On Thursday, ESPN analytics writer Seth Walder published an article where he identified the five best players on every NFL team and then ranked them from best to worst.
It should be no surprise that the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs topped this list. The Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills rounded out the top five. The Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals were at the bottom.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
Roster core: QB Patrick Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce, DT Chris Jones, C Creed Humphrey, G Joe Thuney
Average core age: 28.6
It’d be very possible for another NFL team to have a better five-man core than the Chiefs if they were solely relying on Mahomes; the 27-year-old QB is a true star, but many rosters are loaded with young talent. But finding a core better than one with Mahomes, Kelce and Jones? That would be awfully tough. Having the league’s clear top quarterback, a high-end receiving threat and an elite interior pass-rusher is just too big an advantage for the Chiefs to rank anywhere but No. 1 overall.
We already knew that Pro Football Focus had ranked Mahomes, Kelce and Humphrey as the top players in their position groups, while ranking Jones second and Thuney fifth. On May 25, Arrowhead Pride’s Price Carter identified the same five Kansas City players as the team’s roster cornerstones.
And let’s be clear: Walder isn’t saying that the Chiefs have the best roster from top to bottom. Instead, he’s saying that Kansas City’s best five players are better than any other team’s best five. Based on their positional rankings, it would appear that if asked, PFF might come to the same conclusion.
Many believe that the team with the best roster will have the greatest chance of success. But by having last season’s Super Bowl winner (and loser) ranked first and third, Walder seems to making the case that having the best cornerstone players is even better.
Of course... having Mahomes (and head coach Andy Reid) is pretty nice, too.
Do the Chiefs still have the league’s best five-player core? If not, which team does have it? Let us know what you think!