NFL1000: Ranking the Top 1,000 Players at Midseason

Doug Farrar@@BR_DougFarrar NFL Lead ScoutNovember 4, 2016

NFL1000: Ranking the Top 1,000 Players at Midseason

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    Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

    When we expanded the NFL1000 concept and hired a talented group of scouts to analyze every player for each week of the 2016 NFL season, the goal of that first wave of analysis was to assemble a cogent, repeatable scouting system with a transparent process. We also wanted to give our readers an idea of how we saw things week to week.

    Hopefully, we’d bust myths, spot trends and unearth hidden gems.

    Halfway through the season, we’ve done that. Now, we have a ton of performance data, and we can give you a sense of how things have gone for every NFL player at the Week 8 line. To that end, here are our NFL1000 midseason grades. These marks are averaged for each player through the first half of the season from their week-to-week scores.

    Not only does this give us an idea of how things stand at every position, but it also lets us know who’s the best at each positional attribute. And this is a hidden value to the methodology. Since we’re not using one number for a player’s entire performance, we can drill down and discover new things. Which receiver runs the best routes, and who’s the best blocker? Which cornerback is best in the slot? Which safety? Which punter is the best tackler? (Yeah, we keep track of that, too).

    One directive we had from the start is there are no legacy scores. Which is to say, Darrelle Revis doesn’t get a pass for being Revis if he gets lit up—and that’s happened more often than we expected. That’s why he’s our 22nd-ranked cornerback. If Russell Wilson doesn’t throw a touchdown pass for a month, we don’t increase the grade and assume he’ll snap out of it. That’s why he stands as our 17th-ranked quarterback.

    Perhaps the most fun part of the first half from our end (and hopefully from yours) is the ability to discover players who were previously under the radar. Concerned about the New England Patriots’ decision to trade Jamie Collins, perhaps their best defensive player? That might be mitigated if you’ve followed out write-ups on rookie linebacker Elandon Roberts, who’s shown an increasing aptitude for pass coverage.

    Wondering which rookie center has made the biggest difference to his team: Ryan Kelly or Cody Whitehair? We’ve been on that since Week 1.

    Who’s been the best undrafted or low-drafted rookie? Dak Prescott, a fourth-round pick, probably has that sewn up, but how about San Diego Chargers linebacker Jatavis Brown (Round 5), who’s been rising in our rookie review since he hit the field? Or Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (Round 5), who’s performed excellently in Ezekiel Elliott's shadow, perception-wise?

    Did anyone think end Yannick Ngakoue of the Jacksonville Jaguars would have been so effective? We’ve been talking about him for weeks.

    It’s been a fun ride so far, and we’d like to thank you for your interest and feedback (both positive and negative). Here are the NFL1000 Midseason Grades, and here’s to a stellar second half!

        

    All advanced stats are courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

    All punter stats are courtesy of self-charting from punter scout Chuck Zodda.

Methodology

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    Michael Thomas/Getty Images

    The NFL1000 team was given a series of attributes to rate for every player in their positional review. Using a scale starting at zero and going up to anywhere from 10 to 40, based on the position and attribute, our scouts have rated 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 fields of expertise. 

    Every NFL player with snaps in offensive and defensive roles is observed and graded based on a multitiered process that marks specific attributes by 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 notion that the cornerback we're grading is doing a better job if he's shutting down Antonio Brown than if he's negating the efforts of a seventh-round rookie receiver.

    We'll also adjust for players with multiple responsibilities in a single game and over the course of time.

    Think of guys such as J.J. Watt and Michael Bennett on the defensive line—how they seamlessly switch from gap to gap. Or how cornerbacks such as Chris Harris 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 ailment, that's part of his performance, fair or unfair.

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

Top 50 Overall at Midseason

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    Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

    That football is won or lost in the trenches is one of the game’s oldest platitudes. Based on our half-season grades, the value of the guys who line up across from each other on both sides of the ball couldn’t be much more apparent. 

    Of the top 10 highest-graded players through Week 8, the first eight are linemen of some stripe, if you throw Jadeveon Clowney’s outside linebacker classification to the side and consider he’s essentially a gap-rusher.

    Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith is our top man, and that honor is well-deserved. Smith gives up occasional pressure, as any offensive lineman will, but there’s no tackle with his combination of strength, agility, nastiness and technique.

    At the No. 2 spot, Aaron Donald has taken the title of Most Effective Defensive Lineman from J.J. Watt and is beating every opponent over the head with it. Donald has had an extended stretch of unblockability. For him to have three sacks, 13 quarterback hits and 22 hurries when he’s double-teamed as much as possible is an incredible achievement.

    Where you might get the initial hint that this is an atypical list is when you scan the names in search of the first quarterback: There he is, Aaron Rodgers, at No. 13.

    Yes, the quarterback position is the most important, but as the NFL1000 grades are performance-based, and we factor in positional importance already with specific numbers, there’s no additional juice for QBs. They have to earn their way to the top just like everybody else, and through the first half, the NFL has been more about the lines than anything.

    One trend we’ve been watching closely is the increasing effectiveness and consistency of the best NFL defenses and defensive players. The Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings are led by their defenses, and our top 50 is littered with players from those units.

    Are there great offenses this year? Sure. The  Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints have a lot to brag about. But do you see one offense dominating defenses every week, as in years past? Not unless Tom Brady continues his revenge tour, or Ezekiel Elliott (799 yards) continues to challenge Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record (1,808 yards), will you see one offense stand apart the way defenses have.

    And the best thing about the NFL1000 is that if and when that trend shifts, we’ll be here to tell you all about it.

