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Jul. 09, 2019 - Michael Stewart

Top 3 Most Imporant Offensive Position in Football

Introduction: Today’s NFL has been deemed more of a passing game and the old school philosophy of ball control on the ground has somehow become a dying art. This made me start to think about it a little more and wondered how true this is based on individual and team success during the regular season and playoffs as well. The quarterback position has and will always be the most important position on the field (offensively) overall. So that makes 2nd place an interesting debate around the water fountain as some believe the wide receiver is by far more important than any other position. However; there are also many who would argue that the running back position is still the most important position offensively aside from the quarterback. After countless hours of research, I’ve come up with my own conclusion on the top 3 positions on offense and here are my findings:

  1. Quarterback: Previously mentioned as the top offensive position in football; which stands to reason why quarterbacks are the highest paid player on the field for the most part. Currently; the top 10 paid players in the NFL, the quarterback position holds all ten spots with Russell Wilson leading the way with an annual salary of $35M. In fact, the first non-quarterback to appear on the list is OLB Khalil Mack at #12 ($23.5M annually) and then Aaron Donald at #14 ($22.5M annually). Oddly enough, Tom Brady is not in the top 10, but perhaps we’ll leave that for another day to discuss. Quarterbacks are involved in more offensive play than anyone and have a direct connection to the outcome of an offensive play. You don’t need a franchise quarterback to warrant a successful team; although it wouldn’t hurt. In fact, teams have won Super Bowls with quarterbacks who were average in talent and/or production. The list is quite long as it includes Jim Plunkett, Jim McMahon, Doug Williams, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien, Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Joe Flacco and most recently Nick Foles. Although none of these quarterbacks are Canton bound, they all played a vital role to their team’s success despite not being elite at their position. It’s extremely rare for a team to win consistently if the quarterback performs poorly each week. The same can’t be said about any other position on offense.


  1. Running Backs: if the Quarterback dictates the most offensively, the running back is not far behind in terms of impacting the game. I’m referring to the elite ones here as in the history of the NFL, the running back position is heads and shoulder above any other offensive position in terms of total yards from scrimmage as evident of the top 100 players with the most total yards from scrimmage are running backs (Jerry Rice tied Le’Veon Bell at #100). Running backs are duel threats (rushing the receiving) and some can even hold their own in the blocking department. Over the last few season, the NFL has had a load of running backs display their talents such as Saquan Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara. All of these players are duel threats and can take over a game. In today’s NFL, when it appears teams are passing more, when you look at most of the elite teams in the league; they all have a running back or a running game, that can take over a game. A good example of this was the New England Patriots is Super Bowl 53 controlling the clock (33:10/26:50) with 154 yards on the ground for an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Beating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. Therefore; the running back is the second most important offensive player on the field.



  1. Left Tackle: This position has evolved dramatically over the last decade and with good reason. The Left tackle position protects the quarterback’s most vulnerable side (the blind side) and opens holes for the running back.  Some could argue that perhaps the Left Tackle position might be the most important position on offense. Having a solid and rock steady left tackle to keep the quarterback upright and productive is priceless; which is why the left tackle position is usually the highest paid position along the offensive line. Not only is the left tackle vital in the passing game, but it is also as important in the running game as well. Having a left tackle who is equally talented to both the run and pass is a commodity that every NFL team seeks.

Final Thoughts:  This list could be debatable as many could claim that the wide receiver should be in the top 3; while others could make claim that the center is the nucleus of the offensive line and everything starts there. Regardless; this list is based on my evaluation of today’s game and what I believe should be a blueprint for teams to follow to be successful on the offensive side of the ball. Next week, I’ll explore the top 3 positions on defense; which should create a friendly debate.