NFL1000: Ranking the Top 1,000 Players from Week 14

Doug Farrar@@BR_DougFarrar NFL Lead ScoutDecember 15, 2016

NFL1000: Ranking the Top 1,000 Players from Week 14

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    That Aaron Rodgers and Le'Veon Bell top the NFL1000 charts for Week 14 is no surprise. The surprises come later.

    But to focus on Rodgers and Bell first: The Green Bay Packers' quarterback turned in a masterful performance against a Seattle Seahawks defense that has played him tough in recent years, and it wasn't because of Earl Thomas' injury-related absence. Thomas is by far the league's best deep coverage defender, but Rodgers didn't test the middle of the field often. According to ESPN Stats & Information, 13 of his 18 completions (in 23 attempts) were outside the numbers.

    Instead, Rodgers was satisfied to pick apart Seattle's cornerbacks (especially Jeremy Lane) with deep strikes to the boundary, averaging 10.7 yards per attempt. And he did that with an injured calf that affected his mobility. Given the Seahawks' excellence in sideline pass defense, this may be even more disconcerting for the franchise's near future.

    As for Bell, the Pittsburgh Steeler continued to blow up enemy defenses on a no-matter-what basis, generating 236 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries and adding four receptions for 62 yards against an overmanned Buffalo Bills defense. No back in the league has Bell's combination of patience, explosiveness through the hole, second-level speed to power and versatility throughout the offense.

    Bell currently ranks third in the league in yards from scrimmage (1,616) behind Davis Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott, which is pretty incredible when you consider that he missed the first three games of the season after missing a random drug test.

    Johnson will most likely become the third back in league history to gain over 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in a season, but Bell, incredibly enough, has an outside shot—he has 1,053 rushing yards and 563 receiving yards with three games to go. It's time to consider Bell as a serious NFL MVP candidate.

    New York Giants cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have been playing at a high level all season, but what they did against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night put the duo near the top of this week's NFL1000—Jenkins is third and Rodgers-Cromartie is sixth. Dez Bryant didn't help Prescott much, as the rookie quarterback had his first multi-interception game, but Jenkins, Rodgers-Cromartie and the entire Giants secondary presented Prescott with problems he couldn't solve.

    According to our scouts' game-charting, Jenkins allowed two completions on nine targets, giving Bryant all he could handle. Actually, more than he could handle—Bryant had one catch on nine total targets. Pro Football Focus has Rodgers-Cromartie allowing four catches on seven targets…for a grand total of 46 yards. Rookie cornerback Eli Apple got in on the act as well, allowing just two catches on five targets for 31 yards. Ian Wharton, our NFC cornerbacks scout, believes Jenkins has played as well as any cornerback in the league this year. He's certainly been a lockdown artist of late.

    Part of Bleacher Report's NFL1000 player rating methodology is the ability 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 and learn from what the NFL presents on the field every week, and the NFL1000 goes as deep as any to tell you just what's going on out there.

    With a 17-person crew of experienced evaluators, we'll comb through the game tape 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 falling in performance 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 14 of the 2016 NFL season.

        

    All advanced stats are courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Methodology

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    Brett Carlsen/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 0 and going up to anywhere from 10 to 50 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 the course of time. Think of guys like Mike Daniels and Michael Bennett on the defensive line—how they seamlessly switch from gap to gap. Or how cornerbacks such as Chris Harris 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 14

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Beyond the placement of two Giants cornerbacks in our top six, there were a few more surprise names in this week's NFL1000 rankings.

    Cornerback Casey Hayward has been the star of the San Diego Chargers' secondary since Jason Verrett went down with a torn ACL in October, but against the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, free safety Dwight Lowery was the man with a plan. Lowery allowed one catch on three targets, saving San Diego's defense from several big plays by sticking to tight end Greg Olsen like glue.

    An injury might be good news in a weird way for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After a chest injury felled strong safety Chris Conte, who had been a liability in coverage (to be kind) prior to going down, Keith Tandy stepped in over the last two games and has availed himself well. Against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Tandy allowed just one catch for six yards on five targets, adding seven tackles on the day. Tampa's defense will need a shot in the arm down the stretch, and our top-ranked strong safety this week might be just the ticket.

    Two defenders stood out in the Chicago Bears' generally unimpressive ranks Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Registering a sack, two quarterback hurries and five stops, linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski got a big bump this week in our rankings. The rookie from West Virginia had a relatively quiet start to the season, but he's showing up well lately with a nose for the ball and increasing efficiency when breaking through blockers.

    Cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc is likewise becoming a name to know. The undrafted rookie from Florida Atlantic allowed three catches on eight targets for 24 yards, an interception and an opposing quarterback rating of 6.3. He's played 606 snaps this season, acquitting himself well outside and in the slot. Add in the continued excellence of linebacker Leonard Floyd and the Bears might be tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the NFL's best defensive draft in 2016 if Kwiatkoski and LeBlanc hold up.

        

    Top 50 Overall from Week 14
    RankPlayerPosTeamNFL1000 ScoreLWMoving
    1Aaron RodgersQBGB8515
    2Le'Veon BellRBPIT855
    3Janoris JenkinsCBNYG85603
    4Geno AtkinsDTCIN83159
    5Tyron SmithLTDAL836
    6Dominique Rodgers-CromartieCBNYG82729
    7Trent WilliamsLTWAS82NR
    8Johnny HekkerPLA8217
    9Joe ThomasLTCLE8032
    10Ryan Kerrigan3-4 OLBWAS8093
    11Tom BradyQBNE80178
    12Bryan BulagaRTGB8035
    13Dwight LoweryFSSD80470
    14Keith TandySSTB8066
    15Deion JonesILBATL80601
    16Ndamukong SuhDTMIA80592
    17Sean Lee4-3 OLBDAL80597
    18Matt BosherPATL80409
    19Maurkice PounceyCPIT7950
    20Leonard Floyd3-4 OLBCHI79212
    21Cam NewtonQBCAR79415
    22David BakhtiariLTGB7955
    23Quinton SpainOGTEN78NR
    24Cameron Wake4-3 DEMIA78318
    25Marcus GilbertRTPIT7818
    26Casey HaywardCBSD789
    27Jason PetersLTPHI7854
    28Jeremy HillRBCIN77185
    29Mitchell SchwartzRTKC7784
    30Josh SittonOGCHI77NR
    31Carlos HydeRBSF7774
    32Trent Murphy3-4 OLBWAS77330
    33Kurt ColemanSSCAR77NR
    34Sam BradfordQBMIN7726
    35David JohnsonRBARI777
    36Travis FrederickCDAL7758
    37Whitney Mercilus3-4 OLBHOU7759
    38Kyle JuszczykFBBAL77108
    39Donald PennLTOAK7725
    40Cre'von LeBlancCBCHI77989
    41Nick KwiatkoskiILBCHI77126
    42Jadeveon Clowney3-4 OLBHOU77NR
    43Morgan BurnettSSGB77174
    44Damarious RandallCBGB77971
    45Vonn BellFSNO77606
    46Nick NovakKHOU77988
    47Mike Daniels3-4 DEGB76317
    48Marcus MariotaQBTEN76NR
    49Vic Beasley4-3 DEATL76262
    50Bobby WagnerILBSEA76274

Quarterbacks

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    Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

    Familiar names topped the quarterback rankings this week. Aaron Rodgers' receivers stopped dropping his passes, so it's now less controversial to praise him, while Tom Brady's inaccuracies of previous weeks for the New England Patriots disappeared against the Baltimore Ravens. Brady fell behind Rodgers largely because of his interception, but he was spectacular aside from that one play. 

    The week's quarterback play was less about who was thriving and more about who was struggling. Twenty-four quarterbacks ranked below a 70 overall this week, as the quality of quarterback play across the league was atrocious. Whether it was accuracy, decision-making, reacting to pressure or arm strength, too many quarterbacks struggled to break down the defenses across from them.

    Seattle's Russell Wilson fell further than anyone. Wilson had a couple of interceptions that weren't his fault, one of which came at the end of the second quarter when he was being aggressive in search of a touchdown. Wilson's rating still fell as far as it did because he repeatedly missed throws he should have made and was all over the place in the pocket.

    Early in the game, he missed a long touchdown to an open receiver down the left sideline before missing a wide-open Jimmy Graham for another big play soon after. Wilson just edged out the Cleveland Browns' Robert Griffin III, who displayed the rust you'd expect to see from a quarterback who has played so sparingly over recent years.

    Griffin's decision-making was a huge problem, but he did offer some rushing value to keep his rating in that category in double digits. The low point of the day came when he forced an interception into triple coverage after a flea-flicker in his own end zone. Griffin had nobody open, but he did have a receiver single-covered on the other side of the field.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger had similar problems with turnovers. Roethlisberger's first interception appeared to be a miscommunication, but he followed that play up with plenty of interceptable passes. On at least three occasions, Roethlisberger threw the ball straight to a defender over the middle of the field. He did it twice on the same drive, with the first being dropped before the second was intercepted in the end zone.

    It was a week to forget for pretty much everyone.

        

    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 5)

    Dec: Decision-Making (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

        

    Quarterback Rankings Week 14
    RankPlayerTeamAccArmPressDecPosOvr
    1Aaron RodgersGB222215161085
    2Tom BradyNE222114131080
    3Cam NewtonCAR162315151079
    4Sam BradfordMIN182014151077
    5Marcus MariotaTEN172114141076
    6Matt RyanATL161914151074
    7Ryan TannehillMIA171914141074
    8Andy DaltonCIN161913141072
    9Trevor SiemianDEN151912141070
    10Andrew LuckIND162011121069
    11Matt BarkleyCHI151813131069
    12Alex SmithKC161912121069
    13Carson PalmerARI162011111068
    14Carson WentzPHI151813121068
    15Tyrod TaylorBUF151913111068
    16Jameis WinstonTB151812121067
    17Matthew StaffordDET141912121067
    18Colin KaepernickSF151812121067
    19Joe FlaccoBAL142012101066
    20Philip RiversSD151613111065
    21Drew BreesNO151812101065
    22Dak PrescottDAL141811111064
    23Kirk CousinsWAS141711121064
    24Eli ManningNYG141810111063
    25Bryce PettyNYJ131812101063
    26Matt MooreMIA141710111062
    27Blake BortlesJAX131811101062
    28Derek CarrOAK12189121061
    29Ben RoethlisbergerPIT14181091061
    30Brock OsweilerHOU131710101060
    31Jared GoffLA121810101060
    32Robert Griffin IIICLE111712101060
    33Russell WilsonSEA101810101058

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

Running Backs

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Le'Veon Bell was far and away the NFL's best running back in Week 14. He outgained the Bills by himself and has thrown his hat in the MVP conversation with his play over the last month. He is the league's most complete running back, as there isn't anything he cannot do. He dominated in every facet of the game, churning out one of the more highlight-worthy performances of the year. The Steelers are the front-runner in the AFC North, and Bell is the biggest reason why. 