    Here are the top 50 players through Week 8:

    NFL1000 Midseason Top 50 Overall
    RankPlayerPos.TeamMidseason Avg.
    1Tyron SmithLTDAL85.4
    2Aaron DonaldDTLA84.4
    3Jadeveon Clowney3-4 OLBHOU84.0
    4Trent WilliamsLTWAS83.6
    5Lane JohnsonRTPHI82.5
    6Jason PetersLTPHI82.4
    7Muhammad Wilkerson3-4 DENYJ82.0
    8David BakhtiariLTGB81.3
    9Le'Veon BellRBPIT81.3
    10Fletcher CoxDTPHI81.1
    11Von Miller3-4 OLBDEN80.8
    12Jason VerrettCBSD80.8
    13Aaron RodgersQBGB80.7
    14Joe ThomasLTCLE80.6
    15David JohnsonRBARI80.5
    16Reshad JonesSSMIA80.5
    17Marshal YandaOGBAL80.4
    18B.J. FinneyOGPIT80.0
    19Jerrell FreemanILBCHI80.0
    20Luke KuechlyILBCAR80.0
    21Cordy GlennLTBUF79.8
    22Zack MartinOGDAL79.4
    23Marcus PetersCBKC79.4
    24Chris Harris Jr.CBDEN79.4
    25Cam NewtonQBCAR79.3
    26Bryan BulagaRTGB79.3
    27Kam ChancellorSSSEA79.3
    28Devin McCourtyFSNE79.1
    29Marcus GilbertRTPIT79.0
    30Kawann ShortDTCAR79.0
    31Sharrif FloydDTMIN79.0
    32Sam BradfordQBMIN78.8
    33Ndamukong SuhDTMIA78.6
    34Harrison SmithFSMIN78.3
    35Tom BradyQBNE78.3
    36Joe StaleyLTSF78.1
    37Philip RiversQBSD78.0
    38Senio KelemeteRTNO78.0
    39Eric KendricksILBMIN78.0
    40Bobby WagnerILBSEA78.0
    41Dont'a HightowerILBNE78.0
    42Rodney McLeodFSPHI78.0
    43Drew BreesQBNO77.9
    44Ezekiel ElliottRBDAL77.9
    45Darian StewartFSDEN77.8
    46Geno AtkinsDTCIN77.6
    47Donald PennLTOAK77.5
    48Josh SittonOGCHI77.5
    49NaVorro BowmanILBSF77.5
    50Eric WeddleSSBAL77.4

Quarterbacks

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    Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

    Despite the narrative that has engulfed him on occasion this season, Aaron Rodgers is still the best quarterback in the NFL. The coaching staff and lack of viable receiving options have deflated Rodgers' numbers, but besides the New York Giants game, he has played to his standards.

    In a predictable turn of events, Cam Newton is his closest competitor, as he continues to offer huge value as both a passer and runner. Tom Brady might have been atop the rankings had he played the full season, but even with a late start, he has done enough to rank in the top five. Sam Bradford and Philip Rivers round out the top five. Both have endured one bad game but have excelled otherwise.

    Dak Prescott has outshone fellow rookie Carson Wentz because of his stronger first five weeks, while Brock Osweiler has been a disaster as a big-name free-agent addition. The 5-3 Houston Texans are still in a position to compete for a playoff spot despite Osweiler's poor play, so he should have every opportunity to turn his season around.

    The same can't be said for Blake Bortles and Ryan Fitzpatrick—two high-profile names who rank toward the bottom of the league. Bortles and Fitzpatrick have regressed after enjoying 2015 seasons where their numbers flattered their actual performances.

          

    Top Scorers

    • Top Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
    • Most Accurate: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
    • Best Arm: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
    • Best Under Pressure/Run Threat: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
    • Best Decision-Maker: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

        

    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

            

    NFL1000 Midseason Quarterback Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamAccArmPressDecPosOvr
    1Aaron RodgersGB19.422.714.014.61080.7
    2Cam NewtonCAR17.223.015.313.81079.3
    3Sam BradfordMIN19.521.313.714.31078.8
    4Tom BradyNE20.519.514.014.31078.3
    5Philip RiversSD18.020.015.114.91078.0
    6Drew BreesNO18.620.314.614.41077.9
    7Ben RoethlisbergerPIT17.821.314.513.51077.2
    8Andrew LuckIND17.521.614.113.51076.8
    9Matt RyanATL17.118.614.514.41074.6
    10Ryan TannehillMIA18.020.912.912.91074.6
    11Eli ManningNYG16.420.113.613.31073.4
    12Tyrod TaylorBUF15.520.314.513.01073.3
    13Matthew StaffordDET15.921.313.612.31073.0
    14Carson PalmerAZ16.320.413.113.11073.0
    15Dak PrescottDAL15.719.414.113.71073.0
    16Derek CarrOAK16.321.811.512.41071.9
    17Russell WilsonSEA17.419.411.313.61071.7
    18Jay CutlerCHI15.721.312.712.01071.7
    19Marcus MariotaTEN15.819.113.813.01071.6
    20Alex SmithKC16.318.612.414.01071.3
    21Jameis WinstonTB13.618.313.913.41069.1
    22Carson WentzPHI15.418.612.612.31068.9
    23Colin KaepernickSF14.019.513.511.01068.0
    24Geno SmithNYJ16.519.011.011.01067.5
    25Trevor SiemianDEN15.417.912.311.61067.1
    26Brian HoyerCHI15.017.211.512.71066.3
    27Joe FlaccoBAL13.919.610.712.11066.3
    28Cody KesslerCLE15.417.811.811.01066.0
    29Andy DaltonCIN14.518.110.512.51065.6
    30Case KeenumLA14.117.711.611.01064.4
    31Derek AndersonCAR15.518.510.010.01064.0
    32Kirk CousinsWAS14.417.510.810.61063.3
    33Drew StantonAZ13.317.710.011.01062.0
    34EJ ManuelBUF15.317.710.09.01062.0
    35Blake BortlesJAX13.017.711.110.01061.9
    36Josh McCownCLE13.016.510.511.01061.0
    37Charlie WhitehurstCLE14.017.010.010.01061.0
    38Brock OsweilerHOU13.117.410.110.31060.9
    39Ryan FitzpatrickNYJ13.015.910.110.61059.6
    40Matt BarkleyCHI14.016.010.09.01059.0
    41Paxton LynchDEN13.018.08.59.01058.5
    42Landry JonesPIT12.016.08.010.01056.0
    43Blaine GabbertSF10.616.410.28.21055.4

