It's all relative, which is something that's often overlooked when NFL rosters are analyzed. Sure, Washington's Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen form a potentially lethal defensive tackle duo, but look around the league; the DT position is absolutely loaded with proven stars. It's easy to say Washington has a "good" or even "great" duo, but the fact is, it's only as good as it is relative to the league's other 31 units.
That might seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised what you can learn and how your opinions are adjusted by actually sitting down and objectively (to the best of your ability) grading and/or ranking each positional unit of all 32 teams. This is a project I've done (and kept updated) each of the past several offseasons, which has led to several interesting revelations, including the likely breakouts of teams such as the 2016 Raiders, 2017 Chargers, 2017 Jaguars, 2017 Eagles and 2018 Browns.
Here are position-by-position unit rankings for all 32 teams covering the 10 key offensive and defensive positions. At the end, an overall ranking is shown, which is a weighted consensus based on positional importance (being elite at quarterback is obviously more important than being elite at running back, for example). Positional value was a major driving force in determining the weighting. Note that these are 2019 rankings, not long-term outlooks.
Best quarterback units
1. New England Patriots: The Patriots have played in the AFC Championship Game each of the past eight seasons and Tom Brady is the primary reason why. Many have come and gone as threats for the top spot, but none have been able to sustain elite production the way Brady has over the years. Brian Hoyer is a good backup.
2. New Orleans Saints: An improved defense and balanced offensive playcalling have taken some pressure off Drew Brees in recent years, but he has been nothing short of exceptional when called upon. Brees has ranked no lower than third in completion percentage and no lower than seventh in YPA each of the past four seasons. Teddy Bridgewater is a terrific backup.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: I wouldn't throw a fit if you felt reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes should be first, but I was careful here not to overreact to a small sample and what could eventually go down as the best season of Mahomes' career. Regardless, it's fair to say Kansas City has the league's best long-term quarterback situation. Now 34, Chad Henne is a competent, albeit uninspiring backup.
Shakiest quarterback units
32. Denver Broncos: Joe Flacco and second-round pick Drew Lock will handle most of the 2019 snaps for this team. Flacco hasn't cleared 20 passing touchdowns in a season since 2014 and his 6.3 yards per attempt over the past four seasons is worst in the league. Of Lock, coach Vic Fangio recently said, "He's not a quarterback yet."
31. Miami Dolphins: Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen are battling for this gig. Fitzpatrick is as boom/bust as you'll find, pacing the league in YPA (9.6), but finishing worst in interception rate (4.9%) last season. There's still hope for 2018 first-rounder Rosen, but he was ditched by Arizona after struggling to a 55% completion rate, 5.8 YPA and 14 picks in 14 rookie-season games.
30. Washington Redskins: Veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy are competing with first-round pick Dwayne Haskins for this gig. Haskins is obviously an unknown, Keenum was one of the league's shakiest full-time starters last season (6.6 YPA, 62% completion percentage) and McCoy has thrown 65 regular-season passes over the past five seasons.