    The Cincinnati Bengals' Jeremy Hill and San Francisco 49ers' Carlos Hyde both had big games against bad defenses. Hyde shredded the New York Jets for 193 yards on 17 carries, going untouched on many of his big runs. He continues to run hard even as the 49ers' season heads in the wrong direction. While he might never be a star in the NFL, he clearly has the talent to be a productive player if he can stay healthy.

    The Arizona Cardinals' David Johnson had another solid all-around game, racking up 80 yards on 20 carries and chipping in an additional five catches for 41 yards, despite the struggles of quarterback Carson Palmer and the bad weather in Miami. The Houston Texans' Lamar Miller basically put a nail in the Indianapolis Colts' coffin while the Jets' Bilal Powell helped make sure the 49ers will go down as an all-time bad run defense. Powell destroyed San Francisco to the tune of 179 total yards after Matt Forte went out with an injury early in the game, and he even scored a walk-off touchdown in overtime.

    The Oakland Raiders' Latavius Murray and New England Patriots' LeGarrette Blount both had strong games between the tackles and ran hard against two tough defenses. Murray might have had his best outing of the year against the Kansas City Chiefs, keeping the Raiders in the game as quarterback Derek Carr struggled. Both Blount and Murray have made themselves a lot of money heading into unrestricted free agency in 2017.

        

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamInOutRecBlkPosOvr
    1Le'Veon BellPIT23211817685
    2Jeremy HillCIN19181717677
    3Carlos HydeSF21181616677
    4David JohnsonARI19181717677
    5Lamar MillerHOU20181616676
    6Bilal PowellNYJ19181716676
    7DeMarco MurrayTEN19181617676
    8Isaiah CrowellCLE19181616675
    9Ezekiel ElliottDAL19181517675
    10Latavius MurrayOAK20181516675
    11Kenneth DixonBAL18171717675
    12LeGarrette BlountNE21171516675
    13Todd GurleyLA18161717674
    14Doug MartinTB18171617674
    15Jordan HowardCHI18171616673
    16Duke JohnsonCLE17171716673
    17Ryan MathewsPHI18181615673
    18Chris ThompsonWAS17191516673
    19Jay AjayiMIA18171616673
    20Ty MontgomeryGB18171715673
    21LeSean McCoyBUF16161817673
    22Thomas RawlsSEA18181615673
    23Charles SimsTB16181716673
    24Tevin ColemanATL16171716672
    25Frank GoreIND17141717671
    26Robert KelleyWAS19151516671
    27Matt AsiataMIN17151617671
    28Jerick McKinnonMIN16171715671
    29Tim HightowerNO17161616671
    30Zach ZennerDET17151616670
    31Alfred BlueHOU18161515670
    32Jalen RichardOAK18161515670
    33Darren SprolesPHI17151616670
    34Derrick HenryTEN17161516670
    35Terrance WestBAL15151717670
    36T.J. YeldonJAX17151616670
    37James WhiteNE15151816670
    38Mike GillisleeBUF17161615670
    39Christine MichaelGB17161516670
    40Dion LewisNE17161615670
    41Kenneth FarrowSD16151716670
    42Dwayne WashingtonDET17151516669
    43Spencer WareKC17151516669
    44Wendell SmallwoodPHI17161515669
    45Alex CollinsSEA15151716669
    46Mark IngramNO17151516669
    47Robert TurbinIND16141616668
    48Rashad JenningsNYG16151615668
    49Paul PerkinsNYG16161515668
    50Fozzy WhittakerCAR15161615668
    51Jonathan StewartCAR16151416667
    52Travaris CadetNO14151715667
    53Jeremy LangfordCHI15141516666
    54Shaun DraughnSF16141515666
    55Devonta FreemanATL15141516666
    56Damien WilliamsMIA15141615666
    57Lance DunbarDAL14151615666
    58James StarksGB15141516666
    59Corey GrantJAX15141615666
    60Terron WardATL16141515666
    61Jonathan GrimesHOU15141515665
    62Devontae BookerDEN15141514664
    63Charcandrick WestKC15141415664
    64Justin ForsettDEN15131415663

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Giovani Bernard—injury
    • C.J. Anderson—injury
    • Ameer Abdullah—injury
    • Theo Riddick—injury
    • Eddie Lacy—injury
    • Chris Ivory—injury
    • Jamaal Charles—injury
    • Adrian Peterson—injury
    • Shane Vereen—insufficient snaps
    • DeAngelo Williams—injury
    • Melvin Gordon—insufficient snaps
    • Matt Forte—insufficient snaps

Fullbacks

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    The Baltimore Ravens' Kyle Juszczyk had one of the best receptions you will see from a fullback on Monday Night Football. He broke multiple tackles and showed his speed in the open field on his 40-yard catch, the longest of his four-year career. He is the Ravens' most consistent weapon and excelled against the Patriots despite his teammates' struggles.

    The New Orleans Saints' John Kuhn had an impressive all-around game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, contributing both by carrying the ball and catching it out of the backfield. He has been consistent this season as a lead blocker. 

    Aaron Ripkowski helped get the Green Bay Packers' run game get on track against a stout Seattle defense. Ripkowski also continues to get carries and is emerging as a key part of the Packers offense that appears to be peaking at the right time.

    Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien singled out Jay Prosch after the game as being a player who helped his team beat the Indianapolis Colts. His key blocks helped spring Lamar Miller for a big day against a divisional rival, solidifying his status as one of the league's best blocking fullbacks.

    In Marcel Reece's first game of the year for the Seattle Seahwaks, he showed he can still be a playmaker in the passing game, coming up with a big 31-yard catch.

        

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamBlkRunRecPosOvr
    1Kyle JuszczykBAL441712477
    2John KuhnNO431710474
    3Aaron RipkowskiGB44179474
    4Patrick DiMarcoATL44159472
    5Jay ProschHOU44159472
    6Zach LineMIN43169472
    7James DevelinNE44159472
    8Marcel ReeceSEA401711472
    9Mike TolbertCAR43159471
    10Jalston FowlerTEN44158471
    11Jamize OlawaleOAK42159470
    12Jerome FeltonBUF43158470
    13Roosevelt NixPIT43148469
    14Paul LasikeCHI42157468
    15Dan VitaleCLE42157468
    16Anthony ShermanKC41148467

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Michael Burton—insufficient snaps
    • Will Tukuafu—inactive

Wide Receivers

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    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Few NFC wide receivers stood out in Week 14, as many of the typical stars were limited to modest games.

    Even the New York Giants' Odell Beckham Jr. had a few drops that cost his team—one that would've been a surefire touchdown and another that would have converted a third down. One of the true surprises this week and this season at receiver is Davante Adams of the Packers. Adams caught four passes for 104 yards, with the biggest one being a 66-yarder down the sideline for a score. Adams and Jordy Nelson are starting to come into their own, which is helping the Packers offense click.

    Over in the AFC, Jarvis Landry impressed for the Miami Dolphins, catching four passes for 103 yards, including a standout 71-yard catch-and-run on a mesh concept crossing route where he picked up a strong block from teammate Kenny Stills downfield.

    Some receivers shined in losing efforts, including Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders for the Denver Broncos and T.Y. Hilton for the Colts.

    One of the younger receivers who continues to surprise is the Jets' Robby Anderson. The undrafted wide receiver out of Temple seems to have a great relationship with current starting quarterback Bryce Petty, and the speedster also shows great ability at the catch point on contested throws, as evidenced by his 40-yard reception on 3rd-and-18 in the third quarter and on his 26-yard catch in overtime to help set up the game-winning score.

        

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvr
    1Davante AdamsGB19181612974
    2Jarvis LandryMIA19201412974
    3Odell Beckham Jr.NYG20171711974
    4Demaryius ThomasDEN19211212973
    5Jordy NelsonGB19181412972
    6Marqise LeeJAX19201311972
    7Kenny StillsMIA19201113972
    8Antonio BrownPIT19191312972
    9DeSean JacksonWAS18181710972
    10Taylor GabrielATL18171710971
    11Emmanuel SandersDEN20181212971
    12T.Y. HiltonIND20191112971
    13Julian EdelmanNE18201212971
    14Cameron MeredithCHI17171512970
    15Adam ThielenMIN18181411970
    16Tyler BoydCIN18181212969
    17Cole BeasleyDAL18171411969
    18Tyreek HillKC18181311969
    19Brandin CooksNO18171411969
    20Sterling ShepardNYG18181311969
    21Brandon MarshallNYJ17181213969
    22Jordan MatthewsPHI18181212969
    23Dontrelle InmanSD18181113969
    24Mike EvansTB18171312969
    25Pierre GarconWAS17171412969
    26Steve Smith Sr.BAL18181112968
    27Golden TateDET18171311968
    28Marvin JonesDET17171411968
    29Anquan BoldinDET17181212968
    30Tavon AustinLA17171510968
    31Quincy EnunwaNYJ17171213968
    32Robby AndersonNYJ16201211968
    33Tyrell WilliamsSD18181112968
    34Jeremy KerleySF16171511968
    35Aldrick RobinsonATL17161312967
    36Mike WallaceBAL17171311967
    37Sammy WatkinsBUF17191111967
    38Willie SneadNO17171311967
    39Tyler LockettSEA17161510967
    40Tanner McEvoySEA17171212967
    41Josh BellamyCHI18141411966
    42Deonte ThompsonCHI16161411966
    43DeAndre HopkinsHOU17171112966
    44Chris ConleyKC16171212966
    45Kenny BrittLA17161311966
    46Stefon DiggsMIN16171311966
    47Chris HoganNE17171112966
    48Doug BaldwinSEA17151312966
    49Larry FitzgeraldARI16161113965
    50Justin HardyATL16171211965
    51Brandon LaFellCIN16161113965
    52Randall CobbGB16161311965
    53Will Fuller VHOU16161113965
    54Malcolm MitchellNE17161112965
    55Amari CooperOAK17161112965
    56Paul TurnerPHI16161311965
    57Quinton PattonSF16161311965
    58Jamison CrowderWAS16161311965
    59Ted Ginn Jr.CAR16171210964
    60Devin FunchessCAR15151312964
    61Corey ColemanCLE16151212964
    62Mike ThomasLA16161310964
    63Michael CrabtreeOAK16161112964
    64Nelson AgholorPHI16161211964
    65Cobi HamiltonPIT15151114964
    66Pharoh CooperLA16171210964
    67Breshad PerrimanBAL16161111963
    68Dez BryantDAL16151013963
    69Terrance WilliamsDAL16151112963
    70Keith MumpheryHOU15151113963
    71Phillip DorsettIND18131112963
    72Bryan WaltersJAX16151112963
    73Cordarrelle PattersonMIN14151312963
    74Eli RogersPIT16151112963
    75Russell ShepardTB15161211963
    76Kamar AikenBAL15151112962
    77Alex EricksonCIN15141212962
    78Brice ButlerDAL17151011962
    79Allen RobinsonJAX15141113962
    80Brian QuickLA15151211962
    81DeVante ParkerMIA15151112962
    82Brandon ColemanNO15151211962
    83Victor CruzNYG16161011962
    84Michael FloydARI15151111961
    85Robert WoodsBUF15141112961
    86Cody CoreCIN15141112961
    87Terrelle Pryor Sr.CLE14141113961
    88Donte MoncriefIND15141112961
    89Chester RogersIND15151111961
    90Albert WilsonKC14141113961
    91Charone PeakeNYJ15151111961
    92Seth RobertsOAK15131113961
    93Rishard MathewsTEN15141112961
    94Marquise GoodwinBUF14141112960
    95Andrew HawkinsCLE14141112960
    96Jordan TaylorDEN15141111960
    97Bennie FowlerDEN14141112960
    98Jeremy MaclinKC15141111960
    99Travis BenjaminSD15131112960
    100Justin HunterBUF14141111959
    101Kelvin BenjaminCAR13151111959
    102Cody LatimerDEN14141111959
    103Arrelious BennJAX14141111959
    104Andre HolmesOAK14141111959
    105Jermaine KearseSEA14141111959
    106Tajae SharpeTEN14141111959
    107Brandon TateBUF14141110958
    108Rashard HigginsCLE14141110958
    109Josh HuffTB13141111958
    110Harry DouglasTEN1414119957
    111J.J. NelsonARI14121110956
    112Charles JohnsonMIN13131110956
    113Torrey SmithSF12121012955
    114Philly BrownCAR12121011954
    115Andre RobertsDET12121011954
    116Laquon TreadwellMIN12121011954
    117Freddie MartinoTB12121011954
    118Ryan GrantWAS12121011954
    119Paul RichardsonSEA12121010953

