NFL1000: Ranking the Top 1,000 Players from Week 2

Doug Farrar@@BR_DougFarrar NFL Lead ScoutSeptember 22, 2016

NFL1000: Ranking the Top 1,000 Players from Week 2

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    It’s said in various iterations that once is a fluke, twice is a pattern and three times is a trend.

    What that means for NFL teams is that after Week 2, patterns become obvious and can turn into trends quickly. That’s good news for the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, who have enjoyed strong performances two weeks in a row from their rookie quarterbacks.

    It’s not so good news for the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings, who have seen their offensive lines fall apart when tested in the first two games of the season. It’s good news for the New York Giants, who spent a ton of money on their defensive front in the offseason to be rewarded by strong performances from Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon.

    For every outlier, a player or team plays to its hype. Josh Norman was brutalized for his Week 1 performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers but recovered nicely against the Cowboys. Darrelle Revis is a different story—it’s officially OK to be concerned after the man who was once the best cornerback in football has allowed 10 catches on 13 targets for 173 yards, a touchdown, no picks and a 143.9 quarterback rating in two games.

    Yeah, that’s a problem. Is it a trend? We'll find out more Sunday when Revis faces the Kansas City Chiefs.

    Part of Bleacher Report’s NFL1000 player rating methodology that matters 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 16-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 rising and 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, 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 2 of the 2016 NFL season.

    All advanced stats are courtesy of Pro Football Focus

Methodology

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The NFL1000 team of scouts has 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 40 based on the position and the attribute, our scouts have graded each player based on their own expertise and countless hours of tape review over the years. Our evaluators were given specific positional assignments based on their proven fields of expertise. 

    Every NFL player with snaps in offensive and defensive roles is observed and graded based on a multi-tiered 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.

    • Does Eli Manning get a higher grade than his stats might indicate because the guys around him didn't play up to his level? Indeed. 
    • San Diego Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett allowed one catch on three targets last Sunday. Is he graded higher because the receiver he was defending was Jacksonville's Allen Robinson, one of the league's best? Absolutely. 
    • Are the performances of the Los Angeles Rams' and Green Bay Packers' defensive lines affected in an evaluative sense because they were ripping through the regrettable efforts of the Minnesota and Seattle offensive lines? Without question.
    • Do we grade Chicago Bears rookie center Cody Whitehair on a more favorable curve when he fights the great Fletcher Cox to a draw? Of course we do.

    We take these types of things into consideration every week.

    We'll also adjust for players with multiple responsibilities in the course of a game and over the course of time. Think of J.J. Watt or Michael Bennett on the defensive line and 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 those 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.

    Here are the NFL1000 player grades for Week 2 of the 2016 NFL season.

Top 50 Overall from Week 2

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    Peter Aiken/Getty Images

    You may have noticed that the NFL1000 is a bit top-heavy on cornerbacks this week. Well, that’s what happens when Jason Verrett shuts down Allen Robinson, Chris Harris allows two catches for 18 yards against the Colts, and Josh Norman has a nice game with excellent coverage and a forced fumble against the Cowboys. San Diego’s defense has question marks, but hardly any of them reside in a secondary with Verrett and Casey Hayward.

    You may also notice two Vikings players high in our rankings this week—quarterback Sam Bradford and receiver Stefon Diggs, Well, that’s what happens when Bradford completes 22 of 31 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns (many of those completions were plus arm throws) and Diggs catches nine of those balls for 182 yards and a score.

    You may also ask why Eli Manning ranks so high this week when he didn’t throw a touchdown pass and wasn’t that great in the red zone. Well, that’s what happens when he completes 32 of 41 passes for 368 yards and his receivers drop his three best throwstwo of which would have gone for touchdowns.

    You’ll find all of this week’s NFL1000 grades per position on the following pages, but here’s the top 50 for Week 2.

    Top 50 Overall from Week 2
    RankPlayerPos.TeamNFL1000 ScoreLWMoving
    1Jason VerrettCBSD9341
    2Chris Harris Jr.CBDEN8928
    3Ndamukong SuhDTMIA886
    4Josh NormanCBWAS88104
    5Eli ManningQBNYG88139
    6Jerrell FreemanILBCHI8719
    7Casey HaywardCBSD87713
    8Marcus PetersCBKC87674
    9Sam BradfordQBMIN87NR
    10Philip RiversQBSD8743
    11Aaron DonaldDTLA861
    12Luke KuechlyILBCAR86130
    13Lamarcus JoynerCBLA86714
    14Joe StaleyLTSF8656
    15Taylor LewanLTTEN85516
    16Jason PetersLTPHI8514
    17Lane JohnsonRTPHI8515
    18Ross CockrellCBPIT84812
    19Johnny HekkerPLA84265
    20Russell OkungLTDEN8420
    21Drew BreesQBNO84112
    22Zack MartinOGDAL8360
    23Fletcher CoxDTPHI833
    24Von Miller3-4 OLBDEN8378
    25Trent Murphy3-4 OLBWAS83861
    26Alterraun VernerCBTB83599
    27Justin TuckerKBAL83162
    28Joe ThomasLTCLE834
    29Trent WilliamsLTWAS8330
    30Tyron SmithLTDAL838
    31Riley ReiffRTDET8334
    32Marshal YandaOGBAL829
    33Eric KendricksILBMIN82156
    34Bradley RobyCBDEN82132
    35Kemal IshmaelSSATL82260
    36Micah HydeSSGB82222
    37Terron ArmsteadLTNO82110
    38Nate SolderLTNE82NR
    39Trenton BrownRTSF82311
    40Stefon DiggsWRMIN81316
    41Joel BitonioOGCLE81286
    42Mike IupatiOGARI8147
    43Kelechi OsemeleOGOAK8174
    44Gerald McCoyDTTB8110
    45Kawann ShortDTCAR8148
    46Nigel Bradham4-3 OLBPHI81181
    47C.J. (Clint) MosleyILBBAL81627
    48Adam JonesCBCIN81630
    49Devin McCourtyFSNE8162
    50Harrison SmithFSMIN81105

Quarterbacks

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Eli Manning was the best quarterback in the NFL in Week 2. Ridiculous, right? He didn't even throw a touchdown pass. His offense scored nine points. The Giants only won because of a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown. 

    It's true the Giants struggled to score on what is quite clearly a bad New Orleans Saints defense, but Manning wasn't why. He was phenomenal. He showed off great arm talent, was consistently effective against pressure, threw with precision to every level of the field and made the right decision on almost every play.

    His performance didn't result in more points for a couple of reasons, primarily drops. In the first quarter, Manning threw a touchdown pass to Larry Donnell on a third down that the tight end dropped. On the following fourth down, he threw a touchdown pass to Odell Beckham that he dropped. Beckham, Donnell and Victor Cruz would combine to drop Manning's best throws of the game; the quarterback threw two exceptional deep balls down the left sideline in the second half that were dropped, one by Cruz and one by Beckham.

    Furthermore, Cruz fumbled after a huge gain in the first half, and Shane Vereen fumbled near the Giants 40-yard line in the second quarter. Manning had a fumble that ended a drive, but that was mostly the offensive line's fault for capitulating from every angle.

    The Giants offensive linemen struggled throughout the game, forcing Manning to compensate for them. He couldn't compensate when the team tried to run the ball in the red zone, though—another problem the Giants had in this game.

    Drew Brees had similar issues to Manning in this game. Brandon Coleman and Coby Fleener left the quarterback frustrated, as they repeatedly ruined good plays. Brees only had one major negative in the game when he overthrew Fleener on a deep out, giving Janoris Jenkins an opportunity for an interception that he couldn't take advantage of.

    Only a handful of quarterbacks were better than Brees in Week 2, and one was considered a big surprise. Sam Bradford's debut for the Minnesota Vikings couldn't have gone much better. He immediately established a rapport with Stefon Diggs.

    Bradford didn't force Diggs to work for his yardage like Shaun Hill had the previous week either. Bradford consistently threw with precision and showed off impressive arm talent while delivering the ball against pressure on a number of occasions. He protected the ball and put his team in the best position to win a tight game.

    Bradford's plaudits were overshadowed by criticism for Aaron Rodgers, who was better than his numbers suggest. His offense as a whole is an anchor on his performance right now, especially when teams force him to throw to Davante Adams, the worst receiver in the league who is getting consistent playing time. Rodgers is forced to hold the ball and create offense, something he did for two touchdowns in this game, because of the lack of quality around him. That's without even mentioning Mike McCarthy's scheme of isolation routes.

    Jimmy Garoppolo's week 1 debut was impressive relative to who he was at the time. He carved open an admittedly bad Miami Dolphins defense by throwing accurately while executing the offense as designed. He wasn't protected as much in week 2 as he had been the previous week, though. His injury prevented him from ranking even higher, as the sample size for his performance was cut too short.

    At the bottom of the rankings, it was a horrendous week for Kirk Cousins. The Washington quarterback again stockpiled yardage while making bad decisions and throwing inaccurate passes. He had one awful interception and was lucky that Sean Lee didn't catch another one. He also missed Josh Doctson and DeSean Jackson for at least two touchdowns.

    Cousins couldn't even blame pressure or the coverage of the defense. His receivers were constantly open, and he wasn't under any pressure in the pocket. It was a catastrophic performance.

    Week 2 also offered our first perfect category rating, as Cam Newton hit 25 in arm talent. Hitting 25 in any category is going to be rare, but such was the quality of Newton's Week 2 performance. To hit 25, you need to show off sustained velocity to every level of the field and an ability to throw with precision while manipulating the trajectory of your passes to fit them into specific windows.

    Newton's arm is special, and he showcased that with two phenomenal deep throws to Ted Ginn, one to Greg Olsen and another to Kelvin Benjamin. While his accuracy wasn't consistent throughout the game, the range he showed off with his arm talent was a pleasure to watch.

