NFL1000: Ranking the Top 1,000 Players from Week 6

Doug Farrar@@BR_DougFarrar NFL Lead ScoutOctober 20, 2016

NFL1000: Ranking the Top 1,000 Players from Week 6

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    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers waged the shootout of the 2016 season in Week 6, with the Saints triumphing 41-38 at home. Drew Brees was on fire, bringing back echoes of his best seasons with a great performance, completing 34 of 49 passes for 465 yards, four touchdowns and one pick. That put him atop this week's NFL1000 rankings.

    Cam Newton was no slouch, either, though his postgame press conference optics left a lot to be desired. Newton completed 27 of 47 passes for 322 yards, two touchdowns and a pick—not the same level of production as Brees, but Brees doesn't have receivers who let him down at Newton's level. Newton leads a Panthers team standing at 1-5 after last year's 15-1 mark, and we're guessing his top-five ranking in this week's NFL1000 isn't likely to make him feel any better. 

    The names at the top of this week's NFL1000 are eminently familiar—Brees, Newton, Tyron Smith, Aaron Donald, Von Miller. But as you look down the list of the top 50 players, one thing becomes quite evident: Week 6 was a stellar week for safety play in the NFL. A whopping 11 safeties made the top 50 this week, starting with Cowboys safety Barry Church at 15th overall. It's the second straight week we've had Church in the top 20, and he's been a valuable part of Rod Marinelli's defense with his ability to combine run-stopping and intelligent intermediate coverage.

    Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod continues his stellar first season in Philadelphia's defense; over and over against Washington last Sunday, McLeod forced Kirk Cousins to look away from the targets he was covering.

    Arizona's D.J. Swearinger, who was known more for overaggressive whiffs than anything else during his time in Houston and Tampa Bay, has become a different player with the Cardinals. It's not particularly tough to intercept a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass these days, but Swearinger broke very well on several passes, including his pick at the end of the third quarter against the Jets on Monday night. The Cardinals acquired Swearinger last November, and he's added a lot to their aggressive defense.

    Miami free safety Isa Abdul-Quddus deserves more mentions, and he'll likely have more responsibility in pass coverage, with head coach Adam Gase telling reporters Reshad Jones, his batterymate in Miami's safety corps, will be out for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury. It's a huge hit to Miami's defenseJones is 39th overall in this week's NFL1000but Abdul-Quddus does provide much-needed consistency back there.

    A few other safeties in the top 50 are more familiar to the casual observer, such as New England's Devin McCourty, Green Bay's Morgan Burnett and Seattle's Earl Thomas. Thomas was a whirling dervish in the Seahawks' close win over the Falcons last Sunday; on play after play, he broke to the ball with his incredible closing speed to force incompletions and deliver big, perfectly timed hits. Thomas hasn't always been at his best this season, and he seemed to use that reality to whip himself into a unique frenzy against the NFL's top offense.

    Part of Bleacher Report's NFL1000 player-rating methodology is to look at our grades from week to week (as you, dear reader, can) and suss out which patterns are turning into trends and which are flukes in the relatively small sample size of an NFL season. There are many ways to dissect what the NFL presents on the field every week, and the NFL1000 goes as deep as any to tell you what's going on.

    With a 17-person crew of experienced evaluators, we'll comb through the game tapes each week to bring you concise, clear evaluations of every player in the NFL. We'll tell you which rookies are rising and which undrafted players are coming out of nowhere to make an impact. We'll tell you which players are struggling and why.

    There is no predetermined narrative with these grades. No mysterious "clutch factor." No tweaked-out quarterback ratings that defy explanation. Our grades are based on pure scouting—and lots of it. We grade the key criteria for each position based on a series of attributes and add in a score for positional importance.

    In the case of a tie, our scouts ask, "Which player would I want on my team?" and adjust accordingly.

    Is it a subjective process? Of course—that's what scouting is, and as we like to say, ties are no fun.

    Each player is evaluated and graded by our crack team of scouts, who possess more than 100 combined years of experience in playing, front-office work, coaching and media. Cian Fahey, John Middlekauff, Alex Kirby, Mark Schofield, Duke Manyweather, Ethan Young, Joe Goodberry, Justis Mosqueda, Charles McDonald, Zach Kruse, Derrik Klassen, Jerod Brown, Ian Wharton, Kyle Posey, Mark Bullock, Chuck Zodda and Doug Farrar have watched tape for months to bring you these grades, and we'll be bringing you player grades based on the game action every week.

    Here are the NFL1000 player grades for Week 6 of the 2016 NFL season.

        

    All advanced stats are courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Methodology

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    Michael Thomas/Getty Images

    The NFL1000 team of scouts was given a series of important attributes to grade for every player in their positional review. Using a grading scale starting at zero and going up to anywhere from 10 to 40 based on the position and the attribute, our scouts have graded each player based on their own expertise and countless hours of tape review over the years. Our evaluators were given specific positional assignments based on their proven fields of expertise:

    Every NFL player with snaps in offensive and defensive roles is observed and graded based on a multitiered process that marks specific attributes per position. As we're combing through All-22 footage to assess each performance, there are additional factors to consider.

    We'll adjust for opponent based on the obvious notion that the cornerback we're grading is doing a better job if he's shutting down Antonio Brown than if he's negating the efforts of a seventh-round rookie receiver.

    We'll also adjust for players with multiple responsibilities in the course of a game and over time. Think of guys like J.J. Watt and Michael Bennett on the defensive line—how they seamlessly switch from gap to gap. Or how cornerbacks such as Chris Harris Jr. and Tyrann Mathieu dominate outside and in the slot. Or how receivers such as Doug Baldwin and Larry Fitzgerald bedevil cornerbacks from multiple field positions.

    That's more important than ever in today's NFL, and we pay attention to it.

    We will not adjust for injuries. If a player is underperforming because of an injury, that's part of his performance, fair or unfair, and it needs to be graded accordingly.

    Grading any player is a subjective process, but with a series of attributes per position and a specific direction as to what to grade and how, we'll work to make it as definitive as possible.

Top 50 Overall from Week 6

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    Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

    We already talked about the 11(!) safeties in the top 50 of this week's NFL1000, so here are a few notes about some other positions.

    Falcons nose tackle Grady Jarrett, ranked 49th overall this week and second in our defensive tackle rankings behind Aaron Donald, had a whale of a game against Seattle's offensive line. Though the Seahawks front five doesn't present the sternest test, Jarrett's performance shouldn't be discounted. He was dominant against double-teams and slide protection, racking up several pressures and stops.

    Jarrett was a stud at Clemson but was discounted in the 2015 draft and taken in the fifth round due to his size; at 6'1" and 304 pounds, he apparently didn't meet the size requirements for the position. Never mind that Donald, the most dominant tackle in the game, is similarly sized at 6'1" and 285 pounds. Perhaps Jarrett's story will encourage a few more NFL teams to think outside the box when it comes to this position. We'll have more on Jarrett in this week's Scouting Notebook which will publish Thursday.

    Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari has been a model of consistency of late; for the second straight week, he ranks sixth overall in the NFL1000. It's safe to say the problems with Green Bay's passing offense—and there's a lot to talk about on that subject—have little to do with the protection Aaron Rodgers is getting. Right now, Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy are wasting the efforts of a superb offensive line with limited play-calling and skittish improvisation.

    Finally, you think the Chargers are happy with their decision to take Akron linebacker Jatavis Brown in the fifth round of the 2016 draft? He's been a fixture at or near the top of our Rookie Report rankings all season, and he broke into this week's overall top 50 with a great game against the Broncos in which he had a sack, eight tackles, three stops, a forced fumble and several examples of excellence in zone coverage. Brown is one to watch.

        

    Top 50 Overall from Week 6
    RankPlayerPos.TeamNFL1000 ScoreLWMoving
    1Drew BreesQBNO88NR
    2Tyron SmithLTDAL8612
    3Aaron DonaldDTLA8611
    4Von Miller3-4 OLBDEN8542
    5Cam NewtonQBCAR85NR
    6David BakhtiariLTGB856
    7Janoris JenkinsCBNYG84132
    8Trent WilliamsLTWAS8432
    9Ryan TannehillQBMIA84417
    10David JohnsonRBARI8315
    11Jadeveon Clowney3-4 OLBHOU83239
    12LeSean McCoyRBBUF8310
    13Jason PetersLTPHI8352
    14Cordy GlennLTBUF8224
    15Barry ChurchSSDAL824
    16Marcus PetersCBKC82NR
    17Tyrod TaylorQBBUF82141
    18Ezekiel ElliottRBDAL8238
    19Rodney McLeodFSPHI82136
    20Byron MaxwellCBMIA81920
    21Lamar MillerRBHOU81315
    22Whitney Mercilus3-4 OLBHOU81245
    23Eli ManningQBNYG81509
    24D.J. SwearingerFSARI8074
    25Eric WeddleSSBAL80138
    26Odell Beckham Jr.WRNYG80375
    27Dont'a Hightower4-3 OLBNE8046
    28Jatavis BrownILBSD80204
    29Will ParksSSDEN80NR
    30Isa Abdul-QuddusFSMIA80358
    31Devin McCourtyFSNE8055
    32Spencer WareRBKC80NR
    33Morgan BurnettSSGB8056
    34Philip RiversQBSD80365
    35Bryan BulagaRTGB8043
    36Le'Veon BellRBPIT8031
    37Earl ThomasFSSEA80NR
    38Vontae DavisCBIND80302
    39Reshad JonesSSMIA80258
    40Paul PoslusznyILBJAX79NR
    41Derrick JohnsonILBKC79NR
    42Keanu NealSSATL793
    43Luke KuechlyILBCAR7996
    44Ryan Kerrigan3-4 OLBWAS79544
    45Johnathan CyprienSSJAX79NR
    46Rob GronkowskiTENE7841
    47Andrew NorwellOGCAR7854
    48Matthew StaffordQBDET78107
    49Grady JarrettDTATL78165
    50Eric BerrySSKC78NR

Quarterbacks

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Bad interceptions at inopportune times tend to destroy otherwise strong performances from quarterbacks in NFL1000. That wasn't the case for Drew Brees in Week 6.

    Brees had a horrible interception early in the fourth quarter when he badly overthrew Brandin Cooks. However, his overall play besides that one mistake was so impressive that he still ranked as the top quarterback of the week. Brees had full control of his offense, throwing with precision to the right receiver while also reacting accordingly when pressure found him in the pocket.

    Cam Newton had a similarly impressive performance in that game but in a different fashion. Newton was less controlled but more flashy. His two touchdowns highlighted his great arm strength, while his ability to consistently hit tight windows showed off his timing and accuracy. Newton missed some easier throws he should have hit, but those plays would have been less significant if his receivers hadn't repeatedly let him down. Newton's interception in the end zone was Devin Funchess' fault, as the quarterback put the ball up for his receiver to go and get it.

    Ryan Tannehill's receivers had similar struggles this week and cost him three touchdowns—one on a precise deep throw DeVante Parker dropped, one on a play where one of his receivers failed to line up on the line of scrimmage and one when Dion Sims clapped his hands together as the ball hit him in the chest.

    Tannehill had arguably the best play of the week when he hit his backup tight end for a huge gain while running left after escaping pressure in the pocket. He also connected with Jarvis Landry on another precise deep throw down the left side of the field for a big play. William Gay nearly intercepted Tannehill early in the game but only because Kenny Stills fell over in his route. This performance gives credence to last week's argument from head coach Adam Gase and myself that Tannehill's offensive line was the problem.