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Alshon Jeffery—suspension
    • John Brown—injury
    • Julio Jones—injury
    • Mohamed Sanu—injury
    • Eddie Royal—injury
    • A.J. Green—injury
    • Allen Hurns—injury
    • Michael Thomas—injury
    • Eric Decker—injury
    • Jalin Marshall—injury
    • Darrius Heyward-Bey—injury
    • Keenan Allen—injury
    • Kendall Wright—injury
    • Danny Amendola—injury
    • Markus Wheaton—injury

Tight Ends

7 of 22

    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Two of the best performances of the week came from the same team in Week 14.

    Zach Ertz and Trey Burton of the Philadelphia Eagles both had nice games as they combined for 17 catches for 177 yards. Burton could've had an even bigger game, as Carson Wentz just missed him down the field for what would've been a 50-yard touchdown. Burton and Ertz are average blockers at best, but they are difficult matchups for safeties and linebackers.

    Greg Olsen continues to be the most consistent receiving option for the Panthers, as he caught four passes for 87 yards.  

    On the AFC side of the ledger, the Chiefs' Travis Kelce continued his impressive run of late, catching five passes for 101 yards, his fourth straight game with over 100 yards receiving. He remains a dangerous threat throughout any given play, from his route running to his ability after the catch.

    Two Tennessee Titans tight ends, Delanie Walker and Anthony Fasano, flashed in specific traits this week. Walker was impressive after the catch, including a nifty dip move along the sideline to evade two Broncos defenders. The Titans rode their running game to the win, and with his work as a blocker, Fasano was a big reason why.

        

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvr
    1Travis KelceKC15191419673
    2Tyler EifertCIN15191220672
    3Greg OlsenCAR16181417671
    4Kyle RudolphMIN17171417671
    5Zach ErtzPHI17181416671
    6Jason WittenDAL16181317670
    7Trey BurtonPHI17171515670
    8Delanie WalkerTEN13181518670
    9Martellus BennettNE12181319668
    10Jack DoyleIND13181219668
    11Daniel BrownCHI15161417668
    12Dion SimsMIA12181120667
    13Charles ClayBUF13181317667
    14Cameron BrateTB14161417667
    15Jordan ReedWAS15171217667
    16Eric EbronDET15171316667
    17Gary BarnidgeCLE13171119666
    18Antonio GatesSD13181217666
    19Blake BellSF13161417666
    20Will TyeNYG15161217666
    21Anthony FasanoTEN12151121665
    22Jesse JamesPIT12161120665
    23C.J. FiedorowiczHOU12171119665
    24Hunter HenrySD12161219665
    25A.J. DerbyDEN13171118665
    26Ladarius GreenPIT13171118665
    27Neal SterlingJAX14171117665
    28Lance KendricksLA14161217665
    29Jimmy GrahamSEA15151217665
    30Dennis PittaBAL12171118664
    31Garrett CelekSF13141318664
    32Richard RodgersGB14151217664
    33Ed DicksonCAR15161116664
    34Jerell AdamsNYG15151216664
    35Ben KoyackJAX12151119663
    36Clive WalfordOAK12161118663
    37Mychal RiveraOAK13161117663
    38Levine ToiloloATL12141218662
    39Brandon BostickNYJ12151118662
    40Brandon MyersTB12141218662
    41Nick BoyleBAL12161117662
    42Ryan HewittCIN11141119661
    43Ryan GriffinHOU12141118661
    44Rhett EllisonMIN12151117661
    45Kellen DavisNYJ12151117661
    46Austin Seferian-JenkinsNYJ12151117661
    47Brent CelekPHI12151117661
    48Jermaine GreshamARI12151216661
    49John PhillipsNO13141117661
    50Tyler KroftCIN11141118660
    51Alex EllisJAX11141118660
    52Demetrius HarrisKC11141118660
    53David JohnsonPIT11141118660
    54Sean McGrathSD11141118660
    55Phillip SupernawTEN11141118660
    56Austin HooperATL11141217660
    57Randall TelferCLE11151117660
    58Vernon DavisWAS12141018660
    59Tyler HigbeeLA12141117660
    60Darren WallerBAL12151116660
    61Nick O'LearyBUF12151116660
    62Brandon WilliamsSEA13131117660
    63Darren FellsARI13141116660
    64Coby FleenerNO13141116660
    65Luke WillsonSEA13141116660
    66Virgil GreenDEN11141117659
    67Matt LengelNE11141117659
    68Nick VannettSEA13131116659
    69Jared CookGB13141214659
    70Logan PaulsenCHI11131117658
    71Dwayne AllenIND11141116658
    72Stephen AndersonHOU11141114656
    73Temarrick HemingwayLA11121016655
    74Gavin EscobarDAL13131013655

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Troy Niklas—injury
    • Jacob Tamme—injury
    • Zach Miller—injury
    • Josh Hill—injury
    • Vance McDonald—injury
    • Jordan Cameron—injury
    • Rob Gronkowski—injury
    • Crockett Gillmore—injury
    • Maxx Williams—injury
    • Marcedes Lewis—injury
    • Julius Thomas—injury

Left Tackles

8 of 22

    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    Tyron Smith of the Cowboys was the NFL's top left tackle in Week 14. The All-Pro was once again dominant against a very good Giants defense. It seems like a weekly occurrence to see Smith finish blocks off with violence in pass protection and in the running game.

    Giants rookie corner Eli Apple felt the power of Smith firsthand when the rookie had the unfortunate task of being the force defender on a perimeter run.

    The Washington Redskins' Trent Williams returned from his four-game suspension and didn't seem to show any sign of rust at all against Philadelphia. His impressive display of elite agility in pass protection and explosive power in the running game landed him as our second-ranked left tackle of the week.

    When Week 14 concluded, the Browns found themselves 0-13 after losing to AFC North division foe Cincinnati. There aren't many positives for the Browns, but future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas continues to be as consistent as they come. Thomas has maintained his status as a premier pass protector, and it seems as if he has gotten better and better in the running game as the seasons continue to pile up. That was the case in Week 14 against the Bengals, which earned Thomas our third slot.

    Ranking at No. 4, Green Bay's David Bakhtiari was outstanding against Seattle as the Packers cruised to a 38-10 victory over the Seahawks. 2016 has seen Bakhtiari establish himself as an elite-level pass protector, and in Week 14, he gave up two pressures in 59 snaps and was solid as a run-blocker. 

        

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Tyron SmithDAL19211817883
    2Trent WilliamsWAS20201717882
    3Joe ThomasCLE20191518880
    4David BakhtiariGB20191418879
    5Jason PetersPHI19181716878
    6Donald PennOAK20191515877
    7Duane BrownHOU19191614876
    8Russell OkungDEN18201515876
    9Ronnie StanleyBAL20181416876
    10Jake MatthewsATL18211514876
    11Cordy GlennBUF19191514875
    12Nate SolderNE19191514875
    13Branden AlbertMIA18191515875
    14Andrew WhitworthCIN17201614875
    15Taylor LewanTEN17191615875
    16Terron ArmsteadNO19161516874
    17Taylor DeckerDET18191415874
    18Eric FisherKC17191515874
    19Donovan SmithTB18191613874
    20Alejandro VillanuevaPIT18191414873
    21Cyrus KouandjioBUF18181514873
    22Mike RemmersCAR18181514873
    23Charles Leno Jr.CHI18171416873
    24Anthony CastonzoIND18181514873
    25D.J. HumphriesARI18181414872
    26Greg RobinsonLA17171514871
    27Zane BeadlesSF17171514871
    28Ben IjalanaNYJ16181513870
    29T.J. ClemmingsMIN16181413869
    30George FantSEA16171315869
    31Kelvin BeachumJAX16171413868
    32King DunlapSD17171312867
    33John WetzelARI16161313866
    34Ereck FlowersNYG13171512865

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Jared Veldheer—injury
    • Michael Oher—injury
    • Luke Joeckel—injury
    • Matt Kalil—injury
    • Ryan Clady—injury
    • Joe Staley—injury
    • Ty Nsekhe—insufficient snaps

Right Tackles

9 of 22

    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Green Bay's Bryan Bulaga claimed our top ranking among right tackles in Week 14.