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamAccArmPressDecPosOvr
    1Eli ManningNYG222316171088
    2Sam BradfordMIN232315161087
    3Philip RiversSD222116181087
    4Drew BreesNO212115171084
    5Ryan TannehillMIA222014151081
    6Carson PalmerAZ182216151081
    7Jimmy GaroppoloNE201915161080
    8Matt RyanATL171916171079
    9Carson WentzPHI182115151079
    10Cam NewtonCAR162514131078
    11Andrew LuckIND162216141078
    12Aaron RodgersGB182312141077
    13Marcus MariotaTEN181916141077
    14Matthew StaffordDET162314131076
    15Ryan FitzpatrickNYJ181613181075
    16Ben RoethlisbergerPIT162115131075
    17Dak PrescottDAL161913151073
    18Tyrod TaylorBUF162112131072
    19Andy DaltonCIN151913141071
    20Joe FlaccoBAL142013131070
    21Russell WilsonSEA141813151070
    22Brock OsweilerHOU151913121069
    23Alex SmithKC151712141068
    24Jameis WinstonTB121914131068
    25Derek CarrOAK152012101067
    26Trevor SiemianDEN151812121067
    27Case KeenumLA131712151067
    28Drew StantonAZ151810131066
    29Jay CutlerCHI141911111065
    30EJ ManuelBUF161810101064
    31Blaine GabbertSF131812101063
    32Brian HoyerCHI161511111063
    33Blake BortlesJAX12181391062
    34Josh McCownCLE131611111061
    35Jacoby BrissettNE16158101059
    36Kirk CousinsWAS1215991055

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Tom Brady—suspension
    • Teddy Bridgewater—injury
    • Tony Romo—injury

Running Backs

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    The story of Week 2 at the running back position was injuries. Adrian Peterson had to be carried off the field Sunday night with a torn meniscus and is out for the foreseeable future. Doug Martin and Jonathan Stewart both hurt their hamstrings and are unlikely to play this week. Week 1 breakout star Ameer Abdullah sprained his foot, and Tim Twentyman of Lions.com reported he's been placed on injured reserve and can't return until Week 11 at the earliest.

    The worst news of the week was Danny Woodhead tearing his ACL, which will force him to miss the entire season. It was an active week for the team doctors when it came to the running backs. 

    There were, however, some trends that continued from Week 1 and look to be something we can get used to as the season progresses. DeAngelo Williams is the best backup back in the league—he was awesome again on both the ground and receiving the football.

    Matt Forte looks to be one of the steals of free agency with another strong game against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday Night Football. Both Forte and Williams look explosive despite being over 30 years old.

    Though the Chargers lost Woodhead for the year, Melvin Gordon is finally meeting expectations after being drafted in the first round last year. He is running with much more confidence and vision and is breaking tackles on almost every run. He looks like he is poised for a big year.

    While the Chiefs have not had Jamaal Charles because of injury, their tandem of Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West looks like one of the more balanced in the NFL. Ware is an exceptional between-the-tackles runner who just wears out defenses with his relentless nature, while West is a major threat as a receiver but keeps you honest with his ability to run the ball.

    Latavius Murray had an underrated game against the Atlanta Falcons, bouncing inside runs consistently outside for first downs. Look for him to get more carries this weekend against the Tennessee Titans.

    C.J. Anderson, Isaiah Crowell and DeMarco Murray all had good games. Crowell might be a future bell cow in this league, displaying the ability to do it all against the Baltimore Ravens. Anderson has earned his big paycheck for Denver, while Murray represents one of the better trades of the offseason.

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamInOutRecBlkPosOvr
    1DeAngelo WilliamsPIT20201817681
    2LeGarrette BlountNE20211617680
    3David A. JohnsonARI19181917679
    4Spencer WareKC19181817678
    5Isaiah CrowellCLE21181616677
    6Fozzy WhittakerCAR18191716676
    7DeMarco MurrayTEN19171717676
    8Melvin GordonSD19181716676
    9Latavius MurrayOAK18191716676
    10Charcandrick WestKC18181717676
    11C.J. AndersonDEN19181716676
    12Matt ForteNYJ18181716675
    13Todd GurleyLA18181716675
    14Eddie LacyGB20171616675
    15Ameer AbdullahDET18171717675
    16Theo RiddickDET17181816675
    17Devonta FreemanATL20191515675
    18Tevin ColemanATL18181716675
    19Matt JonesWAS19171616674
    20Ryan MathewsPHI18191516674
    21James WhiteNE17181617674
    22Lamar MillerHOU18181616674
    23Thomas RawlsSEA18171616673
    24Frank GoreIND18161617673
    25James StarksGB16171717673
    26Ezekiel ElliottDAL17171617673
    27Giovani BernardCIN16161817673
    28Jonathan C. StewartCAR18171616673
    29LeSean McCoyBUF17171716673
    30Chris ThompsonWAS15161718672
    31Doug MartinTB18171516672
    32Darren SprolesPHI17171715672
    33DeAndre WashingtonOAK18171615672
    34Jordan HowardCHI18171615672
    35Duke JohnsonCLE17171715672
    36Chris D. JohnsonARI17181615672
    37Derrick HenryTEN18161516671
    38Christine MichaelSEA18151616671
    39Jalen RichardOAK17171615671
    40Shane VereenNYG15171716671
    41T.J. YeldonJAX17171615671
    42Devontae BookerDEN18171515671
    43Terrance WestBAL17171615671
    44Jerick McKinnonMIN16161715670
    45Matt AsiataMIN18151516670
    46Arian FosterMIA16161616670
    47Jeremy LangfordCHI17161516670
    48Jacquizz RodgersTB17161614669
    49Charles SimsTB17161416669
    50Carlos HydeSF17161515669
    51Mark IngramNO16171614669
    52Adrian PetersonMIN17161614669
    53Jeremy HillCIN15161616669
    54Justin ForsettBAL17161515669
    55Rashad JenningsNYG16151516668
    56Kenyon DrakeMIA15171515668
    57Benny CunninghamLA15161516668
    58Denard RobinsonJAX17161415668
    59Robert TurbinIND16171514668
    60Josh FergusonIND15151616668
    61Alfred BlueHOU16151516668
    62Alfred MorrisDAL16161515668
    63Travaris CadetNO14151616667
    64Jay AjayiMIA15151615667
    65Dwayne WashingtonDET17151415667
    66Andre EllingtonARI15151615667
    67Shaun DraughnSF16141515666
    68Fitzgerald ToussaintPIT14151615666
    69Bilal PowellNYJ15161514666
    70Lance DunbarDAL15151514665

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Le'Veon Bell—suspension
    • Jamaal Charles—injury
    • Chris Ivory—inactive

Fullbacks

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    Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

    While fullbacks do not fill up the stat sheet in terms of yards and touchdowns, they still play a vital role in helping running backs and offenses function. Guys such as Malcolm Johnson, Patrick DiMarco and Jay Prosch play major roles in clearing holes and being physical at the line. All three guys are great on contact and play physical. Johnson helped Isaiah Crowell have a breakout game, establishing the running game as the only thing Cleveland can hang its hat on. 

    Kyle Juszczyk and Jamize Olawale continue to be the most versatile fullbacks in the game. While both were targeted only two times in Week 2, they have to be accounted for every time they run into the flat or an actual route. They are not throwaway blockers for coordinators to game-plan against during the week and require a linebacker with speed to cover them.

    Jalston Fowler and James Develin are a major part of two of the more physical run games in the NFL. Both guys helped their teams rush for more than 100 yards last weekend and establish consistent run games that led to big wins.

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamBlkRunRecPosOvr
    1Jamize OlawaleOAK431811476
    2Kyle JuszczykBAL451610475
    3Andy JanovichDEN441610474
    4Malcolm JohnsonCLE45168473
    5Will Tukuafu SEA44159472
    6Derek WattSD44159472
    7Michael BurtonDET45158472
    8Patrick DiMarcoATL44158471
    9Jay ProschHOU44158471
    10Zach LineMIN42169471
    11John KuhnNO421510471
    12Jalston FowlerTEN44158471
    13James DevelinNE44158471
    14Paul LasikeCHI43158470
    15Keith SmithDAL42158469
    16Anthony ShermanKC42158469
    17Mike TolbertCAR40168468
    18Jerome FeltonBUF40158467

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

Wide Receivers

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Week 2 featured some impressive individual performances at the wide receiver position as well as some head-scratchers.

    Starting out in the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks struggled to get going offensively against the Los Angeles Rams, and it showed in the grading this week. Other than a few routes from Tyler Lockett, the receiving corps struggled to get separation on its routes throughout the game, leading to contested catch situations as well as minimal yardage after the catch. 

    While the 49ers lost, Quinton Patton was solid, particularly when asked to block. He threw a big block on linebacker Luke Kuechly on tight end Vance McDonald’s 75-yard touchdown run but was active throughout the afternoon in that aspect of the game.

    On the other side of the field, Kelvin Benjamin found enough room to work against a shaky San Francisco secondary, and he seems to be rounding into form in the early stretch of 2016.

    The much anticipated rivalry game between Dallas and Washington had some good performances and some bad. Rookie Josh Doctson was targeted on three different goal-line fade patterns—a staple of his game while at TCUbut he failed to pull in a single one of those targets. He was open on a deep ball that was underthrown by quarterback Kirk Cousins, but that was due more to a blown coverage in the Dallas secondary than his individual effort.

    Dez Bryant matched up at times against Josh Norman and ran some good routes against both zone and man coverage.

    The game of the week came from Stefon Diggs, when the Minnesota Vikings opened U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday Night Football. Diggs was able to get consistent separation on many of his routes and hauled in nine passes for 182 yards and a score. His route-running was near perfect, moving him to the top of the pack in Week 2.

    Quincy Enunwa caught everything that came his way with six catches on six targets, but more than that, he was the most versatile guy on the field for the New York Jets. He lined up in the backfield, at the tight end spot and as a receiver, and it wasn’t just for show.

    More than just a utility guy, Enunwa made a couple of tough catches and wasn’t afraid to expose his body to the big hit to come down with the football. He wasn’t scared to get his hands dirty, and his tough, hard-nosed approach as a blocker vaulted him into the top 10 this week.

    Jarvis Landry was another tough-as-nails guy who put his team on his back in Week 2. With Miami facing a huge deficit against New England, Landry nearly brought his team back with 10 catches for 137 yards.

    Not content to only elude defenders after the catch, many times he preferred to bowl them over like a fullback. Even without the ball in his hands, he’s a guy who the defense has to be aware of, just because of the punishment he likes to dish out when blocking downfield.

    Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, two of the game’s elite receivers in Antonio Brown and A.J. Green met in wet conditions against hard-hitting defenses. The slippery conditions made it tough for them to replicate their quick cuts during route running from Week 1 and also led to a couple of incomplete passes that they usually would have caught, which is a big reason they dropped so far this week.

