NFL.com writer Adam Schein named Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch as one of the nine most indispensable offensive players in the league in his June 11 article.
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is one of the NFL's most indispensable offensive players.
In his June 10 column on NFL.com entitled "The Schein Nine," NFL media columnist Adam Schein puts Lynch ninth on his list. Schein leaves out quarterbacks from his list to make things more interesting.
Instead, he takes into account other factors such as surrounding rosters and each player's impact on his team's record, per NFL.com.
Here are Schein's nine most indispensable NFL offensive players:
1. Adrian Peterson, running back, Minnesota Vikings
Schein starts off by comparing the Vikings to the Golden State Warriors, one of the protagonists in the 2015 NBA Finals. He doesn't believe Minnesota will make Super Bowl 50, but the team will be much improved because of the return of Peterson, the 2012 NFL MVP.
For Schein, Peterson affects everything the Vikings do. He can help the team win in the postseason. Without him, Minnesota is not a playoff contender.
The 30-year-old Peterson won't be affected by his age since he's an exceptional physical specimen. Sitting out all but one game during the 2014 NFL season due to legal troubles gives him time to rest and easing some of the pressure off second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, per Schein.
2. Rob Gronkowski, tight end, New England Patriots
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension due to his alleged involvement in the infamous "DeflateGate" scandal will give Gronkowski a chance to shine, especially with Jimmy Garoppolo taking over.
Schein believes Gronkowski's ability to create mismatches will help the Patriots stay competitive even without their leader. Schein dubs Gronkowski as "an unstoppable force at tight end."
Julian Edelman is the only legitimate receiver the Patriots have. Gronkowski will be New England's first option in the red zone in 2015, per NFL.com.
3. Julio Jones, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons
Schein presents one simple analogy: Without Julio Jones, the Atlanta Falcons are goners.
After Jones' 2013 NFL season ended abruptly in Week 5 with a season-ending foot injury, quarterback Matt Ryan threw a career-high 17 interceptions. That year, Atlanta was a woeful 4-12 and missed the postseason for the first time since 2010.
4. Odell Beckham, wide receiver, New York Giants
Schein says the New York Giants have major flaws entering the 2015 NFL season. The only reason they have hope is because of second-year wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
Schein labels Beckham's rookie year as "absolutely majestic." He recorded 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 12 games.
The Giants have to be concerend about Beckham's health. He sat out the first month of last season with a hamstring injury. Beckham recently sustained another hamstring injury which will keep him out until the beginning of training camp late next month.
5. Le'Veon Bell, running back, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell's impact on the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense is pretty similar to Julio Jones' in the Atlanta Falcons'.
Bell hyperextended his knee in Week 17 of last season, forcing him to sit out the AFC Wild Card Game against the Steelers' hated rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. Schein predicted the Ravens would win, and they did, 30-17.
Schein thinks Bell is a perfect complement to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Last April, the NFL suspended Bell for three games for violating its substance abuse policy. Pittsburgh might get off to a rought start, but should get things together when he comes back.
6. Jamal Charles, running back, Kansas City Chiefs
Entering the 2015 NFL season, Jamal Charles' 5.5 yards-per-carry average ranks as the second-highest in NFL history. He's also versatile as a receiver out of the backfield as he recorded five touchdown recpetions in 2014, per Schein.
Charles is a do-it-all player for the Chiefs. Schein says he likes Alex Smith, but he is not Kansas City's biggest offensive threat.
That distinction belongs to Charles, who aims to carry the Chiefs deep into the postseason.
7. A.J. Green, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals
Schein emphasizes he doesn't trust the Andy Dalton-Marvin Lewis teamup.
That being said, the Bengals have become playoff regulars in the last few seasons. Their biggest threat is wide receiver A.J. Green, who is entering his fifth year having registered four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
Without Green, the Bengals would not the be team they are now, per Schein.
8. Joe Thomas, tackle, Cleveland Browns
Schein says Thomas is the "rock and leader" of the Cleveland Browns.
Thomas is entering his ninth NFL season. He has started 128 games and has made eight consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. With these, Schein says he is "the most indispensable lineman in the game today."
9. Marshawn Lynch, running back, Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks have a dominating defense and a potential franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson. However, running back Marshawn Lynch is a big reason why Seattle is a perennial Super Bowl contender.
Lynch has averaged a very respectable 1,339 yards and 12 touchdowns the past four seasons, per Schein.
Schein stresses this is exactly the reason why he can't believe the Seahawks didn't give him the ball during the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots.
Lynch made headlines this week as he will be a featured villain in the video game "Call of Duty: Black Ops III."
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