    Tyrod Taylor's performance was elevated by his big plays running the ball, while Matthew Stafford was one boneheaded play away from cracking the top five. At the bottom of the rankings, Brock Osweiler and Ryan Fitzpatrick continue to be disastrous, with Fitzpatrick being benched for Geno Smith who will take over as the starter in Week 7. Bills backup EJ Manuel managed to throw one of his two passes straight to a linebacker.

        

    Grading Scale

    Acc: Accuracy (Graded out of 25)

    Arm: Arm Strength (Graded out of 25)

    Press: Pressure/run threat (Graded out of 20) (Pressure weighted at 15, run threat at five)

    Dec: Decision-Making (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

        

    Quarterback Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamAccArmPressDecPosOvr
    1Drew BreesNO222217171088
    2Cam NewtonCAR202416151085
    3Ryan TannehillMIA212414151084
    4Tyrod TaylorBUF192117151082
    5Eli ManningNYG172316151081
    6Philip RiversSD182016161080
    7Matthew StaffordDET192115131078
    8Tom BradyNE201912161077
    9Russell WilsonSEA212011151077
    10Andrew LuckIND182015131076
    11Alex SmithKC172113141075
    12Matt RyanATL171814141073
    13Case KeenumLA181912131072
    14Carson PalmerARI152012141071
    15Marcus MariotaTEN161915111071
    16Cody KesslerCLE161915111071
    17Colin KaepernickSF152014111070
    18Aaron RodgersGB172110111069
    19Kirk CousinsWAS152012121069
    20Trevor SiemianDEN161812121068
    21Blake BortlesJAX151812131068
    22Ben RoethlisbergerPIT16211381068
    23Carson WentzPHI142211101067
    24Dak PrescottDAL152012101067
    25Brian HoyerCHI141713131067
    26Derek CarrOAK15218121066
    27Andy DaltonCIN15189131065
    28Joe FlaccoBAL14188131063
    29Geno SmithNYJ161710101063
    30Brock OsweilerHOU1419991061
    31Ryan FitzpatrickNYJ15169101060
    32EJ ManuelBUF14171071058

     

    Notable Omissions

Running Backs

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    In Week 6, some of the NFL's biggest stars erupted with explosive performances, while a couple of under-the-radar backs showed they're starting to hit their stride.

    David Johnson embarrassed the Jets on Monday Night Football, doing whatever he pleased and exploding for a 58-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, making everyone in green look foolish. LeSean McCoy has officially thrown his name into the MVP conversation after single-handedly ending the 49ers' season Sunday. He was making multiple guys miss on what felt like every play. However, he did tweak his hamstring in practice Wednesday. 

    One of the biggest free-agent acquisitions of the offseason, Lamar Miller, helped lead a stunning AFC South comeback against Indianapolis. Miller had one of the more impressive plays of the weekend, making three Colts defenders miss and running through another for a spectacular 10-yard touchdown catch.

    While the Dolphins are not very good, Jay Ajayi destroyed the Steelers, displaying all of the characteristics that made him a draft favorite a few years ago.

    Spencer Ware ran through the Raiders, physically imposing his will as the Chiefs notched a huge AFC West victory in Oakland. It also allowed the Chiefs to ease Jamaal Charles back into the fold, who looked much better in his second week of action. The Chiefs could have the NFL's deepest running game if Charles can return to his old form.

    It was a good week for the big, physical backs around the league. Matt Jones ran through a stout Eagles defense like Swiss cheese, DeMarco Murray continued his bounce-back year against the Browns, and Jonathan Stewart looked close to 100 percent against the Saints.

    While his team fell apart down the stretch, Frank Gore had the first 100-yard rushing game for the Colts since what feels like the 1980s. Though Gore isn't in his prime anymore, he may be the most instinctive back in the league.

    Also, little-known Zach Zenner had another solid performance in the Lions' close victory over the Rams. Zenner has turned into a solid, blue-collar back who fights for every yard.

        

    Grading Scale

    In: Inside Running (Graded out of 25)

    Out: Outside Running (Graded out of 25)

    Rec: Receiving (Graded out of 20)

    Blk: Blocking (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

        

    Running Back Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamInOutRecBlkPosOvr
    1David JohnsonARI23201717683
    2LeSean McCoyBUF23201717683
    3Ezekiel ElliottDAL22211617682
    4Lamar MillerHOU20191917681
    5Spencer WareKC22181618680
    6Le'Veon BellPIT20191817680
    7Jay AjayiMIA20201616678
    8Todd GurleyLA19181717677
    9Terrance WestBAL19171717676
    10Christine MichaelSEA19171717676
    11Matt JonesWAS21171517676
    12Jamaal CharlesKC18181617675
    13Jonathan StewartCAR20171517675
    14DeMarco MurrayTEN19181517675
    15Devonta FreemanATL17181617674
    16Giovani BernardCIN17171716673
    17Duke Johnson Jr.CLE16161817673
    18Zach ZennerDET18161617673
    19Frank GoreIND18161617673
    20Melvin GordonSD18171616673
    21C.J. AndersonDEN17141718672
    22Devontae BookerDEN18161616672
    23LeGarrette BlountNE18161616672
    24Mark IngramNO18161616672
    25Chris ThompsonWAS16181715672
    26Ryan MathewsPHI18161516671
    27Wendell SmallwoodPHI17161616671
    28Benny CunninghamLA15171716671
    29Mike GillisleeBUF18161515670
    30Jordan HowardCHI17151616670
    31DeAndre WashingtonOAK17171515670
    32Darren SprolesPHI17171515670
    33Carlos HydeSF18151516670
    34Robert KellyWAS18151516670
    35Jonathan WilliamsBUF16151716670
    36Jeremy HillCIN15171516669
    37Isaiah CrowellCLE15151716669
    38Paul PerkinsNYG15171714669
    39DeAngelo WilliamsPIT17151516669
    40Alex CollinsSEA17141616669
    41Alfred MorrisDAL17151615669
    42Eddie LacyGB18141516669
    43Andre EllingtonARI17151515668
    44Tevin ColemanATL16141616668
    45Reggie BushBUF15171515668
    46Charcandrick WestKC16151615668
    47Arian FosterMIA16141616668
    48James WhiteNE15161516668
    49Bilal PowellNYJ15161615668
    50Kenneth DixonBAL17141515667
    51Fozzy WhittakerCAR15171514667
    52Travaris CadetNO15151615667
    53Rashad JenningsNYG15141517667
    54Derrick HenryTEN15141715667
    55Matt ForteNYJ14151616667
    56Alfred BlueHOU15151515666
    57Damien WilliamsMIA16141614666
    58Jalen RichardOAK15161514666
    59C.J. SpillerSEA14151714666
    60T.J. YeldonJAX16141415665
    61Justin ForsettDET15141415664
    62Robert TurbinIND14131615664
    63Josh FergusonIND15141415664
    64Chris IvoryJAX16131514664
    65Kenjon BarnerPHI14151415664
    66Bobby RaineyNYG14141514663
    67Shaun DraughnSF14141514663
    68Ka'Deem CareyCHI15141314662

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Jeremy Langford—injury
    • Latavius Murray—injury
    • Doug Martin—injury
    • Shane Vereen—injury
    • James Starks—injury
    • Adrian Peterson—injury
    • Ameer Abdullah—injury
    • Theo Riddick—injury
    • Jacquizz Rodgers—bye
    • Jerick McKinnon—bye
    • Matt Asiata—bye

Fullbacks

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    It was another non-sexy week for fullbacks, as they struggle to get the ball in modern-day football yet get asked to do all the dirty work.

    Baltimore's Kyle Juszczyk and Atlanta's Patrick DiMarco continue to be the two most consistent guys in the NFL at their position. While Juszczyk is the league's most versatile player at his position, DiMarco brought a physical toughness that helped the Falcons hang with one of the top teams up in Seattle. He had one of his better games of the season against one of the league's best defensive fronts. It was a toughness clinic by an old-school fullback.

    Buffalo's Jerome Felton continues to mesh with his offensive line and clear out holes for a revamped rushing attack that is shredding opponents. Kansas City's Anthony Sherman had a good game in limited action against the Raiders, helping his team run the ball right down the throat of a division rival. The Chiefs established a toughness the Raiders struggled to match. While Carolina's Mike Tolbert hasn't had a great season for his standards, he had his best game of the year against the Saints and even got going a little on the ground with a couple of carries.

        

    Grading Scale

    Blk: Blocking (Graded out of 50)

    Run: Running (Graded out of 25)

    Rec: Receiving (Graded out of 15)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

        

    Fullback Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamBlkRunRecPosOvr
    1Kyle JuszczykBAL451810477
    2Patrick DiMarcoATL461610476
    3Derek WattSD451611476
    4John KuhnNO44179474
    5Jerome FeltonBUF45169474
    6Andy JanovichDEN441610474
    7Jay ProschHOU45168473
    8James DevelinNE44169473
    9Anthony ShermanKC45159473
    10Mike TolbertCAR421710473
    11Paul LasikeCHI45149472
    12Malcolm JohnsonCLE44159472
    13Aaron RipkowskiGB431510472
    14Keith SmithDAL44158471
    15Jalston FowlerTEN43159471
    16Michael BurtonDET43158470
    17Jamize OlawaleOAK42159470
    18Cory HarkeyLA42147467

Wide Receivers

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    Odell Beckham Jr. seemed to be having fun this Sunday, catching eight passes for a career-high 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His first touchdown came on a long vertical route where he was able to beat the defense with a stop-and-go move, and the second came on a short slant route where he won at the line of scrimmage against the press and then outran the Baltimore secondary to the end zone.

    Julio Jones was matched up against Richard Sherman on a number of plays but was able to beat the talented Seattle cornerback enough times to rack up 139 receiving yards and a 36-yard touchdown reception.

    Brandin Cooks and Golden Tate were also impressive for their respective teams, with Cooks hauling in seven passes for 173 yards and an 87-yard touchdown pass where he pulled off a nice double move against rookie cornerback Zack Sanchez. Tate caught eight passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, and he was effective after the catch for the Lions.

    The Packers' offensive struggles continued, which was reflected in the grades for their receivers this week. They were led statistically by Ty Montgomery, who brought in 10 passes for 98 yards, but many of these came when he was aligned as a running back and ran swing routes to open space.

    It shouldn't surprise anyone that Terrelle Pryor Sr. continued to light it up for the Browns on Sunday, as they once again fell short in another tough loss to the Titans. Pryor's exceptional route-running ability and impressive athleticism netted him nine catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns in what turned out to be a failed comeback bid.