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvr
    1Stefon DiggsMIN21211714881
    2Jarvis LandryMIA20191615878
    3Demaryius ThomasDEN18181815877
    4Marquise GoodwinBUF21181711875
    5Danny AmendolaNE20191612875
    6Julian EdelmanNE18171814875
    7Quincy EnunwaNYJ18201316875
    8Julio JonesATL19191613875
    9Dez BryantDAL21211411875
    10Sterling ShepardNYG20191512874
    11Eric DeckerNYJ19211114873
    12Kelvin BenjaminCAR17191613873
    13Odell Beckham Jr.NYG19201313873
    14Mike WallaceBAL21201311873
    15Corey ColemanCLE19201511873
    16Will FullerHOU19191710873
    17Travis BenjaminSD19211411873
    18Greg SalasBUF18191611872
    19Amari CooperOAK17191513872
    20Michael CrabtreeOAK20211211872
    21Brandin CooksNO17191612872
    22Willie SneadNO17201512872
    23DeAndre HopkinsHOU2119159872
    24Tyrell WilliamsSD18181711872
    25T.Y. HiltonIND22171410871
    26Larry FitzgeraldARI18181413871
    27Alshon JefferyCHI18181512871
    28Cole BeasleyDAL19181511871
    29Jordy NelsonGB19201212871
    30Antonio BrownPIT21191310871
    31Terrelle PryorCLE19201212871
    32A.J. GreenCIN19181412871
    33Emmanuel SandersDEN18191213870
    34Phillip DorsettIND18171314870
    35Chris HoganNE17171414870
    36Brandon MarshallNYJ22181210870
    37Tyler LockettSEA19181411870
    38Jamison CrowderWAS17181512870
    39Jordan MatthewsPHI19171412870
    40Golden TateDET17171611869
    41Marvin JonesDET15191611869
    42DeVante ParkerMIA17191312869
    43Quinton PattonSF16171315869
    44Torrey SmithSF17171314869
    45Tavon AustinLA19161610869
    46Mike EvansTB18181411869
    47Marqise LeeJAX18181411869
    48Mohamed SanuATL16181511868
    49Michael ThomasNO16171413868
    50Victor CruzNYG17191311868
    51Adam HumphriesTB17181411868
    52Sammie CoatesPIT16191411868
    53Breshad PerrimanBAL19181112868
    54Andrew HawkinsCLE18161412868
    55Jeremy MaclinKC19171212868
    56Rishard MatthewsTEN19181310868
    57Tajae SharpeTEN18191310868
    58Allen HurnsJAX18181311868
    59Sammy WatkinsBUF18151115867
    60Seth RobertsOAK13171514867
    61Randall CobbGB18181310867
    62Brandon LaFellCIN18171212867
    63Allen RobinsonJAX17161412867
    64Anquan BoldinDET15171511866
    65Kenny StillsMIA1818139866
    66Dorial Green-BeckhamPHI17171311866
    67Robert WoodsBUF19141212865
    68Adam ThielenMIN14161512865
    69DeSean JacksonWAS17171310865
    70Kenny BrittLA16161411865
    71Nelson AgholorPHI18151211864
    72Paul RichardsonSEA15161411864
    73Steve Smith Sr.BAL16181012864
    74Doug BaldwinSEA15161311863
    75Jalin MarshallNYJ16161013863
    76Jaron BrownARI15161311863
    77Taylor GabrielATL15151411863
    78Eddie RoyalCHI14141611863
    79Kevin WhiteCHI14151313863
    80Brandon ColemanNO15161212863
    81Tyler BoydCIN17171011863
    82Andre JohnsonTEN17151112863
    83Jordan TaylorDEN16151112862
    84Andre HolmesOAK15161013862
    85Davante AdamsGB15161211862
    86Jeremy KerleySF15161211862
    87Pierre GarconWAS15151311862
    88Albert WilsonKC17161110862
    89Jordan NorwoodDEN17121014861
    90Michael FloydARI14161112861
    91Ted GinnCAR15151211861
    92Vincent JacksonTB1615139861
    93Brian QuickLA1416149861
    94Darrius Heyward-BeyPIT14131511861
    95Braxton MillerHOU15161111861
    96Arrelious BennJAX16161011861
    97Dontrelle InmanSD17161010861
    98Cody LatimerDEN16121014860
    99Aldrick RobinsonATL13151112860
    100Devin FunchessCAR14151112860
    101Jermaine KearseSEA14141311860
    102Philly BrownCAR13141411860
    103Eli RogersPIT16151011860
    104Rod StreaterSF14151111859
    105Cecil ShortsTB13181010859
    106Russell ShepardTB14161011859
    107Josh DoctsonWAS14141211859
    108Bradley MarquezLA13121115859
    109Kamar AikenBAL14131014859
    110Quan BrayIND16121012858
    111John BrownARI13131212858
    112Brice ButlerDAL14121113858
    113Charles D. JohnsonMIN1314149858
    114Ryan GrantWAS13141112858
    115Chris MooreBAL15121112858
    116Tyreek HillKC14151011858
    117Malcolm MitchellNE14141110857
    118Terrance WilliamsDAL14121112857
    119Lucky WhiteheadDAL12121114857
    120Josh HuffPHI1515109857
    121Chris ConleyKC16121011857
    122Harry DouglasTEN16121011857
    123Rashad GreeneJAX14151010857
    124Justin HardyATL12141012856
    125Chester RogersIND15121010855
    126Matt SlaterNE12121112855
    127Aaron BurbridgeSF12121112855
    128Rashard HigginsCLE12141010854
    129Andre RobertsDET12121110853
    130Jaelen StrongHOU12121011853
    131Isaiah BurseSD12121010852

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Keenan Allen—injury
    • Josh Gordon—suspension
    • Steve Johnson—insufficient snaps
    • Donte Moncrief—injury
    • Ty Montgomery—insufficient snaps
    • J.J. Nelson—insufficient snaps
    • Cordarrelle Patterson—insufficient snaps
    • Laquon Treadwell—insufficient snaps
    • Kendall Wright—injury

Tight Ends

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    Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    For the second week in a row, Carolina Panther Greg Olsen stood out among the tight ends in the NFL. The Panther hauled in five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown, with the score coming on a career-best 78-yard touchdown reception. Olsen was also an effective blocker.

    On the other side of the field, the 49ers' Vance McDonald nearly matched Olsen with a 75-yard touchdown of his own, but it was his only reception of the day. 

    Jordan Reed turned in another solid outing, albeit in a loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The Washington tight end caught five passes for 70 yards, which led all Redskins receivers, including a number of tough contested catches that showed his hand strength and ability. He also contributed as a blocker with a number of key blocks, including one on the edge of an outside zone running play on Washington’s touchdown drive to start the second half.

    On the other side of the field, veteran Jason Witten slid a bit this week, due primarily to some difficulties blocking on the edges or when tasked with blocking across the formation on split-zone running plays.

    Out in Oakland, Falcons teammates Jacob Tamme and rookie Austin Hooper were impressive in Atlanta’s victory over the Raiders. Tamme was an effective receiver, catching five passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. The rookie contributed three receptions for 84 yards, including a 44-yard catch and run on a well-designed play-action throwback passing concept. He also was stout in the running game, including delivering a strong block on Khalil Mack on one running play.

    Some players fell back a bit this week, including Jermaine Gresham of the Cardinals and Luke Willson of the Seahawks. Like the rest of the offense, Willson struggled to get separation in the passing game as a receiver, and he missed some blocks up front against a tough Rams defensive front. Gresham was not as much as a factor in the passing game this week and saw just one target.

    He’s not Rob Gronkowski, but Martellus Bennett continues to fill the Patriots’ No. 1 tight end role more than adequately. Showing the strength and hands that made him such an attractive acquisition for New England this offseason, Bennett hauled in five passes as well as a touchdown while continually adding strength to the run-blocking game.

    In Denver, Virgil Green brought in three passes from new quarterback Trevor Siemian, but it was the way he controlled the line of scrimmage against the Colts that made him such a highly rated tight end this week. With Peyton Manning in retirement, head coach Gary Kubiak is investing in creating a powerful run game that the Broncos have been traditionally known for, and Green is one of the guys who makes it work.

    Also, the Raiders saw much improved play from their tight ends Lee Smith and Clive Walford, who played well in the loss to the Falcons. Despite the disappointing finish for Oakland, Smith and Walford were much more dominant at the line of scrimmage, which is why they rose so high in this week’s rankings.

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvr
    1Greg OlsenCAR17201720680
    2Jordan ReedWAS16181719676
    3Virgil GreenDEN16191420675
    4Kyle RudolphMIN17181419674
    5Travis KelceKC20191316674
    6Eric EbronDET15171619673
    7Dennis PittaBAL16191517673
    8Jason WittenDAL16181517672
    9Martellus BennettNE16181616672
    10Lee SmithOAK15181419672
    11Jared CookGB14181419671
    12Vernon DavisWAS15171617671
    13Jack DoyleIND16181416670
    14Jacob TammeATL15161518670
    15Trey BurtonPHI15171517670
    16Lance KendricksLA15181318670
    17Julius ThomasJAX15171418670
    18Antonio GatesSD16181317670
    19Jesse JamesPIT15181317669
    20Jordan CameronMIA14181416668
    21Larry DonnellNYG15171218668
    22Delanie WalkerTEN15201314668
    23Clive WalfordOAK16171315667
    24Cameron BrateTB14161417667
    25C.J. UzomahCIN13181218667
    26Austin HooperATL13151319666
    27Charles ClayBUF15181314666
    28Zach MillerCHI15161316666
    29Dwayne AllenIND16171413666
    30Vance McDonaldSF13141617666
    31Stephen AndersonHOU14171415666
    32Jimmy GrahamSEA14161316665
    33David JohnsonPIT13151219665
    34Marcedes LewisJAX13171217665
    35Garrett CelekSF12131419664
    36Austin Seferian-JenkinsTB13151416664
    37Gary BarnidgeCLE14171116664
    38Kellen DavisNYJ14171115663
    39Coby FleenerNO13161216663
    40Will TyeNYG12151119663
    41Richard RodgersGB13161414663
    42Luke WillsonSEA13131317662
    43Xavier GrimblePIT12171215662
    44C.J. FiedorowiczHOU13161016661
    45Sean McGrathSD15121018661
    46Hunter HenrySD16121017661
    47Geoff SwaimDAL13141215660
    48Levine ToiloloATL12141117660
    49John PhillipsDEN14121018660
    50Erik SwoopesIND14121018660
    51Ryan GriffinHOU12161115660
    52Dion SimsMIA12141215659
    53Brent CelekPHI13101020659
    54Tyler HigbeeLA12121019659
    55Crockett GillmoreBAL12121118659
    56Darren FellsARI13131115658
    57Ed DicksonCAR13121017658
    58Niles PaulWAS11121316658
    59Anthony FasanoTEN13161112658
    60Demetrius HarrisKC13151212658
    61Tyler KroftCIN12131115657
    62David Morgan IIMIN10111019656
    63Brandon MeyersTB10121018656
    64Luke StockerTB10101020656
    65Randall TelferCLE12121016656
    66Brandon BostickNYJ12121015655
    67Ryan HewittCIN12141112655
    68Maxx WilliamsBAL10121017655
    69Cory HarkeyLA11101017654
    70Jermaine GreshamARI12121013653
    71Chris GraggBUF10121015653
    72Clay HarborNE10121015653
    73Troy NiklasARI12121012652
    74Logan PaulsonCHI10101016652
    75Khari LeeDET10121014652
    76Rhett EllisonMIN10101016652
    77Seth DeValveCLE10121014652
    78Nick O'LearyBUF12121011651
    79Scott SimonsonCAR10111015651
    80Rico GathersDAL10101014650
    81Blake BellSF10111013650
    82Phillip SupernawTEN10121012650
    83Ross TravisKC10121012650
    84Mike WindtSD10121012650

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Tyler Eifert—injury
    • Zach Ertz—injury
    • Rob Gronkowski—injury
    • Josh Hill—inactive
    • Mychal Rivera—inactive
    • Nick Vannett—injury

Left Tackles

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Week 2 featured some outstanding battles on the left side of the offensive line. When the Cincinnati Bengals collided with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Andrew Whitworth went head-to-head with James Harrison. This matchup was everything you expected it to be—two savvy veterans taking turns getting the best of each other.