Running Backs

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Injuries have been a consistent theme for star running backs in 2016. Adrian Peterson is expected to miss the season after tearing his meniscus. After attempting a return from an ACL injury in 2015, Jamaal Charles went back on injured reserve, and his career is in peril.

    Others, such as Ameer Abdullah (foot surgery) and C.J. Anderson (torn meniscus), have serious injuries that put their seasons in jeopardy, while stars such as Doug Martin, Jonathan Stewart and Carlos Hyde have missed time with various setbacks.

    The best ability is often availability, and many talented players have missed a lot of time.

    Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson have established themselves as the best, most complete runners in the league, however. There is nothing these two guys can’t do, and in 2016, the ability to dominate in the passing game has separated them from the pack. It’s not hyperbole to call Bell and Johnson Hall of Fame talents who should destroy NFL defenses for years.

    Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones selected a running back in the top five of the 2016 draft, which many pundits considered bold. But it turns out he nailed it. Ezekiel Elliott is a star, he leads the league in rushing and is a major reason why the 6-1 Cowboys are in first place in the NFC East. He is getting stronger with every game and is as complete a young running back the league has seen in years.

    DeMarco Murray should be the Comeback Player of the Year. Only behind Elliott in rushing yards with 756, Murray has helped vault the 4-4 Titans into playoff contention. There may not be a more physical runner in the league.

    LeSean McCoy looked like an MVP candidate before he hurt his hamstring, and Spencer Ware has shown Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid that his team will be OK without Charles. The NFL is loaded at the running back spot and should only improve as players return from injuries.

           

    Top Scorers

    • Top Running Back: Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
    • Best Inside Runner: David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
    • Best Outside Runner: David Johnson/Le'Veon Bell (Tied at 19/25)
    • Best Receiver: Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
    • Best Blocker: Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

           

    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

           


