NFL News & Analysis

Strongest, weakest position groups after free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft

2TCFT4C Chicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore (2) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

• The Bears' WR group is now the NFL's best: Once a unit lacking star power, Chicago's wide receiver room is now led by DJ Moore, Keenan Allen and rookie Rome Odunze.

• The Browns continue to field the top defensive line: Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Myles Garrett headlines a group that now includes second-round rookie Michael Hall Jr.

• Check out PFF's fantasy football rankings: PFF’s fantasy football rankings include ranks from our experts, projections and our strength of schedule metric.

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes


Three months after a thrilling overtime Super Bowl ending in the Kansas City Chiefs yet again hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, NFL teams have been hard at work rebuilding their rosters, bolstering position groups and executing trades.

We’ll take a look at what teams are strongest and weakest at each position group heading into the 2024 NFL season.


Quarterbacks

Strongest: Kansas City Chiefs

Shockingly, the team with the best quarterback in the NFL is also the one with the strongest quarterback room. While backups can lead a team to the playoffs and even win the Super Bowl, such occurrences are rare. As former Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore once said in response to not giving practice reps to Peyton Manning’s backup, “If 18 goes down, we’re (screwed).”

Patrick Mahomes has won two NFL MVPs, three Super Bowls and three Super Bowl MVPs in just the past five years. There is no debate about who the best quarterback in the NFL is. While Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and others can be in the conversation for the top spot, Mahomes’ 94.0 passing grade tops all quarterbacks since he became the Chiefs' starter in 2018.

Weakest: Las Vegas Raiders

Unfortunately for the Raiders, they live in a division dominated by two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. While the division rival Denver Broncos were in contention for this spot, Las Vegas did very little to improve the room for the 2024 season. Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell will compete for the starting job, which doesn't spark much excitement for a fanbase that has yet to see a legit contender in Vegas.


Running Backs

Strongest: Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens added Derrick Henry to an already productive room. Pairing Henry with the lightning-fast Keaton Mitchell and the underrated Justice Hill gives Baltimore a diverse backfield to punish opposing defenses, with Henry bulldozing through defensive lines, Mitchell speeding past tacklers and Hill spelling the future Hall of Famer.

Weakest: Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys were linked to multiple backs in the draft but came away with none. They instead re-signed Ezekiel Elliott a year after cutting him. They’ll likely utilize him in a committee approach with Rico Dowdle and Royce Freeman, which doesn’t inspire much confidence in the room.


Wide Receivers

Strongest: Chicago Bears

There are several contenders for the top wide receiver room, but the Bears' offseason moves push them to the top. Of course, they have to prove it on the field, but the combination of DJ Moore, Keenan Allen and rookie Rome Odunze make up a room with multiple skill sets and talents to beat opposing defenses. Moore and Allen ranked 10th and 11th, respectively, in PFF grade in 2023 and should only help each other thrive in 2024.

Weakest: New England Patriots

While the Patriots selected two receivers in the 2024 NFL Draft and signed K.J. Osborn in free agency, it’s a room that severely underachieved in 2023 and is relying on a second-round rookie for a boost. They return Demario Douglas (sixth-round rookie in 2023), Kendrick Bourne and JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Patriots could very well outperform expectations with a new coaching staff and better quarterback play, but it’s a room that has a lot to prove in 2024.

Click here to see Rome Odunze's 2024 NFL Draft profile.

Tight Ends

Strongest: San Francisco 49ers

Tight end rooms are generally dominated by one player. We saw the Buffalo Bills draft Dalton Kincaid in 2023, adding him to a group that already had a productive tight end in Dawson Knox. What ensued was a significant decrease in targets for Knox as Kincaid took over the top spot.

The 49ers earn the “strongest” title because George Kittle is arguably the best tight end in the NFL right now. Travis Kelce is almost 35 years old and still productive, but we saw a decline in his play in 2023. Kittle’s 87.7 grade last year was tops in the NFL as he excelled as a receiver and a run blocker. While Kittle will turn 31 in 2024, he’s still playing at an extremely high level.

Weakest: Denver Broncos

A room that features Adam Trautman as the top tight end is concerning. His 53.2 PFF grade in 2023 ranked 57th out of 72 eligible players, as he caught just 22 passes for 204 yards in 2023. The Broncos didn’t add a tight end in the draft nor did they make a move for one in free agency. Rookie quarterback Bo Nix will likely target the position very little in 2024.