    The Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns featured another AFC North skirmish, pitting Terrell Suggs versus Joe Thomas.

    The 49ers' Joe Staley was stout as ever against a good Carolina Panthers defensive line. He showed good power in the run game and was impenetrable in pass protection, displaying the ability to consistently anchor.

    Russell Okung turned in another solid performance in his second game as a Denver Bronco. Specifically, his run blocking continues to stand out, as he showed agility and targeting to cut off the back side when runs flowed away. He demonstrated strength at the point of attack to move defenders off the spot and took good angles tracking to the second level, where he was able to engage and finish on a few linebackers.

    Titans tackle Taylor Lewan may have had his best game as a pro. He showed solid run-blocking technique and physicality while displaying patience in pass protection. What stood out about Lewan's performance was that he looked to finish and put guys in the turf every chance he got, whether it was run, pass or out in space.

    New York Giants second-year tackle Ereck Flowers showed improvement when he used proper technique. He played hard with good physicality, but as the game went on, he got sloppy. When he is unable to use his athletic ability, he can't overcome his deficiencies in technique. 

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Joe StaleySF21201918886
    2Taylor LewanTEN21211718885
    3Jason PetersPHI21201818885
    4Russell OkungDEN19221718884
    5Joe ThomasCLE20191620883
    6Trent WilliamsWAS20191917883
    7Tyron SmithDAL20201817883
    8Terron ArmsteadNO21181619882
    9Nate SolderNE21201716882
    10Donald PennOAK19191817881
    11Taylor DeckerDET20191617880
    12Jake MatthewsATL19201617880
    13Chris ClarkHOU18201716879
    14Eric FisherKC20191517879
    15Ereck FlowersNYG18181717878
    16Andrew WhitworthCIN19171717878
    17David BakhtiariGB18191715877
    18King DunlapSD20171616877
    19Anthony CastonzoIND17171519876
    20Jared VeldheerARI19181615876
    21Charles Leno Jr.CHI17171518875
    22Greg RobinsonLA16171816875
    23Cyrus KouandjioBUF18171615874
    24Ronnie StanleyBAL17181416873
    25Branden AlbertMIA18161515872
    26Ryan CladyNYJ16181515872
    27Michael OherCAR16171515871
    28Kelvin BeachumJAX16171515871
    29Alejandro VillanuevaPIT15171317870
    30Matt KalilMIN15161515869
    31Donovan SmithTB14161614868
    32Cam FlemingNE15161514868
    33Bradley SowellSEA13161414865

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Duane Brown—injury
    • Cordy Glenn—injury

Right Tackles

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Week 2 saw Eagles tackle Lane Johnson turn in another stout performance, and he graded out as the highest-rated right tackle of the week. Johnson got it done in pass protection and was especially effective in the run game—in both in-line blocking and getting out in space.

    According to Kevin Noonan of the Morning Call, Johnson's pending 10-game suspension for his second violation of the league's drug policy will indeed go into effect. There is an appeal process, but once again the timeline is unclear as it relates to the appeal or even Johnson's availability moving forward.

    Previously top-graded Week 1 right tackle Mitchell Schwartz of the Kansas City Chiefs had a rough outing in Week 2. He got off to a good start versus the Texans but was rolled up on the third drive of the game and noticeably affected. Though no visible injury occurred and Schwartz did not leave the game, it was clear his mobility and ability to anchor and recover were lacking after the pile rolled up on him.

    First-year starter Trenton Brown of the San Francisco 49ers is an intriguing prospect. He is big, physical and agile, and though he plays right tackle, his movement skills and skill set are reminiscent of Cordy Glenn's.

    Interesting note: For the second consecutive week, the New York Jets rotated right tackles, playing Ben Ijalana and Brent Qvale. In two weeks of action, Ijalana has seen 78 snaps, and Qvale has seen 68, but for what it is worth, Ijalana has outperformed Qvale and provides more physicality and range at the right tackle position, which gives him the edge.  

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Lane JohnsonPHI20221719785
    2Riley ReiffDET18221818783
    3Trenton BrownSF22201815782
    4Ryan SchraederATL20211716781
    5Zach StriefNO20201815780
    6Marcus GilbertPIT21181717780
    7Derek NewtonHOU19201716779
    8Jack ConklinTEN20191815779
    9Ben IjalanaNYJ19201616778
    10Senio KelemeteNO16201817778
    11Bryan BulagaGB19201616778
    12Ja'Wuan JamesMIA19181617777
    13Jermey ParnellJAX19171518776
    14Mike RemmersCAR18191616776
    15Demar DotsonTB19181616776
    16Joe BarksdaleSD15201716775
    17Rob HavensteinLA18181615774
    18Jordan MillsBUF18191614774
    19Marcus CannonNE17181615773
    20Morgan MosesWAS19171515773
    21Doug FreeDAL17201613773
    22Austin HowardOAK18181613772
    23Cedric OgbuehiCIN18171317772
    24D.J. HumphriesARI18171415771
    25Michael SchofieldDEN17171515771
    26Marshall NewhouseNYG13171716770
    27Austin PasztorCLE16181514770
    28Joe ReitzIND16181415770
    29Mitchell SchwartzKC16171415769
    30Garry GilliamSEA16161416769
    31Andre Smith Jr.MIN14161516768
    32Ricky WagnerBAL17161413767
    33Bobby MassieCHI14151614766
    34Brent QvaleNYJ16161412765

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Breno Giacomini—injury
    • Seantrel Henderson—suspension
    • Matt McCants—injury
    • Donald Stephenson—insufficient snaps
    • Menelik Watson—injury

Offensive Guards

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    While last week was a bit of a throwback with many veterans playing well, this week a few younger players stood out. One who really turned it around was Andrus Peat, the second-year Saints guard from Stanford. Peat really showed flashes of what he can be as a pass protector. His balance and footwork were much more consistent.

    Rookie Laremy Tunsil also was impressive in pass protection. His ability to mirror defenders' movements shined. While not as highly touted as Peat, another second-year guard who had a good performance was Titans left guard Quinton Spain. While he has some work to do in pass protection, his nastiness and leg drive in the run game help fuel Tennessee's "exotic smashmouth" persona. 

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Zack MartinDAL19221817783
    2Marshal YandaBAL21201816782
    3Joel BitonioCLE21181718781
    4Mike IupatiARI21191915781
    5Kelechi OsemeleOAK18211916781
    6Josh SittonCHI20181817780
    7T.J. LangGB20201716780
    8Trai TurnerCAR19201915780
    9Richie IncognitoBUF20201913779
    10Clint BolingCIN22181616779
    11Shawn LauvaoWAS19181716777
    12Zane BeadlesSF22141717777
    13Andrus PeatNO20171716777
    14Ramon FosterPIT22171813777
    15Andrew NorwellCAR20181715777
    16Jack MewhortIND20181715777
    17Chance WarmackTEN17191914776
    18Evan MathisARI18191715776
    19Laremy TunsilMIA20161517775
    20Allen BarbrePHI19171715775
    21John MillerBUF15191815774
    22David DeCastroPIT17171716774
    23Orlando FranklinSD16191814774
    24Kyle LongCHI17161618774
    25Andrew TillerSF19171713773
    26Kevin ZeitlerCIN18171615773
    27Quinton SpainTEN15201813773
    28Larry WarfordDET16181814773
    29John JerryNYG19161714773
    30Gabe JacksonOAK15191814773
    31Rodger SaffoldLA16181516772
    32Brandon ScherffWAS17161715772
    33Max GarciaDEN15191813772
    34Brandon BrooksPHI16161617772
    35James CarpenterNYJ16181713771
    36John GrecoCLE16171714771
    37Justin PughNYG16161616771
    38A.J. CannJAX16171714771
    39D.J. FlukerSD15171814771
    40Xavier Su'a-FiloHOU16161516770
    41Brian WintersNYJ16151616770
    42Alex BooneMIN15141816770
    43Cody WichmannLA18151614770
    44Joe ThuneyNE16151418770
    45Laken TomlinsonDET16161714770
    46Jah ReidKC16161516770
    47Kevin PamphileTB18141714770
    48Andy LevitreATL16161714770
    49Ted KarrasNE15171713769
    50Alex LewisBAL19141415769
    51Jahri EvansNO18141713769
    52Denzelle GoodeIND14161814769
    53Darrion WeemsDEN14181812769
    54Mark GlowinskiSEA15141517768
    55Ali MarpetTB16141417768
    56Jermon BushrodMIA14161714768
    57J'Marcus WebbSEA16141714768
    58Luke JoeckelJAX14151516767
    59La'el CollinsDAL15141813767
    60Zach FultonKC14161614767
    61Chris ChesterATL14161614767
    62Wesley JohnsonNYJ15141515766
    63Jeff AllenHOU13171712766
    64Jonotthan HarrisonIND13161812766
    65Lane TaylorGB15151513765
    66Shaq MasonNE15131416765
    67Brandon FuscoMIN14131416764

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Jonathan Cooper—insufficient snaps
    • Anthony Davis—insufficient snaps
    • Joshua Garnett—insufficient snaps
    • Germain Ifedi—injury
    • Ronald Leary—insufficient snaps
    • Garrett Reynolds—insufficient snaps
    • Stefen Wisniewski—insufficient snaps

Centers

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    There's a new No. 1 center in this week's NFL1000. Weston Richburg of the New York Giants took over the top spot from the Dallas Cowboys' Travis Frederick, who was the main man going into the season and after his Week 1 performance against Big Blue.

    Frederick was overaggressive at times against Washington's defense and had a few outright whiffs in space. Richburg, who has become one of the strongest and most consistent centers in the game, graded out far higher against the Saints. Quite simply, Richburg did everything well; he got out against the tackles in the run game, walled off his targets in run-blocking and pass protection, and proved to be accurate on the move when hitting his targets.

    Perhaps even more surprising is our second-ranked center this week. You can head over to the Rookie Review for more details, but Bears rookie Cody Whitehair did an unbelievable job against Philadelphia's dominant front seven in Chicago's Monday night loss. A tackle and guard at Kansas State, Whitehair has transitioned to his new position well and took on the great Fletcher Cox snap after snap.