    NFL1000 Midseason Running Back Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamInOutRecBlkPosOvr
    1Le'Veon BellPIT20.319.018.317.8681.3
    2David JohnsonARI20.419.018.117.0680.5
    3Ezekiel ElliottDAL19.718.716.417.0677.9
    4DeMarco MurrayTEN19.517.916.617.3677.3
    5LeSean McCoyBUF19.318.416.716.4676.9
    6Jonathan StewartCAR19.318.015.817.0676.0
    7Ameer AbdullahDET18.018.018.016.0676.0
    8Devonta FreemanATL19.117.416.516.3675.3
    9Spencer WareKC19.116.716.716.6675.1
    10Doug MartinTB19.017.015.517.0674.5
    11Lamar MillerHOU17.917.916.515.9674.1
    12C.J. AndersonDEN18.316.316.616.7673.9
    13Todd GurleyLA17.717.316.616.3673.9
    14Eddie LacyGB20.016.215.416.2673.8
    15Melvin GordonSD18.116.616.616.0673.4
    16Theo RiddickDET16.517.517.715.7673.3
    17Christine MichaelSEA18.416.616.016.1673.1
    18Thomas RawlsSEA17.517.016.516.0673.0
    19Carlos HydeSF18.516.715.716.0672.8
    20Tevin ColemanATL16.916.617.415.9672.7
    21LeGarrette BlountNE18.816.515.116.3672.6
    22Darren SprolesPHI17.116.917.115.3672.4
    23Isaiah CrowellCLE18.016.416.115.9672.4
    24Jordan HowardCHI18.116.415.915.9672.3
    25DeAngelo WilliamsPIT17.416.416.416.0672.2
    26Frank GoreIND17.815.116.317.0672.1
    27Duke JohnsonCLE16.816.517.115.6672.0
    28Giovani BernardCIN16.416.616.616.1671.8
    29Latavius MurrayOAK17.216.816.015.7671.7
    30Shane VereenNYG16.317.017.015.3671.7
    31Jeremy LangfordCHI17.016.315.017.0671.3
    32Ryan MathewsPHI17.516.215.516.0671.2
    33Mark IngramNO17.115.716.316.0671.1
    34Jeremy HillCIN17.416.515.415.9671.1
    35Matt JonesWAS18.015.715.316.0671.0
    36Derrick HenryTEN17.315.916.115.6670.9
    37Jay AjayiMIA17.516.715.315.3670.8
    38Matt ForteNYJ17.315.816.116.1670.5
    39James WhiteNE15.516.516.815.8670.5
    40James StarksGB16.316.016.316.0670.5
    41Terrance WestBAL17.316.315.515.3670.5
    42Chris ThompsonWAS15.416.816.815.3670.1
    43Jamaal CharlesKC17.016.015.515.5670.0
    44Robert KelleyWAS17.515.515.016.0670.0
    45Jonathan WilliamsBUF16.015.017.016.0670.0
    46Charles SimsTB16.015.516.315.8669.5
    47Adrian PetersonMIN17.016.515.514.5669.5
    48Rashad JenningsNYG16.515.015.316.5669.3
    49DeAndre WashingtonOAK17.016.115.414.8669.3
    50Charcandrick WestKC15.716.216.015.3669.2
    51Fozzy WhittakerCAR15.216.816.314.8669.2
    52Alfred MorrisDAL16.915.715.315.3669.1
    53Bilal PowellNYJ16.115.516.115.4669.1
    54Devontae BookerDEN16.915.515.515.3669.1
    55Arian FosterRET15.814.816.516.0669.0
    56Jerick McKinnonMIN16.316.015.714.8668.8
    57Chris JohnsonARI15.516.315.315.8668.8
    58Wendell SmallwoodPHI17.015.715.015.0668.7
    59Jacquizz RodgersTB17.015.215.314.8668.3
    60Jalen RichardOAK16.116.115.314.5668.0
    61Matt AsiataMIN16.014.415.715.7667.9
    62Alfred BlueHOU16.315.115.115.3667.9
    63Paul PerkinsNYG15.315.816.514.3667.8
    64Denard RobinsonJAX15.516.015.015.0667.5
    65Reggie BushBUF14.516.015.515.5667.5
    66Zach ZennerDET16.213.815.615.8667.4
    67Kenjon BarnerPHI15.316.015.314.8667.3
    68Justin ForsettDET15.615.215.215.2667.2
    69Damien WilliamsMIA15.415.015.815.0667.2
    70T.J. YeldonJAX16.314.314.915.7667.1
    71Tim HightowerNO15.815.814.814.8667.0
    72Malcolm BrownLA16.014.017.014.0667.0
    73Kenneth DixonBAL17.014.015.015.0667.0
    74Terron WardATL15.016.016.014.0667.0
    75Benny CunninghamLA14.815.415.615.0666.8
    76Dwayne WashingtonDET15.715.714.714.7666.7
    77Orleans DarkwaNYG16.315.014.015.3666.7
    78Mike GillisleeBUF16.014.814.815.0666.7
    79Chris IvoryJAX16.014.215.215.2666.6
    80Josh FergusonIND14.614.415.416.0666.4
    81Alex CollinsSEA16.014.015.315.0666.3
    82Kenyon DrakeMIA14.516.514.514.8666.3
    83Fitzgerald ToussaintPIT14.015.016.015.0666.0
    84Javorius AllenBAL15.515.015.514.0666.0
    85DuJuan HarrisSF16.014.015.015.0666.0
    86Mike DavisSF16.014.015.015.0666.0