        

    Grading Scale

    Route: Route Running (Graded out of 25)

    Hands: Hands (Graded out of 25)

    YAC: Yards After Catch (Graded out of 20)

    Blk: Blocking (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

        

    Wide Receiver Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvr
    1Odell Beckham Jr.NYG22211612980
    2Julio JonesATL21191413976
    3A.J. GreenCIN22221211976
    4Terrelle Pryor Sr.CLE20201312974
    5DeAndre HopkinsHOU2222129974
    6Demaryius ThomasDEN20201113973
    7Brandin CooksNO20191411973
    8Amari CooperOAK19211410973
    9Robert WoodsBUF18191214972
    10Golden TateDET18181611972
    11Jarvis LandryMIA20191311972
    12Alshon JefferyCHI19181411971
    13Emmanuel SandersDEN20191211971
    14Jordan NorwoodDEN18181313971
    15Marqise LeeJAX18201410971
    16Kenny BrittLA19201211971
    17Cameron MeredithCHI18181312970
    18T.Y. HiltonIND20181310970
    19Mike WallaceBAL20161410969
    20Cole BeasleyDAL20181210969
    21Danny AmendolaNE18181311969
    22Julian EdelmanNE18181212969
    23Seth RobertsOAK18161412969
    24Antonio BrownPIT20191110969
    25Kamar AikenBAL18161312968
    26Kelvin BenjaminCAR16191311968
    27Brandon LaFellCIN19171112968
    28Anquan BoldinDET17181212968
    29Brandon MarshallNYJ19181210968
    30Quincy EnunwaNYJ18171311968
    31Torrey SmithSF17191211968
    32Pierre GarconWAS19171211968
    33Chester RogersIND18181210967
    34Jeremy MaclinKC17181211967
    35DeVante ParkerMIA17161213967
    36Michael ThomasNO17181211967
    37Kendall WrightTEN19181110967
    38John BrownARI17171211966
    39Larry FitzgeraldARI16171212966
    40Devin FunchessCAR17181111966
    41Tyler BoydCIN17171310966
    42Ricardo LouisCLE19151211966
    43Terrance WilliamsDAL18181110966
    44Brice ButlerDAL16181112966
    45Jaelen StrongHOU16181013966
    46Allen HurnsJAX18161310966
    47Chris HoganNE17151213966
    48Cobi HamiltonPIT18171111966
    49Jermaine KearseSEA16191111966
    50Ted Ginn Jr.CAR1618139965
    51Lucky WhiteheadDAL14161214965
    52Bennie FowlerDEN16181111965
    53Chris ConleyKC17171111965
    54Brian QuickLA17171111965
    55Willie SneadNO17161211965
    56Charone PeakeNYJ18161210965
    57Jordan MatthewsPHI18161111965
    58Eli RogersPIT18161210965
    59Doug BaldwinSEA16161113965
    60Quinton PattonSF16171112965
    61Rishard MatthewsTEN17181110965
    62DeSean JacksonWAS18161210965
    63Mohamed SanuATL15161212964
    64Marquise GoodwinBUF15161311964
    65Andrew HawkinsCLE17171110964
    66Jordy NelsonGB17161111964
    67Ty MontgomeryGB16161310964
    68Allen RobinsonJAX18151210964
    69Robby AndersonNYJ17171011964
    70Michael CrabtreeOAK1717129964
    71Andre HolmesOAK16161211964
    72Travis BenjaminSD17161210964
    73Jamison CrowderWAS17161111964
    74Breshad PerrimanBAL16151112963
    75Philly BrownCAR15161211963
    76Eddie RoyalCHI16171110963
    77Marvin JonesDET16171110963
    78Arrelious BennJAX15161310963
    79Nelson AgholorPHI17141211963
    80Dontrelle InmanSD16151112963
    81Tajae SharpeTEN15161111962
    82Andre RobertsDET15171110962
    83Randall CobbGB16151111962
    84Tyreek HillKC14161310962
    85Tavon AustinLA16161110962
    86Tommylee LewisNO16151111962
    87Jalin MarshallNYJ17141210962
    88Dorial Green-BeckhamPHI17131310962
    89Jeremy KerleySF16161011962
    90Roger LewisNYG16161110962
    91Phillip DorsettIND15161110961
    92Kenny StillsMIA14141212961
    93Malcolm MitchellNE15141211961
    94Brandon ColemanNO15151012961
    95Victor CruzNYG17141110961
    96Sammie CoatesPIT17141110961
    97Darrius Heyward-BeyPIT16141210961
    98Tyrell WilliamsSD15161110961
    99Tyler LockettSEA15171010961
    100Andre JohnsonTEN14161012961
    101Jaron BrownARI15141111960
    102Cody LatimerDEN14151111960
    103Davante AdamsGB16151010960
    104Braxton MillerHOU12161211960
    105Sterling ShepardNYG16151010960
    106Griff WhalenSD15141111960
    107Michael FloydARI15141011959
    108Chris MooreBAL14131112959
    109Walter PowellBUF15141011959
    110James WrightCIN14151110959
    111Will Fuller VHOU15141110959
    112Rashad GreeneJAX14141210959
    113Bryan WaltersJAX15141110959
    114Albert WilsonKC15141110959
    115De'Anthony ThomasKC14151110959
    116Johnny HoltonOAK13131212959
    117Justin HardyATL14141110958
    118Justin HunterBUF15141010958
    119Quan BrayIND14131111958
    120Rod StreaterSF15141010958
    121J.J. NelsonARI14131110957
    122Brandon TateBUF13141110957
    123Rashard HigginsCLE13141110957
    124Demarcus RobinsonKC13131210957
    125Jakeem GrantMIA13131111957
    126Tanner McEvoySEA14131011957
    127Marc MarianiTEN13141110957
    128Rashad RossWAS14141010957
    129Alex EricksonCIN13131110956
    130Jordan TaylorDEN1413911956
    131Bradley MarquezLA14131010956
    132Matthew SlaterNE13131110956
    133Isaiah BurseSD13141010956
    134Ryan GrantWAS13131011956
    135Taylor GabrielATL13131010955
    136Keith MumpheryHOU1313119955
    137Mike ThomasLA13131010955
    138Joshua BellamyCHI12131010954
    139Trevor DavisGB12131010954
    140Josh HuffPHI1313109954
    141Paul RichardsonSEA12131010954
    142Leonte CarrooMIA12121010953
    143Aaron BurbridgeSF1213109953

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Donte Moncrief—injury
    • Kevin White—injury
    • Dez Bryant—injury
    • Josh Doctson—injury
    • Stefon Diggs—bye
    • Charles Johnson—bye
    • Cordarrelle Patterson—bye
    • Mike Evans—bye
    • Vincent Jackson—bye

Tight Ends

7 of 22

    Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

    In case you forgot, Rob Gronkowski is back.

    On Sunday, he reminded everyone in the league, including the entire Bengals defense, that he's the best tight end in the game right now. Gronkowski made mincemeat out of the Cincinnati secondary, bringing in seven catches for a season-high 162 yards and a touchdown. He was also instrumental in a pair of James White touchdown receptions in the red zone, clearing out the flat and getting in the way of defenders trying to cover White out of the backfield by using his big frame and going vertical.

    Meanwhile, C.J. Fiedorowicz was instrumental in controlling the line of scrimmage and helping the Texans come back to defeat the Colts. The Texans tight end hauled in six catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. He also had one of his best days as a blocker up front against the Colts defense and played a big role in Lamar Miller's explosive performance as well.

    The Falcons might have lost to the Seahawks in one of the week's marquee matchups, but their three-tight end offensive design continues to create opportunities for Levine Toilolo, Jacob Tamme and Austin Hooper. This week, it was Toilolo who led the way, catching three passes for 69 yards, including a 46-yard vertical route that went for a touchdown.

    Dallas' Jason Witten and Carolina's Greg Olsen continue to turn in solid play each week. Olsen caught six passes for 94 yards and showed good hand strength on the afternoon, as he pulled in a few passes that were off target from Cam Newton. Witten caught four passes for 42 yards and was also effective as a blocker for the Cowboys in their road victory over the Packers.

    Two other impressive players this week were Seattle's Jimmy Graham and Washington's Vernon Davis. Graham caught six passes for 89 yards and was generally solid as a blocker, at the catch point and after the catch. Davis saw the bulk of action for Washington with Jordan Reed out with a concussion. He caught two passes for 50 yards and a touchdown on a nice post route, and he blocked well for Washington in its victory over Philadelphia.

        

    Grading Scale

    Route: Route Running (Graded out of 20)

    Hands: Hands (Graded out of 25)

    YAC: Yards After Catch (Graded out of 20)

    Blk: Blocking (Graded out of 25)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

        

    Tight End Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvr
    1Rob GronkowskiNE19221516678
    2C.J. FiedorowiczHOU15191321674
    3Virgil GreenDEN16181319672
    4Jimmy GrahamSEA14191419672
    5Greg OlsenCAR14181319670
    6Martellus BennettNE15191316669
    7Hunter HenrySD14201315668
    8Jack DoyleIND15181217668
    9Jason WittenDAL13161320668
    10Zach MillerCHI13181218667
    11Coby FleenerNO13181317667
    12Vernon DavisWAS13181218667
    13Charles ClayBUF15161118666
    14Tyler KroftCIN13171020666
    15Gary BarnidgeCLE14161317666
    16MarQueis GrayMIA14161317666
    17Dennis PittaBAL13201115665
    18Ed DicksonCAR12171218665
    19John PhillipsDEN14171216665
    20Josh HillNO12181217665
    21Larry DonnellNYG12171119665
    22Ryan GriffinHOU15151117664
    23Lance KendricksLA14141218664
    24Delanie WalkerTEN14161117664
    25Anthony FasanoTEN12151120664
    26Levine ToiloloATL12141219663
    27Julius ThomasJAX13171116663
    28Will TyeNYG11161218663
    29Zach ErtzPHI13161117663
    30Antonio GatesSD14161215663
    31Erik SwoopeIND13161215662
    32Travis KelceKC13171214662
    33Clive WalfordOAK12171215662
    34Jacob TammeATL12141118661
    35Nick O'LearyBUF12141118661
    36Richard RodgersGB12141118661
    37Dwayne AllenIND13161115661
    38Demetrius HarrisKC12151018661
    39Dion SimsMIA11141119661
    40Crockett GillmoreBAL12141018660
    41C.J. UzomahCIN12151116660
    42Geoff SwaimDAL11131020660
    43David JohnsonPIT12141117660
    44Xavier GrimblePIT12151215660
    45Sean McGrathSD12131118660
    46Vance McDonaldSF11141118660
    47Phillip SupernawTEN12151116660
    48Jermaine GreshamARI11131019659
    49Jesse JamesPIT12141116659
    50Clay HarborDET11141116658
    51Brandon BostickNYJ11131117658
    52Darren FellsARI10131018657
    53Logan PaulsenCHI9131019657
    54Ryan HewittCIN12141015657
    55Khari LeeDET9131019657
    56Marcedes LewisJAX13141014657
    57Dominique JonesMIA10141116657
    58Kellen DavisNYJ11131116657
    59Gavin EscobarDAL10131017656
    60Justin PerilloGB10131215656
    61Tyler HigbeeLA9131018656
    62Mychal RiveraOAK13141013656
    63Luke WillsonSEA10141016656
    64Niles PaulWAS10131017656
    65Austin HooperATL10131016655
    66Darren WallerBAL10131016655
    67Jim DrayBUF11151013655
    68Connor HamlettCLE11141014655
    69James O'ShaughnessyKC10131016655
    70Trey BurtonPHI10131016655
    71Chris GraggBUF10131015654
    72Jerell AdamsNYG10131015654
    73Brent CelekPHI10131015654
    74Mike WindtSD11131113654
    75Brandon WilliamsSEA10131015654
    76Garrett CelekSF10131114654
    77Ifeanyi MomahARI9131014652
    78AJ DerbyNE10131013652
    79Ryan O'MalleyOAK10131013652

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Troy Niklas—injury
    • Tyler Eifert—injury
    • Eric Ebron—injury
    • Jared Cook—injury
    • Jordan Reed—injury
    • Kyle Rudolph—bye
    • Luke Stocker—bye

Left Tackles

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    Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

    Week 6's top performer at left tackle was Cowboys All-Pro Tyron Smith, who started his second consecutive game after missing Weeks 3 and 4. Smith was dominant against the Packers, as Dallas cruised to a 30-16 victory.