    This may sound like a broken record, as we stress this weekly, but Bulaga has been outstanding all season, and his performance this year ranks among the best offensive tackles in the NFL regardless of left or right designation. Against Seattle, Bulaga was strong as a run-blocker, turning defenders out of the holes and consistently moving the point of attack. In pass protection, the 27-year-old tackle surrendered two pressures in 59 snaps.

    Pittsburgh's Marcus Gilbert was our No. 2-ranked right tackle in Week 14. He showed tremendous strength, power and explosion at the point of attack against Buffalo and demonstrated great agility and patience in pass protection too, which has seemed to be the norm week in and week out.

    Kansas City's Mitchell Schwartz checks in as our third-ranked right tackle in Week 14. He had the difficult task of going head-to-head with Oakland's Khalil Mack, who has been a terror for offensive tackles and quarterbacks, but Schwartz held his own, surrendering two pressures on 55 plays.

    What was impressive about Schwartz's performance: Despite battling a nagging ankle injury, he still looked smooth in pass protection and was able to effectively transition from his kick-slide into anchoring against Mack's "speed-to-power" and "long-arm" pass-rushing moves. 

        

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Bryan BulagaGB20211616780
    2Marcus GilbertPIT20211515778
    3Mitchell SchwartzKC19201615777
    4Marcus CannonNE18201615776
    5Riley ReiffDET18201614775
    6Morgan MosesWAS18191615775
    7Ja'Wuan JamesMIA19201514775
    8Ricky WagnerBAL19181614774
    9Jake FisherCIN19181515774
    10Bobby MassieCHI18181516774
    11Jack ConklinTEN17211613774
    12Eric WinstonCIN19191513773
    13Austin PasztorCLE18201513773
    14Ryan SchraederATL18191514773
    15Doug FreeDAL17201514773
    16Zach StriefNO17201613773
    17Jordan MillsBUF18191513772
    18Donald StephensonDEN18181415772
    19Trai TurnerCAR17191613772
    20Trenton BrownSF17191613772
    21Gosder CherilusTB17181415771
    22Austin HowardOAK17191513771
    23Chris ClarkHOU17181514771
    24Bobby HartNYG18171315770
    25Rob HavensteinLA17191413770
    26Allen BarbrePHI17171514770
    27Jermey ParnellJAX17171414769
    28Brent QvaleNYJ17171513769
    29Jeremiah SirlesMIN17181313768
    30Joe BarksdaleSD17171413768
    31Bradley SowellSEA16171413767
    32Joe ReitzIND16171413767
    33Ulrick JohnARI16171313766
    34Matt TobinPHI16161313765

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Daryl Williams—injury
    • Cedric Ogbuehi—insufficient snaps
    • Derek Newton—injury
    • Andre Smith—injury
    • Breno Giacomini—injury
    • Garry Gilliam—injury
    • Demar Dotson—injury
    • Halapoulivaati Vaitai—injury
    • Lane Johnson—suspension

Offensive Guards

10 of 22

    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    It was nice to hear from an old friend at the guard position, so to speak, in Jonathan Cooper.

    It seems like it has been a while since we have seen Cooper on the field. In case you haven't kept up with the waiver wire, Cooper is with his third team: the Browns. Cleveland really needed some good news up front after stabilizing interior force John Greco suffered an injuryand Cooper delivered this week.

    The most impressive thing about Cooper was his quickness and aggressiveness in his jump sets. He also showed off great punch and power at the point of attack. He looks as healthy as he has been in his NFL career. If he keeps it up, the Browns could have a dynamic running game the rest of the way. 

        

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Quinton SpainTEN17211914778
    2Josh SittonCHI17191915777
    3Xavier Su'a-FiloHOU16181816775
    4James CarpenterNYJ17191814775
    5Jonathan CooperCLE16181716774
    6Max GarciaDEN18171714773
    7Andrew NorwellCAR18161715773
    8T.J. LangGB17171715773
    9Marshal YandaBAL18161715773
    10Jeff AllenHOU16181813772
    11Andy LevitreATL17171813772
    12Zack MartinDAL17161715772
    13B.J. FinneyPIT16181714772
    14Kevin PamphileTB18161714772
    15Vadal AlexanderOAK17181812772
    16Mike IupatiARI17161714771
    17Alex BooneMIN17151616771
    18David DeCastroPIT17161615771
    19Jack MewhortIND18151615771
    20Larry WarfordDET18151714771
    21Clint BolingCIN19151614771
    22Zac KerinMIN15181615771
    23Brian WintersNYJ16161616771
    24Gabe JacksonOAK16171614770
    25Isaac SeumaloPHI15181614770
    26Richie IncognitoBUF16161714770
    27Josh KlineTEN16171713770
    28Chris ReedJAX18151713770
    29Andrew TillerSF16171614770
    30Ali MarpetTB15171615770
    31Michael SchofieldDEN17161515770
    32Kevin ZeitlerCIN17171712770
    33Brandon ScherffWAS15171614769
    34Orlando FranklinSD16161713769
    35Lane TaylorGB18151415769
    36Chris ScottCAR18151613769
    37Jahri EvansNO18161612769
    38Marshall NewhouseNYG16161614769
    39Joshua GarnettSF13181714769
    40Jonotthan HarrisonIND18141614769
    41Zach FultonKC17151713769
    42Jermon BushrodMIA16151614768
    43Andrew DonnalLA15161614768
    44Laken TomlinsonDET17141515768
    45Spencer DrangoCLE15161614768
    46Ronald LearyDAL15161713768
    47Laremy TunsilMIA16141615768
    48Ted LarsenCHI17151514768
    49Vladimir DucasseBAL17141514767
    50Rodger SaffoldLA16151613767
    51Laurent Duvernay-TardifKC15141417767
    52Arie KouandjioWAS15151613766
    53Chris ChesterATL14151614766
    54Shaq MasonNE14151614766
    55Germain IfediSEA12171613765
    56Spencer PulleySD16131415765
    57John MillerBUF13151614765
    58Mark GlowinskiSEA13151514764
    59D.J. FlukerSD14151612764
    60Stefen WisniewskiPHI14151513764
    61John JerryNYG14151612764
    62Brandon FuscoMIN14141513763
    63Earl WatfordARI12131613761
    64Joe ThuneyNE12141216761
    65Andrus PeatNO11151414761
    66Joe HaegIND12131315760
    67A.J. CannJAX11141512759

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Ramon Foster—injury
    • John Greco—injury
    • Kelechi Osemele—injury
    • Kyle Long—injury
    • Shawn Lauvao—injury
    • Zane Beadles—insufficient snaps
    • Denver Kirkland—insufficient snaps
    • Brandon Brooks—insufficient snaps
    • Justin Pugh—insufficient snaps
    • Alvin Bailey—insufficient snaps
    • Oday Aboushi—insufficient snaps
    • Joel Bitonio—insufficient snaps
    • Evan Mathis—insufficient snaps
    • La'el Collins—insufficient snaps
    • J'Marcus Webb—insufficient snaps

Centers

11 of 22

    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Le'Veon Bell will get most of the credit for his explosive stat line against the Bills.

    While there is no questioning his dynamic play, a great performance up front, led by Maurkice Pouncey, made it possible. Both guards (backup B.J. Finney and David DeCastro) also did a nice job.

    Pouncey had no problem getting to the second level and finding his assignment against the Bills front. His impressive blend of power and athleticism in space makes him an ideal candidate for second-level work. The Steelers did a great job of putting him in position schematically to find and redirect the Bills' interior linebackers. 

        

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Maurkice PounceyPIT18201817679
    2Travis FrederickDAL18191816677
    3Mitch MorseKC17181718676
    4Greg ManczHOU17191815675
    5Ryan KellyIND19161616673
    6Cody WhitehairCHI16181616672
    7Daniel KilgoreSF16181715672
    8Ben JonesTEN18171615672
    9Ryan GroyBUF18171714672
    10Wesley JohnsonNYJ16171715671
    11Graham GlasgowDET18151715671
    12Weston RichburgNYG16181714671
    13Corey LinsleyGB17161714670
    14Rodney HudsonOAK16161715670
    15Jeremy ZuttahBAL16171714670
    16Tyler ShatleyJAX19141713669
    17Alex MackATL17151615669
    18Tim LelitoNO16171713669
    19Joe HawleyTB18151614669
    20David AndrewsNE18151614669
    21Tim BarnesLA16161713668
    22Matt ParadisDEN14171714668
    23Justin BrittSEA15161615668
    24Cameron ErvingCLE15161515667
    25A.Q. ShipleyARI15161515667
    26Jason KelcePHI14161516667
    27John SullivanWAS16151514666
    28Anthony SteenMIA15151415665
    29Tyler LarsenCAR16141315664
    30Marcus MartinSF15141613664
    31Nick EastonMIN16141414664
    32Matt SlausonSD15131514663
    33Russell BodineCIN12151612661

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • John Greco—injury
    • Max Unger—injury
    • Brandon Linder—injury
    • Nick Mangold—insufficient snaps
    • Travis Swanson—insufficient snaps
    • Mike Pouncey—insufficient snaps
    • Ryan Kalil—insufficient snaps
    • Eric Wood—insufficient snaps

3-4 Defensive Ends

12 of 22

    Al Bello/Getty Images

    As we get deeper into the winter, running games matter more, for both those on the fringe of playoff hopes and those who want to go on title runs. Interior defensive linemen, 3-4 defensive ends, are some of the premier run-stoppers in the sport, and there's no doubt some of these talented linemen swung games in their teams' favor this week.

    Against possibly the worst offensive line in the NFL, Mike Daniels of the Green Bay Packers had one of the best games in his career Sunday, giving the Russell Wilson-led Seahawks just their second loss of 10 points or more in the quarterback's five-year career.

    Arizona's Calais Campbell was part of a force that held Miami running back Jay Ajayi to just 2.4 yards per carry, while his young clone, San Francisco's DeForest Buckner, held the New York Jets to just three points in the first half.

    Quietly, Akiem Hicks of Chicago is having an amazing season. He came from a Canadian college football team and is on his third team in two seasons, but the 27-year-old is on a two-year contract, meaning that he could be in for a huge payday if the Bears don't hop on an early restructure soon. 