    87Cameron Artis-PayneCAR15.715.014.714.3665.7
    88Travaris CadetNO14.214.416.015.0665.6
    89Andre EllingtonARI15.014.515.314.7665.5
    90Robert TurbinIND15.214.315.314.7665.5
    91Jonathan GrimesHOU15.514.015.015.0665.5
    92C.J. SpillerSEA14.515.016.014.0665.5
    93Shaun DraughnSF15.014.414.714.9665.0
    94Lance DunbarDAL14.714.715.314.3665.0
    95Daniel LascoNO15.514.014.515.0665.0
    96Ka'Deem CareyCHI15.514.014.515.0665.0
    97Bobby RaineyNYG14.014.616.014.2664.8
    98Knile DavisFA15.014.015.014.0664.0
    99Dexter McClusterSD13.514.515.513.5663.0
    100Joique BellFA14.013.014.015.0662.0
    101Don JacksonGB13.014.014.014.0661.0
    102Isaiah PeadFA13.513.014.014.0660.5

Fullbacks

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    Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    The fullback position might not be the sexiest in the NFL, but it is still an essential job that many of the top offenses depend on to succeed.

    Through eight weeks, Baltimore has the best, most complete fullback in Kyle Juszczyk. He might be the best player on the Ravens offense. He can line up and act as a lead blocker, carry the ball and operate like a tight end on the line of scrimmage. He is a fantastic player who would succeed on any team.

    Patrick DiMarco has been the unsung hero of the Falcons' resurgence on offense, lead-blocking and pass-protecting at a Pro Bowl level. Jamize Olawale of the Raiders, another under-the-radar player, has helped Oakland’s run game go to new heights with his versatility. He's a natural at catching the ball and has operated like a running back in single-back formations.

    Rookie Andy Janovich has been awesome for the Broncos. He has established himself as one of the more physical isolation blockers in the NFL. He is also a threat to run and catch the football out of the backfield.

    Fellow rookie Derek Watt, J.J.’s younger brother, has helped Melvin Gordon change the narrative on his career in San Diego. The 23-year-old Watt, like Janovich, has been a major factor in the team’s weekly game-planning, which is not a common occurrence for rookie fullbacks. Both guys should be contributors for years.

          

    Top Scorers

    • Top Fullback: Kyle Juszczyk, Baltimore Ravens
    • Best Blocker: Kyle Juszczyk, Baltimore Ravens
    • Best Runner: Aaron Ripkowski, Green Bay Packers
    • Best Receiver: Kyle Juszczyk, Baltimore Ravens

       

    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

        

    NFL1000 Midseason Fullback Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamBlkRunRecPosOvr
    1Kyle JuszczykBAL44.116.611.0475.7
    2Andy JanovichDEN44.116.510.0474.6
    3John KuhnNO42.916.49.9473.1
    4Aaron RipkowskiGB43.016.89.2473.0
    5Malcolm JohnsonFA43.415.69.7472.7
    6Jamize OlawaleOAK42.416.59.6472.5
    7Derek WattSD43.015.59.5472.0
    8Patrick DiMarcoATL43.614.99.5472.0
    9Keith SmithDAL43.215.88.7471.7
    10Zach LineMIN42.715.89.2471.7
    11Anthony ShermanKC43.714.78.7471.0
    12Jay ProschHOU43.315.18.6471.0
    13James DevelinNE42.915.18.7470.7
    14Jalston FowlerTEN43.414.98.4470.6
    15Jerome FeltonBUF42.514.89.3470.5
    16Will TukuafuSEA43.514.58.5470.5
    17Michael BurtonDET42.714.68.3469.6
    18Mike TolbertCAR41.115.39.0469.4
    19Paul LasikeCHI42.814.08.4469.2
    20Cory HarkeyLA41.213.87.4466.4

Wide Receivers

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Certain things are inevitable: death, taxes and A.J. Green's ability to frustrate opposing cornerbacks. Our top receiver through the first half hasn’t regressed a bit, though it might be said the Bengals offense has done so overall in the post-Hue Jackson era. With 59 catches on 84 targets for 896 yards, Green is everything he ever was: a tough, agile, savvy receiver able to catch the most errant Andy Dalton throw.

