At the end of the 2015 NFL season, who was the best free safety in the game? We're not talking about who made the Pro Bowl or even who got the All-Pro votes. Who was really, truly the best? Forget reputation and how much money each player makes. We want cold, hard analysis that comes from watching the games and grading the players.
That's what the B/R NFL 1000 is for, and it's back for another year.
The B/R 1000 metric is based heavily on scouting each player and grading the key criteria for each position. The criteria are weighted according to importance for a possible best score of 100.
Potential and career accomplishments are not taken into consideration.
Free safeties are judged on coverage (70 points), run defense (10), tackling (10) and the overall value of the position relative to the other spots on the field (eight points). The maximum score for this position is 98.
Because NFL safeties often split time between both free safety and strong safety, we determined that players eligible to be ranked at free safety must have started at least 50 percent of their games played at that position.
In the case of ties, our team asked, "Which player would I rather have on my team?" and set the rankings accordingly.
Subjective? Yes, but ties are no fun.
A team of experienced evaluators (Dan Bazal, Luke Easterling, Cian Fahey, Adam Heisler, Duke Manyweather, Matt Miller and Marshal Miller) scouted each player with these key criteria in mind. The following scouting reports and grades are the work of months of film study from our team.