Expert Analysis

5/1/24

12 min read

Ranking NFL's Top 5 Offenses After 2024 Draft

San Francisco 49ers' Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk
San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) celebrates a big play with wide receivers Deebo Samuel (19) and Brandon Aiyuk (11) after the 49ers picked up a first down near the end zone against the Seattle Seahawks in the third quarter at Levi's Stadium on Dec. 10, 2023. (Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports)

The 2024 NFL Draft is complete, and rosters across the NFL are mostly set. This gives us a better idea of what teams could look like this season, and we can get a better idea of each team's quality and start to predict which one will be the best.

Today, we will predict the five best offenses in the league. This is a season-long prediction of the best overall units, and because we’re only selecting five, some offenses will be left off. Just because your favorite team is not on this list does not mean their offense will be bad. The 10th-best offense is still really good. 

Offense is more sustainable from year to year than defense, so there might not be much fluctuation at the top of this list compared with how these teams performed last season.

We’ll follow up with the top five defenses later in the week.

NFL's Top 5 Offenses after 2024 Draft

5. Buffalo Bills

Even with some roster turnover this offseason, it’s hard to predict that a Josh Allen-led offense will fall out of the top five. Last season, the Buffalo Bills finished third in offensive DVOA and fourth in EPA per play.

The midseason offensive coordinator switch from Ken Dorsey to Joe Brady saw the Bills' overall efficiency drop a bit. But it also came with a more sustainable game plan that should continue to grow as Brady gets a full offseason to design the offense.

Part of that drop was an emphasis on the short middle of the field, where Allen threw more often during the second half of the season. With that, Buffalo had a higher success rate. Those passes kept the ball out of danger. That played a part in limiting the turnovers from the first half of the season when Allen felt compelled to force the ball into tight windows on third down.

We could see the Bills evolve into the 2022-23 Chiefs offenses, which worked underneath and stayed efficient instead of trying to create explosive plays downfield. That could work for a receiving corps that now includes Khalil Shakir, Curtis Samuel and Keon Coleman.

All three can take the ball and run to create after the catch. The biggest issue might be finding out how to split the alignments of those receivers.

Shakir was one of the most explosive players on a per-reception basis last season but did most of his damage in the slot (2.21 yards per route run vs 0.58 out wide). Samuel’s best season was with Brady in Carolina when he played a slot-heavy role. Coleman’s best-projected role could be as a power slot, where his size and run-after-the-catch ability can be most successful.

Allen went from 44 percent of his passing yards after the catch under Dorsey to 47 percent under Brady. At the same time, Allen’s rate of completions that went for a first down or touchdown rose from 50.4 percent to 54 percent. 

The offensive coordinator change included a bigger emphasis on the running game, which should continue and allow the Bills to extend drives. This group includes James Cook, rookie Ray Davis and Allen. Allen had a higher scramble rate and double the number of designed runs with Brady.

That won't be how the Bills want to live on offense, but it will continue to be an area where Allen adds value. 


Los Angeles Rams wide receivers, from left, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua (17) celebrates with wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) and wide receiver Tutu Atwell (5). Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

4. Los Angeles Rams

By the end of 2023, the Los Angeles Rams had one of the league's best offenses. Coach Sean McVay reinvented the offense on the fly and adjusted how the Rams could attack opposing defenses.

They’ve continued to lean into that transition with the big bodies on the offensive line. They re-signed Kevin Dotson and added Jonah Jackson. Los Angeles will move Steve Avila to center, giving the team one of the league's biggest interior offensive lines.

That will lead to more power running up the middle, where the Rams found success last season. It also led to more play-action with heavier or more condensed formations.

McVay’s offense initially started as the under-center play-action base with the receivers in condensed splits. When the Rams traded for Matthew Stafford, their offense expanded horizontally with more empty formations and Stafford throwing down the field often. The shift has come back, with Stafford only using empty on 11.4 percent of plays in 2023. That rate was 20.2 percent in 2022 and 29.7 percent in 2021.

Recently, there have been fewer passing plays with five players running a route. That rate dropped to 71 percent from the mid-to-high 70s during the previous two seasons. Many of the four-man routes came off play-action — but from pistol, where the Rams added that element that meshed the shotgun passing game with the under-center run game.

Those pistol looks often came with a quick passing game — Stafford averaged 2.11 seconds to throw — but an evolution to add more downfield passing could create more explosive plays.

If there is a concern for this offense, it’s the lack of a true deep threat. Still, Stafford was seventh in EPA per play on throws of 15 or more air yards last season.

However the passing game is structured, with Stafford throwing to Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp, the Rams can keep their efficiency up. Stafford was third among quarterbacks in EPA per play last season. 

Los Angeles could also have a balance in efficiency with a strong run game behind that offensive line. Kyren Williams was one of the more effective backs last season — second in EPA per rush — as he bounced off defenders with the seventh-highest rate of yards after contact per attempt. The Rams liked Williams’s playing style so much that they drafted his clone in Blake Corum with a third-round pick. 

These two backs could have more running room with the bigger offensive line, and they should consistently break tackles at the second level. 


Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) and chief executive Clark Hunt hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports).

3. Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs weathered their toughest offensive season in the Patrick Mahomes era and still won the Super Bowl. Last year’s offense was 11th in EPA per play and eighth in DVOA. It was even worse through the second half of the season when it ranked 21st in EPA per play.