    Last week's top left tackle, David Bakhtiari of the Packers, also turned in another impressive game against the Cowboys, and the grading came down to the quality of rusher he played against. That being said, all you can do is dominate the player in front of you.

    Washington's Trent Williams, Buffalo's Cordy Glenn and Philadelphia's Jason Peters all turned in physically dominating performances, per usual. When healthy, these three men are a treat to watch if you are a fan of crisp offensive line play that combines elite size, strength and athleticism with refined technique and great physicality.

    Rams left tackle Greg Robinson may have played his best game as a pro against the Lions. With the exception of being penalized twice, Robinson was solid in pass protection, showing the ability to explode into his set, reach and expand his landmarks as needed to be in position to punch and anchor. It looked as if the game slowed down for Robinson, and that resulted in him not giving up any sacks, pressures or quarterback hits—something he hadn't done the previous five weeks.

    In the run game, Robinson showed strength, power and explosion at the point of attack and was able to maintain a functional base, which allowed him to re-leverage his hips and overpower stalemates. Robinson's inconsistent base has always been an issue in terms of him being able to use his strength and athleticism.

    Cleveland's Joe Thomas had a very uncharacteristic game while being matched up against Brian Orakpo of the Titans, which resulted in his lowest ranking of the season. Thomas didn't look as smooth as usual and seemed to be kept off balance with Orakpo's speed-to-power conversion. He was specifically unable to convert his kick slide to anchor against S-T-P, which resulted in Thomas giving up a few pressures. Though PFF did not credit him with a sack, Orakpo did notch a sack against Thomas based on film.

        

    Grading Scale

    Pass: Pass Protection (Graded out of 25)

    Run: Run-Blocking (Graded out of 25)

    Power: Power (Graded out of 20)

    Agl: Agility (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

        

    Left Tackle Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Tyron SmithDAL20201919886
    2David BakhtiariGB22181720885
    3Trent WilliamsWAS19202017884
    4Jason PetersPHI19191819883
    5Cordy GlennBUF19201916882
    6Greg RobinsonLA19191614876
    7Taylor LewanTEN19181515875
    8Taylor DeckerDET18181516875
    9Nate SolderNE19191514875
    10Andrew WhitworthCIN19171515874
    11Donald PennOAK18191514874
    12Joe StaleySF17191515874
    13Joe ThomasCLE17151320873
    14Mike RemmersCAR17201414873
    15Jared VeldheerARI18171515873
    16Andrus PeatNO19171415873
    17Kelvin BeachumJAX18171514872
    18King DunlapSD18151516872
    19Duane BrownHOU17171515872
    20Eric FisherKC16191613872
    21Russell OkungDEN17161515871
    22Anthony CastonzoIND16171514870
    23Jake MatthewsATL17161514870
    24Charles Leno Jr.CHI17161414869
    25Tony HillsNO16161613869
    26Ereck FlowersNYG16171513869
    27Branden AlbertMIA17141316868
    28Ryan CladyNYJ16161314867
    29Bradley SowellSEA14151414865
    30Alex LewisBAL13171412864
    31Alejandro VillanuevaPIT14161313864

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Michael Oher—injury
    • Terron Armstead—injury
    • Matt Kalil—injury
    • Luke Joeckel—injury
    • Ronnie Stanley—injury
    • T.J. Clemmings—bye
    • Donovan Smith—bye

Right Tackles

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    Bryan Bulaga was our top performer among right tackles in week 6, marking the second consecutive week he sits atop of the NFL1000 right tackle rankings. Bulaga was stout in pass protection and physical in the run game, although he did leave the contest late with an injury and was replaced by rookie Jason Spriggs.

    The Eagles started rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai in place of standout tackle Lane Johnson, who served the first game of his 10-game suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy. It was a rough outing for Vaitai, who surrendered two sacks and a quarterback hit. Washington's Morgan Moses turned in an all-around stout performance both in pass protection and in the run game.

    New Orleans' Zach Strief and Detroit's Riley Reiff are two veteran right tackles who love to get after it, making them must-watch players. Strief is steady in pass protection and tries to maul people in the run game. He flashes some of the same physicality and nastiness that longtime Eagles tackle Jon Runyan used to bring in the run game.

    Reiff has successfully made the switch from left tackle to right tackle and has been an animal. He had plays against the Rams where he flew downfield and cut flowing linebackers and defensive backs, and he looked to finish guys every chance he could. It's not always pretty or technically sound, but he's always giving his best, which makes him fun to watch. 

    Grading Scale

    Pass: Pass Protection (Graded out of 25)

    Run: Run-Blocking (Graded out of 25)

    Power: Power (Graded out of 20)

    Agl: Agility (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    Right Tackle Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Bryan BulagaGB20191717780
    2Riley ReiffDET18201616777
    3Zach StriefNO20201514776
    4Mitchell SchwartzKC20181416775
    5Morgan MosesWAS18191516775
    6Doug FreeDAL17181616774
    7Jordan MillsBUF17201515774
    8Rob HavensteinLA18191514773
    9Jermey ParnellJAX18181515773
    10Jack ConklinTEN17181615773
    11Bobby MassieCHI18171515772
    12Trenton BrownSF16201514772
    13Daryl WilliamsCAR17171515771
    14Chris HubbardPIT17161516771
    15Ryan SchraederATL16181515771
    16Marcus CannonNE17171415770
    17Austin PasztorCLE17181414770
    18D.J. HumphriesARI16181415770
    19Garry GilliamSEA16181514770
    20Cedric OgbuehiCIN16161515769
    21Joe BarksdaleSD16181414769
    22Ben IjalanaNYJ16181414769
    23Jason SpriggsGB17171215768
    24Joe HaegIND16181413768
    25Donald StephensonDEN15161515768
    26Chris ClarkHOU18151413767
    27Brent QvaleNYJ16161414767
    28Ja'Wuan JamesMIA16161413766
    29James HurstBAL15161413765
    30Bobby HartNYG16151213763
    31Halapoulivaati VaitaiPHI14161312762
    32Austin HowardOAK13151413762

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Lane Johnson—suspension
    • Rick Wagner—injury
    • Marcus Gilbert—injury
    • Derek Newton—injury
    • Andre Smith Jr.—injury
    • Menelik Watson—injury
    • Marshall Newhouse—injury
    • Demar Dotson—bye
    • Jeremiah Sirles—bye

Offensive Guards

10 of 22

    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    While no offensive guards were dominant in Week 6 (no 80 grades were given for the first time this season), a couple of steady starters had good performances.

    One was Jets left guard James Carpenter, who has been one of the most consistent players across all of the NFL1000 this year. After getting slightly banged up earlier in the year, Carpenter is starting to get healthy, which has been evident in his play. Week 6 was his best grade yet, as he walled off defenders in pass protection, showing off impressive punch and lower-body strength in his anchor.

    Todd Bowles has blamed the Jets offensive line for the team's inconsistent offense and rough passing game, and while there are deficiencies elsewhere on the line, Carpenter has been a steady force at left guard. 

    Grading Scale

    Pass: Pass Protection (Graded out of 25)

    Run: Run-Blocking (Graded out of 25)

    Power: Power (Graded out of 20)

    Agl: Agility (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    Offensive Guard Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Andrew NorwellCAR20191814778
    2Justin PughNYG19171717777
    3Orlando FranklinSD19171914776
    4Trai TurnerCAR19181913776
    5Kevin ZeitlerCIN19171815776
    6Josh SittonCHI17191716776
    7Gabe JacksonOAK19171815776
    8James CarpenterNYJ19171815776
    9Kyle LongCHI19161617775
    10Richie IncognitoBUF16181816775
    11Laremy TunsilMIA16191517774
    12Kelechi OsemeleOAK17171914774
    13Brandon ScherffWAS16181715773
    14John UrschelBAL16181814773
    15Graham GlasgowDET16181814773
    16Zack MartinDAL17171714772
    17Joe ThuneyNE18161417772
    18Rodger SaffoldLA18161714772
    19Denzelle GoodIND15181814772
    20Andy LevitreATL19151713771
    21Jermon BushrodMIA15171715771
    22Laurent Duvernay-TardifKC17151517771
    23John JerryNYG19141714771
    24Senio KelemeteNO17161714771
    25Allen BarbrePHI15171616771
    26Lane TaylorGB18151615771
    27Xavier Su'a-FiloHOU15171616771
    28Parker EhingerKC16171714771
    29Chris ChesterATL17141715770
    30Brandon BrooksPHI17151417770
    31John MillerBUF14171715770
    32Josh KlineTEN18161514770
    33Ronald LearyDAL16171614770
    34Patrick OmamehJAX17161613769
    35T.J. LangGB17141615769
    36Quinton SpainTEN17171612769
    37Earl WatfordARI16171613769
    38Ryan JensenBAL15161515768
    39John GrecoCLE15161614768
    40Jamon BrownLA14181613768
    41Shaq MasonNE17151514768
    42Jack MewhortIND14181613768
    43A.J. CannJAX14161614767
    44Shawn LauvaoWAS15151614767
    45D.J. FlukerSD14161713767
    46Laken TomlinsonDET14151516767
    47Clint BolingCIN14151714767
    48David DeCastroPIT15141614766
    49Oday AboushiHOU15161513766
    50Jahri EvansNO16151611765
    51Mark GlowinskiSEA13151416765
    52Michael SchofieldDEN15141315764
    53Ramon FosterPIT13151712764
    54Brian WintersNYJ14151513764
    55Alvin BaileyCLE13151514764
    56Joshua GarnettSF14131514763
    57Germain IfediSEA11171711763
    58Zane BeadlesSF15121315762
    59John WetzelARI15131214761
    60Max GarciaDEN12151610760

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Mike Iupati—DNP
    • Joel Bitonio—DNP
    • Jeff Allen—DNP
    • Darrion Weems—DNP
    • Derek Newton—DNP
    • Andrew Tiller—DNP
    • Larry Warford—DNP
    • Zach Fulton—DNP
    • Marshal Yanda—DNP
    • Evan Mathis—DNP
    • Brandon Fusco—DNP
    • La'el Collins—DNP
    • J'Marcus Webb—DNP
    • Chance Warmack—DNP
    • Andrus Peat—DNP
    • Ali Marpet—bye
    • Kevin Pamphile—bye
    • Alex Boone—bye
    • Zac Kerin—bye

Centers

11 of 22

    Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

    Oakland's Rodney Hudson led the way for the centers in Week 6 with a dominant performance in pass protection. His ability to seal off and finish opposing defensive tackles stood out against Kansas City, as the explosive nature of the Chiefs front usually gives offensive lines fits.

    On the other end of the spectrum, Browns center Cameron Erving finally returned from injury this week and had just about the worst performance among interior offensive line play this year. Erving was blown off the ball several times and displayed poor lateral agility in pass protection. Hopefully he wasn't rushed back from injury and can improve as he gets back to game speed. 