    With one exception—a bull-rush pressure in the fourth quarter—Whitehair wrestled Cox to a draw for the most part and even had a couple of wins. He's smart, sound in his technique and agile, and he has the kind of nasty streak you want in an offensive lineman. On one third-quarter play, Whitehair got knocked back a bit by defensive tackle Beau Allen; on the very next play, Whitehair knocked Allen right on his butt. It's early yet, but there's a lot to like about this kid.

    Two veteran centers who continued their improvement over their 2015 performances are Denver's Matt Paradis and Detroit's Travis Swanson. Paradis has added power and improved technique to his toolkit, making him an ideal zone center. And Swanson has been a bit of a revelation this season. Not only is he far more sound in his overall technique, but he's also a much more powerful player.

    Swanson was dominant on Ameer Abdullah's touchdown run late in the first quarter against the Titans. The play was negated because of a holding call on tight end Eric Ebron, but Swanson took linebacker Avery Williamson from the 14-yard line all the way to the end zone. When you can truck a guy that far downfield, you are playing your position the right way.

    It's also time to give a bit more recognition to Jacksonville center Brandon Linder. He is a powerful blocker with surprising agility and a good nasty streak to his playing style. The Jaguars are still trying to piece together their line overall, but they have a good one in the third-year third-rounder from Miami.

    On the downside? Well, New Orleans' Max Unger looked overwhelmed against the Giants front (Damon Harrison was throwing him around like an empty soda can at times), and Cincinnati's Russell Bodine isn't showing a ton of improvement. He's been at or near the bottom of our rankings since they started, and it'll take some serious improvement to turn that around.

        

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Weston RichburgNYG19201817680
    2Cody WhitehairCHI17201718678
    3Eric WoodBUF19191518677
    4Matt ParadisDEN18191618677
    5Travis SwansonDET18201716677
    6Brandon LinderJAX18191716676
    7Ryan KellyIND18181618676
    8Ryan KalilCAR19161617674
    9Jason KelcePHI16181617673
    10Maurkice PounceyPIT18161716673
    11Travis FrederickDAL17191714673
    12Rodney HudsonOAK16191714672
    13Cameron ErvingCLE15181418671
    14David AndrewsNE18161417671
    15Justin BrittSEA18151516670
    16Ben JonesTEN15181713669
    17Matt SlausonSD16181712669
    18Greg ManczHOU17151713668
    19A.Q. ShipleyARI16171414667
    20Anthony SteenMIA15171316667
    21Jeremy ZuttahBAL16171315667
    22Joe BergerMIN16151416667
    23Joe HawleyTB17151415667
    24Alex MackATL14191710666
    25Kory LichtensteigerWAS16161315666
    26Nick MangoldNYJ1618188666
    27Daniel KilgoreSF16141414664
    28Tim BarnesLA14151613664
    29Mitch MorseKC15161115663
    30JC TretterGB11161316662
    31Max UngerNO14151116662
    32Russell BodineCIN1615159661

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Mike Pouncey—injury

3-4 Defensive Ends

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    The usual suspects populate the top of our 3-4 defensive end grades this week. Timmy Jernigan may be a surprise at the top, but at some point, he may have become the Ravens' best defensive lineman. He's disruptive as a run defender, and he's Baltimore's only base defensive lineman who plays in nickel as a pass-rusher. 

    Two guys I didn't know were this good but showed out this week are Jaye Howard of the Chiefs and Zach Kerr of the Colts. Both graded well against the run, with Kerr accumulating two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits with a sack. Howard beat everyone who lined up in front of him and allowed the Chiefs linebackers to roam free and make the tackles.

        

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvr
    1Timmy JerniganBAL11182117673
    2J.J. WattHOU14211613670
    3Mike DanielsGB12182113670
    4Derek WolfeDEN11201714668
    5Zach KerrIND10162016668
    6Jaye HowardKC11142314668
    7Calais CampbellARI12141916667
    8Xavier CooperCLE11211712667
    9Jadeveon ClowneyHOU13181910666
    10Cameron HeywardPIT13161812665
    11DeForest BucknerSF12121715662
    12Karl KlugTEN11141714662
    13Lawrence GuyBAL8151813660
    14Stephon TuittPIT8121816660
    15Ziggy HoodWAS12141612660
    16Ricky Jean FrancoisWAS9131615659
    17Arik ArmsteadSF11151511658
    18Leger DouzableBUF11141215658
    19Chris JonesKC10121711656
    20Chris BakerWAS8121911656
    21Jihad WardOAK8131811656
    22Jurrell CaseyTEN8121812656
    23DaQuan JonesTEN9121710654
    24Jared CrickDEN7131612654
    25Akiem HicksCHI8141412654
    26Angelo BlacksonTEN8101812654
    27Carl NassibCLE9131510653
    28Jonathan BullardCHI11111410652
    29Quinton DialSF7111612652
    30Denico AutryOAK7101612651
    31Billy WinnDEN8101511650
    32Allen BaileyKC9101410649
    33Adolphus WashingtonBUF7121310648
    34Corey LiugetSD8101410648
    35Jamie MederCLE6111312648
    36Mitch UnreinCHI7101310646
    37Darius PhilonSD6101410646
    38Kendall LangfordIND7101210645
    39Christian CovingtonHOU810127643

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Henry Anderson—injury
    • Joey Bosa—inactive
    • Taylor Hart—inactive
    • Tony Jerod-Eddie—inactive
    • Bronson Kaufusi—injury
    • Mike Pennel—suspension
    • Kendall Reyes—injury
    • Frostee Rucker—injury

4-3 Defensive Ends

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Week 2 didn't give us a single dominant performance, but plenty of players flashed their upside and earned good grades. Brandon Graham once again scored well, as he made life hard for the Bears on Monday Night Football. He is so quick off the snap, plays low and can overpower or run around most offensive linemen. Don't sleep on Graham's run defense, either; he is as active as any defensive end in the NFL.

    Chris Long seems to have been rejuvenated by the Patriots aura, as he looks quicker than he has in years and has been disruptive over the first two weeks of the season. He's the comeback defensive end of the year so far.

    Devin Taylor had to pick up the slack after Ezekiel Ansah got hurt, and he didn't disappoint. Taylor was tough against the run and offered versatility for the Lions as he rushed the passer from both sides of the line.

        

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunSnapTklPosOvr
    1Brandon GrahamPHI17181616774
    2Chris LongNE20131515770
    3Frank ClarkSEA19141614770
    4Robert QuinnLA19131615770
    5Danielle HunterMIN19131712768
    6Dante Fowler Jr.JAX18141314766
    7William HayesLA16161215766
    8Cameron JordanNO16181212765
    9Michael BennettSEA15191212765
    10Cliff AvrilSEA14141613764
    11Everson GriffenMIN18121413764
    12Devin TaylorDET12181413764
    13Khalil MackOAK14131514763
    14Muhammad WilkersonNYJ13171115763
    15Yannick NgakoueJAX17141312763
    16Carlos DunlapCIN17131312762
    17Charles JohnsonCAR11181214762
    18Jabaal SheardNE16131214762
    19Michael JohnsonCIN16121215762
    20Margus HuntCIN15131214761
    21Tyrone CrawfordDAL15141212760
    22Mario AddisonCAR14121314760
    23Brian RobisonMIN15121312759
    24Connor BarwinPHI13121512759
    25Noah SpenceTB14111512759
    26Paul KrugerNO13131214759
    27Sheldon RichardsonNYJ12151015759
    28Jack CrawfordDAL16111410758
    29Jason Pierre-PaulNYG14121312758
    30Olivier VernonNYG12131412758
    31Eugene SimsLA13141211757
    32Cassius MarshSEA15111410757
    33Andre BranchMIA13131211756
    34Vinny CurryPHI14121112756
    35Cameron WakeMIA14101411756
    36Mario WilliamsMIA14121211756
    37William GholstonTB1016815756
    38Kerry HyderDET15111112756
    39Robert AyersTB11141211755
    40Trey FlowersNE11161011755
    41Will ClarkeCIN13121211755
    42Jason JonesMIA13111112754
    43Kony EalyCAR12141110754
    44Lorenzo MauldinNYJ12111311754
    45Vic BeasleyATL11131211754
    46Adrian ClaybornATL1112914753
    47David IrvingDAL15101110753
    48Benson MayowaDAL11101211751
    49Ethan WestbrooksLA11121110751
    50Dwight FreeneyATL1081510750
    51Jared OdrickJAX10121010749
    52Ryan DelaireCAR10101210749
    54Kasim EdebaliNO1191110748
    54Romeo OkwaraNYG1110911748
    55Darryl TappNO101198745
    56Owa OdighizuwaNYG1010810745
    57Wallace GilberryDET811810744

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Ezekiel Ansah—injury
    • Mario Edwards Jr.—injury
    • Randy Gregory—suspension
    • George Johnson—injury
    • DeMarcus Lawrence—suspension
    • Rob Ninkovich—suspension
    • Jacquies Smith—injury
    • Tyson Alualu—inactive

Defensive Tackles

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    Associated Press

    The usual suspects played well again this week, as Ndamukong Suh, Aaron Donald, Geno Atkins, Gerald McCoy and Kawann Short showed why they're the cream of the crop among NFL defensive tackles. The Jets have a hellacious defensive front, and their interior duo of Leonard Williams and Steve McLendon played well against the Bills. So far, McLendon has been one of the best free-agent signings in the NFL.

    Michael Brockers of the Rams received a contract extension Sept. 15 and showed why he deserved it against the Seahawks. Seattle doesn't exactly have the strongest offensive line, but Brockers was a monster against the run, as the Rams only gave up 2.8 yards per carry.

    The Giants' monstrous duo of Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins devoured the Saints offensive line and stuffed the run well, limiting rushing lanes for Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower. Staying in the NFC East, Terrell McClain had a strong showing both stopping the run and rushing the passer against Washington's offensive line.

    Danny Shelton has been excellent against the run in the early portion of the season. The second-year pro bullied Jeremy Zuttah and is finally starting to show why he was deserving of a first-round pick in 2015.

    On the flip side, Atlanta's defensive tackle group struggled greatly against the Raiders' vaunted offensive line. Grady Jarrett had a decent outing, but the rest of the group was moved around against the run and failed to generate any pressure rushing the passer.

    Jacksonville's defensive tackle group struggled mightily against the run in San Diego (save for Roy Miller), but it was able to generate some interior pressure, with Malik Jackson starting to show why he was a big-ticket free agent for the Jaguars. Jackson collapsed the pocket on both of Dante Fowler Jr.'s sacks and Yannick Ngakoue's sack.