Offensive Line

Strongest: Detroit Lions

The Lions take the top spot despite the Philadelphia Eagles having had a stranglehold on that ranking for years before Jason Kelce retired this offseason. Center Frank Ragnow and right tackle Penei Sewell are the top-ranked players at their respective positions, while Graham Glasgow and Taylor Decker also place top 10 at their positions. This is an extremely stout unit that now boasts Kevin Zeitler, whose 71.6 PFF grade in 2023 ranked 15th among guards.

Weakest: New York Giants

Even after earning the worst offensive line grade of any team in 2023, the Giants did very little to improve their unit this offseason. The group recorded a 44.6 PFF grade last year and will hope a fully healthy Andrew Thomas and the additions of guard Jon Runyan (56.5 PFF grade in 2023) and tackle Jermaine Eluemunor (68.7) can provide a boost.


Defensive Line

Strongest: Cleveland Browns

A unit led by the NFL's best defensive player in Myles Garrett, the Browns' defensive line terrorized opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines in 2023. They brought back the productive pieces of the group, added pass-rush specialist Quinton Jefferson (73.2 pass-rush grade in 2023) and selected Michael Hall Jr. in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft. While the group was inconsistent against the run, no team was better at rushing the quarterback in 2023.

Weakest: Chicago Bears

The Bears' defensive line is led by Montez Sweat’s 74.8 overall grade, but after him, it’s a unit that sorely lacks depth and impact players. Andrew Billings 66.3 grade is the next-best mark, and no other player graded above 60.0 in 2023.

Click here to see Michael Hall Jr.'s 2024 NFL Draft profile.

Linebackers

Strongest: San Francisco 49ers

The New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens have arguments for the strongest linebacker group, but Fred Warner‘s star power and Dre Greenlaw‘s consistency push the 49ers ahead. Warner has emerged as the best linebacker in the NFL over the past few years, as his 90.2 overall grade in 2023 attests to. Greenlaw complements Warner with a strong run defense and coverage skills. The 49ers' linebacker unit boasts an 89.7 overall grade over the past two years, showing the consistency of the two players roaming the middle of the field.

Weakest: Houston Texans

The Texans have the opposite of star power at linebacker, led by Christian Harris (64.9 PFF grade in 2023) and the newly signed Azeez Al-Shaair (64.7). Houston will need strong defensive line play to help a linebacker unit that has graded as the NFL's worst over the past two years.


Cornerbacks

Strongest: New York Jets

Until someone supplants Sauce Gardner as the best cornerback in the NFL, it’ll be hard to take this spot from the Jets in the coming years. A unit that PFF ranked No. 1 heading into 2023 retains that spot for 2024. Gardner has excellent teammates in D.J. Reed (77.9 PFF grade in 2023) and Michael Carter II (80.4), forming a unit that makes life difficult for opposing quarterbacks. The Jets cornerbacks' 91.5 overall grade and 92.7 coverage grade over the past two seasons are the best in the NFL.

Weakest: Arizona Cardinals

While the Cardinals have made strides to improve a roster that was weak overall, it’s still a work in progress. Arizona added Sean Murphy-Bunting in free agency and drafted three cornerbacks, including two in the top 100, in Max Melton and Elijah Jones. The unit still has a lot of questions heading into 2024.


Safeties

Strongest: Baltimore Ravens

Kyle Hamilton‘s excellent play shouldn’t overshadow the importance of Marcus Williams at the other safety spot. With those two earning PFF grades of 86.4 and 73.8, respectively, the Ravens have a formidable duo that can play off each other's strengths very well. Hamilton is a moveable chess piece and Williams can roam the middle of the field with excellent range. Baltimore's safety group posted a 93.5 coverage grade in 2023.

Weakest: Los Angeles Rams

A group that struggled in 2023 only looks weaker in 2024, as Kamren Curl (66.6 PFF grade in 2023) and Russ Yeast (57.0) are the lone safeties with experience on the roster. The Rams drafted Kamren Kinchens in the third round but will once again rely on late-round or undrafted players to step into big roles in 2024.

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