                  

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvr
    1Mike DanielsGB13172415776
    2Calais CampbellARI14162314774
    3Akiem HicksCHI14192014774
    4Stephon TuittPIT12172213771
    5DeForest BucknerSF12162115771
    6Emmanuel OgbahCLE12161816769
    7Chris JonesKC13171913769
    8Christian RingoGB11162114769
    9Dean LowryGB12162113769
    10Joey BosaSD13161913768
    11Ziggy HoodWAS13131916768
    12Frostee RuckerARI11152014767
    13Timmy JerniganBAL12152012766
    14Jonathan BullardCHI11151914766
    15Cornelius WashingtonCHI12141914766
    16Ronald BlairSF11152013766
    17Derek WolfeDEN11132014765
    18Arthur JonesIND10122214765
    19Tenny PalepoiSD10142113765
    20Sheldon RichardsonNYJ12132013765
    21Chris BakerWAS12131914765
    22Lawrence GuyBAL10142013764
    23Muhammad WilkersonNYJ12122013764
    24Josh MauroARI11141913764
    25Ricky Jean-FrancoisWAS11131914764
    26Corey LiugetSD11131913763
    27Mitch UnreinCHI10141913763
    28Henry AndersonIND11121913762
    29Denico AutryOAK10131814762
    30Karl KlugTEN11131813762
    31DaQuan JonesTEN10131913762
    32Jamie MederCLE8131616760
    33Jared CrickDEN9131912760
    34Joel HeathHOU10131812760
    35Christian CovingtonHOU8131913760
    36Leger DouzableBUF9121714759
    37Carl NassibCLE11121613759
    38Xavier CooperCLE10121713759
    39Antonio SmithHOU10121812759
    40Kendall ReyesKC9141712759
    41Angelo BlacksonTEN9121812758
    42Ricardo MathewsPIT9121712757
    43Adolphus WashingtonBUF9121612756

                       

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Jurrell Casey—inactive
    • Billy Winn—insufficient snaps
    • Arik Armstead—injury

4-3 Defensive Ends

13 of 22

    Eric Espada/Getty Images

    Cameron Wake continues to be amazing and is our highest-graded 4-3 defensive end. His first step, his hands, his leverage and his agility make him one of the premier speed-rushers in the NFL, and he made life miserable for quarterback Carson Palmer and the Cardinals offense.

    Coming in second this week, Vic Beasley continues his meteoric second NFL season. He continues to show why writing off speed-rushers after Year 1 is silly. These types require good hand usage to keep themselves free and keep their speed/agility around the arc. Beasley looks like he's going to be a terrorizing threat to all offenses for a long time. 

               

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunSnapTklPosOvr
    1Cameron WakeMIA26131813878
    2Vic BeasleyATL23131814876
    3Noah SpenceTB21151714875
    4Khalil MackOAK21151614874
    5Everson GriffenMIN21141714874
    6Cameron JordanNO21151515874
    7Michael BennettSEA19151715874
    8Andre BranchMIA22141415873
    9Mario AddisonCAR22141415873
    10Olivier VernonNYG21161513873
    11Brandon GrahamPHI20151515873
    12Robert AyersTB22141415873
    13Benson MayowaDAL20151415872
    14Tyrone CrawfordDAL21141514872
    15DeMarcus LawrenceDAL20141614872
    16Danielle HunterMIN20141614872
    17Cliff AvrilSEA20141614872
    18Frank ClarkSEA20141614872
    19Dwight FreeneyATL20141514871
    20Kerry HyderDET20151414871
    21Romeo OkwaraNYG19151514871
    22Marcus SmithPHI18151514870
    23Brooks ReedATL19151314869
    24Ezekiel AnsahDET18141712869
    25Paul KrugerNO19151314869
    26Ryan RussellTB19141414869
    27Wes HortonCAR18141414868
    28Devin TaylorDET19131414868
    29Ethan WestbrooksLA19141314868
    30Eugene SimsLA20141313868
    31Kasim EdebaliNO18141513868
    32Cassius MarshSEA19141413868
    33William GholstonTB19131414868
    34Yannick NgakoueJAX20121413867
    35Jason JonesMIA20121215867
    36Jack CrawfordDAL17141414867
    37Matt LongacreLA18141413867
    38Brian RobisonMIN20121413867
    39Darryl TappNO19131413867
    40Trey FlowersNE20131213866
    41Ryan DelaireCAR19141213866
    42William HayesLA19121314866
    43Connor BarwinPHI18141412866
    44Vinny CurryPHI17121414865
    45Steven MeansPHI17141313865
    46Kony EalyCAR18131213864
    47Carlos DunlapCIN19131211863
    48Dante FowlerJAX17131312863
    49Anthony ZettelDET16121314863
    50Chris LongNE17121114862
    51Michael JohnsonCIN19111211861
    52Jabaal SheardNE16121213861
    53Will ClarkeCIN17111212860
    54Tyson AlualuJAX16151011860

                      

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Margus Hunt—insufficient snaps
    • Jared Odrick—inactive
    • Mario Williams—inactive
    • Lorenzo Mauldin—inactive
    • Charles Johnson—injury
    • Adrian Clayborn—injury
    • Robert Quinn—injury
    • Jason Pierre-Paul—injury

Defensive Tackles

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Cincinnati's Geno Atkins and Miami's Ndamukong Suh led the Week 14 NFL1000 defensive tackle rankings with dominant games against the Browns and Cardinals, respectively. Atkins had his way with Cleveland's offensive line, finishing with two sacks, one quarterback hit and four hurries to go along with a bevy of run stops. Suh led the way for the Dolphins defensive line as it battered a weak Cardinals front. Suh had one of his best performances of the season as he controlled his gap rushing the passer and versus the run. 

    The Panthers' Kawann Short and Vernon Butler beat up the Chargers' interior offensive line this week. Orlando Franklin and D.J. Fluker were constantly caught out of position against the pair of defensive tackles. Short started off the game with two sacks in the first quarter, including a strip-sack that led to a drive where Carolina scored.

    Jacksonville's Sen'Derrick Marks had his best game of the season against the Vikings. Marks has always been quick off the snap this season but often failed to convert on his penetration. This week was different, as he finally finished the plays he disrupted. This was a vintage Marks performance we haven't seen since his knee injury in 2014.

    The Falcons duo of Grady Jarrett and Ra'Shede Hageman put forth a great effort against the Los Angeles Rams. Hageman had his best pass-rushing performance since last season's upset of the Panthers in Week 16. Jarrett had another fine game defending the run and an impressive tackle down the field where he caught up to Tavon Austin on a screen pass.

                     

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvr
    1Geno AtkinsCIN20231914783
    2Ndamukong SuhMIA19212112780
    3Kawann ShortCAR18191713774
    4Aaron DonaldLA19171912774
    5Fletcher CoxPHI17191713773
    6Grady JarrettATL17161913772
    7Sen'Derrick MarksJAX19151713771
    8Linval JosephMIN16152013771
    9Nick FairleyNO19161712771
    10Leonard WilliamsNYJ17161912771
    11Stephen PaeaCLE18161712770
    12Malcom BrownNE18151812770
    13Gerald McCoyTB16171812770
    14Maliek CollinsDAL16161812769
    15Tony McDanielSEA16151912769
    16Ra'Shede HagemanATL17171512768
    17Malik JacksonJAX17161711768
    18Al WoodsTEN16141813768
    19Corey PetersARI17151711767
    20Vernon ButlerCAR16161711767
    21Jordan PhillipsMIA16151811767
    22Damon HarrisonNYG16141911767
    23Eddie GoldmanCHI16141712766
    24T.Y McGillIND17151611766
    25Earl MitchellMIA15161711766
    26Tom JohnsonMIN16161512766
    27Johnathan HankinsNYG16151612766
    28Brandon WilliamsBAL16151611765
    29Star LotuleleiCAR15151612765
    30Letroy GuionGB15151711765
    31Hassan RidgewayIND16161511765
    32Rakeem Nunez-RochesKC15161512765
    33Vincent ValentineNE16151710765
    34Terrell McClainDAL14151711764
    35Abry JonesJAX14151711764
    36Michael BrockersLA14131911764
    37Jarran ReedSEA15141711764
    38Ahtyba RubinSEA14151711764
    39Damion SquareSD15161511764
    40Danny SheltonCLE14151611763
    41Cedric ThorntonDAL16151411763
    42Kenny ClarkGB16141610763
    43D.J. ReaderHOU16141511763
    44Dontari PoeKC16151411763
    45Dominique EasleyLA16131710763
    46Alan BranchNE15141611763
    47Austin JohnsonTEN14131712763
    48Vince WilforkHOU15111712762
    49Justin EllisOAK14121811762
    50Cullen JenkinsWAS16131511762
    51Rodney GunterARI14131710761
    52Michael PierceBAL15131610761
    53Deshawn WilliamsCIN15141510761
    54Haloti NgataDET15141510761
    55Shamar StephensMIN14141511761
    56Sheldon RankinsNO15131511761
    57Bennie LoganPHI15141411761
    58Daniel McCullersPIT14131611761
    59Clinton McDonaldTB14131611761
    60Akeem SpenceTB15141510761
    61Tyeler DavisonNO13131611760
    62Dan WilliamsOAK12121712760
    63Jonathan BabineauxATL14131411759
    64Tyson JacksonATL13111612759
    65Domata PekoCIN13121611759
    66Courtney UpshawATL14131311758
    67Marcell DareusBUF15131310758
    68Paul SoliaiCAR12131511758
    69Sheldon DayJAX13141410758
    70Cam ThomasLA12141411758
    71David OnyemataNO14121510758
    72Jay BromleyNYG13131510758
    73Deon SimonNYJ14131410758
    74Beau AllenPHI13151310758
    75Pat SimsCIN12121511757
    76A'Shawn RobinsonDET14131310757
    77Jordan HillJAX13121411757
    78Tyrunn WalkerDET12141211756
    79Mike PurcellSF14111311756
    80Glenn DorseySF16121110756
    81Destiny VaeaoPHI13121310755
    82Jerel WorthyBUF13121210754
    83David ParryIND12131110753
    84Sylvester WilliamsDEN1213119752
    85T.J. BarnesKC12111210752
    86Jihad WardOAK1112119750

                     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Darius Latham—injury
    • Stacy McGee—injury
    • John Jenkins—inactive
    • Kyle Love—inactive
    • Sharrif Floyd—injury
    • Zach Kerr—inactive
    • Steve McLendon—injury
    • Javon Hargrave—injury
    • Kyle Williams—injury
    • Khyri Thornton—injury

3-4 Outside Linebackers

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    Ralph Freso/Getty Images

    Week 14 was a showcase in how the 3-4 outside linebacker position can be a defining factor in big games. Just look at Ryan Kerrigan of the Redskins. Close to a number of sacks all afternoon, Kerrigan finally got home on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz—delivering a strip-sack late in the fourth quarter to preserve Washington's win in Philadelphia. He finished with the week's top pass-rushing and overall grades. 

    Kerrigan wasn't alone.