    Miami’s Jarvis Landry maintains his status as perhaps the best (or at least most prolific) slot receiver in the business, while speedsters T.Y. Hilton and Antonio Brown continue to define their teams' passing games.

    The surprise of the year at receiver has been Cleveland’s Terrelle Pryor, a former camp quarterback who has transformed himself into an estimable target. This week, our own Alex Kirby detailed why Pryor is so dangerous.

    In the NFC, Julio Jones has been the standout through the first half, with a few tremendous games to his credit. His ability at the line of scrimmage against the press and to transform from a pass-catcher to a ball-carrier after the catch are two big elements to his success.

    Odell Beckham and Larry Fitzgerald continue to excel. The former relies heavily on his route running to get open, while Fitzgerald's ability at the catch point as well as Arizona's reliance on him as a blocker are important factors to his game.

    Other wideouts who have impressed include Stefon Diggs, who displays tremendous change-of-direction ability on routes and after the catch, and Doug Baldwin, who shows similar attributes.

    Top Scorers

    • Top Wide Receiver: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
    • Best Route-Runner: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
    • Best Hands: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
    • Best After the Catch: Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
    • Best Blocker: Seth Roberts, Oakland Raiders

         

    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

         

    NFL1000 Midseason Wide Receiver Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvr
    1A.J. GreenCIN21.420.614.011.4976.1
    2Julio JonesATL19.919.314.413.5975.8
    3Jarvis LandryMIA19.618.714.413.4974.9
    4Demaryius ThomasDEN19.519.612.912.9973.6
    5Julian EdelmanNE19.118.315.012.1973.3
    6T.Y. HiltonIND20.419.514.010.6973.3
    7Odell BeckhamNYG19.118.913.612.9973.1
    8Antonio BrownPIT20.320.313.410.1972.9
    9Terrelle PryorCLE19.619.412.912.0972.6
    10Emmanuel SandersDEN19.519.812.611.6972.3
    11Donte MoncriefIND20.519.512.511.0972.0
    12Larry FitzgeraldARI18.018.313.013.8971.8
    13Michael CrabtreeOAK20.120.112.99.9971.8
    14Mike WallaceBAL19.919.113.710.3971.7
    15Steve Smith Sr.BAL18.219.812.612.4971.6
    16Mike EvansTB18.718.613.112.3971.4
    17Stefon DiggsMIN18.817.713.512.7971.3
    18Brandon MarshallNYJ20.318.912.610.5971.0
    19Amari CooperOAK18.318.114.411.4970.9
    20Dez BryantDAL18.618.612.812.0970.6
    21Danny AmendolaNE18.418.313.311.9970.5
    22Quincy EnunwaNYJ17.818.012.613.0970.1
    23Doug BaldwinSEA17.617.913.112.7970.0
    24Eric DeckerNYJ18.318.712.312.3970.0
    25Alshon JefferyCHI17.617.913.412.3969.9
    26Jordy NelsonGB17.918.012.912.4969.9
    27Michael ThomasNO17.618.313.611.7969.9
    28Jeremy MaclinKC18.118.113.111.7969.9
    29Travis BenjaminSD18.518.513.310.8969.8
    30DeAndre HopkinsHOU20.018.912.39.8969.6
    31Brandon LaFellCIN18.617.812.012.3969.4
    32Jamison CrowderWAS17.917.813.411.6969.4
    33Robert WoodsBUF18.617.412.012.6969.3
    34Mohamed SanuATL17.317.413.612.3969.3
    35Marvin JonesDET17.617.913.311.8969.3
    36Seth RobertsOAK17.016.413.313.9969.3
    37Marqise LeeJAX18.318.513.210.2969.0
    38Brandin CooksNO17.417.613.711.3968.7
    39Cole BeasleyDAL18.417.413.610.6968.7
    40Kelvin BenjaminCAR16.417.713.412.3968.6
    41Randall CobbGB17.517.713.211.5968.5
    42Willie SneadNO17.517.313.311.7968.5
    43Sammy WatkinsBUF18.516.511.514.0968.5
    44Corey ColemanCLE16.518.513.512.0968.5
    45Tyrell WilliamsSD17.917.913.310.3968.1
    46Golden TateDET16.917.014.011.1967.8
    47Jordan MatthewsPHI17.717.012.611.7967.7
    48Sterling ShepardNYG17.117.312.711.9967.7
    49Kenny BrittLA16.717.113.411.7967.7
    50Allen HurnsJAX18.017.612.910.4967.6
    51Cobi HamiltonPIT18.517.011.012.0967.5
    52John BrownARI17.016.912.612.3967.4
    53Tavon AustinLA17.316.614.310.6967.4
    54Adam ThielenMIN16.417.112.912.0967.1
    55Pierre GarconWAS17.117.012.511.6967.0
    56Eddie RoyalCHI16.316.813.711.5967.0
    57Kevin WhiteCHI15.816.513.512.8967.0
    58Allen RobinsonJAX18.017.012.610.7967.0
    59Davante AdamsGB17.117.312.411.1966.7
    60Terrance WilliamsDAL17.116.712.411.7966.7
    61DeSean JacksonWAS17.817.112.410.5966.5
    62Will FullerHOU17.617.112.910.1966.5
    63Ty MontgomeryGB16.517.015.09.5966.5
    64Marquise GoodwinBUF17.016.213.710.8966.5
    65Brian QuickLA16.317.113.410.9966.4
    66Tajae SharpeTEN17.517.612.310.3966.4
    67Chris HoganNE17.315.612.412.3966.3
    68Cameron MeredithCHI16.216.312.312.5966.2
    69Andrew HawkinsCLE17.516.911.611.3966.0