        

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvr
    1Ndamukong SuhMIA23202415688
    2Aaron DonaldLA23202215686
    3Fletcher CoxPHI22202114683
    4Gerald McCoyTB21192015681
    5Kawann ShortCAR20182215681
    6Kyle WilliamsBUF19192214680
    7Geno AtkinsCIN20201915680
    8Steve McLendonNYJ20172215680
    9Leonard WilliamsNYJ20182114679
    10Alan BranchNE19162215678
    11Michael BrockersLA17172315678
    12Nick FairleyNO19172114677
    13Dontari PoeKC19172015677
    14Malcom BrownNE18182015677
    15Johnathan HankinsNYG18162115676
    16Roy MillerJAX18142314675
    17Brandon MebaneSD16142315674
    18Linval JosephMIN17162015674
    19Brandon WilliamsBAL17162113673
    20Damon HarrisonNYG17122315673
    21Corbin BryantBUF19171813673
    22Terrell McClainDAL17142214673
    23Jarran ReedSEA16171914672
    24Grady JarrettATL19161813672
    25Sylvester WilliamsDEN18152013672
    26Tom JohnsonMIN19191513672
    27Eddie GoldmanCHI19141913671
    28Dominique EasleyLA19171613671
    29Vincent ValentineNE16171814671
    30Star LotuleleiCAR17151914671
    31Bennie LoganPHI17161913671
    32Ra'Shede HagemanATL17141914670
    33Danny SheltonCLE15132214670
    34Ahtyba RubinSEA15171912669
    35John JenkinsNO17151813669
    36Caraun ReidSD17151714669
    37Tyeler DavisonNO16151912668
    38Vernon ButlerCAR16151714668
    39Haloti NgataDET14151913667
    40Rodney GunterARI16151812667
    41Jonathan BabineauxATL17161513667
    42Tony McDanielSEA15161811666
    43Jordan PhillipsMIA16151712666
    44Stacy McGeeOAK17161412665
    45David OnyemataNO15151711664
    46Cullen JenkinsWAS15141811664
    47Cedric ThorntonDAL16141612664
    48Justin EllisOAK16131612663
    49Maliek CollinsDAL15161411662
    50Vince WilforkHOU14131712662
    51Darius LathamOAK14161312661
    52Kenny ClarkGB16141510661
    53A'Shawn RobinsonDET15141511661
    54Abry JonesJAX15141412661
    55Beau AllenPHI13141710660
    56Domata PekoCIN15141410659
    57Mike PurcellSF14111513659
    58Clinton McDonaldTB14151410659
    59Adam GotsisDEN1413169658
    60Javon HargravePIT14121510657
    61Tyson JacksonATL14141310657
    62Akeem SpenceTB15121410657
    63Shamar StephenMIN1413149656
    64David ParryIND14131210655
    65Courtney UpshawATL13111510655
    66Dan WilliamsOAK13141210655
    67Sheldon DayJAX1513128654
    68Al WoodsTEN1310149652
    69Hassan RidgewayIND1411129652

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Marcell Dareus—suspension
    • Sharrif Floyd—injury
    • Letroy Guion—insufficient snaps
    • Jarvis Jenkins—insufficient snaps
    • Robert Nkemdiche—inactive
    • Ian Williams—injury

3-4 Outside Linebackers

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    You'd think teams would understand by now. Attempt to block Von Miller one-on-one, and you're asking for all kinds of trouble.

    The Indianapolis Colts learned that lesson the hard way in Week 2, when Miller terrorized right tackle Joe Reitz for three sacks, including a strip-sack that was a returned for a Broncos touchdown and a final sack to finish off the contest. He also bull-rushed Reitz into Andrew Luck's lap for a sack in the first half. As a result, the reigning Super Bowl MVP graded out as the best 3-4 outside linebacker for the week.

    He was joined at the top by Washington's Trent Murphy, who was a one-man wrecking crew in the second half against Dallas. He beat Tyron Smith and Doug Free for sacks, and his big hit on Ezekiel Elliott after beating his man to the inside caused a fumble. Buffalo's Jerry Hughes was equally disruptive in the first half against the Jets, but he couldn't maintain the havoc after New York started scheming away from him in the second half.

    John Simon, Melvin Ingram, Julius Peppers and Chandler Jones all had big weeks pressuring the quarterback, while Terrell Suggs, Jarvis Jones, Tamba Hali, Nate Orchard and Willie Young produced notable performances against the run. For the second week in a row, the most disappointing outside linebacker was likely Robert Mathis, who appears to be running out of gas at age 35.

        

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunCvgTklPosOvr
    1Von MillerDEN23181223783
    2Trent MurphyWAS19231222783
    3Jerry HughesBUF20191318777
    4John SimonHOU2218820775
    5Melvin IngramSD21171020775
    6Shane RayDEN19181020774
    7Terrell SuggsBAL1622920774
    8Julius PeppersGB20171020774
    9Jarvis JonesPIT16211119774
    10Tamba HaliKC1920820774
    11Nate OrchardCLE17211019774
    12Chandler JonesARI20171019773
    13Willie YoungCHI1820919773
    14Whitney MercilusHOU17191119773
    15Kevin DoddTEN18181119773
    16Nick PerryGB17191019772
    17Clay MatthewsGB18171020772
    18Brian OrakpoTEN19161019771
    19James HarrisonPIT15181218770
    20Markus GoldenARI18171018770
    21DeMarcus WareDEN1918917770
    22Za'Darius SmithBAL18181017770
    23Emmanuel OgbahCLE18161118770
    24Dee FordKC14181119769
    25Ryan KerriganWAS1816721769
    26Jerry AttaochuSD17161018768
    27Ahmad BrooksSF15161217767
    28Matt JudonBAL17161017767
    29Eli HaroldSF16161018767
    30Kyler FackrellGB15181017767
    31Kyle EmanuelSD14181116766
    32Lorenzo AlexanderBUF16151117766
    33Datone JonesGB1518917766
    34Shaquil BarrettDEN1516918765
    35Arthur MoatsPIT15161115764
    36David BassTEN1516917764
    37Sam AchoCHI1615917764
    38Tank CarradineSF1515917763
    39Leonard FloydCHI15141017763
    40Erik WaldenIND14151215763
    41Alex OkaforARI1415917762
    42Tourek WilliamsSD1415917762
    43Preston SmithWAS1414818761
    44Anthony ChickilloPIT12151016760
    45Robert MathisIND179817758
    46Joe SchobertCLE1214916758
    47Frank ZomboKC1113917757
    48Aaron WallaceTEN1313915757
    49Albert McClellanBAL1312916757
    50Lerentee McCrayBUF1110915752
    51Akeem AyersIND1010916752
    52Curt MaggittIND910816750

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Armonty Bryant—suspension
    • Trent Cole—inactive
    • Elvis Dumervil—inactive
    • Justin Houston—injury
    • Lamarr Houston—injury
    • Jordan Jenkins—inactive
    • Shaq Lawson—injury
    • Aaron Lynch—suspension
    • Pernell McPhee—injury
    • Derrick Morgan—inactive
    • Aldon Smith—suspension

4-3 Outside Linebackers

16 of 22

    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    This week has a few surprises. Philadelphia's Nigel Bradham and Jacksonville's Telvin Smith top the list.

    Bradham wreaked havoc around the field against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, proving to be a force in every aspect of the game. Bradham intercepted Jay Cutler and nearly ran it back for a pick-six. Though he didn't score himself, the Eagles offense finished the job a couple of plays later. The Bears had no answer for Bradham. They couldn't throw near him in coverage, nor could they keep him away from the ball-carrier in the run game. 

    Smith quietly had an outstanding game Sunday. He looked more comfortable and fluid in coverage than he did all of last season. Granted, he wasn't really tested in coverage, but that's due in part to his being in position to persuade the quarterback to look elsewhere. Smith was a monster in the run game. He racked up a couple of tackles for loss and looked to be on his game in terms of reading the offense.

    Both of Oakland's linebackers, though highly regarded heading into the season, struggled against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons offensive line put together a nice game, and Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin were the victims of that. Smith was especially porous, too often getting washed out of the run game. He still made a handful of solid plays, but the consistency wasn't there.

    Irvin, on the other hand, put together a great game against the run and in coverage but was completely stonewalled as a pass-rusher. Atlanta's offensive tackles shut out Irvin on almost every one of his pass-rushing attempts, rendering him far less effective than he could have been.

        

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRunRushTklPosOvr
    1Nigel BradhamPHI2322921681
    2Telvin SmithJAX2022822678
    3Lavonte DavidTB20201120677
    4Anthony BarrMIN21211019677
    5K.J. WrightSEA2022821677
    6Thomas DavisCAR20211019676
    7Vincent ReyCIN1822822676
    8Sean LeeDAL2220720675
    9Mark BarronLA1921821675
    10Darron LeeNYJ1821921675
    11Karlos DansbyCIN2018821673
    12Bruce IrvinOAK1820820672
    13Keenan RobinsonNYG1819719669
    14Sean WeatherspoonATL1719720669
    15Shaq ThompsonCAR1920717669
    16Chad GreenwayMIN1819718668
    17Mike MorganSEA1518818665
    18Jonathan CasillasNYG1617717663
    19Josh ForrestLA1418718663
    20Mychal KendricksPHI1517817663
    21Malcolm SmithOAK1616718663
    22Antwione WilliamsDET1517718663
    23Daryl SmithTB1519716663
    24Jonathan FreenyNE1415820663
    25Myles JackJAX1419716662
    26Erin HendersonNYJ1417718662
    27Koa MisiMIA1415718660
    28Mike CatapanoNYJ1315917660
    29Brandon CopelandDET1615615658
    30Craig RobertsonNO1415716658
    31Kyle Van NoyDET1315814656
    32Kyle WilberDAL1414814656
    33Thurston ArmbristerDET1316714656
    34Devon KennardNYG1215715655
    35Jelani JenkinsMIA1113715652
    36Andrew GachkarDAL1213615652
    37Dan SkutaJAX814815651
    38Philip WheelerATL1213712650
    39Shea McClellinNE1113712649

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Vontaze Burfict—suspension
    • De'Vondre Campbell—injury
    • Dont'a Hightower—injury
    • DeAndre Levy—injury
    • Jaylon Smith—injury

Inside Linebackers

17 of 22

    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Week 2 of the NFL season could be seen as a slight regression to the mean. The majority of inside linebackers throughout the league were clustered in one range, with a few playing exceptionally well or exceptionally poor. The ability to play downhill and with speed stands out as the primary separating factor this week. Inside linebackers in the NFL work laterally far too often, failing to capitalize on alleys to shoot in run support.

    The strength of competition proved to assist or hurt some of the grades. Los Angeles Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree faced a poor Seattle offensive line and failed to make much of an impression on the game. Contrary to Ogletree, Indianapolis Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson was cleaning up the mess of his teammates against a formidable and revamped Broncos offensive line.