    Jadeveon Clowney's strip-sack of Andrew Luck in the red zone was a defining moment in the Texans' win over the Colts. With the Packers hurting at outside linebacker, Datone Jones and Jayrone Elliott both delivered sacks during Green Bay's blowout win over the Seahawks. Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan piled on the pressure to help the Titans beat the Broncos in a big game.

    Winning big games often requires disrupting the opponent's passing game. Teams that did it best in Week 14 were able to score huge victories.

                     

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunCvgTklPosOvr
    1Ryan KerriganWAS28131120880
    2Leonard FloydCHI2616920879
    3Trent MurphyWAS25141020877
    4Whitney MercilusHOU2713920877
    5Jadeveon ClowneyHOU2614920877
    6Melvin IngramSD2515919876
    7Von MillerDEN19181021876
    8Justin HoustonKC2217920876
    9Brian OrakpoTEN25121119875
    10Datone JonesGB2514919875
    11Lorenzo AlexanderBUF21121320874
    12Jayrone ElliottGB2313921874
    13Bud DupreePIT2513819873
    14Pernell McPheeCHI2215919873
    15Cam JohnsonCLE2414918873
    16Dee FordKC2314918872
    17Derrick MorganTEN25121017872
    18Trent ColeIND2113918869
    19Markus GoldenARI21131017869
    20DeMarcus WareDEN2112918868
    21Matt JudonBAL2013918868
    22Preston SmithWAS20121018868
    23Elvis DumervilBAL2111918867
    24Jamie CollinsCLE2112620867
    25Terrell SuggsBAL2013917867
    26James HarrisonPIT19121018867
    27Willie YoungCHI19131017867
    28Shane RayDEN2211916866
    29Chandler JonesARI2012917866
    30Clay MatthewsGB20111017866
    31Ahmad BrooksSF21111016866
    32Chris LandrumSD2112916866
    33Kyle EmanuelSD1714917865
    34Tamba HaliKC1812917864
    35Akeem AyersIND18101216864
    36Aaron WallaceTEN2110916864
    37Eli HaroldSF19101017864
    38Aaron LynchSF2110916864
    39Albert McClellanBAL17121016863
    40Shaquil BarrettDEN1911915862
    41Julius PeppersGB1811916862
    42Jerry HughesBUF1811916862
    43Alex OkaforARI1811916862
    44Shaq LawsonBUF1712816861
    45Curt MaggittIND1910915861
    46Akeem DentHOU15121015860
    47Erik WaldenIND1711618860
    48David BassTEN1610916859
    49Corey LemonierCLE169915857
    50Brandon SpikesBUF1610815857

                      

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Za'Darius Smith—injury
    • Nick Perry—injury
    • Kyler Fackrell—injury
    • John Simon—injury
    • Robert Mathis—injury
    • Lavar Edwards—injury
    • Frank Zombo—insufficient snaps
    • Jarvis Jones—insufficient snaps
    • Arthur Moats—insufficient snaps
    • Anthony Chickillo—insufficient snaps
    • Tank Carradine—inactive
    • Kevin Dodd—injury

4-3 Outside Linebackers

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    Rob Leiter/Getty Images

    One player stood well above his peers this week. It was an abnormally lackluster week for linebacker play, but Dallas' Sean Lee did not fall in line with the pack.

    He balled out on Sunday Night Football in the Cowboys' narrow loss to the Giants. New York's rushing attack was held to fewer than three yards per carry, largely due to Lee's efforts. The 30-year-old linebacker found himself in the Giants backfield a handful of times Sunday night, including once on a critical 3rd-and-2 in which Lee was able to knife into the backfield and stop the Giants from converting a first down.

    When not making plays behind the line of scrimmage, Lee was minimizing run plays that managed to find their way past the line of scrimmage. By night's end, Lee racked up 18 tackles, most of which were of the impactful variety, not cleanup plays. 

    On the flip side, the Falcons running game abused both Rams linebackers. Mark Barron and Cory Littleton were the lowest-graded players this week, seeing as both were major liabilities in the running game. While Barron occasionally has great games, it continues to look more and more like the Rams need to address their linebacker positions.

              

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRunRushTklPosOvr
    1Sean LeeDAL2023823680
    2Lavonte DavidTB1920719671
    3Vontaze BurfictCIN1819919671
    4Thomas DavisCAR1720720670
    5Karlos DansbyCIN1819719669
    6Bruce IrvinOAK18171018669
    7DeAndre LevyDET1918718668
    8Rob NinkovichNE1817918668
    9Jonathan CasillasNYG1717919668
    10Telvin SmithJAX1519819667
    11Myles JackJAX1817818667
    12Devon KennardNYG1619719667
    13Jordan JenkinsNYJ16171018667
    14De'Vondre CampbellATL1817718666
    15Chad GreenwayMIN1618719666
    16Keenan RobinsonNYG1718718666
    17Daryl SmithTB1619718666
    18Shaq ThompsonCAR1617719665
    19Nigel BradhamPHI1716818665
    20Spencer PaysingerMIA1916717665
    21Philip WheelerATL15161017664
    22Damien WilsonDAL1617718664
    23Dan SkutaJAX1518718664
    24Neville HewittMIA1716718664
    25Stephone AnthonyNO1617718664
    26Darron LeeNYJ1614918663
    27K.J. WrightSEA1318719663
    28Vincent ReyCIN1715717662
    29Mychal KendricksPHI1615718662
    30Josh BynesDET1417718662
    31Anthony BarrMIN1615816661
    32Dannell EllerbeLA1516816661
    33Kyle Van NoyNE1416717660
    34Shea McClellinNE1615815660
    35Mike CatapanoNYJ1416816660
    36Michael MorganSEA1515717660
    37Paul WorrilowATL1515716659
    38Donald ButlerMIA1514716658
    39Malcolm SmithOAK1215718658
    40Cory LittletonLA1514715657
    41Mark BarronLA1514714656

                     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Justin Durant—insufficient snaps
    • Kyle Wilber—insufficient snaps
    • Antwione Williams—insufficient snaps
    • Arthur Brown—insufficient snaps
    • Josh Forrest—injury
    • Jelani Jenkins—injury
    • Craig Robertson—injury
    • Jaylon Smith—injury

Inside Linebackers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Week 14 began with two of the best teams in the AFC squaring off on Thursday Night Football. The Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders have drastically different defenses, but both have managed to stand out as challengers to the Patriots' assumed AFC crown. Unfortunately, despite winning the game, the Chiefs may have suffered their biggest loss of the season, as inside linebacker Derrick Johnson suffered a torn Achilles and was placed on injured reserve.

    Few positions have been hit harder by injury than the inside linebacker group, with multiple stars missing games throughout the year. The Chiefs had already compensated for the loss of one starter inside, and they'll have to do it again as they continue to play through January. 

    Seattle Seahawks inside 'backer Bobby Wagner is just behind a couple of rookies at the top. Early in the season, it wasn't clear how talented Wagner was. I thought an elite defensive line might be protecting him. After nearly a full season of impressive performances, Wagner has convincingly changed my mind. It's time to start discussing him as the best or close to it.

    Wagner shows a tremendous amount of athleticism and hustle that go unnoticed with the talent around him. He's hard-hitting and relentless in pursuit, with range to play sideline to sideline. With no clear holes in his game, Wagner may be just enough to compensate for the loss of safety Earl Thomas.

    Other highlights include Pittsburgh Steeler Ryan Shazier, who looks fully recovered from nagging injuries. He showed no fear attacking the line of scrimmage against a Bills team that could've used a linebacker like that to stop Le'Veon Bell.

                  

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunRushTklPosOvr
    1Deion JonesATL23291111680
    2Nick KwiatkoskiCHI19301111677
    3Bobby WagnerSEA19291111676
    4David HarrisNYJ20291011676
    5Ryan ShazierPIT1929119674
    6Deone BucannonARI20281010674
    7Eric KendricksMIN20261011673
    8Wesley WoodyardTEN17281011672
    9Kwon AlexanderTB2027109672
    10Zaire AndersonDEN18281010672
    11Jake RyanGB1828911672
    12Jordan HicksPHI1827911671
    13Ramik WilsonKC1827911671
    14Paul PoslusznyJAX1728119671
    15Avery WilliamsonTEN16271012671
    16Denzel PerrymanSD1827910670
    17Will ComptonWAS17271010670
    18Zach OrrBAL17261011670
    19Mason FosterWAS17261011670
    20C.J. MosleyBAL16251111669
    21Dont'a HightowerNE17241111669
    22Joe ThomasGB18241011669
    23Lawrence TimmonsPIT18251010669
    24Benardrick McKinneyHOU17251010668
    25Nick BelloreSF1726910668
    26Sio MooreARI1626911668
    27Anthony HitchensDAL1626911668
    28Brian CushingHOU1725910667
    29Jatavis BrownSD1824910667
    30Nathan StuparNO1625911667
    31Kevin MinterARI1724911667
    32Martrell SpaightWAS16251010667
    33Chris KirkseyCLE1625910666
    34Michael WilhoiteSF1724910666
    35Mike HullMIA1724910666
    36Perry Riley Jr.OAK1725810666
    37Max BulloughHOU1626810666
    38Antonio MorrisonIND1723910665
    39Gerald HodgesSF1623119665
    40Preston BrownBUF1624910665
    41Josh McNaryIND1625810665
    42Derrick JohnsonKC1623911665
    43Alec OgletreeLA1822118665
    44Tahir WhiteheadDET1524910664
    45Todd DavisDEN1722910664
    46A.J. KleinCAR1623109664
    47John TimuCHI172399664
    48Rey MaualugaCIN1524910664
    49Sean SpenceTEN1622910663
    50Korey ToomerSD152499663
    51Kelvin SheppardNYG162399663
    52Edwin JacksonIND1621910662
    53Demario DavisCLE1324910662
    54Corey NelsonDEN1521910661
    55Zach BrownBUF191698658
    56Daniel SorensenKC181589656

                        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Luke Kuechly—injury
    • Danny Trevathan—injury
    • Brandon Marshall—injury
    • Blake Martinez—injury
    • Kiko Alonso—injury
    • Joshua Perry—insufficient snaps
    • Su'a Cravens—insufficient snaps
    • Jerrell Freeman—suspension
    • D'Qwell Jackson—suspension

Cornerbacks

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    Rob Leiter/Getty Images

    The top of the cornerback board is filled with surprises, as young players crashed the crowd of familiar faces. Both conferences had a raised level of play last week, culminating in several exciting finishes. Let’s look at some of the highly graded players.