    70DeVante ParkerMIA16.517.512.510.7966.0
    71Sammie CoatesPIT17.117.011.911.0965.7
    72Anquan BoldinDET15.416.612.412.5965.6
    73Adam HumphriesTB16.716.312.911.0965.6
    74Rishard MatthewsTEN16.917.911.310.8965.5
    75Chris ConleyKC17.316.711.910.9965.4
    76Victor CruzNYG16.616.312.111.6965.3
    77Kenny StillsMIA17.716.612.010.3965.3
    78Phillip DorsettIND16.117.112.111.0965.1
    79Tyreek HillKC16.016.612.910.9965.0
    80Jeremy KerleySF15.916.312.611.4964.9
    81Breshad PerrimanBAL16.116.611.611.9964.9
    82Vincent JacksonTB16.216.411.811.8964.8
    83Cordarrelle PattersonMIN16.216.013.210.6964.8
    84Dontrelle InmanSD16.816.911.610.6964.6
    85Quinton PattonSF16.016.111.712.0964.6
    86J.J. NelsonARI16.816.511.810.8964.5
    87Ted Ginn Jr.CAR15.616.013.310.7964.3
    88Torrey SmithSF16.116.311.611.6964.3
    89Eli RogersPIT17.017.011.310.5964.3
    90Nelson AgholorPHI16.615.711.911.3964.1
    91Jermaine KearseSEA16.016.312.011.0964.0
    92Josh DoctsonWAS15.016.013.012.0964.0
    93Geronimo AllisonGB16.016.012.011.0964.0
    94Philly BrownCAR14.616.013.011.6963.9
    95Tyler BoydCIN16.416.111.410.9963.5
    96Jordan NorwoodDEN16.914.511.112.3963.5
    97Michael FloydARI16.115.311.411.9963.4
    98Jaron BrownARI15.716.011.311.7963.3
    99Dorial Green-BeckhamPHI16.015.112.411.0963.3
    100Tyler LockettSEA16.115.412.010.7963.0
    101Jalin MarshallNYJ16.715.711.011.0963.0
    102Chester RogersIND16.815.811.310.2963.0
    103Kendall WrightTEN16.316.511.310.0963.0
    104Jarius WrightMIN15.016.011.012.0963.0
    105Kamar AikenBAL16.314.911.411.4962.7
    106Brandon ColemanNO14.715.711.312.2962.7
    107Markus WheatonPIT16.016.011.310.3962.7
    108Devin FunchessCAR14.915.911.711.3962.4
    109Brice ButlerDAL15.115.011.412.3962.4
    110Ricardo LouisCLE16.315.011.311.0962.4
    111Tommylee LewisNO14.715.711.711.3962.3
    112Andre HolmesOAK14.715.111.612.0962.3
    113Andre JohnsonTEN15.816.310.411.1962.3
    114Justin HardyATL14.714.711.912.0962.0
    115Taylor GabrielATL14.315.511.511.8962.0
    116Arrelious BennJAX15.015.811.810.4961.8
    117Darrius Heyward-BeyPIT16.214.511.710.5961.7
    118Jaelen StrongHOU15.015.610.312.0961.6
    119Charone PeakeNYJ15.615.211.810.0961.6
    120Josh HuffPHI15.314.912.110.6961.6
    121Brittan GoldenARI15.515.011.011.0961.5
    122Robby AndersonNYJ16.015.410.610.4961.4
    123Charles JohnsonMIN15.014.912.110.6961.3
    124Aldrick RobinsonATL14.214.711.711.7961.2
    125Albert WilsonKC15.915.411.010.1961.1
    126Cody LatimerDEN14.814.310.812.0960.8
    127Braxton MillerHOU15.015.311.210.3960.5
    128Roger LewisNYG15.015.011.010.5960.5
    129Harry DouglasTEN15.714.711.010.7960.3
    130Cecil ShortsTB14.315.310.711.3960.3
    131Jeff JanisGB15.014.711.010.7960.3
    132Malcolm MitchellNE14.714.411.610.9960.3
    133Russell ShepardTB13.815.510.811.2960.2
    134Chris MooreBAL14.714.211.211.3960.0
    135Quan BrayIND15.814.310.510.8960.0
    136Griff WhalenSD14.314.711.010.7959.7
    137Brandon TateBUF14.414.811.69.8959.6
    138Lucky WhiteheadDAL13.213.310.713.5959.5
    139Bennie FowlerDEN14.714.810.710.3959.5
    140Justin HunterBUF15.514.311.09.8959.5
    141Paul RichardsonSEA14.114.610.911.0959.3
    142Johnny HoltonOAK13.213.311.811.8959.2
    143Bryan WaltersJAX14.514.011.510.0959.0
    144Maurice HarrisWAS14.014.011.011.0959.0
    145Ryan GrantWAS14.014.310.911.0958.9
    146Rashard HigginsCLE13.915.011.010.1958.9
    147Walt PowellBUF14.514.310.310.7958.8
    148Rod StreaterSF14.214.011.210.6958.8
    149Andre RobertsDET13.814.811.110.3958.6
    150Jordan TaylorDEN14.314.010.710.7958.6
    151Devin StreetIND16.513.010.010.0958.5
    152Trevor DavisGB14.014.010.411.0958.4
    153Rashad GreeneJAX13.614.411.410.0958.0
    154Josh BellamyCHI14.213.810.410.6958.0
    155Freddie MartinoTB13.713.710.711.0958.0
    156Deonte ThompsonCHI14.014.010.710.3958.0
    157De'Anthony ThomasKC14.313.711.010.0958.0
    158Keith MumpheryHOU14.014.010.510.0957.5
    159Jordan PaytonCLE14.012.511.510.5957.5
    160Tanner McEvoySEA12.713.310.711.7957.3
    161Bradley MarquezLA13.212.810.212.2957.2
    162Leonte CarrooMIA13.514.010.011.0957.0
    163Marc MarianiTEN13.313.710.710.3957.0
    164Demarcus RobinsonKC13.014.011.010.0957.0
    165Jakeem GrantMIA13.013.012.010.0957.0
    166Rashad RossWAS13.014.011.010.0957.0
    167Matt SlaterNE13.313.011.010.5956.5
    168James WrightCIN13.613.210.010.4956.2
    169Aaron BurbridgeSF12.813.010.411.0956.0
    170Mike ThomasLA13.313.310.510.0956.0
    171Alex EricksonCIN13.313.710.010.0956.0
    172Pharoh CooperLA14.013.010.010.0956.0
    173Laquon TreadwellMIN13.013.010.010.0955.0
    174Cody CoreCIN12.513.010.510.0954.5
    175Isaiah BurseSD12.512.510.510.0954.0 

