- Sep 28, 2014
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- Chicago, IL
1. QB LAMAR JACKSON, BALTIMORE RAVENS
2. QB GENO SMITH, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
3. QB TOM BRADY, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
4. DI JAVON HARGRAVE, PHILADELPHIA EAGLESHargrave moved from western Pennsylvania over to the East Coast during 2020 free agency and has been a force in Philadelphia, blossoming into one of the elite interior pass-rushers in the NFL over the past few seasons. Since 2020, Hargrave’s 92.2 pass-rush grade trails only Aaron Donald and Chris Jones at the position, with his 18.8% pass-rush win rate also ranking third.
Hargrave will be 30 years old for the 2023 season, but we’ve seen many interior defenders maintain longevity well into their 30s recently. Hargrave is also intriguing, as different responsibilities between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have led to interesting splits as a run defender or pass rusher. His run-defense grades were much better in his first stop, but it seems he can excel at whatever is asked of him, which is good to know for interested teams that likely don’t frequently deploy a five-man front and do a lot of the other exotic things Philadelphia does up front.
5. S JESSIE BATES III, CINCINNATI BENGALSIt appears far more likely Bates will reach unrestricted free agency this time around after Cincinnati placed the franchise tag on him last offseason and never made a serious multi-year offer.
His 76.8 PFF grade this season ranked 13th at the position, his 84.8 run-defense grade was a top-five mark. This year marked Bates' fifth 1,000-plus-snap season in as many years as an NFL player, pairing his above-average skill set with remarkable reliability. He ranks behind only Kevin Byard in regular-season snaps played among safeties since 2018.
6. CB JAMEL DEAN, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERSFellow Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davisreturned to the team this offseason on a three-year, $44.5 million contract that could serve as something of a benchmark to clear for Dean wherever he potentially ends up. Dean carries some injury history but has outperformed Davis since entering the league in 2019, earning coverage grades above 75.0 in every season thus far:
|Player||Coverage Grade||Yds/Cov. Snap Allowed||Run-Defense Grade||Open-Target %|
7. LB LAVONTE DAVID, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERSOne of the best off-ball linebackers of his generation, David is still playing at an extremely high level and may benefit from New Orleans Saintslinebacker Demario Davis and Los Angeles Ramslinebacker Bobby Wagner playing very good football well into their 30s on recently signed contracts of their own. Potentially losing a step or two with age can be negated by elite play recognition and instincts, both of which David has in spades.
David’s 88.5 coverage grade this season ranked second among off-ball linebackers, and his elite 93.0 mark over the past four seasons is the top mark at the position.
8. WR JAKOBI MEYERS, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTSAfter every big-name wide receiver in the 2019 NFL Draft class who was set to hit free agency this offseason signed monster extensions before the year began, Meyers found himself as the top free agent at a position that is growing in importance (and value) every single week. Meyers was an undrafted free agent find of the Patriots in 2019 who has blossomed into a very good player, returning to New England in 2022 on a restricted free agent tender and comfortably outperforming all the other major investments the team made at the position over the past two offseasons.
New England may certainly try to keep Meyers around, likely letting Nelson Agholor reach free agency at the least, but they’ve also made it a habit of letting players walk after their rookie contract value is gone, notably with another former undrafted free agent in cornerback J.C. Jacksonlast offseason.
Meyers is predominantly a slot receiver but is certainly not just that, logging a little more than one-third of his snaps out wide. What he lacks in physical tools — his 4.63-second 40-yard dash ranks in the 14th percentile among wide receivers in PFF’s database — he more than makes up for with sharp route running and great hands. Over the past three seasons, his 3.1% drop rate ranks ninth among qualifying wide receivers, and at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he can use his frame to make contested catches. His 63.2% contested catch rate is a top-five mark among all wide receivers over the same span.
9. OT MIKE MCGLINCHEY, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERSMcGlinchey hasn’t quite lived up to his top-10 pick billing coming out of the 2018 NFL NFL Draft, but he is a quality starter at right tackle who has returned to form after suffering a torn quadriceps in 2021. He’s dealt with various minor injuries over the years but has done well to avoid missing much time overall.
McGlinchey is a perfect fit in Kyle Shanahan’s wide-zone rushing attack, with his 85.4 run-blocking grade since he entered the league a top-10 mark among tackles. He still has room to grow as a pass protector but notably dropped his pressure percentage allowed from 6.1% over his first three seasons to 5.1% over the past two.