    Grading Scale

    Pass: Pass Protection (Graded out of 25)

    Run: Run-Blocking (Graded out of 25)

    Power: Power (Graded out of 20)

    Agl: Agility (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    Center Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Rodney HudsonOAK20161817677
    2Matt ParadisDEN18191815676
    3Travis SwansonDET19181815676
    4Ryan KellyIND19181716676
    5Alex MackATL19161717675
    6Travis FrederickDAL19171715674
    7Justin BrittSEA17181716674
    8Jeremy ZuttahBAL17191714673
    9Ryan KalilCAR18161616672
    10Mike PounceyMIA15181617672
    11David AndrewsNE18171614671
    12Brandon LinderJAX17161715671
    13Greg ManczHOU15181715671
    14Eric WoodBUF16161715670
    15Max UngerNO18151615670
    16Maurkice PounceyPIT16151716670
    17Mitch MorseKC16161517670
    18Tim BarnesLA18151614669
    19JC TretterGB18151416669
    20A.Q. ShipleyARI16151615668
    21Nick MangoldNYJ16151714668
    22Weston RichburgNYG18131613666
    23Matt SlausonSD16151514666
    24Spencer LongWAS14151614665
    25Russell BodineCIN16151612665
    26Cody WhitehairCHI16131316664
    27Jason KelcePHI13161316664
    28Daniel KilgoreSF15131614664
    29Ben JonesTEN13151514663
    30T.J. JohnsonCIN13141514662
    31Cameron ErvingCLE12111314656

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Ted Larsen—DNP
    • John Greco—DNP
    • Corey Linsley—injury
    • Jonotthan Harrison—injury
    • Kraig Urbik—DNP
    • John Sullivan—DNP
    • Evan Smith—bye
    • Joe Hawley—bye
    • Joe Berger—bye

3-4 Defensive Ends

12 of 22

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

    The Titans quietly went from being written off as a playoff contender to being one game behind the Houston Texans in the AFC South. One reason for this is their sneaky defense, which features Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug, two of our top three 3-4 defensive ends from Week 6.

    Four of the next five 3-4 defensive ends on the list are common names—Green Bay's Mike Daniels, Arizona's Calais Campbell, Pittsburgh's Stephon Tuitt and Denver's Derek Wolfeall players we knew to be in the top 10 at the position heading into this season.

    The breakout player of the week, our fourth overall 3-4 defensive end from last Sunday and the first surprise on the list, is Arik Armstead. The 2015 first-round pick had his best game yet with San Francisco, as he was allowed to pin his ears back and attack the Bills' gap run scheme. Knowing that zone blocks weren't going to pick him up, he was able to blow offensive linemen off the ball and made two of the best tackles for a loss of any defensive lineman in the league this season.

    If he's able to raise the valleys in his game while keeping his peaks where they were in Week 6, he's going to be the league's best 3-4 defensive end not named J.J. Watt. 

    Grading Scale

    Snap: Snap Explosion (Graded out of 15)

    Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 25)

    Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 30)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    3-4 Defensive End Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvr
    1Jurrell CaseyTEN12211913671
    2Mike DanielsGB12191815670
    3Karl KlugTEN13152412670
    4Arik ArmsteadSF13152114669
    5Calais CampbellARI11171816668
    6Stephon TuittPIT11132116667
    7Derek WolfeDEN11162310666
    8Leger DouzableBUF10162112665
    9Akiem HicksCHI11171615665
    10Mitch UnreinCHI11151815665
    11Timmy JerniganBAL10161814664
    12Jamie MederCLE8162014664
    13Tenny PalepoiSD10142113664
    14DeForest BucknerSF12151714664
    15DaQuan JonesTEN10172011664
    16Chris L. BakerWAS11171614664
    17Jaye HowardKC10171911663
    18Quinton DialSF10141815663
    19Adolphus WashingtonBUF10171712662
    20Chris JonesKC10161812662
    21Robert NkemdicheARI12151613662
    22Jared CrickDEN9141913661
    23Ziggy HoodWAS10151614661
    24Ricky Jean-FrancoisWAS10161613661
    25Mike PennelGB10131714660
    26Kendall LangfordIND9151812660
    27Denico AutryOAK10151712660
    28Frostee RuckerARI10141614660
    29Lawrence GuyBAL9131714659
    30Dean LowryGB9141614659
    31Josh MauroARI10141514659
    32Jonathan BullardCHI9141613658
    33Corey LiugetSD9141712658
    34Carl NassibCLE10131612657
    35Stephen PaeaCLE9131811657
    36Henry AndersonIND8151612657
    37Billy WinnDEN8121812656
    38Christian CovingtonHOU8121713656
    39Allen BaileyKC8131613656
    40Angelo BlacksonTEN9131612656
    41Antonio SmithHOU8121512653
    42Ricardo MathewsPIT8101811653

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • J.J. Watt—injury
    • Cameron Heyward—inactive
    • Xavier Cooper—inactive
    • Taylor Hart—inactive
    • Tony Jerod-Eddie—inactive
    • Ronald Blair—insufficient snaps
    • Matt Ioannidis—insufficient snaps

4-3 Defensive Ends

13 of 22

    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Defensive ends were mostly quiet in Week 6, but perhaps the best defensive end in the AFC shows up at the top of these rankings: New England's Jabaal Sheard.

    Sheard is the model of consistency for the position and also provides routine splash plays against the run and pass. His inside swim move is deadly, as he times it perfectly when a right tackle has his balance shifted toward the outside. Sheard has surprising strength and always plays hard. In a week when nobody had a monster game, it's nice to recognize a great player who continues to fly under the radar. 

    Grading Scale

    Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 25)

    Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 25)

    Snap: Snap Explosion (Graded out of 20)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    4-3 Defensive End Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunSnapTklPosOvr
    1Jabaal SheardNE19171512770
    2Michael BennettSEA18171414770
    3Yannick NgakoueJAX19171611770
    4Vic BeasleyATL17141615769
    5Kerry HyderDET15161516769
    6Andre BranchMIA17161414768
    7Sheldon RichardsonNYJ15191215768
    8Brandon GrahamPHI16151614768
    9Cliff AvrilSEA16151614768
    10Cameron WakeMIA19131513767
    11Khalil MackOAK18171411767
    12Jared OdrickJAX16181114766
    13Dante FowlerJAX16161512766
    14Cameron JordanNO16141514766
    15Carlos DunlapCIN16161313765
    16Jack CrawfordDAL14151514765
    17Jason Pierre-PaulNYG16161313765
    18Muhammad WilkersonNYJ17161213765
    19Connor BarwinPHI15151414765
    20Derrick ShelbyATL16141414765
    21Adrian ClaybornATL15141414764
    22Benson MayowaDAL14151414764
    23David IrvingDAL16131414764
    24Ezekiel AnsahDET16131513764
    25Devin TaylorDET15151314764
    26Ethan WestbrooksLA15141414764
    27Chris LongNE16161312764
    28Olivier VernonNYG16151313764
    29Vinny CurryPHI14151315764
    30Dwight FreeneyATL15131414763
    31Margus HuntCIN16161113763
    32Ryan DavisDAL14151314763
    33Charles JohnsonCAR14141314762
    34Eugene SimsLA14141314762
    35Lorenzo MauldinNYJ15141412762
    36DeMarcus LawrenceDAL14141314762
    37Armonty BryantDET15131314762
    38Lavar EdwardsCAR13141314761
    39Tyrone CrawfordDAL14131314761
    40Brandon CopelandDET14141214761
    41William HayesLA14131413761
    42Trey FlowersNE14161212761
    43Kasim EdebaliNO14141313761
    44Darryl TappNO13151313761
    45Cassius MarshSEA14141313761
    46Mario AddisonCAR15131312760
    47Kony EalyCAR13131314760
    48Romeo OkwaraNYG14131313760
    49Michael JohnsonCIN14151112759
    50Will ClarkeCIN13141312759
    51Jason JonesMIA15141112759
    52Marcus SmithPHI14131312759
    53Owa OdighizuwaNYG14131312759
    54Brooks ReedATL13131313759
    55Matt LongacreLA13131312758
    56Anthony ZettelDET13121214758
    57Mario WilliamsMIA15131210757

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Randy Gregory—suspension
    • Ryan Delaire—injury
    • Charles Tapper—injury
    • Wallace Gilberry—injury
    • Robert Quinn—injury
    • Paul Kruger—injury
    • Frank Clark—injury
    • Danielle Hunter—bye
    • Everson Griffen—bye
    • Brian Robison—bye
    • Robert Ayers—bye
    • William Gholston—bye
    • Noah Spence—bye
    • Davonte Lambert—bye
    • Howard Jones—bye

Defensive Tackles

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    Cliff McBride/Getty Images

    Los Angeles' Aaron Donald yet again sits atop the defensive tackle rankings in this week's installment of the NFL1000. He was a menace against the Lions, beating double-teams, whipping around single blocks and applying consistent pressure on quarterback Matthew Stafford. His freakish athleticism, tenacity and impeccable technique help him stand out as the NFL's premier talent at defensive tackle. 

    Atlanta's Grady Jarrett had a phenomenal game against the Seahawks. The NFL is shifting away from hulking 330-plus-pound nose tackles as offenses get faster, throw more and utilize zone-rushing schemes. Sleeker nose tackles who can penetrate the line of scrimmage and chase plays that run away from them are becoming valuable. Jarrett fits that mold, and he was a key cog in holding the Seahawks to less than 2.7 yards per carry. This week's Scouting Notebook will have an in-depth feature on Jarrett's game against Seattle.

    Some of the bigger names this week struggled, namely Philadelphia's Fletcher Cox. He routinely over-penetrated against the run, leaving massive lanes for Matt Jones and Robert Kelley to exploit at the line of scrimmage. He normally converts on plays when he gets three to four yards upfield, but against Washington, he created holes in the middle of the Eagles defense. Miami's Ndamukong Suh, Carolina's Kawann Short and Cincinnati's Geno Atkins had inconsistent games against the Steelers, Saints and Patriots, respectively.

    Cleveland's Danny Shelton continued his solid second season against the Tennessee Titans, recording five stops, per PFF, and his first sack of the season. A few other unheralded defensive tackles had strong games in Week 6, including Jacksonville's Roy Miller, Baltimore's Michael Pierce, Dallas' Terrell McClain and San Diego's Brandon Mebane.