    Multiple linebackers padded coverage grades with tipped passes and interceptions, but with so many athletes now inside, the true run-stuffers are standing out on film. Defenses rotate and vary schemes so often that excelling at one trait can often earn more playing time. Few excel in multiple areas like Carolina's Luke Kuechly or Chicago's Jerrell Freeman. As such, those two players remain atop the board until further notice.

        

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunRushTklPosOvr
    1Jerrell FreemanCHI22331313687
    2Luke KuechlyCAR21331214686
    3Eric KendricksMIN22321012682
    4C.J. MosleyBAL2231139681
    5Jamie CollinsNE21301112680
    6Derrick JohnsonKC19301312680
    7D'Qwell JacksonIND2230913680
    8Brandon MarshallDEN21301012679
    9NaVorro BowmanSF2131119678
    10Denzel PerrymanSD19301112678
    11Benardrick McKinneyHOU19301112678
    12Todd DavisDEN2130812677
    13Bobby WagnerSEA19281212677
    14Preston BrownBUF18311012677
    15Danny TrevathanCHI18301012676
    16Su'a CravensWAS2327812676
    17Deone BucannonARI2328910676
    18Avery WilliamsonTEN18301012676
    19Will ComptonWAS1930812675
    20Zach BrownBUF18291111675
    21Christian KirkseyCLE1731912675
    22David HarrisNYJ17291112675
    23Demario DavisCLE1732812675
    24Ryan ShazierPIT16301012674
    25Max BulloughHOU18291011674
    26Mason FosterWAS1831612673
    27Zach OrrBAL17281012673
    28Deion JonesATL19271011673
    29Ray-Ray ArmstrongSF1828812672
    30Jatavis BrownSD2125812672
    31Lawrence TimmonsPIT1631811672
    32Stephen TullochPHI1729812672
    33Kevin MinterARI1827812671
    34Wesley WoodyardTEN1729910671
    35Justin DurantDAL2026811671
    36Jake RyanGB1728812671
    37Gerald HodgesSF1829810671
    38Jordan HicksPHI1925911670
    39Paul PoslusznyJAX1430713670
    40Blake MartinezGB1628812670
    41Rey MaualugaCIN1628711668
    42Alec OgletreeLA18241010668
    43Kelvin SheppardNYG1627811668
    44Manti Te'oSD172799668
    45Ben HeeneyOAK1727810668
    46Justin March-LillardKC1725810666
    47Anthony HitchensDAL1227811664
    48Kwon AlexanderTB172578663
    49Sio MooreIND1625105662
    50James LaurinaitisNO1620712661
    51Kiko AlonsoMIA1323810660
    52Tahir WhiteheadDET1420711658

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Brian Cushing—injury
    • Rolando McClain—suspension

Cornerbacks

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    He didn't follow him all game, but when Josh Norman did shadow Dez Bryant, he showed why Washington spent big money on him. He was great against not only Bryant but the entire Dallas wide receiver corps. Norman allowed only one completion, which didn't hurt the team. Against Bryant, Norman broke up all four passes thrown his way, including a play where he punched the ball out, a la Charles Tillman.

    He did the same thing to force a fumble and halt a Cowboys drive. Norman was about as impressive as he could be Sunday.

    Rams slot corner Lamarcus Joyner had an incredible week. He was targeted five times, surrendering one catch for two yards. He showed off great acceleration and closing speed to break up two passes and assist with three stops in the run game.

    Desmond Trufant shadowed Amari Cooper all game and played well, but he didn't play up to the standards of arguably the best corner in the league. He gave up four catches on six targets, a couple of first downs, a big play and a touchdown and also had a penalty.

    Another star this week was San Diego Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett. From cornerback scout Ian Wharton's self-charting of the game, Verrett shadowed Jacksonville Jaguars star receiver Allen Robinson and held him without a reception until the 2:45 mark of the third quarter—when Robinson logged a nine-yard catch with Verrett in off-coverage. His teammate Casey Hayward also had great success, intercepting two passes.

    Cincinnati Bengals corner Dre Kirkpatrick and Kansas City Chiefs corner Marcus Peters were two other young stars this week. Kirkpatrick has struggled with consistency to this point in his career, but he intercepted a pass and allowed zero completions on three targets against the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers offense.

    Peters faced the talented Houston Texans receivers, allowing five completions on 11 targets but also snagging two interceptions and breaking up two passes. Peters can be a roller coaster with his coverage at times, but he always responds positively with big plays.

        

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamCvgReactSlotTklPosOvr
    1Jason VerrettSD2829198993
    2Chris Harris Jr.DEN2627207989
    3Josh NormanWAS2726188988
    4Casey HaywardSD2728176987
    5Marcus PetersKC2527179987
    6Lamarcus JoynerLA2526188986
    7Ross CockrellPIT2624178984
    8Alterraun VernerTB2625176983
    9Bradley RobyDEN2425177982
    10Adam JonesCIN2623176981
    11Dre KirkpatrickCIN2523167980
    12Janoris JenkinsNYG2124188980
    13Tramaine BrockSF2423167979
    14Jimmy SmithBAL2422167978
    15Patrick PetersonARI2223177978
    16Kareem JacksonHOU2423165977
    17Kevin A. JohnsonHOU2224157977
    18Leon HallNYG2220178976
    19PJ WilliamsNO2221168976
    20Richard ShermanSEA2320177976
    21James BradberryCAR2222157975
    22Jason McCourtyTEN2223156975
    23Logan RyanNE2122176975
    24Trae WaynesMIN2120167975
    25Vernon HargreavesTB2021178975
    26Aqib TalibDEN2220176974
    27Tracy PorterCHI2220176974
    28Desmond TrufantATL2219176973
    29Trumaine JohnsonLA2318176973
    30Marcus CooperARI1921177973
    31Bene BenwikereCAR2019177972
    32Darrelle RevisNYJ2218158972
    33Joe HadenCLE2320146972
    34Brent GrimesTB2319155971
    35Jacoby GlennCHI2019167971
    36Brian PooleATL1919176970
    37Johnathan JosephHOU2119156970
    38Deiondre HallCHI16141515969
    39Ron BrooksPHI1818177969
    40David AmersonOAK2118155968
    41Morris ClaiborneDAL1918166968
    42Phillip GainesKC2018156968
    43Robert McCainCAR1817177968
    44Darius ButlerIND1917175967
    45Dominique Rodgers-CromartieNYG1819174967
    46Jalen MillsPHI1917166967
    47Bryce CallahanCHI1817176967
    48Robert AlfordATL1719166967
    49Sean DavisPIT1817158967
    50Terence NewmanMIN1919155967
    51Tyvon BranchARI1917166967
    52Brandon FlowersSD1917165966
    53Jeremy LaneSEA1816176966
    54Jimmie WardSF1718148966
    55Quandre DiggsDET1717176966
    56Darius SlayDET1816166965
    57Orlando ScandrickDAL1815176965
    58Buster SkrineNYJ1718146964
    59Jalen RamseyJAX1716157964
    60Marcus WilliamsNYJ1719145964
    61Ken CrawleyNO1718154963
    62Antonio CromartieIND1615157962
    63Bashaud BreelandWAS1816136962
    64Daryl WorleyCAR1715156962
    65Ladarius GunterGB1716155962
    66A.J. BouyeHOU1616155961
    67Captain MunnerlynMIN201976961
    68Sean SmithOAK1715146961
    69Steven NelsonKC1715155961
    70Brandon WilliamsARI1415157960
    71Malcolm ButlerNE1615137960
    72Shareece WrightBAL1815126960
    73Artie BurnsPIT1616135959
    74Damarious RandallGB1616144959
    75Nolan CarrollPHI1415149959
    76William GayPIT1714145959
    77Greg TolerWAS1515145958
    78Jamar TaylorCLE1513147958
    79Jude Adjei-BarimahTB1514155958
    80Nevin LawsonDET1615135958
    81Perrish CoxTEN1614127958
    82Davon HouseJAX1414137957
    83Nickell Robey-ColemanBUF1415127957
    84Sherrick McManisCHI1514136957
    85Keith ReiserSF1416135957
    86Xavien HowardMIA1613118957
    87Brandon CarrDAL1415135956
    88Brice McCainTEN1415134955
    89Byron MaxwellMIA1515124955
    90D.J. HaydenOAK1415125955
    91Eli AppleNYG1315144955
    92Rashard RobinsonSF1513144955
    93Bobby McCainMIA1315116954
    94Dwayne GratzJAX1315125954
    95Tavon YoungBAL1414125954
    96Tramon WilliamsCLE1315125954
    97Chris DavisSF1412135953
    98Ronald DarbyBUF1412126953
    99Stephon GilmoreBUF1315115953
    100Justin ColemanNE1213125951
    101Darqueze DennardCIN1412105950
    102DeShawn SheadSEA1211116949
    103De'Vante HarrisNO1312123949
    104Rashaan MelvinIND1113105948
    105Coty SensabaughLA1110124946
    106Darryl MorrisIND111096945
    107Sterling MooreNO1110105945
    108Dashaun PhillipsWAS101293943

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Prince Amukamara—injury
    • Delvin Breaux—injury
    • Vontae Davis—injury
    • Patrick Robinson—injury

Free Safeties

19 of 22

    Associated Press

    Devin McCourty and Harrison Smith were both listed as two of the top free safeties coming into the season, so it's no surprise to see them atop the chart for Week 2. McCourty made a standout play on a Dolphins deep shot to receiver DeVante Parker. McCourty read the play, staying over the top initially before breaking down on the ball at a perfect angle. He got his hand in the mix to not only contest the pass but break it up. 

    Outside of that play, McCourty had a solid game playing deep in center field. He stayed over the top on a number of deep shots, allowing his corners to be more aggressive in attacking the ball because they knew he was in position to make the tackle if they missed.

    Smith had a strong outing against the Packers. He displayed great instincts, sniffing out multiple bootleg plays, taking away the easy dump-off in the flat and forcing Aaron Rodgers to look elsewhere. He was smooth in his movements when Rodgers began to scramble. The scramble drill is one of the hardest things for a safety to defend, but Smith never looked panicked and stuck with receivers all game.

    Cowboys safety Bryon Jones stood up to the test of Washington tight end Jordan Reed. As someone who covers Washington, I've yet to see anyone cover Reed one-on-one on a consistent basis successfully, but Jones was about as good as I've seen. He stuck tight to Reed on a number of occasions, and although Reed did manage to pull in a few catches against him, those came down to Reed's excellence more than Jones' failure.

    When he wasn't on Reed, Jones' concentration seemed to be lacking. He was partially at fault for a 57-yard pass to Josh Doctson that should have been a touchdown. He was covering DeSean Jackson in the slot but rushed outside to Doctson off the snap. That forced the outside corner to work inside with Jackson. But then, Jones noticed Jackson running inside and worked back inside, too, leaving Doctson outside with nobody to cover him. An underthrown ball was the only thing that saved Jones from giving up the touchdown.