    Amid the Dak Prescott-Tony Romo debate, the Giants defense—specifically the cornerbacks—largely contributed to Prescott's struggles in Week 14. Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant had problems whenever matched up against Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins has been arguably the best cornerback in the NFL this season after being less consistent on a weekly basis in past years.

    Jenkins allowed just two completions on seven targets and only one first down. He also had an interception, and five targets were either in position or shut down. He's as dominant as any corner in the league right now.

    Cre'Von LeBlanc of the Chicago Bears was the suprise performer of the week. LeBlanc has been finding his footing after being thrust into a bigger role because of injuries, and he was excellent against Detroit despite the Lions' solid corps of receivers. LeBlanc allowed only three completions on eight targets, including snaps in press, off-man and the slot. He's physical, versatile and intercepted his first pass this week. 

    A.J. Bouye continues his unheralded yet impressive season. The Colts challenged Bouye five times, and he responded by allowed only one catch. He was lucky one target wasn’t a catch when he was out of position, but on the day, Bouye was stellar. He broke up one pass and was in position on each of his other targets.

    Oakland's David Amerson received a contract extension in July, and I’m not sure there was a need for that. He has underwhelmed this year, and on Thursday night, he was a disaster. He gave up seven of eight targets and was responsible for 146 yards allowed. One hundred and forty-six. He was victim of four first downs, three catches over 20 yards—one that was a long TD—and looked a step slow all night.

    One guy who is going to get paid big money in free agency and deserves it is Buffalo's Stephon Gilmore. He gave up two catches on six targets, and the 29-yarder was a comeback turned into a long catch against some guy named Antonio Brown. His interception was a thing of beauty, as he was physical with Brown throughout the route and was rewarded by beating the wideout to the spot where he was supposed to finish. Gilmore has been one of the better corners in the league.

                

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamCvgReactSlotTklPosOvr
    1Janoris JenkinsNYG2726185985
    2Dominique Rodgers-CromartieNYG2424205982
    3Casey HaywardSD2424165978
    4Cre'von LeBlancCHI2123195977
    5Damarious RandallGB2222195977
    6A.J. BouyeHOU2322165975
    7TJ CarrieOAK2222175975
    8Jimmy SmithBAL2221166974
    9Chris Harris Jr.DEN2122166974
    10Malcolm ButlerNE2222165974
    11Patrick PetersonARI2021185973
    12Stephon GilmoreBUF2122165973
    13Josh NormanWAS2220175973
    14Terrance MitchellKC2021166972
    15Xavier RhodesMIN2020185972
    16Richard ShermanSEA1920186972
    17Adam JonesCIN2021165971
    18Nickell Robey-ColemanBUF2020165970
    19Aqib TalibDEN2020165970
    20Trumaine JohnsonLA1920175970
    21Robert AlfordATL2019165969
    22Marcus PetersKC1919166969
    23Darrelle RevisNYJ2020164969
    24Sean SmithOAK2020155969
    25LeShaun SimsTEN2019156969
    26Briean Boddy-CalhounCLE1920155968
    27Lamarcus JoynerLA1718186968
    28Jimmie WardSF1818176968
    29Brice McCainTEN1919165968
    30Ronald DarbyBUF1918165967
    31Bradley RobyDEN1919155967
    32Juston BurrisNYJ1819165967
    33Josh ShawCIN1818165966
    34Joe HadenCLE1818165966
    35Anthony BrownDAL1817175966
    36Darius SlayDET1819155966
    37Vontae DavisIND1818165966
    38Dre KirkpatrickCIN1918154965
    39Steven NelsonKC1718165965
    40Bobby McCainMIA1717166965
    41Vernon HargreavesTB1617176965
    42Brent GrimesTB1818154964
    43Jalen CollinsATL1717155963
    44Tavon YoungBAL1717155963
    45Bryce CallahanCHI1716165963
    46Jalen RamseyJAX1617156963
    47Byron MaxwellMIA1717155963
    48Terence NewmanMIN1617165963
    49Buster SkrineNYJ1716165963
    50Tracy PorterCHI1616165962
    51Logan RyanNE1616156962
    52Marcus WilliamsNYJ1617155962
    53Leodis McKelvinPHI1715165962
    54Tramaine BrockSF1617155962
    55Brandon CarrDAL1614166961
    56Orlando ScandrickDAL1515166961
    57Robert Nelson Jr.HOU1715155961
    58William GayPIT1716154961
    59Trevor WilliamsSD1716145961
    60Rashard RobinsonSF1616155961
    61Javien ElliottTB1416166961
    62Jamar TaylorCLE1615155960
    63Ladarius GunterGB1615155960
    64Kareem JacksonHOU1516155960
    65Delvin BreauxNO1516155960
    66Eli AppleNYG1614156960
    67Artie BurnsPIT1615155960
    68Trovon ReedSD1615155960
    69Nevin LawsonDET1615145959
    70Darryl MorrisIND1515155959
    71Aaron ColvinJAX1515155959
    72Sterling MooreNO1414166959
    73Tyvon BranchARI1614145958
    74Marcus CooperARI1416145958
    75Brian PooleATL1415155958
    76Shareece WrightBAL1416154958
    77Adairius BarnesDET1415155958
    78Mike JordanLA1514155958
    79Leonard JohnsonCAR1414155957
    80Quinten RollinsGB1415145957
    81Rashaan MelvinIND1315155957
    82Tony LippettMIA1414155957
    83Jalen MillsPHI1315155957
    84Ross CockrellPIT1414155957
    85James BradberryCAR1314145955
    86Prince AmukamaraJAX1413145955
    87B.W. WebbNO1314145955
    88Nolan CarrollPHI1314145955
    89DeShawn SheadSEA1315135955
    90Daryl WorleyCAR1313136954
    91Deiondre HallCHI1413135954
    92Jerraud PowersBAL1313135953
    93Captain MunnerlynMIN1313144953
    94Bashaud BreelandWAS1314125953
    95Cyrus JonesNE1212145952
    96Quinton DunbarWAS1213135952
    97Jeremy LaneSEA1312125951
    98Brandon WilliamsARI1211135950
    99Jason McCourtyTEN1211135950
    100David AmersonOAK1011135948
    101Justin BethelARI1011105945

                    

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Desmond Trufant—injury
    • Alterraun Verner—insufficient snaps
    • Trae Waynes—insufficient snaps
    • Morris Claiborne—injury
    • Craig Mager—injury
    • Brandon Flowers—injury
    • Johnathan Joseph—injury
    • DJ Hayden—injury
    • Eric Rowe—injury
    • Darqueze Dennard—insufficient snaps
    • Patrick Robinson—injury
    • Phillip Gaines—insufficient snaps
    • Darryl Roberts—insufficient snaps

Free Safeties

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Jets safety Marcus Gilchrist suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter of the Jets' win over the 49ers. It added injury to insult after a terrible first half in which he struggled with his tackling. His main problem was stopping his feet as runners approached him. On a long run by Carlos Hyde, Gilchrist had the opportunity to tackle him for a relatively small gain. But he stopped his feet completely, allowing Hyde to run past him to the edge and down the sideline.

    To his credit, Gilchrist managed to catch up to Hyde and made a tackle to save the touchdown, but he should have made it a lot earlier in the play. A few plays later, Colin Kaepernick kept the ball on a run. Gilchrist came up to make a tackle but again stopped his feet as the quarterback nearly burst past him. Gilchrist just managed to hang on, but he allowed Kaepernick to pick up more yards than he should have, surrendering the first down in the process. 

    In the second quarter, Gilchrist stopped his feet again as he approached Hyde on another run. This time, he managed to push Hyde out of bounds to save what would have been a touchdown, but again, Gilchrist had an opportunity to save yards and failed.

    Chargers free safety Dwight Lowery had an impressive week against the Panthers. He matched up well against Greg Olsen, one of the better receiving tight ends in the game. He was able to stay close to Olsen on an out route in the first quarter, forcing quarterback Cam Newton to look elsewhere. In the second quarter, Lowery again stuck tight to Olsen but this time in the end zone. That took him away from Newton, who had to resort to scrambling after his favorite target was covered.

    Later, Lowery matched up against Olsen on a fade route in the end zone but again stayed right with him to him and forced Newton to look elsewhere. A few series later, Lowery did a fantastic job undercutting a slant route to Olsen in the end zone—he broke up a pass and saved a touchdown. The play came on third down. So not only did he stop the Panthers from scoring, but he forced them to kick a field goal.

                

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvr
    1Dwight LowerySD2624616880
    2Vonn BellNO2424615877
    3Ricardo AllenATL2323516875
    4George IlokaCIN2324515875
    5Lardarius WebbBAL2224416874
    6Tre BostonCAR2323515874
    7Darius ButlerIND2423415874
    8Corey GrahamBUF2221616873
    9Andre HalHOU2323514873
    10Reggie NelsonOAK2221616873
    11Kevin ByardTEN2122615872
    12D.J. SwearingerARI2023515871
    13Jairus ByrdNO2221515871
    14Byron JonesDAL2121515870
    15Ron ParkerKC2121515870
    16Isa Abdul-QuddusMIA2021516870
    17Devin McCourtyNE2121416870
    18Mike MitchellPIT2120516870
    19Corey WhiteBUF2220514869
    20Adrian AmosCHI2019616869
    21Darian StewartDEN2120515869
    22Glover QuinDET2121415869
    23Maurice AlexanderLA2120515869
    24Duron HarmonNE2121415869
    25Steven TerrellSEA2021515869
    26Ha Ha Clinton-DixGB2020416868
    27Anthony HarrisMIN2021415868
    28Leon HallNYG2120415868
    29Antoine BetheaSF2021514868
    30Kentrell BriceGB1920515867
    31Tashaun GipsonJAX2020415867
    32Rodney McLeodPHI2022413867
    33Bradley McDougaldTB2019515867
    34Rashad JohnsonTEN1918517867
    35Corey MooreHOU1819516866
    36Michael ThomasMIA1819516866
    37Deshazor EverettWAS1919515866
    38Jeff HeathDAL1919415865
    39Justin SimmonsDEN1918515865
    40Ed ReynoldsCLE1818515864
    41T.J. GreenIND1818515864
    42Cody DavisLA1918415864
    43Andrew AdamsNYG1817515863
    44Ibraheim CampbellCLE1718415862
    45Marcus GilchristNYJ1718414861

                   

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Clayton Geathers—injury
    • Harrison Smith—injury
    • Nat Berhe—injury
    • Will Blackmon—injury

Strong Safeties

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    Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    Buccaneers safety Keith Tandy was the surprising standout this week. After starting safety Chris Conte went down injured, Tandy stepped in last week with an impressive showing that earned him a 76 overall grade. This week, he improved his performance, earning an 80 overall grade after a strong afternoon against a potent Saints offense. Tandy made his presence felt all day in the running game.

