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Offensive player rankings, Week 4: Odell Beckham cracks list

*With the 2017 NFL season underway, former No. 1 overall pick and NFL Network analyst David Carr takes a look at all offensive players and ranks his top 15. For the first quarter of the season, the rankings are based on a combination of: *

1) Player accomplishments prior to the 2017 season.
2) Weekly performances while considering strength of opponent.

Rankings will be solely based on this season's efforts starting with the Week 5 edition. Now, let's get to it -- the Week 4 pecking order is below.

NOTE: Arrows reflect changes from last week's rankings.

Without Brady, New England doesn't beat the Texans. The defense didn't play very well, but like we've seen time and time again, Brady was left with too much time on the clock. On top of leading the game-winning drive, Brady finished with 378 passing yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions and a 146.2 passer rating.

Brown quietly had another routine performance, with 10 catches for 110 yards and his first touchdown of the season. He consistently finds ways to get open, regardless of coverage, and is a matchup nightmare. He was the bright spot of Pittsburgh's loss to Chicago.

Like New England, there's no way Green Bay would've -- or should've -- won its game without its star quarterback. In fact, the Packers might have been shut out by the Bengals, what with the O-line play and injuries. But Rodgers, who was 0-7 in overtime contests coming into Sunday, made big plays when he needed to and prevented his team from falling behind in the NFC North race.

After watching Jones for the first three weeks, I think I would honestly throw the ball to him every down. No one can stop this guy. He had seven receptions for 91 yards against the Lions, and he could've had plenty more. I think when new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian gets comfortable and really realizes what he has with this receiver, Jones will get even more targets.

The rookie continues to climb the ranks, because he hasn't let up since his monster performance in Week 1. After racking up 172 rushing yards (and an 11-yard catch) against the Chargers, Hunt leads the NFL in rushing yards (401), scrimmage yards (538) and yards per carry (8.53) through Week 3. What is he going to do next week?

Sorry, bro, but Sunday's performance in the loss to Washington forced me to drop you down the list. I do still think my brother is a top-five quarterback, and that the outing was an anomaly -- 118 passing yards, one TD, two INTs and a 52.9 passer rating, the third lowest in his 50 career starts. The offensive line didn't play great, as Derek was sacked four times, but that's no excuse. The Raiders looked flat from start to finish.

Gronk gets open against every defender except for Eric Berry ( as we've discussed before). Teams will have to start getting creative with how they cover the Patriots TE, or there will be more weeks like the last two (Gronk has 14 catches for 205 passing yards and two TDs since Week 2). I think his numbers will only increase as other weapons start getting comfortable in this offense.

With his team at risk of starting 0-3, the Saints' leader was excellent against a really good Panthers defense with limited weapons. Brees had just 29 passing attempts but had three touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 131.4 passer rating. Maybe this win will get the Saints trending in the right direction.

Although the Falcons are one of two 3-0 teams, Ryan didn't have a great day against Detroit. For the first time since Week 11 of 2015, Ryan threw three interceptions, snapping his streak of nine consecutive games without a pick (including the 2016 playoffs). Turnovers aside, Ryan made the big plays when he had to and played solidly against a good defensive unit.

We're all finding out that the Bears' defense is a pretty salty group. Roethlisberger falls because he didn't make nearly as many plays as he's made the last few weeks. He went 0 for 4 in passes over 40 yards Sunday and also struggled somewhat on his intermediate throws. To me, it looked like he was forcing the ball downfield a bit too much.

Beckham jumpstarted the Giants' offense by showing up healthy. His improved health was great to see, and the other offensive weapons improved because of it. Beckham totaled nine catches for 79 yards and two pretty incredible touchdown receptions. He reached 300 career receptions in 45 games, fewer than any other player in NFL history -- just ahead of Anquan Boldin's 300 catches in 47 games. If he shows up like this going forward, the Giants won't be winless for long.

Bell's a special talent, but he hasn't been able to hit his stride thus far in 2017. Bell has failed to crack 100-plus scrimmage yards in all three games this season, recording 15 carries for 61 yards and six catches for 37 yards against the Bears. The Steelers' offense has had tough down-and-distance situations, due to Roethlisberger's struggles with deep throws.

Stafford was just 6 inches away from another fourth-quarter comeback, but I won't let a crazy ending that didn't work out in his favor drop him out of my top 15. His stats weren't overly impressive Sunday, except for this one: Per Next Gen Stats, Stafford thew 33.3 percent of his passes into tight windows, which was the second-highest rate of Week 3. ( Side note: He led all QBs in tight-window throws with 42.9 percent in Week 2.) But here's the biggest takeaway from this game: Stafford looks comfortable playing in high-pressure situations.

After another good performance, Smith ranks first among NFL quarterbacks in completion percentage (77.4) and passer rating (132.7) and is second in TD-to-INT ratio (7:0). He keeps winning, pushing the ball downfield, and is leading a really good, balanced football team.

Diggs is playing great right now -- this is similar to his start in 2016 before he was hurt. Diggs jelled with Sam Bradford under center, but he's continued to impress with Bradford out, posting two TD receptions with Case Keenum getting the start Sunday. Diggs totaled 173 receiving yards, second most by any player in a game this season. He's a good playmaker with great routes. Out of all receivers, he's my favorite player to watch in routes, because he's such a technician.

Dropped out: Kelechi Osemele, OG, Raiders (previously No. 10); Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders (15).


Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears: Coming off a rookie season in which he finished second in rushing yards, Howard is coming into his own. A lot is asked of him, and he continues to perform, recording 23 carries for 138 yards and two TDs on Sunday. Howard was also the Bears' leading receiver against the Steelers with five catches for 26 yards. I was impressed when he put the team on his back in OT.

Chris Thompson, RB, Washington Redskins: It's amazing that Thompson is not Washington's starting running back. He's a smaller guy (5-foot-8, 191 pounds), and I understand he's not built to carry the ball 25-30 times a game. But he's dynamic, and the staff must find ways to give him the ball -- like they did in Sunday's upset of Oakland -- because he's electric. Thompson had eight carries for 38 yards and six receptions for a whopping 150 yards and one TD. Give this guy the rock, and the Redskins will be in good shape.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: As a back who can run between the tackles, catch and run and make big plays, he'll be on my list before too long. 

Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams: He's coming off arguably the best game of his career, going 22-for-28 for 292 passing yards, three TDs and a 145.8 passer rating. Even through three games, we've seen the impact Sean McVay's had on Goff.

Follow David Carr on Twitter @DCarr8.

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