    I was disappointed with the performance of Steelers safety Mike Mitchell. He had some solid plays in coverage but seemed obsessed with headhunting and going for the big hit. At times, it worked for him. He landed a big hit on Bengals tight end Tyler Kroft, dislodging a ball from his grasp that fell incomplete. But later on, Mitchell went for a big hit on a receiver who was running after the catch. He completely missed the receiver and ended up hitting fellow safety Robert Golden, knocking him off the receiver and stopping him from making the tackle, too.

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvr
    1Devin McCourtyNE2425717881
    2Harrison SmithMIN2425717881
    3Glover QuinDET2525616880
    4Darian StewartDEN2424617879
    5Byron JonesDAL2324716878
    6Duron HarmonNE2424615877
    7Earl ThomasSEA2223716876
    8Jairus ByrdNO2422517876
    9Justin SimmonsDEN2124617876
    10Vonn BellNO2121717874
    11Rodney McLeodPHI2123516873
    12Dexter McCoilSD2121616872
    13J.J. WilcoxDAL2122516872
    14Tre BostonCAR2121616872
    15Dwight LowerySD2022516871
    16Ha Ha Clinton-DixGB2219616871
    17Lardarius WebbBAL2120616871
    18Mo AlexanderLA2219616871
    19Rashad JohnsonTEN2120616871
    20Ron ParkerKC2019717871
    21Andre HalHOU1821716870
    22Eric ReidSF1920716870
    23George IlokaCIN1721717870
    24Marcus GilchristNYJ2020715870
    25DeAngelo HallWAS2019616869
    26Isa Abdul-QuddusMIA2019616869
    27Clayton GeathersIND1819716868
    28Darian ThompsonNYG1820517868
    29Nat BerheNYG1919616868
    30Tashaun GipsonJAX1921514867
    31Bradley McDougaldTB1919515866
    32Cody DavisLA1818616866
    33Corey GrahamBUF1817716866
    34Adrian AmosCHI1818615865
    35Ibraheim CampbellCLE1718616865
    36D.J. SwearingerARI1818614864
    37Michael MitchellPIT1817615864
    38Reggie NelsonOAK1717616864
    39Ricardo AllenATL1818614864
    40Kevin ByardTEN1618614862
    41Chris ProsinskiCHI1516413856

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Dashon Goldson—insufficient snaps
    • T.J. Green—inactive

Strong Safeties

20 of 22

    Associated Press

    The Falcons' Kemal Ishmael was the standout performer at the strong safety position this week. He was excellent in underneath zones, constantly reading the quarterback's eyes and breaking on underneath throws to limit the Raiders to minimal gains. He was at his most impressive against the run, working quickly to fill in where he could and always making the tackle.

    On one play, Ishmael faced Raiders running back DeAndre Washington in the open field. Washington has already made a number of players miss open-field tackles this season, but Ishmael broke down well, took a good angle and wrapped up to make the tackle. 

    Micah Hyde finished with the same overall grade as Ishmael after a strong game for the Packers. Hyde matched up well against Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph and gave him little room to work with every time the two squared off. Hyde won one matchup, taking away a deep hook route from Rudolph. The tight end responded with a drag route later on a 3rd-and-short play. Hyde managed to stay close despite the Vikings creating traffic in the middle of the field. Hyde surrendered the catch but tackled Rudolph immediately after to save the first down.

    Winston Guy had a performance to forget that ended in the Indianapolis Colts cutting him this week. He had a few near-great plays, but couldn't finish them. He read a deep out route by Broncos tight end Virgil Green well but was too aggressive covering it and gave up a pass interference penalty. Later, he came unblocked off the edge on a run play but ended up running right by C.J. Anderson, who ran right past him and to the edge on his way to a 13-yard carry.

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvr
    1Kemal IshmaelATL22191817682
    2Micah HydeGB21211717682
    3Robert GoldenPIT22201617681
    4Kam ChancellorSEA19191818680
    5Reshad JonesMIA19211717680
    6Tony JeffersonARI20211617680
    7Jahleel AddaeSD19211617679
    8Landon CollinsNYG19191617677
    9Daniel SorensenKC17191717676
    10Malcolm JenkinsPHI19181716676
    11Morgan BurnettGB19191616676
    12Shawn WilliamsCIN19181617676
    13Mike C. AdamsIND19181616675
    14Andrew SendejoMIN19161716674
    15Quintin DempsHOU17181617674
    16T.J. WardDEN17191616674
    17Derrick KindredCLE18181516673
    18Eric WeddleBAL20181415673
    19Da'Norris SearcyTEN17181516672
    20Barry ChurchDAL17181515671
    21Eric BerryKC18181415671
    22Johnathan CyprienJAX18161615671
    23Antoine BetheaSF16161616670
    24Calvin PryorNYJ17171317670
    25Jaquiski TarttSF17161615670
    26Kenny VaccaroNO17151517670
    27Patrick ChungNE17171416670
    28Tavon WilsonDET16171417670
    29Aaron WilliamsBUF18161415669
    30Keith McGillOAK17161515669
    31Roman HarperNO16161516669
    32Anthony LevineBAL16181414668
    33Jordan PoyerCLE15151616668
    34T.J. McDonaldLA16161515668
    35Harold Jones-QuarteyCHI15151414664
    36Rafael BushDET14141515664
    37Chris ConteTB14131414661
    38Duke WilliamsBUF13131415661
    39Kurt ColemanCAR13131514661
    40Daimion StaffordTEN14151310658
    41David BrutonWAS14131213658
    42Winston GuyIND14131213658

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Eddie Pleasant—inactive

Kickers

21 of 22

    Associated Press

    There is a familiar face at the top of the Week 2 kicker rankings, with Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens putting together an outstanding game that earned him the second-highest rating of the year thus far. Tucker was perfect on the day, displaying his prodigious leg strength and leaving every other kicker in his wake.

    Graham Gano and rising star Chandler Catanzaro fill the next two spots, with Gano's only blemish being a missed extra point due to a massive protection breakdown. Young guns Dustin Hopkins and Chris Boswell continue to show consistency and strong legs, and they appear to be solidifying themselves in the second tier of kickers with back-to-back top-10 performances. 

    Blair Walsh bounced back after a tough first week, making two extra points and a 46-yard field goal. He is still getting his feet under him after missing the playoffs last year, but he appears much more comfortable this week. More repetitions should only help the young kicker, and he seems to be getting back on track after a difficult start to the year.

    On the negative side of things, Jason Myers is walking proof that consistency is the most important thing in the NFL. A week after coming in second in the rankings, Myers finds himself near the bottom due to missing his only field-goal attempt, a 54-yarder. Joining him there are Roberto Aguayo and Patrick Murray, who both missed kicks in Week 2 as well. While Aguayo has had a quiet start to the 2016 season, he needs to string together several perfect performances to build his confidence after experiencing some issues throughout the preseason.

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamPwrAccTklPosOvr
    1Justin TuckerBAL36395383
    2Graham GanoCAR33375378
    3Chandler CatanzaroARI32375377
    4Cairo SantosKC32355375
    5Nick FolkNYJ30375375
    6Adam VinatieriIND31365375
    7Dustin HopkinsWAS31355374
    8Chris BoswellPIT32335373
    9Matt BryantATL31345373
    10Dan BaileyDAL31345373
    11Greg ZuerleinLA31345373
    12Andrew FranksMIA31325371
    13Blair WalshMIN31325371
    14Mike NugentCIN30325370
    15Brandon McManusDEN30325370
    16Caleb SturgisPHI33285369
    17Dan CarpenterBUF27335368
    18Matt PraterDET27335368
    19Mason CrosbyGB31295368
    20Josh LamboSD25345367
    21Steven HauschkaSEA30295367
    22Will LutzNO30275365
    23Nick NovakHOU26315365
    24Phil DawsonSF26325265
    25Stephen GostkowskiNE31245363
    26Ryan SuccopTEN28255361
    27Josh BrownNYG26275361
    28Sebastian JanikowskiOAK26255359
    29Connor BarthCHI31205359
    30Jason MyersJAX28235359
    31Roberto AguayoTB29215358
    32Patrick MurrayCLE25245357

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

Punters

22 of 22

    Associated Press

    Jonny Hekker of the Los Angeles Rams takes the top spot in the Week 2 punter rankings, largely due to the precision placement of his punts throughout the battle with the Seattle Seahawks. Hekker placed every ball on or outside the numbers, locating to both sides of the field with ease.

    Thomas Morstead and Brad Wing bounce into the second and third positions, respectively, with both of them showing stronger legs than they have displayed throughout their careers. 

    Also in the top five are perennial punting powerhouses Pat McAfee and Sam Koch, while Marquette King slides slightly to the sixth spot this week from his perch atop the NFL in Week 1. Sam Martin and Brett Kern also turned in strong performances, staying in the top 10 once again, and Chris Jones showed sustained improvement over his 2015 numbers. Jeff Locke of the Vikings rounds out the top 10 with a bounce-back week after a tough start to the season in Week 1.

    Jon Ryan and Ryan Allen continue to struggle in the early going, as both find themselves with below-average ratings this week. A lack of distance was a major issue for each of them, with slightly below-average hang times as well. These two punters are typically upper-echelon talents, so they are likely to figure things out in the coming weeks.

    Donnie Jones also had issues this week with poor ball placement, something that held him back from a higher rating in Week 1 as well.

    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 2
    RankPlayerTeamDistHangAccTklPosOvr
    1Johnny HekkerLA1716453384
    2Thomas MorsteadNO1818383380
    3Brad WingNYG1918363379
    4Pat McAfeeIND1916373378
    5Sam KochBAL1818353377
    6Marquette KingOAK1916354377
    7Sam MartinDET1618363376
    8Brett KernTEN1817353376
    9Chris JonesDAL1819333376
    10Jeff LockeMIN1319373375
    11Jordan BerryPIT1816343374
    12Dustin ColquittKC1720313374
    13Matt DarrMIA1615363373
    14Bradley PinionSF1819303373
    15Bryan AngerTB1620303372
    16Pat O'DonnellCHI1118363371
    17Britton ColquittCLE1417333370
    18Andy LeeCAR1617313370
    19Drew ButlerARI1217353370
    20Shane LechlerHOU1612353369
    21Matt BosherATL1715303368
    22Tress WayWAS916363367
    23Jacob SchumGB617383367
    24Ryan AllenNE914363365
    25Lachlan EdwardsNYJ1314313364
    26Brad NortmanJAX1214313363
    27Colton SchmidtBUF517343362
    28Riley DixonDEN1612283362
    29Jon RyanSEA913323360
    30Donnie JonesPHI1314273360
    31Drew KaserSD915293359
    32Kevin HuberCIN119323358

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None