    But his biggest plays came in coverage. 

    Tandy had two highlight-reel plays in the fourth quarter, and both resulted in interceptions. On the first, Tandy lined up as part of a two-deep safety look. The Saints ran a slant-flat route combination. Tandy recognized the play and read it perfectly, breaking on the slant route before Drew Brees even began his throwing motion. Breaking on it that early resulted in Tandy's overrunning it, but he did well to reach back and tip the pass, allowing the corner covering the receiver to intercept it.

    On the Saints' final drive, they faced 4th-and-1 and needed a score to win the game. Tandy again lined up as part of a two-deep safety look. This time, the Saints bunched three receivers tightly together to the left of the formation—Tandy's side of the field. The Saints used two of the receivers to clear a path for the third receiver to run an arrow route to move the chains. Like before, Tandy recognized the route early and broke on it before Brees released the ball. He closed the distance quickly and jumped the route, making an interception to seal the game for the Bucs.

    Panthers safety Kurt Coleman was also impressive. The Panthers had been rotating Tre Boston and Michael Griffin at the other starting safety spot, meaning Coleman would change roles depending on who was in the game alongside him. But this week, Carolina rightly made the decision to stick with Boston at free safety, allowing Coleman to play closer to the line of scrimmage.

    He stood out as a blitzer. The Panthers schemed well, and he came free a couple of times, forcing Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to rush his throws. But Coleman also managed to generate pressure on his own. In the third quarter, he ran over a running back in pass protection on his way to Rivers, who wisely threw the ball away before Coleman could get to him.

    He finished the game strongly in coverage too. In the fourth quarter, he bracketed Antonio Gates on 3rd-and-3, taking away one of Rivers' most reliable targets in a tight situation. He nearly had an interception later, when he stayed on top of a deep shot to Gates.

    A few plays later, though, Coleman came through with an interception. He did a fantastic job of peeling off his coverage assignment and made up a lot of ground on a deep ball to a receiver who came from the far side of the field. Coleman pulled in the interception, killing off any hope the Chargers had of a comeback.

                 

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvr
    1Keith TandyTB22221515680
    2Kurt ColemanCAR19211516677
    3Morgan BurnettGB20191616677
    4Keanu NealATL19191615675
    5Daniel SorensenKC19191516675
    6Patrick ChungNE20201415675
    7Eric WeddleBAL19191515674
    8John CyprienJAX18191615674
    9Eric BerryKC19181516674
    10Kam ChancellorSEA18181616674
    11Shawn WilliamsCIN18191515673
    12Jaquiski TarttSF19181515673
    13Tony JeffersonARI17181615672
    14Barry ChurchDAL18181515672
    15Donte WhitnerWAS18171515671
    16Rafael BushDET17171515670
    17Bacarri RamboMIA19161415670
    18Andrew SendejoMIN17181415670
    19Landon CollinsNYG17181415670
    20Nate AllenOAK17161516670
    21Da'Norris SearcyTEN18171415670
    22Daimion StaffordTEN17171515670
    23Roman HarperNO17161515669
    24Deon BushCHI16171415668
    25T.J. WardDEN15171515668
    26Calvin PryorNYJ16171415668
    27Malcolm JenkinsPHI16171415668
    28Robert GoldenPIT16161416668
    29Tavon WilsonDET16161415667
    30Quintin DempsHOU16161415667
    31Rontez MilesNYJ16161415667
    32Sean DavisPIT15171514667
    33Duke IhenachoWAS16171414667
    34Mike AdamsIND15161415666
    35Jahleel AddaeSD15161415666
    36James IhedigboBUF15161414665
    37Tramon WilliamsCLE15161414665
    38T.J. McDonaldLA15151415665
    39Adrian PhillipsSD15151415665
    40Harold Jones-QuarteyCHI14141415663
    41Eddie PleasantHOU14141414662

               

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Karl Joseph—injury
    • Chris Conte—injury
    • J.J. Wilcox—injury
    • Kenny Vaccaro—suspension

Kickers

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Houston's Nick Novak has had a fairly quiet 2016, as the veteran kicker has been firmly in the middle of the pack as far as accuracy and leg strength throughout much of the year. This week, he takes home the top kicker honors. He made five field goals, including a 52-yarder, and the only extra point he attempted.

    Novak had strong years in 2012 and 2013 with the Chargers but has been merely adequate over the three seasons since. He lacks elite leg strength but will occasionally have one of these performances, proving he is a quality kicker who can produce exceptional production once or twice a year. 

    Carolina's Graham Gano and Baltimore's Justin Tucker are in a tie for second. Tucker had a 34-yard attempt blocked by the Patriots on Monday Night Football, but context is critical to understanding this play. Shea McClellin hurdled the long snapper and was three yards away from Tucker as he struck the ball, giving him an unwinnable scenario.

    Kickers and punters cannot be graded down because of blocking miscues, just as a running back tackled at the mesh point cannot be docked for losing yardage. While statistics can present a decent picture, the reasons for those statistics are often more important and, in this case, provide critical pieces of information that do not show up in the box score.

    On the other end of the ledger, Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro had his worst week as a pro, missing two extra points and a 41-yarder, each one due to different mechanical issues. Catanzaro is having a difficult third season, making just 76.2 percent of his field goals to this point after being at 87.9 percent or above in each of his first two seasons.

    While Cardinals fans may be frustrated, Catanzaro has a capable leg and typically has consistent mechanics, making his recent struggles something the team will likely see if he can work out in the offseason. However, Arizona will likely bring in some camp competition.

    Buffalo's Dan Carpenter continues to struggle on extra points, missing his fourth of the year despite being 10-of-10 on field goals under 40 yards. Carpenter has now missed 10 extra points in the last two years, and the result is statistically significant, suggesting there is a mental hurdle for him at this point.

    San Francisco's Phil Dawson, who missed two field goals against the Jets, also struggled this week, as did Dallas' Dan Bailey and Washington's Dustin Hopkins, who are likely to only have quick visits to the bottom five before bouncing back.

                

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamPwrAccTklPosOvr
    1Nick NovakHOU33383377
    2Graham GanoCAR31383375
    3Justin TuckerBAL33363375
    4Matt PraterDET34343374
    5Ryan SuccopTEN33343373
    6Nick FolkNYJ32343372
    7Caleb SturgisPHI30353371
    8Wil LutzNO32333371
    9Roberto AguayoTB31343371
    10Matt BryantATL30343370
    11Chris BoswellPIT31333370
    12Sebastian JanikowskiOAK31323369
    13Andrew FranksMIA31313368
    14Josh LamboSD32293367
    15Mason CrosbyGB30295367
    16Stephen GostkowskiNE31303367
    17Connor BarthCHI30303366
    18Cody ParkeyCLE31293366
    19Brandon McManusDEN31293366
    20Cairo SantosKC31293366
    21Steven HauschkaSEA31293366
    22Greg ZuerleinLA31283365
    23Robbie GouldNYG30293365
    24Jason MyersJAX33253364
    25Kai ForbathMIN29293364
    26Adam VinatieriIND29243359
    27Mike NugentCIN30223358
    28Dustin HopkinsWAS31203357
    29Dan BaileyDAL30213357
    30Dan CarpenterBUF30193355
    31Phil DawsonSF30173353
    32Chandler CatanzaroARI3153342

                  

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

Punters

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Another week, another top-five spot for the Rams' Johnny Hekker, who had the highest grade for a punter this time. There is pretty much no punt that does not reside in Hekker's magical bag of tricks, as he has the ability to hit booming spirals out of his own end zone or carefully place a ball just on the edge of the goal line in a pin-deep situation. Hekker is creating some separation from the rest of the punters in the race for the top punter of 2016, and he is a joy to watch at his best.

    Matt Bosher faced Hekker in Week 14, and the Falcons punter proved up for the challenge, turning in the second-best performance at the position and a phenomenal outing in his own right. Bosher does not typically punt with this directional control, as his beg leg is typically his calling card. He was able to place the ball well this week, though still not up to the level of Hekker.

    New Orleans' Thomas Morstead (No. 3) put on another strong performance and rounds out the top five with New England's Ryan Allen (No. 4) and Dallas' Chris Jones (No. 5), who moved up from the middle of the pack, where they have spent most of this year. 

    At the bottom of the list, Seattle's Jon Ryan struggled to generate any power in frigid conditions in Green Bay, as the longest punt of his day was just 42 yards, even with two punts coming from within his own 35-yard line. Ryan has struggled to produce the same kind of distance he has in previous years, and this was an unfortunate continuation of that trend. His directional ability remains consistent, but he is not hitting the ball with the power he used to.

    Minnesota's Jeff Locke, Green Bay's Jacob Schum, Arizona's Drew Butler and San Diego's Drew Kaser also had a rough time in Week 14. These four have consistently ranked near the bottom throughout the season. Locke's Achilles' heel has been his ball placement, while Kaser and Butler have struggled to generate meaningful distance. Schum has had below-average power as well. Of the four, Kaser has the potential to break out, but he continues to lack the consistency he showed in preseason.

                  

    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 14
    RankPlayerTeamDistHangAccTklPosOvr
    1Johnny HekkerLA1817413382
    2Matt BosherATL2016383380
    3Thomas MorsteadNO1719343376
    4Ryan AllenNE1713403376
    5Chris JonesDAL1316383373
    6Shane LechlerHOU1913333371
    7Kevin HuberCIN1913323370
    8Tress WayWAS1417333370
    9Brad NortmanJAX1219333370
    10Donnie JonesPHI1815313370
    11Bryan AngerTB1816283368
    12Sam KochBAL1313363368
    13Matt PalardyCAR1414323366
    14Britton ColquittCLE1310353364
    15Pat McAfeeIND1117303364
    16Marquette KingOAK1015333364
    17Sam MartinDET1513283362
    18Matt DarrMIA1312313362
    19Lachlan EdwardsNYJ1215293362
    20Bradley PinionSF815333362
    21Pat O'DonnellCHI1512274361
    22Riley DixonDEN910363361
    23Dustin ColquittKC1214293361
    24Brett KernTEN1510293360
    25Brad WingNYG1311303360
    26Colton SchmidtBUF1114274359
    27Jordan BerryPIT1413253358
    28Drew KaserSD710333356
    29Drew ButlerARI1311253355
    30Jacob SchumGB813283355
    31Jeff LockeMIN911283354
    32Jon RyanSEA68283348

                      

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Andy Lee—injury