There are plenty of questions about Kansas City’s offense, but this team still has Mahomes. That’s always going to quell some concerns.

But there are also positive signs of improvement. After years of the low aDOT, ball-control passing offense on early downs, the Chiefs could be back to hunting for explosives. Kansas City signed Marquise Brown in free agency and drafted Xavier Worthy in the first round. 

Those two have similar skill sets — one the Chiefs haven’t had since they traded Tyreek Hill. Marquez Valdes-Scantling was supposed to bring a vertical element to the offense, but that never panned out. During his Chiefs career, Valdes-Scantling only averaged a yard per route run, with 0.86 yards per route run on the outside.

Brown and Worthy are field stretchers who can open up the underneath areas for Travis Kelce and Rashee Rice (whenever he is on the field) and convert on downfield targets.

Mahomes was just 28th in EPA per play on throws of 20 or more air yards last season. He also had the third-highest drop rate among quarterbacks on those throws. With just a little more consistent receiver play, the Chiefs could be back to banging out explosive plays deep down the field.

If that fails, there is still Kelce.

He could have a better season in 2024 despite turning 35 years old in August. Kelce started last season injured and missed the opening game against the Lions. After that, the Chiefs slow-played him in the offense until he was really needed down the stretch when the offense ran through Rice and Kelce in the playoffs.

He got his contract re-done, adding more guaranteed money in the next two seasons, and there does not appear to be any lingering concerns about Kelce’s health. He averaged 2.41 yards per route run in the playoffs after 1.92 in the regular season, which still ranked fourth among tight ends. 

The Chiefs have spent the past two seasons solving problems on offense, and now they’re building to be the ones creating problems for opposing defenses.


Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel greets Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) on the sideline. (Jim Rassol/The Palm Beach Post/USA TODAY-Sports).

2. Miami Dolphins

Even with how the past two seasons ended for the Miami Dolphins, they’ve spent most of that time as one of the league's best offenses. That should continue. What makes Miami’s offensive production so impressive is how it’s evolved in the two years under coach Mike McDaniel.

During the 2022 season, the Dolphins caught defenses off-guard with how fast the passing game could be. That ranged from the speed of the receivers to the quickness of Tua Tagovailoa’s release, which allowed the offense to target plays down the field faster than any other offense.

The Dolphins continued with their quick and explosive passing game last season and added a quick and explosive run game to the mix. Miami was third in EPA per dropback and first in EPA per rush. Only one other team was in the top five of both metrics.

Miami’s important skill position players will all return, and more potentially explosive players were added. Hill and Jaylen Waddle will remain the passing game's focus, making life easier for everyone around them.

Jonnu Smith was signed as a free agent to add more yards-after-the-catch ability from the tight end spot. Malik Washington, a receiver out of Virginia, was drafted in the sixth round and could have an immediate role in three-receiver sets.

On the ground, the Dolphins return Raheem Mostert, who led the league in rushing touchdowns, and De’Von Achane. Achane led all running backs in EPA per rush and averaged 7.8 yards per carry on 103 attempts as a rookie. Miami also drafted Tennessee’s Jaylen Wright, who ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the combine. 

The Dolphins' concerns center more on whether this offense can rely on a dropback passing game late in the season or when trailing late in games. That’s a legitimate concern, but it is more of an issue for Miami’s hopes as a title contender rather than for its place as one of the most productive offenses throughout the season.

That’s the balance Miami has to find. There’s been an element added to this offense each season, and if the Dolphins can find a way to adjust from the quick-hitting passes and outside run game, the offensive production could be a bigger factor at the end of the year.


1. San Francisco 49ers

With how much better the San Francisco 49ers' offense was than everyone else’s last season, there could be some major regression, and they would still have the NFL’s top offense. By offensive DVOA, there was the same gap between San Francisco and the next team as there was between the No. 2 team and the No. 8 team. 

Like McVay and the Rams, Kyle Shanahan's offense shifted a bit in scheme. There was less under-center play-action off the wide zone run game, which was what the Jimmy Garoppolo era thrived on. Instead, the deception was based more on the personnel before the snap than the run fake after it.

San Francisco still has the league’s most versatile set of offensive players, and Shanahan has weaponized that to a near-impossible-to-defend level.

Positional versatility is nice for a singular player, but if the other players are static, it doesn’t do much to help an offense. That’s not a problem because the 49ers have players like Christian McCaffrey, Kyle Juszczyk, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, who can line up anywhere on a given play.

McCaffrey’s acquisition changed the San Francisco offense midway through the 2022 season, and that blossomed into an Offensive Player of the Year award for the running back in 2023. In San Francisco's offense, McCaffrey can be an effective runner while being a receiving threat out of the backfield, from the slot or on the shuffle motion that combines the two.

Of course, it also helped that the 49ers have a quarterback who executed the offense to near perfection. Brock Purdy handled the schemed-up Garoppolo throws while adding more throws out-of-structure and down the field. Purdy was far and away the most efficient quarterback in football last season by EPA per play.

This might be the last year the 49ers are constructed in this exact way. There is a contract dispute for a Brandon Aiyuk extension, and Deebo Samuel was involved in trade rumors during the draft.

But as long as the 49ers go into this season with these players still in place — and even arguably if they lose one of them — it’s nearly impossible to say that any other offense will be definitively better.


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