Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and Darius Slayton will be a top-five QB-RB-WR trio in the NFL in 2020.
John Schmeelk: Fiction -- This trio can get there one day but to reach that level in year two for Daniel Jones and Darius Slayton is probably asking a bit much. With free agency pending, we still don't know how other rosters are going to look, but here are some teams that will be in the conversation:
- Saints: Brees, Kamara, Thomas
- Cowboys: Prescott, Elliott, Cooper
- Eagles: Wentz, Sanders, TBD
- Falcons: Ryan, Freeman (TBD), Jones
- Vikings: Cousins, Cook, Thielen/Diggs
- Seahawks: Wilson, Carson, Lockett
- Steelers: Roethlisberger, Connor, Smith-Schuster
- Ravens: Jackson, Ingram, Brown
- Browns: Mayfield, Chubb, Beckham
- Bengals: TBD, Mixon, Green
- Chiefs: Mahomes, Williams, Hill
Not all of those combinations will end up being in place after free agency and the draft, but odds are more than five will be that are more proven trios than Jones-Barkley-Slayton. Barkley is obviously a top player at his position, but Jones and Slayton are still developing.
Dan Salomone: Fact – No rookie threw more touchdowns than Daniel Jones. No rookie caught more touchdowns than Darius Slayton. Only Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James had more yards from scrimmage than Barkley in their rookie seasons – in NFL history. Something tells me this trio is into something good.
Lance Medow: Fiction -- It's hard to respond to this statement since we have no idea how free agency will play out and impact some of the best trios in the NFL. With that being said, Jones is only entering his second year in the league and will be learning a new offense and the same can be said for Slayton. While there's plenty of potential and upside within that group, I think it's a bit early to place them in the top-five in the league. When you look at the NFC, the Cowboys, Packers, Vikings, Panthers and Saints all have proven trios, as do the Ravens, Texans and Chiefs.
Combining free agency and the draft, offensive tackle is the deepest position available this offseason.
Schmeelk: Fiction -- The top of the offensive tackle draft class is very strong (Mekhi Becton, Michael Thomas, Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs), as is the free agent class (Jack Conklin, Anthony Costanzo, Andrew Whitworth, Jason Peters), but I wouldn't describe it as deep. There just aren't a lot of top offensive tackles that are readily available in free agency and the draft. There's a reason it is a premium position.
The wide receiver free agent class isn't tremendously deep past Amari Cooper, Emmanuel Sanders, A.J. Green, Randall Cobb and Robbie Anderson, but the draft class is so deep it puts that position group over the top. It is no exaggeration to suggest there could be wide receivers ready to start in Week One available in the fourth round. That just doesn't happen every year. Therefore, I am going wide receiver due to the depth of the draft class.
Salomone: Fiction – It's the quarterbacks. Just look at the names: Joe Burrow, Dak Prescott, Tua Tagovailoa, Philip Rivers, Justin Herbert, Drew Brees and, oh, some guy named Tom Brady. The 2020 QB carousel is a sight to behold.
Medow: Fact -- Here's some of the top offensive tackles that are expected to hit the market: Jason Peters (Eagles), Jack Conklin (Titans), Anthony Castonzo (Colts), Andrew Whitworth (Rams), Bryan Bulaga (Packers). In addition to that list, it appears Trent Williams (Redskins) will be available via trade, so if you're a team looking to upgrade or fill a void at tackle, there will be several options. Then there's this year's draft class, which could see a handful of linemen, especially tackles, go in round one, led by Louisville's Mekhi Becton.
NFL.com ranks the top 101 players in the 2020 free agency cycle.
Versatility is more valuable than sheer dominance at one position these days.
Schmeelk: Fiction -- If there is a true shut down corner or unstoppable pass rusher who isn't so great at tackling or run defense, give me that player over someone that is a jack of all trades but a master of none. Truly dominant players in the NFL are the hardest to come by and that would be my priority, even with the growing importance of versatile players at different positions.
Salomone: Fact – I wrote about this during the past few combines. "Position-less" is not a dirty word anymore. The old adage was if you had two positions, you didn't have one. Times have changed. "Versatility" was the most common word uttered at the podium during media day in Indianapolis. It's now a selling point, not a flaw.
Medow: Fiction -- There's a common phrase: "jack of all trades, master of none" and it's very fitting to this conversation. While in today's NFL, versatility is beneficial given the creativity in schemes, I think if you give most coaches a dominant pass rusher, left tackle or cover corner, they'll have nothing to complain about. If a player on your roster can dominate at one position, that's one less concern you have as a coach and provides the flexibility to assign help or attention elsewhere.
The NFC East will undergo the biggest change in the conference this offseason.
Schmeelk: Fact -- Sorry, no Fiction-Slam today from me. The NFC East is in a state of flux with three new head coaches (Cowboys – Mike McCarthy, Redskins – Ron Rivera and an eventual new GM, Giants – Joe Judge) and two teams selecting in the top four of the draft. New head coaches bring change.
The Giants have some of the most available cap space to allocate during free agency to help the team improve. The Dallas Cowboys also have a surplus of cap space and a number of high caliber free agents, such as Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Byron Jones and Robert Quinn. The Eagles are projected to have more than $40 million of cap space, and the Redskins could have more than $60 million. The NFC East will look very different in 2020.
Salomone: Fact – For a division that has not produced a repeat winner since 2004, we shouldn't expect anything less. In addition to three coaching changes, two teams – the Giants and Redskins – have top four picks that will define their futures. The NFC East is up for grabs.
Medow: Fact -- Unlike the three other divisions in the NFC, the East will have three new head coaches (Joe Judge, Mike McCarthy, Ron Rivera) and staffs during the 2020 season. That alone means this division will undergo the biggest change. Two (Eagles, Redskins) of the four teams will likely have new left tackles and three of the four will have new offensive schemes. The other three divisions don't come close to that level of overhaul.