    Grading Scale

    Snap: Snap Explosion (Graded out of 25)

    Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 25)

    Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 25)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 15)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    Defensive Tackle Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvr
    1Aaron DonaldLA23212115686
    2Grady JarrettATL21172113678
    3Nick FairleyNO20191814677
    4Malcom BrownNE17182014675
    5Brandon J. WilliamsBAL18142214674
    6Kyle WilliamsBUF19161914674
    7Dontari PoeKC18171914674
    8Kawann ShortCAR17171914673
    9Geno AtkinsCIN18171814673
    10Malik JacksonJAX18171814673
    11Roy MillerJAX17132215673
    12Michael PierceBAL16152015672
    13Terrell McClainDAL18161913672
    14Ndamukong SuhMIA19161714672
    15Johnathan HankinsNYG17151915672
    16Fletcher CoxPHI18171812671
    17Danny SheltonCLE17161813670
    18Michael BrockersLA17161912670
    19Alan BranchNE16152013670
    20Tyson AlualuJAX17171613669
    21Dominique EasleyLA18151812669
    22Damon HarrisonNYG16161813669
    23Brandon MebaneSD16151913669
    24Corey PetersARI18131813668
    25Bennie LoganPHI17161712668
    26Ra'Shede HagemanATL16141813667
    27Cedric ThorntonDAL16151713667
    28Maliek CollinsDAL17151811667
    29Jarran ReedSEA16141912667
    30Domata PekoCIN15161712666
    31Sen'Derrick MarksJAX16151712666
    32Abry JonesJAX15141912666
    33Rodney GunterARI15151712665
    34Corbin BryantBUF15141713665
    35Star LotuleleiCAR15161711665
    36Jordan PhillipsMIA16151612665
    37Tony McDanielSEA16121714665
    38Kyle LoveCAR16141612664
    39Jay BromleyNYG17141512664
    40Sylvester WilliamsDEN15141612663
    41David OnyemataNO15161411662
    42Ahtyba RubinSEA13121813662
    43Tyrunn WalkerDET14131612661
    44Kenny ClarkGB15161311661
    45Chris JonesMIA14161312661
    46Leonard WilliamsNYJ15131413661
    47Beau AllenPHI15141610661
    48Caraun ReidSD14141611661
    49Cullen JenkinsWAS15131412660
    50Jonathan BabineauxATL15131411659
    51Letroy GuionGB16141310659
    52Tyson JacksonATL14111611658
    53Will SuttonCHI15131410658
    54Pat SimsCIN14141311658
    55Sheldon DayJAX15141211658
    56John JenkinsNO14151310658
    57Tyeler DavisonNO15131311658
    58A'Shawn RobinsonDET13121412657
    59Vince WilforkHOU15111411657
    60Hassan RidgewayIND14131311657
    61Adam GotsisDEN14121410656
    62D.J. ReaderHOU14131310656
    63Steve McLendonNYJ14121311656
    64Zach KerrIND15111210654
    65Stacy McGeeOAK13121211654
    66Justin EllisOAK12141210654
    67Dan WilliamsOAK14121110653
    68Austin JohnsonTEN12111311653
    69David ParryIND1213109650
    70Jihad WardOAK1411109650
    71Javon HargravePIT1312109650
    72Darius LathamOAK1212109649
    73Mike PurcellSF111098644

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Vernon Butler—injury
    • Eddie Goldman—injury
    • Haloti Ngata—injury
    • Vincent Valentine—injury
    • Marcell Dareus—inactive
    • Al Woods—inactive
    • Paul Soliai—inactive
    • Julius Warmsley—inactive

3-4 Outside Linebackers

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    Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

    The top run-defense grade of the season and the return of Jadeveon Clowney to the 3-4 outside linebacker group highlighted Week 6 at the position. 

    Denver's Von Miller provided the first positional grade in 2016 of at least 24 (out of 25) in run defense. The Chargers kept running at the defending Super Bowl MVP, and Miller kept making them pay, notching at least seven run stops for little to no gain due to his tackle or disruption. Add in another productive night chasing after the quarterback, and Miller earned the top 3-4 outside linebacker grade for the fifth straight week.

    Clowney's return to a standup role in Houston's defense paid immediate dividends. His combination of power and agility was too much for the Colts' offensive tackles, especially with teammate Whitney Mercilus—who graded out as the week's third-best 3-4 outside linebacker—causing havoc on the opposite side.

    Washington's Ryan Kerrigan, Kansas City's Dee Ford and Chicago's Willie Young led the week with two sacks each. Kerrigan destroyed an Eagles offensive line without Lane Johnson, Ford produced a strip-sack and fourth-down sack of Derek Carr to seal Kansas City's win, and Young had a turnover-creating sack of Blake Bortles.

    The worst grade of the week went to San Francisco's Eli Harold, who struggled in coverage and defending the run against the Bills.

    Grading Scale

    Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 25)

    Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 25)

    Cvg: Coverage (Graded out of 15)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 25)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    3-4 Outside Linebacker Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunCvgTklPosOvr
    1Von MillerDEN20241123785
    2Jadeveon ClowneyHOU2322922783
    3Whitney MercilusHOU23201021781
    4Ryan KerriganWAS2220921779
    5Chandler JonesARI22191020778
    6Dee FordKC22161220777
    7Melvin IngramSD2019822776
    8Brian OrakpoTEN19171221776
    9Shaquil BarrettDEN18191019773
    10Joey BosaSD2118918773
    11Trent MurphyWAS19181019773
    12Terrell SuggsBAL19181019773
    13Derrick MorganTEN18181019772
    14Julius PeppersGB2017919772
    15Willie YoungCHI2017820772
    16Markus GoldenARI19181018772
    17John SimonHOU17171120772
    18Lorenzo AlexanderBUF19161018770
    19Shane RayDEN18171018770
    20Alex OkaforARI1916918769
    21Kyle EmanuelSD17171018769
    22Preston SmithWAS18161017768
    23Anthony ChickilloPIT15171118768
    24Nick PerryGB1716919768
    25Jerry HughesBUF17181016768
    26Za'Darius SmithBAL1717918768
    27Datone JonesGB1618918768
    28Jerry AttaochuSD1715919767
    29David BassTEN1617918767
    30Sam AchoCHI17161017767
    31Emmanuel OgbahCLE1615918765
    32Matt JudonBAL14171017765
    33Kevin DoddTEN16151017765
    34Christian JonesCHI15161017765
    35Ahmad BrooksSF1616917765
    36Cam JohnsonCLE1417917764
    37Robert MathisIND1714817763
    38Lerentee McCrayBUF15161015763
    39Dekoda WatsonDEN1416916762
    40James HarrisonPIT14151016762
    41Clay MatthewsGB1515916762
    42Frank ZomboKC1515916762
    43Arthur MoatsPIT14151016762
    44Tamba HaliKC1515916762
    45Erik WaldenIND1616815762
    46Jayrone ElliottGB1614916762
    47Akeem AyersIND15141016762
    48Aaron LynchSF15141015761
    49Curt MaggittIND1415916761
    50Joe SchobertCLE14141115761
    51Kyler FackrellGB1414916760
    52Corey LemonierCLE1314917760
    53Jarvis JonesPIT1314818760
    54Eli HaroldSF1613716759

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Elvis Dumervil—injury
    • Leonard Floyd—injury
    • Pernell McPhee—injury
    • Justin Houston—injury
    • DeMarcus Ware—injury
    • Shaq Lawson—injury
    • Aaron Wallace—inactive
    • Tank Carradine—insufficient snaps
    • Tourek Williams—insufficient snaps

4-3 Outside Linebackers

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    Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

    After a couple of weeks without standout linebacker performances, New England's Dont'a Hightower and Dallas' Sean Lee pulled the weight for the rest of their peers in Week 6. It was an odd week beyond those two, though, including impressive outings from Rams rookie Josh Forrest and Falcons pseudo-linebacker Kemal Ishmael, who is only playing that position because Atlanta is dealing with health issues at linebacker with Paul Worrilow and Brooks Reed injured. 

    Jacksonville's Telvin Smith had quite a week as well, continuing to look much better in coverage this season. In addition to improved coverage ability, Smith did his part in slowing down the Bears' rushing cavalry. He shot through open gaps, played his assignments well and secured tackles when given the opportunity. It was not a special performance, but it was certainly good enough.

    If a rebound player were to be crowned, it would be the Giants' Keenan Robinson. He had a tough time in Week 5 but bounced back with a quality performance against the Ravens this past week. In the run game, he made a slightly positive impact and did not do much to give up big plays. Likewise, Robinson was good in coverage, even defending some passes down the field. Robinson has quietly fared well for most of the season, and it was refreshing to see him return to form.

                    

    Grading Scale

    Cvg: Coverage (Graded out of 25)

    Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 25)

    Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 15)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 25)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

                      

    4-3 Outside Linebacker Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRunRushTklPosOvr
    1Dont'a HightowerNE18221222680
    2Sean LeeDAL2021722676
    3Telvin SmithJAX1721721672
    4Josh ForrestLA1521720669
    5Shaq ThompsonCAR1420721668
    6Keenan RobinsonNYG1918718668
    7Thomas DavisCAR1619719667
    8Bruce IrvinOAK1620817667
    9Kemal IshmaelATL1617720666
    10Devon KennardNYG1618717664
    11Jordan JenkinsNYJ1617717663
    12Rob NinkovichNE1417916662
    13Kevin Pierre-LouisSEA1617716662
    14Vontaze BurfictCIN1518815662
    15Mark BarronLA1514916660
    16Philip WheelerATL1516716660
    17Myles JackJAX1615715659
    18Donald ButlerMIA1516715659
    19Nigel BradhamPHI1713715658
    20De'Vondre CampbellATL1515715658
    21Karlos DansbyCIN1117816658
    22Neville HewittMIA1714714658
    23Vincent ReyCIN1514715657
    24Darron LeeNYJ1513716657
    25Jelani JenkinsMIA1615713657
    26Mychal KendricksPHI1516713657
    27Jonathan CasillasNYG1514715657
    28K.J. WrightSEA1315715656
    29Malcolm SmithOAK1415714656
    30Damien WilsonDAL1413715655
    31Perry RileyOAK1513714655
    32Thurston ArmbristerDET1313714653
    33Nate StuparNO1312814653
    34Kyle Van NoyDET1014714651
    35Craig RobertsonNO1213712650

                

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Jaylon Smith—injury
    • DeAndre Levy—injury
    • Antwione Williams—injury

Inside Linebackers

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    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Inside linebacker play throughout the league is down as the season progresses. The first-game excitement and hype has worn off, and players are trying to remain healthy. Once players suit up for Sunday, remaining healthy throughout the game is another issue to manage. For instance, Pittsburgh linebacker Lawrence Timmons played 100 percent of the team's snaps in a loss to the Dolphins and didn't look great after giving up a touchdown before halftime. 

    With typical top-tier linebacker Eric Kendricks and the Vikings on a bye, other inside linebackers had an opportunity to dethrone Carolina's Luke Kuechly. Kuechly's play has forced other teams to avoid him at all cost, yet he's still able to be effective as a run defender. However, in Week 6, Kuechly was a half-step slow in reacting and wasn't as aggressive as he typically is. Kuechly still grades out in the top five, but the top spot goes to a rookie with a seasoned veteran right behind him.

    San Diego's Jatavis Brown and Jacksonville's Paul Posluszny are polar opposites as players. Brown is athletic, using speed to make up for a lack of ability in run support. Posluszny is the traditional linebacker, with a big chest and a desire to meet offensive linemen in the hole. Both skill sets translate, as Brown and Posluszny earned top grades for looking smooth in coverage and being physical in the run game.

