope for Engram. With those two, Tate and Shepard, Manning will have safety valves in the passing game. But there isn't a player who can pose a consistent deep threat out wide. 

25. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitzgerald hopes to keep rolling. Associated Press

Because new Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has no NFL background, nobody knows what No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray is walking into. And while the Cardinals have two well-established veterans in their offensive arsenal, Murray's supporting cast faces a lot of questions.  

The Cardinals will need another age-defying season from Fitz, and they'll need Johnson to rediscover that 2016 magic. Otherwise, Murray will be relying on far too many unproven skill-position players. 

24. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

Can John Brown help the Bills offense take a step forward? Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

The Buffalo Bills revamped their offense around quarterback Josh Allen this offseason, and as a result, a supporting cast that ranked 31st in this exercise last year has at least moved out of the bottom five. 

This could become a top-10 supporting cast, especially if Singletary becomes another Day 2 running back sensation and Allen can gain early chemistry with playmakers Brown and Kroft. But the Bills still lack a star in his prime, and there's a lot up in the air with big adjustments looming. 

23. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

N'Keal Harry might face immediate pressure to perform in New England. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Rob Gronkowski might have declined late in his career, but New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will still dearly miss his freshly retired tight end. Gronk came up big in the playoffs and was a constant matchup and game-planning nightmare for opposing defenses, and Brady's supporting cast was already a little thin before he stepped away.

The Patriots always find a way to get the most out of players who didn't cut it elsewhere, and it'll probably be no different this year. But that doesn't change the fact that Brady's supporting cast appears to be subpar. 

22. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Mixon is on the right track in Cincinnati. John Minchillo/Associated Press

For years, the key to Andy Dalton's supporting cast with the Cincinnati Bengals has been star receiver A.J. Green. And while a pair of other intriguing weapons emerged for Dalton in 2018, the Bengals' arsenal remains top-heavy. 

Maybe Boyd is becoming a star, and maybe Ross can still come through. Maybe Mixon is the real deal. But even still, Green is on the wrong side of 30 and coming off toe surgery. He might never be the same. The Bengals are relying on too many "ifs" around Dalton, though there's still enough talent to keep them out of the bottom 10.

21. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

JuJu Smith-Schuster is Pittsburgh's great hope this offseason. Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown might have formed the leading offensive triumvirate in the NFL this century, but that era is essentially over now that Bell is a Jet and Brown is an Oakland Raider. Suddenly, Big Ben's supporting cast is below the NFL median. 

Smith-Schuster and Conner don't make this a good weapons arsenal, but nobody else jumps out at you. Even those two face questions entering important third seasons. Roethlisberger might have to do more heavy lifting than he's used to in 2019. 

20. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Christian McCaffrey took a big leap as a sophomore. Chuck Burton/Associated Press

TGFCM. That's "thank goodness for Christian McCaffrey," who was the Carolina Panthers' top rusher and receiver in a breakout sophomore season at running back. The 23-year-old has already become a star, but questions surround the remainder of quarterback Cam Newton's supporting cast. 

McCaffrey, Moore and Olsen could form one hell of a trio, but that would require Moore to avoid a sophomore slump, and there's plenty of reason to wonder if Olsen is toast. The rest of Carolina's offensive skill-position core is pretty "meh."

19. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry has become a special player in Tennessee. Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

It might be a make-or-break contract year for Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, who has several intriguing offensive weapons but a supporting cast that could be really good or really bad in 2019. 

Those tight end injuries are a concern, but the talent there is satisfactory. And Henry is at least an asset. With solid receiver depth, Davis' 2019 performance will likely determine if the Titans have an above- or below-average arsenal of offensive skill-position players this year.

18. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Tyler Lockett was remarkable in 2018. Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is a football magician, which is why his team is likely to contend again in 2019 even though the receiving corps took a big hit when veteran starter Doug Baldwin retired as a result of injuries. Wilson quite simply doesn't have an abundance of weapons. 

Carson, Penny and Lockett are superb players, and there's hope for Metcalf in 2019. But those backs don't have large samples, Lockett could regress and Metcalf might also struggle to transition quickly. This unit has a high ceiling but a low floor. 

17. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans is one of the league's top receivers. Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Like Mariota, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is probably facing a make-or-break option year as 2020 free agency looms. The good news is he should continue to benefit from one of the best pass-catching groups in the league. 

They should have done more to address the running game, and they'll miss Humphries as a potential security blanket. Still, Evans is a dominant force, and those tight ends will make Winston's life a lot easier. Altogether, this unit belongs in the middle of the pack. 

16. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

Antonio Brown immediately makes the Oakland offense better. Eric Risberg/Associated Press

The Oakland Raiders take a lot of heat, but quarterback Derek Carr's transformed supporting cast is undeniably at least a middle-of-the-pack unit heading into 2019. 

The Raiders lose some points because they oddly let Cook go, Jacobs is still a wild card with a small college sample and Brown's prime might be behind him. They might also wish they were deeper at receiver. Still, few teams have a trio with the potential and accolades of Jacobs, Brown and Williams. 

15. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

The Texans are hoping Keke Coutee can step it up. David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is incredibly lucky to count DeAndre Hopkins as a teammate. But Watson would probably be in big trouble without Hopkins. That's problematic when teams are able to limit his production, as the Indianapolis Colts did in last year's playoffs; Hopkins was held to 37 yards, and the Texans scored just seven points. 

Ultimately the Texans might be too reliant on Watson and his sole top-notch pass-catcher, Hopkins. They score some points for upside at wideout (Fuller and Coutee have high ceilings) and for Miller's experience, but this is an average unit altogether. 

14. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Will this be a breakout year for Aaron Jones? Mike Roemer/Associated Press

Much has been made of the lack of support for Aaron Rodgers in the Green Bay Packers' offense during recent years, but it's not as though he's got a bare cupboard.

If something happens to Adams—or, to a lesser extent, Jones—the Packers offense could be in big trouble. But a good combination of established talent and upside surrounds Rodgers. If that core stays healthy, the quarterback and his supporting cast won't likely be an issue. 

13. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

Tarik Cohen is a focal point of the Chicago offense. Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky lacks an elite pass-catcher, but catch-happy running back Tarik Cohen was one of four Bears weapons to gain 500-plus receiving yards in 2018. Matt Nagy's offensive unit is one of the deepest in the NFL. 

While the group surrounding Trubisky might not contain a superstar, it's deep and loaded with proven talent and upside. 

12. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

Damien Williams might have to carry the Kansas City running game. Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Just a year ago, yours truly ranked Patrick Mahomes' supporting cast as the best in the NFL. And while Mahomes is coming off an MVP sophomore season, a lot has since changed with that Kansas City Chiefs offense. 

It looks as though Hill might return, with NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reporting recently that, "barring further developments," he should be back for training camp. If he and Kelce are active, this is automatically a top-10 supporting cast from a talent standpoint. But there's not a lot else to get excited about, and it's hard to trust Hill right now. 

11. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Kerryon Johnson helped revive the Detroit running game in 2018. Duane Burleson/Associated Press

For basically the first time in the Matthew Stafford era, the Detroit Lions look as though they have a strong running game. That, along with a wild degree of potential at wide receiver and tight end, gives Stafford's supporting cast a favorable ranking. 

Imagine if Johnson, Golladay and Hockenson pan out without much more of a delay. It'd be surprising at this point if the first two players don't make Pro Bowl runs in 2019, and those rising stars are supported by Jones, Amendola and James, as well as backs Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner and C.J. Anderson. This offense might be a ton of fun this season.

10. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Adam Thielen is coming off a huge season in Minnesota. Jim Mone/Associated Press

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is lucky enough to have one of the best one-two receiver punches in the league at his disposal, and the Vikings front office has also given him some quality weapons at running back and tight end. 

The lack of depth at receiver and lingering questions about Cook's durability are what keep the Vikes at the bottom of the top 10 despite the Thielen-Diggs dynamic. 

9. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Zach Ertz put together a historic 2018 season in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is looking to make it through a full season for the first time since he was a rookie in 2016. If that happens, an upgraded supporting cast could give him a chance to rejoin MVP conversations in 2019. 

The running game and the receiving corps are both good, not great, with plenty of promise at both positions. But few teams are as strong at tight end. That's enough for the Eagles to sneak into the top 10 here.

8. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott is the top offensive weapon in Dallas. Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

There were indications last season that the Dallas Cowboys might have a new set of triplets, as quarterback Dak Prescott experienced an uptick in production as a result of lights-out play from top weapons Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper. 

The Cowboys would benefit from a little more depth and could use an upgrade at tight end, but Cooper and Elliott alone make this a top-12 supporting cast. Neither has turned 25, and both should be in for monster seasons in 2019.

7. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

George Kittle made history in 2018. Josie Lepe/Associated Press

They're still trying to sort out who'll lead the way at wide receiver and running back, but there might not be a deeper skill-position group in the NFL than the one that belongs to the Jimmy Garoppolo-quarterbacked San Francisco 49ers. 

A lot still has to happen in San Francisco, which is why it's not as easy to see this supporting cast as complete, or even particularly strong. But the odds are in the 49ers' favor simply because the team has so many talented weapons surrounding Garoppolo at all three offensive skill positions. It's easy to see Coleman, Pettis and Kittle becoming a three-headed monster, but dozens of plausible alternatives also exist. 

6. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

T.Y. Hilton remains the top weapon in Indy. Darron Cummings/Associated Press

While they might not be as deep at the offensive skill positions as the San Francisco 49ers, a running back-wide receiver-tight end trio of Marlon Mack, T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron gives the Indianapolis Colts an edge.

Mack and Ebron will have to prove they can sustain their production, but Indianapolis does have insurance if either fails to do so. They're looking better than they have in years at wide receiver after getting Hilton more support. 

5. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Julio Jones is coming off yet another monster season. John Bazemore/Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons might have the best wide receiver trio in the NFL, but questions at running back prevent them from jumping into the top tier of these rankings.

If those four pass-catchers keep rolling and Freeman is able to bounce back in his age-27 season, Ryan could actually have the best supporting cast in the league. But there's a lack of depth beyond those five players, and it's fair to be concerned about the lead carrier in the backfield. 

4. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are counting on Mike Williams to take another step forward. Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The key is obviously to have elite top-end talent but also be deep, and that's something these top four supporting casts have in common, starting with a Los Angeles Chargers squad that has plenty of options for quarterback Philip Rivers.

Gordon and Ekeler are particularly supportive of Rivers because they're major pass-catchers who combined for 894 receiving yards and seven touchdown receptions in 2018. Meanwhile, it wouldn't be surprising at all if Allen and Williams became one of the top receiver duos in the league. Throw in Henry's return, and there's a lot to love about this supporting cast. 

3. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

Todd Gurley's knee will be a focal point in 2019. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Now we reach a point at which little separates these supporting casts. These top three teams are completely stacked and talented at all three offensive skill positions surrounding the quarterback, and they could be ranked in any order. The Los Angeles Rams only fall into the third spot because there are some injury concerns surrounding their best offensive player. 

We got evidence late last year that the Rams running game can still be effective without riding Gurley to a point of exhaustion, and it's possible he'll still flourish in a less intense role. If that happens, Kupp returns and either tight end can rise up, this might be the best supporting cast in the NFL. But it's unlikely all of that happens, so for now they're the second runner-up. 

2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Alvin Kamara's career has gotten off to an incredible start. Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

A 39-year-old Drew Brees was the league's highest-rated passer in 2018, thanks at least in part to one of the NFL's best supporting casts. Wildly, that cast might be even better in 2019. 

There isn't a duo in this league quite like Kamara and Thomas, but the Saints are also pretty deep and should benefit from Cook's arrival. That's enough to be viewed as the best offense in the NFC. 

1. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

College teammates Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. form a heck of a new duo in Cleveland. Ron Schwane/Associated Press

When yours truly first made this list two years ago, the Cleveland Browns ranked 30th. Last year, they shot up to 14th. And now, as a testament to their much-hyped rebuild, they've moved all the way up to the top spot. Nobody knows if the Browns can live up to what's on paper in 2019, but the reality is that paper indicates quarterback Baker Mayfield has the most support in the league. How is this possible?

They're still counting on Njoku and Chubb, but both ceilings are high there, and the receiving corps is almost guaranteed to dominate. There isn't another supporting cast in the NFL with so much potential combined with so many accomplishments. 


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