On Friday, CBS Sports released its 2021 ranking of NFL triplets — that is, the league’s best quarterback-running back-receiver combos.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been near the top of this annual offseason ranking since 2018, when Patrick Mahomes, Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill were ranked ninth. In 2019, Mahomes, Damien Williams and Travis Kelce ranked second. One year ago, Mahomes, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Tyreek Hill topped the list. But for 2021, Jared Dubin ranks the Chiefs’ triplets behind the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones and Davante Adams.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (1.9)
QB: Patrick Mahomes RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire TE: Travis Kelce
Mahomes is still the best quarterback in the NFL. He may not have had the best 2020 season, but he’s got the most talent, and the most talent at his disposal. Andy Reid will put these guys in position to succeed, and succeed they will. Edwards-Helaire, billed as a perfect fit for Kansas City’s offense, did not necessarily look like one last year, but his skill as a pass-catcher should still make him a valuable contributor this season and beyond. Whether you want to use Kelce or Tyreek Hill for the pass-catcher spot, the Chiefs would still end up at or near the top of these rankings.
The Dallas Cowboys (Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper), Seattle Seahawks (Russell Wilson, Chris Carson and DK Metcalf) and Minnesota Vikings (Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson) round out 2021’s top 5.
It’s fascinating that after Dubin ranked Mahomes, Edwards-Helaire and Hill at the top of these rankings a year ago, he ranked them second (with Kelce instead of Hill) for 2021.
One might think that after putting so much faith in the rookie running back in 2020, Dubin might have been more gun-shy about him in 2021. As our Ron Kopp noted earlier this week, Edwards-Helaire was much less effective in the passing game than most expected he would be — and in his rookie season, substantially less effective as a receiver than previous Chiefs running backs.
But we must continue to remind ourselves that Edwards-Helaire’s 1,100 yards from scrimmage were in only 13 games — and Dubin, at least, believes that as a receiver, Edwards-Helaire will take a step forward in 2021.
That could indeed be the case. As Ron noted, the rookie back was used more as a dump-off receiver than as an offensive weapon. Should Kansas City do a better job of utilizing his talents, we could easily see a substantial improvement in his effectiveness as a receiver.
But it’s also likely that Edwards-Helaire will see some improvement in his ground game, too. The changes the Chiefs have made to their offensive line will likely make it easier for Edwards-Helaire to get the tough inside yardage — and improve the team’s offensive efficiency.