                                 

    Grading Scale

    Pass: Pass Defense (Graded out of 25)

    Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 35)

    Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 15)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 15)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    Inside Linebacker Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunRushTklPosOvr
    1Jatavis BrownSD20291213680
    2Paul PoslusznyJAX2131912679
    3Derrick JohnsonKC22291012679
    4Luke KuechlyCAR21301012679
    5Zach OrrBAL19311012678
    6Elandon RobertsNE2030912677
    7Brandon MarshallDEN18291112676
    8Zach BrownBUF1830912675
    9Bobby WagnerSEA19271112675
    10Will ComptonWAS17291112675
    11Deone BucannonARI21261011674
    12Albert McClellanBAL18281012674
    13Demario DavisCLE18271112674
    14Jerrell FreemanCHI1729912673
    15Benardrick McKinneyHOU17271211673
    16Kevin MinterARI1828912673
    17Wesley WoodyardTEN17261112672
    18Korey ToomerSD1827912672
    19Justin March-LillardKC1827912672
    20Mason FosterWAS1826912671
    21Danny TrevathanCHI1530911671
    22Kelvin SheppardNYG1728812671
    23Anthony HitchensDAL1728911671
    24Denzel PerrymanSD1827910670
    25Preston BrownBUF16271011670
    26Blake MartinezGB17271010670
    27Jordan HicksPHI15281011670
    28Deion JonesATL1927810670
    29Justin DurantDAL17251210670
    30Sean SpenceTEN17261010669
    31Avery WilliamsonTEN15251211669
    32Joe ThomasGB17241111669
    33Todd DavisDEN15261110668
    34Alec OgletreeLA1526912668
    35Brian CushingHOU16251011668
    36LaRoy ReynoldsATL172898668
    37Chris KirkseyCLE15251110667
    38Lawrence TimmonsPIT1626811667
    39Vince WilliamsPIT172788666
    40Kiko AlonsoMIA1724811666
    41Erin HendersonNYJ1624812666
    42Tahir WhiteheadDET1625810665
    43Jake RyanGB1624910665
    44D'Qwell JacksonIND1625810665
    45Cory JamesOAK1525810664
    46Michael WilhoiteSF1723810664
    47Bruce CarterNYJ1523811663
    48Tyler MatakevichPIT1524810663
    49Josh McNaryIND1523810662
    50Nick BelloreSF151887654

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • C.J. Mosley—injury
    • Jamie Collins—injury
    • David Harris—injury
    • Ryan Shazier—injury
    • Su'a Cravens—injury
    • Kwon Alexander—bye
    • Eric Kendricks—bye
    • James Laurinaitis—insufficient snaps
    • Rey Maualuga—insufficient snaps

Cornerbacks

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    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    The Giants have two of the most naturally talented corners in the game in Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The latter is about as inconsistent as anyone at any position in the league. For Jenkins, talent is the reason he has been one of the highest-graded corners this year.

    The two were targeted a whopping 16 times against the Ravens last Sunday. Rodgers-Cromartie's day was him in a nutshell. He had four blown coverages, gave up a big play, had a defensive pass interference that was basically a 47-yard play and missed a tackle. The good news is he was able to break up two passes and also had two big run stops.

    Jenkins was beat deep by Mike Wallace for a 70-yard bomb, but that was his lone blunder of the day. Aside from that, he gave up one two-yard catch on five targets. Jenkins broke up two passes and should've had two interceptions. He displayed great reaction while the ball was in the air and chipped in a run stop, too.

    The Seahawks duo of Richard Sherman and DeShawn Shead have done a great job of blanketing receivers this year. Atlanta has Julio Jones, who isn't like anyone else in the league. The Seahawks duo found that out last Sunday.

    It wasn't just Jones, however. The Seahawks duo combined to give up 13 catches on 19 targets. They were beaten 13 times, gave up eight first downs, and Sherman had a coverage bust that led to a TD. Shead was at least able to break up two passes, but it was a rough afternoon for both corners in Seattle.

    After being benched in Week 4, Miami cornerback Byron Maxwell was fighting to keep his starting job against the Steelers. The Dolphins had tried to use Maxwell in the same way the Eagles did after signing him to his massive free-agent contract in 2015, and the results were similar. But instead of having Maxwell shadow receivers all around the field, the Dolphins kept him at left cornerback, the same alignment he starred at in Seattle.

    Maxwell's best game in two years came against Antonio Brown and company, allowing just one reception on five targets with four passes defensed from the self charting done by NFL1000 cornerback scout Ian Wharton. It wasn't a coincidence Maxwell is a functional starter when playing to his specific strengths. The Dolphins should continue to use him exclusively at left cornerback.

    On the other hand, Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and Jets cornerback Buster Skrine were among this week's worst performers. Kirkpatrick had shown clear signs of improvement until this week, but he struggled badly against the Patriots. He allowed six completions on seven targets, including one touchdown, and was called for a penalty in coverage once. He was credited with two blown coverages, which contributed to New England scoring 35 points Sunday.

    Skrine is one of the more unpredictable players in the league. Though versatile enough to play outside in press or in the slot, Skrine often gets grabby when he loses leverage, and this week was no different. He was called for four defensive penalties to go with the seven completions on 10 targets. He must play more confidently or be moved to the slot full time if his performance evens out.

                       

    Grading Scale

    Cvg: Coverage (Graded out of 30)

    React: Reaction/Recovery (Graded out of 30)

    Slot: Slot (Graded out of 20)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 10)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

                           

    Cornerback Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamCvgReactSlotTklPosOvr
    1Janoris JenkinsNYG2426178984
    2Marcus PetersKC2524186982
    3Byron MaxwellMIA2625174981
    4Vontae DavisIND2325176980
    5Jalen RamseyJAX2224176978
    6Casey HaywardSD2422176978
    7Ross CockrellPIT2124176977
    8Ronald DarbyBUF2421175976
    9Darrelle RevisNYJ2321184975
    10Tramaine BrockSF2322165975
    11Jimmy SmithBAL2219176973
    12Chris Harris Jr.DEN2120176973
    13Tyrann MathieuARI2020176972
    14Adam JonesCIN2221164972
    15Aqib TalibDEN2022165972
    16Sean SmithOAK2022174972
    17Tramon WilliamsCLE1920185971
    18Kevin JohnsonHOU1920176971
    19B.W. WebbNO2120165971
    20Dominique Rodgers-CromartieNYG1820177971
    21Jason McCourtyTEN2119166971
    22Patrick PetersonARI1921165970
    23Prince AmukamaraJAX1919185970
    24Bashaud BreelandWAS2020165970
    25Bradley RobyDEN1920174969
    26Johnathan JosephHOU1819185969
    27Darius ButlerIND1819176969
    28Ken CrawleyNO2019165969
    29William GayPIT1820175969
    30Josh NormanWAS1919166969
    31Lamarcus JoynerLA1818167968
    32Marcus CooperARI1819165967
    33Desmond TrufantATL1718167967
    34Morris ClaiborneDAL1819155966
    35A.J. BouyeHOU1718175966
    36Malcolm ButlerNE1817175966
    37Stephon GilmoreBUF1818164965
    38Quandre DiggsDET1717175965
    39Steven NelsonKC1718165965
    40Logan RyanNE1618175965
    41Jalen MillsPHI1718165965
    42Rashard RobinsonSF1818164965
    43Dre KirkpatrickCIN1617157964
    44Nolan CarrollPHI1718155964
    45Craig MagerSD1517176964
    46Robert AlfordATL1716165963
    47Nickell Robey-ColemanBUF1617174963
    48Jamar TaylorCLE1716165963
    49Leon HallNYG1615167963
    50Marcus WilliamsNYJ1615176963
    51Brice McCainTEN1615176963
    52Tavon YoungBAL1617155962
    53Anthony BrownDAL1515167962
    54Darius SlayDET1718144962
    55Sterling MooreNO1716164962
    56Ron BrooksPHI1617155962
    57Brandon CarrDAL1516156961
    58Rashaan MelvinIND1716145961
    59Eric RoweNE1815145961
    60Kendall FullerWAS1517164961
    61Brian PooleATL1516155960
    62Nevin LawsonDET1615155960
    63DeShawn SheadSEA1516155960
    64Tony LippettMIA1615145959
    65D.J. HaydenOAK1415165959
    66Steve WilliamsSD1614155959
    67Daryl WorleyCAR1315156958
    68Phillip GainesKC1414156958
    69Buster SkrineNYJ1314157958
    70David AmersonOAK1614154958
    71Jerraud PowersBAL1314165957
    72Cre'von LeBlancCHI1514145957
    73Damarious RandallGB1415145957
    74Bobby McCainMIA1514154957
    75Tharold SimonARI1414145956
    76Josh ShawCIN1413146956
    77Briean Boddy-CalhounCLE1313147956
    78Richard ShermanSEA1315136956
    79Aaron ColvinJAX1412146955
    80E.J. GainesLA1413145955
    81Artie BurnsPIT1314145955
    82Jeremy LaneSEA1414144955
    83Keith ReaserSF1314145955
    84D.J. WhiteKC1314135954
    85Trevin WadeNYG1413135954
    86Teddy WilliamsCAR1313135953
    87Chimdi ChekwaMIA1213145953
    88Shareece WrightBAL1212144951
    89Bryce CallahanCHI1313124951
    90Perrish CoxTEN1312115950
    91Tracy PorterCHI1112125949
    92Johnson BademosiDET1211125949
    93Demetri GoodsonGB1211125949
    94Troy HillLA1211125949
    95Brian DixonNO1112125949
    96LaDarius GunterGB1112115948
    97Jacoby GlennCHI1010115945
    98Zack SanchezCAR109105943

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • James Bradberry—injury
    • Quinten Rollins—injury
    • Patrick Robinson—injury
    • Kareem Jackson—injury
    • Brandon Flowers—injury
    • Joe Haden—injury
    • Xavien Howard—injury

Free Safeties

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    Dave Reginek/Getty Images

    Though the Eagles defense struggled overall against Washington, Rodney McLeod was a standout performer. He was all over the field making tackles in the run game and taking away routes in the passing game. He made a number of good reads on underneath routes and broke on them quickly, forcing Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to look elsewhere or scramble. 

    D.J. Swearinger was similarly impressive for the Cardinals. He made two highlight plays late in the third quarter. One was an underneath pass that he read and broke on incredibly quickly. He arrived as the ball did and delivered a huge hit to the receiver, Charone Peake, forcing the ball to be dropped. A few plays later, he read Brandon Marshall crossing the middle of the field in the end zone and jumped the route, making the interception and taking points off the board for the opposition.

    Any game against the Patriots is tough for a safety, but George Iloka struggled more than he should have. The Bengals safety missed multiple tackles, giving the Patriots opportunities to pick up extra yards.

    San Francisco safety Eric Reid had a poor game against the Bills. He missed a number of tackles, including one on a LeSean McCoy touchdown run. He was also beaten on a double move by McCoy, who split out wide as a receiver. McCoy stumbled, which allowed Reid to recover slightly, but he couldn't stop the throw and had to resort to giving away a defensive pass interference to stop the completion.