10. OT ORLANDO BROWN JR., KANSAS CITY CHIEFSAfter threatening to hold out for the 2022 season following a franchise-tag saga that didn’t culminate in a long-term deal, Brown turned a slow start into a strong second half protecting quarterback Patrick Mahomes. From Week 10 to the end of the regular season, Brown’s 88.7 pass-blocking grade ranked third best among left tackles.
He may not become one of the game’s true top tackles given his much-maligned athletic limitations, but he’s a very reliable blindside protector who has succeeded in two diametrically opposed offensive schemes.
11. DI DARON PAYNE, WASHINGTON COMMANDERSPayne showed early in his NFL career that he could be a stout run defender from the nose tackle position, with his 86 defensive stops against the run the most in the NFL from 2018-20. And he has now continued to build on his pass-rush arsenal to the point where he’s a problem for interior offensive linemen trying to keep their quarterback upright. Payne has 95 quarterback pressures since the start of 2021, 10th most among interior defenders, with his 11.8% pass-rush win rate over the same span a very respectable figure on the inside.
Payne still needs to put all his tools together for a complete season where he’s a positive factor in both facets, and he’s shown he has the talent to do just that.
12. LB DAVID LONG, TENNESSEE TITANSThe Titans ask a lot of their off-ball linebackers, and Long can do it all. His 89.0 run-defense grade in 2022 ranked fourth at the position, with his 13 tackles for loss or no gain tied for 12th. Long plays a downhill, attacking brand of football that helps him blow up a lot of plays but also makes him particularly susceptible to over-committing on play-action passes and missing tackles when he takes a poor pursuit angle. Nevertheless, he is clearly an ascending young player contributing immensely to Tennessee’s defense that finished first in expected points added per rush allowed on the season.
The 2022 season was Long’s first as a full-time starter at middle linebacker, but he’s made the most of opportunities in the past. Over the past three seasons, his 19.8% pass-rush win rate and 23.8% pressure rate are both the second-best marks among off-ball linebackers with at least 100 pass-rush snaps over the span.
13. RB JOSH JACOBS, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
14. RB SAQUON BARKLEY, NEW YORK GIANTS
15. DI DALVIN TOMLINSON, MINNESOTA VIKINGS
16. CB JAMES BRADBERRY, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
17. CB CAM SUTTON, PITTSBURGH STEELERS
18. CB PATRICK PETERSON, MINNESOTA VIKINGS
19. S JORDAN POYER, BUFFALO BILLS
20. DI DRE'MONT JONES, DENVER BRONCOS
21. TE DALTON SCHULTZ, DALLAS COWBOYS
22. EDGE MARCUS DAVENPORT, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
23. DI ZACH ALLEN, ARIZONA CARDINALS
24. LB T.J. EDWARDS, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
25. LB TREMAINE EDMUNDS, BUFFALO BILLS
26. EDGE JADEVEON CLOWNEY, CLEVELAND BROWNS
27. CB JONATHAN JONES, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
28. S CHAUNCEY GARDNER-JOHNSON, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
29. OT KALEB MCGARY, ATLANTA FALCONS
30. LB GERMAINE PRATT, CINCINNATI BENGALS
31. OG BEN POWERS, BALTIMORE RAVENS
32. OG ISAAC SEUMALO, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
33. WR JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
34. TE MIKE GESICKI, MIAMI DOLPHINS
35. OT JAWAAN TAYLOR, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
36. LB BOBBY OKEREKE, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
37. EDGE MELVIN INGRAM III, MIAMI DOLPHINS
38. EDGE JUSTIN HOUSTON, BALTIMORE RAVENS
39. EDGE BRANDON GRAHAM, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
40. LB LEIGHTON VANDER ESCH, DALLAS COWBOYS
41. EDGE CHARLES OMENIHU, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
42. OT KELVIN BEACHUM, ARIZONA CARDINALS
43. DI SHELDON RANKINS, NEW YORK JETS
44. C ETHAN POCIC, CLEVELAND BROWNS
45. RB TONY POLLARD, DALLAS COWBOYS
46. S VONN BELL, CINCINNATI BENGALS
47. DI DAVID ONYEMATA, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
48. OG DALTON RISNER, DENVER BRONCOS
49. CB MARCUS PETERS, BALTIMORE RAVENS
50. TE EVAN ENGRAM, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Descriptions in link…
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