                        

    Grading Scale

    Cvg: Coverage (Graded out of 30)

    Rec: Recovery (Graded out of 30)

    Slot: Slot/LB (Graded out of 10)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

                           

    Free Safety Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvr
    1Rodney McLeodPHI2626616882
    2D.J. SwearingerARI2524617880
    3Isa Abdul-QuddusMIA2525517880
    4Devin McCourtyNE2425617880
    5Earl ThomasSEA2525616880
    6Ricardo AllenATL2324616877
    7Darian StewartDEN2525514877
    8Reggie NelsonOAK2423616877
    9Adrian AmosCHI2323616876
    10Byron JonesDAL2324615876
    11Ha Ha Clinton-DixGB2523515876
    12Corey MooreHOU2323616876
    13Tre BostonCAR2322616875
    14Glover QuinDET2424514875
    15Clayton GeathersIND2423515875
    16Jairus ByrdNO2423515875
    17Lardarius WebbBAL2323515874
    18Kentrell BriceGB2322615874
    19T.J. GreenIND2223516874
    20Ron ParkerKC2322615874
    21Marcus GilchristNYJ2222616874
    22Rashad JohnsonTEN2222616874
    23Ibraheim CampbellCLE2122616873
    24Tashaun GipsonJAX2122616873
    25Vonn BellNO2122616873
    26Dexter McCoilSD2223515873
    27Derron SmithCIN2223514872
    28J.J. WilcoxDAL2321614872
    29Jeff HeathDAL2122516872
    30Duron HarmonNE2221516872
    31Andrew AdamsNYG2221516872
    32Dwight LowerySD2122615872
    33Will BlackmonWAS2120616871
    34Andre HalHOU2221613870
    35Kevin ByardTEN2120515869
    36Corey GrahamBUF2019615868
    37Maurice AlexanderLA2020514867
    38Mike MitchellPIT1921514867
    39Eric ReidSF1819615866
    40George IlokaCIN1719513862

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Justin Simmons—inactive
    • Darian Thompson—inactive
    • Nat Berhe—inactive

Strong Safeties

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    The Seahawks clearly missed Kam Chancellor in Week 6. While Earl Thomas put in a solid performance at the opposite safety spot, it's impossible to make up for what Chancellor brings to the field. Kelcie McCray had a few flashesone play in particular stood out, as he landed a big hit on Falcons running back Devonta Freeman on a checkdown pass to force the ball to land incomplete. 

    But he didn't bring the same presence that Chancellor carries. He got caught on a block on the touchdown pass to tight end Levine Toilolo. While Toilolo wasn't his responsibility, he had an opportunity to save the touchdown, but he couldn't get off the block from a wide receiver. Later on, he came free as a blitzer but hesitated, giving quarterback Matt Ryan time to get rid of the ball. Those are the types of plays that Chancellor makes routinely.

    Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins made a fantastic play, reading a play-action bootleg pass from Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins perfectly. Washington had a receiver run across the formation and leak out to the flat. Jenkins broke on it from the far side of the field and undercut the route as the ball arrived, taking it back 64 yards for a touchdown.

    But outside of that play, Jenkins was poor. On Jamison Crowder's touchdown catch, Jenkins was forced to work through traffic on Crowder's wheel route from the slot and couldn't keep up. Later, he bit on a head fake from tight end Vernon Davis in the end zone, which made him late as Davis cut across his face and caught a touchdown pass. Washington did come back with a similar play later in the game, which Jenkins learned from and nearly intercepted, but DeSean Jackson alertly broke up the pass.

    Dallas' Barry Church backed up a great performance last week with another one this week, grading out as the top strong safety. He was generally quick to break on anything underneath and either contested the throw or landed a big hit to restrict yards after the catch. He forced a fumble from Jordy Nelson after reading his route perfectly and landing a hit just after the ball arrived to knock it loose.

    His interception on Aaron Rodgers was excellent. Initially, he worked down to take away a slant route but then sunk back as he saw Rodgers' eyes work to his next read. Rodgers threw to a crossing route, but Church continued to sink and intercepted the pass.

                         

    Grading Scale

    Cvg: Coverage (Graded out of 25)

    Rec: Recovery (Graded out of 25)

    Slot: Slot/LB (Graded out of 20)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

                               

    Strong Safety Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvr
    1Barry ChurchDAL22221616682
    2Eric WeddleBAL21211616680
    3Will ParksDEN21221615680
    4Morgan BurnettGB21211616680
    5Reshad JonesMIA22211615680
    6Keanu NealATL21201616679
    7John CyprienJAX21201616679
    8Eric BerryKC20201616678
    9Landon CollinsNYG21201615678
    10Duke IhenachoWAS19211616678
    11Kurt ColemanCAR19211515676
    12Shawn WilliamsCIN19201515675
    13Rafael BushDET19191516675
    14Harold Jones-QuarteyCHI21191414674
    15Jordan PoyerCLE19191416674
    16T.J. McDonaldLA19181615674
    17Malcolm JenkinsPHI18201515674
    18Donte WhitnerWAS18191615674
    19Robert GoldenPIT18181615673
    20Tony JeffersonARI18171516672
    21Eddie PleasantHOU18171516672
    22Daniel SorensenKC17181516672
    23Calvin PryorNYJ18181515672
    24Tavon WilsonDET18171515671
    25Karl JosephOAK17181515671
    26Anthony LevineBAL17161516670
    27Kenny VaccaroNO16181415669
    28Kelcie McCraySEA17161515669
    29Patrick ChungNE16171415668
    30Daimion StaffordTEN16181414668
    31Micah HydeGB16151515667
    32Aaron WilliamsBUF15171414666
    33T.J. WardDEN15171313664
    34Mike AdamsIND14151414663
    35Adrian PhillipsSD14161413663
    36Derrick KindredCLE13141415662
    37Antoine BetheaSF14151314662
    38Da'Norris SearcyTEN14151314662

                     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Kam Chancellor—inactive
    • Quintin Demps—inactive
    • Jahleel Addae—inactive

Kickers

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Dustin Hopkins, Justin Tucker, Dan Bailey. Familiar names top the Week 6 kicker rankings, with all three veterans turning in strong performances, though no one dazzled like Adam Vinatieri did one week earlier.

    Hopkins bounced back after his worst week of the season, in which he struggled with wind in Baltimore, while Tucker continued a strong campaign following a new contract. Bailey did what Bailey always does: make field goals at a ridiculous clip while also alternating hashes for extra points to make them more challenging for himself. 

    Vinatieri makes it into the top 10 again with another perfect day, but he was not challenged with any long-distance attempts this week. Also finding themselves in the top 10 are Buffalo's Dan Carpenter and Cleveland's Cody Parkey, both of whom were able to put together strong weeks despite some inconsistencies over the course of the season thus far.

    Seattle's Steven Hauschka and Kansas City's Cairo Santos both missed a field goal and extra point this week, with Santos' kick fading wide right, while Hauschka showed a low trajectory that resulted in a block—something Seahawks fans have seen too often. Hauschka bounced back with a make from 44 yards, but it was likely a frustrating week for the normally accurate kicker.

    Stephen Gostkowski also continues to scuffle, missing an extra point in New England's win over Cincinnati. Gostkowski's mechanics seem to be out of sync, with this miss being pulled left, something we have not seen in two years from him. There may be some pre-snap alignment issues as well as a timing issue on his plant step, but Gostkowski is still likely to sort through these issues and figure them out sooner rather than later.

    Grading Scale

    Pwr: Kick Power (Graded out of 40)

    Acc: Kick Accuracy (Graded out of 40)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 10)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    Kicker Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamPwrAccTklPosOvr
    1Dustin HopkinsWAS35353376
    2Justin TuckerBAL34343374
    3Dan BaileyDAL32363374
    4Josh LamboSD32353373
    5Phil DawsonSF31353372
    6Dan CarpenterBUF30353371
    7Cody ParkeyCLE32333371
    8Josh BrownNYG32333371
    9Mason CrosbyGB31343371
    10Adam VinatieriIND30353371
    11Connor BarthCHI31333370
    12Matt PraterDET31323369
    13Greg ZuerleinLA33303369
    14Caleb SturgisPHI31323369
    15Jason MyersJAX32303368
    16Mike NugentCIN31303367
    17Wil LutzNO31303367
    18Chandler CatanzaroARI31303367
    19Matt BryantATL29313366
    20Chris BoswellPIT32273365
    21Nick FolkNYJ30283364
    22Stephen GostkowskiNE32253363
    23Brandon McManusDEN30263362
    24Graham GanoCAR32233361
    25Ryan SuccopTEN31243361
    26Sebastian JanikowskiOAK30243360
    27Andrew FranksMIA31203357
    28Steven HauschkaSEA34173357
    29Nick NovakHOU27233356
    30Cairo SantosKC27153348 

     

    Notable Omissions

    Roberto Aguayo - Bye

    Blair Walsh - Bye

Punters

22 of 22

    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    There were no real standouts among NFL punters this week, but the overall level of play was higher than the tumultuous performances we saw in Week 5.

    New Orleans' Thomas Morstead and Brad Wing of the Giants tied for the highest rating, with Morstead featuring near-perfect distance and strong ball placement, while Wing displayed stronger hang time and good directional ability as well. Wing has been up and down over the course of this year, and performances like this show he can be a capable NFL punter, but consistency has been an issue for him. Morstead continues to be excellent directionally but has struggled to put together power like this on a regular basis. 

    Andy Lee was a bright spot for the Panthers, showing the form that led the team to trade for him in the offseason. Lee's hang time has not been consistent this year, and it is the one piece of his game that has been lacking thus far. Former Panthers punter Brad Nortman also had a strong week, notching perfect scores for distance and hang time, as his massive leg did not show the inconsistency that has plagued him throughout his career.

    Just outside the top five is Oakland's Marquette King, who continues to be the most consistent punter of 2016 to this point. Rookie Drew Kaser clocks in just behind him, with a bounce-back game a week after his lone punt went just 16 yards and he dropped the snap on a game-tying field-goal attempt.

    Riley Dixon grades out at the lowest-rated punter this week, with the rookie out of Syracuse showing weakness in all aspects of his game. Dixon never displayed NFL-caliber leg strength throughout his college career, and after a couple of above-average performances to start the year, he is regressing to his true talent level. He is likely not as bad as he showed this week, but he is a below-average punter who will find himself in the lower half of the league more often than not.

    Matt Bosher's and Bradley Pinion's usually strong legs wound up with below-average grades for hang time and distance this week, as each struggled to put a good foot on the ball consistently. Both are likely to bounce back, as they are far superior to what they displayed in Week 6, but this is proof that even good punters have bad days occasionally. The truly elite are those who are able to stay out of this territory.

    Grading Scale

    Dist: Kick Distance (Graded out of 20)

    Hang: Kick Hang Time (Graded out of 20)

    Acc: Kick Accuracy (Graded out of 45)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 5)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    Punter Rankings Week 6
    RankPlayerTeamDistHangAccTklPosOvr
    1Thomas MorsteadNO1915363376
    2Brad WingNYG1716373376
    3Andy LeeCAR1914354375
    4Pat O'DonnellCHI1415383373
    5Brad NortmanJAX2020263372
    6Marquette KingOAK1914333372
    7Drew KaserSD1917293371
    8Sam KochBAL1714343371
    9Sam MartinDET1817303371
    10Pat McAfeeIND1615343371
    11Tress WayWAS1913323370
    12Dustin ColquittKC1314363369
    13Brett KernTEN1612353369
    14Colton SchmidtBUF1416313367
    15Britton ColquittCLE1715293367
    16Jacob SchumGB1713293365
    17Ryan QuigleyARI819323365
    18Matt DarrMIA1310353364
    19Ryan AllenNE1414303364
    20Jon RyanSEA1312323363
    21Donnie JonesPHI1212323362
    22Lachlan EdwardsNYJ913333361
    23Kevin HuberCIN1111323360
    24Johnny HekkerLA1313283360
    25Jordan BerryPIT912323359
    26Chris JonesDAL169283359
    27Matt BosherATL913303358
    28Shane LechlerHOU714253352
    29Bradley PinionSF813243351
    30Riley DixonDEN96283349