Tight Ends

7 of 22

    Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

    Perhaps it's surprising to see Jordan Reed atop this list. While his ranking is due in part to Rob Gronkowski's slow return from injury, the Washington tight end is incredibly effective as a receiver in Jay Gruden's offense. His ability to get open and evade defenders after the reception were on full display when Washington took on Cincinnati in London.

    Some other names near the top on the NFC side are those you would expect, such as Jimmy Graham, Kyle Rudolph and Greg Olsen. Another name to keep an eye on is Detroit's Eric Ebron, who is becoming a focal point of the Lions offense.

    Finally, watch Austin Hooper in the second half. The Falcons rookie has been an integral part of Atlanta's 13 personnel package, and with Jacob Tamme's shoulder injury, look for the Stanford product to play more of a role.

        

    Top Scorers

    • Top Tight End: Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
    • Best Route-Runner: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
    • Best Hands: Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
    • Best After the Catch: Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
    • Best Blocker: David Morgan, Minnesota Vikings

    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

         

    NFL1000 Midseason Tight End Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvr
    1Jordan ReedWAS16.018.815.817.8674.8
    2Rob GronkowskiNE16.519.314.218.5674.5
    3Greg OlsenCAR15.418.714.318.3672.7
    4Tyler EifertCIN16.020.012.517.5672.0
    5Martellus BennettNE15.318.314.017.8671.3
    6Jimmy GrahamSEA14.918.613.718.0671.1
    7Kyle RudolphMIN14.917.113.019.7670.7
    8Jason WittenDAL14.417.713.418.9670.4
    9Travis KelceKC16.718.913.015.9670.4
    10Eric EbronDET15.018.214.017.2670.4
    11Jared CookGB14.317.313.019.7670.3
    12Virgil GreenDEN15.017.412.418.8669.6
    13Antonio GatesSD16.018.012.716.7669.3
    14Dennis PittaBAL15.319.112.616.3669.3
    15Zach MillerCHI14.317.112.817.9668.0
    16Charles ClayBUF15.317.012.017.8668.0
    17Delanie WalkerTEN15.118.012.416.1667.7
    18Austin Seferian-JenkinsNYJ14.016.313.717.0667.7
    19Vernon DavisWAS13.915.613.518.5667.5
    20Clive WalfordOAK14.616.612.917.3667.3
    21Cameron BrateTB14.016.313.317.4667.0
    22Jesse JamesPIT14.417.011.717.6666.7
    23Zach ErtzPHI14.217.212.017.2666.6
    24Jack DoyleIND14.417.311.917.0666.5
    25Coby FleenerNO14.016.912.417.0666.3
    26Hunter HenrySD14.517.311.316.9665.9
    27Ryan GriffinHOU14.316.911.417.0665.5
    28Dwayne AllenIND14.717.112.315.3665.4
    29Lance KendricksLA14.115.612.017.7665.4
    30C.J. UzomahCIN13.116.712.317.3665.4
    31C.J. FiedorowiczHOU14.117.311.316.8665.4
    32Gary BarnidgeCLE14.116.811.816.8665.4
    33Jacob TammeATL13.416.012.117.4665.0
    34Julius ThomasJAX13.817.011.516.7665.0
    35Lee SmithOAK13.315.311.518.5664.5
    36Larry DonnellNYG13.315.511.517.3663.7
    37Josh HillNO13.015.812.016.8663.5
    38Vance McDonaldSF12.815.011.617.6663.0
    39Richard RodgersGB13.114.912.016.9662.9
    40Jordan CameronMIA12.716.712.015.3662.7
    41Luke WillsonSEA12.614.411.817.8662.6
    42Dion SimsMIA12.814.811.217.6662.4
    43Marcedes LewisJAX13.015.611.316.4662.3
    44Brent CelekPHI12.114.611.318.0662.0
    45Will TyeNYG12.014.911.117.9661.9
    46Crockett GillmoreBAL12.714.710.418.0661.9
    47John PhillipsDEN12.914.410.917.7661.9
    48Stephen AndersonHOU12.615.412.015.6661.6
    49Austin HooperATL12.414.411.117.1661.0
    50Tyler KroftCIN11.815.310.417.6661.0
    51Xavier GrimblePIT12.615.211.415.8661.0
    52David JohnsonPIT12.214.511.217.0660.8
    53Anthony FasanoTEN12.014.511.017.3660.8
    54Demetrius HarrisKC13.015.210.815.7660.7
    55Kellen DavisNYJ12.114.311.017.0660.4
    56Garrett CelekSF12.413.911.316.7660.3
    57Trey BurtonPHI12.314.511.316.0660.2
    58Nick VannettSEA12.015.011.016.0660.0
    59Nick O'LearyBUF12.413.910.416.9659.6
    60David MorganMIN10.512.510.020.5659.5
    61Luke StockerTB10.512.811.019.3659.5
    62Jermaine GreshamARI12.314.011.116.0659.4
    63Geoff SwaimDAL11.413.710.617.6659.3
    64Levine ToiloloATL11.013.310.918.1659.3
    65Brandon BostickNYJ11.613.710.916.9659.0
    66Jeff HeuermanDEN11.614.010.417.0659.0
    67Ben BrauneckerCHI11.514.511.016.0659.0
    68Ed DicksonCAR11.714.411.015.9658.9
    69Brandon MyersTB11.413.310.917.1658.7
    70Ryan HewittCIN12.014.110.116.4658.7
    71Phillip SupernawTEN11.913.310.317.1658.6
    72Tyler HigbeeLA11.413.710.117.1658.4
    73Mychal RiveraOAK12.214.810.414.8658.2
    74Dominique JonesMIA11.014.310.316.3658.0
    75Sean McGrathSD11.913.010.716.3657.9
    76Rhett EllisonMIN10.513.210.317.8657.8
    77Darren FellsARI11.013.710.516.5657.7
    78Niles PaulWAS11.012.710.717.0657.4
    79Marqueis GrayMIA11.813.610.615.4657.4
    80Maxx WilliamsBAL11.013.310.017.0657.3
    81Ifeanyi MomahARI10.314.310.716.0657.3
    82Troy NiklasARI11.713.710.715.0657.0
    83Randall TelferCLE11.113.410.016.4657.0
    84Logan PaulsenCHI10.513.010.317.1656.9
    85Khari LeeDET10.313.210.317.0656.8
    86Jerell AdamsNYG11.013.510.316.0656.8
    87Erik SwoopeIND11.613.410.415.1656.6
    88Seth DeValveCLE11.013.010.016.5656.5
    89MyCole PruittMIN11.013.510.016.0656.5
    90Justin PerilloGB10.613.210.815.6656.2
    91Brandon WilliamsSEA10.413.210.416.2656.2
    92Ross TravisKC10.713.710.714.7655.7
    93Cole WickDET12.013.010.514.0655.5
    94Cory HarkeyLA10.511.010.018.0655.5
    95Gavin EscobarDAL10.013.010.016.5655.5
    96Clay HarborNE11.013.210.614.4655.2
    97Hakeem VallesARI12.013.010.014.0655.0
    98Darren WallerBAL10.313.010.015.3654.7
    99Blake BellSF11.012.010.015.0654.0
    100Jim DrayBUF11.014.09.513.5654.0
    101Chris ManhertzNO9.512.510.016.0654.0
    102Connor HamlettCLE10.713.710.013.7654.0
    103James O'ShaughnessyKC10.013.010.014.7653.7
    104Malcolm JohnsonFA11.013.010.013.3653.3
    105Chris GraggBUF10.012.710.014.3653.0
    106Chase CoffmanIND10.013.010.014.0653.0
    107Mike WindtSD10.512.510.512.5652.0
    108A.J. DerbyDEN10.012.710.013.3652.0
    109Ryan O'MalleyOAK10.013.010.013.0652.0
    110Beau BrinkleyTEN10.013.010.013.0652.0
    111Ben KoyackJAX10.013.010.013.0652.0
    112Scott SimonsonCAR10.011.010.015.0651.0
    113Nick BoyleBAL10.012.09.513.5651.0
    114Rico GathersDAL10.010.010.014.0650.0 

Left Tackles

8 of 22

    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Familiar names continue to sit atop the NFL1000 left tackle rankings. When we think about the state of the league's offensive line play, and specifically left tackle, there are four elite names that come to mind: Joe Thomas, Jason Peters, Trent Williams and Tyron Smith.

    The Dallas Cowboys' Smith, 25, and the Washington Redskins' Williams, 28, are reaching the tops of their games and have not yet turned 30 years old. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns' Thomas, 31, and Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Peters, 34, have played 10 and 13 seasons, respectively, but have yet to show any signs of decline.

    Seasoned veterans such as Donald Penn, Joe Staley and Andrew Whitworth continue find themselves ranked among the top 15 in weekly scoring. Newer names such as David Bakhtiari, Cordy Glenn and Tennessee Titans 2014 first-round pick Taylor Lewan are emerging as some of the bright young stars of the position.

    Bakhtiari has been arguably one of the most impressive performers of the 2016 season, specifically because of his flawless pass protection. In 334 pass-protection opportunities, Bakhtiari has only surrendered two sacks and seven pressures.

    Glenn has been battling an ankle injury, but it has not slowed him. He's showed physical dominance in both pass protection and the run game. Lewan has been solid in all aspects, specifically playing with a controlled edge that drives him to finish every play with a purpose.

    Detroit Lions rookie Taylor Decker continues to build his game and improve weekly, showing consistency in technique and play speed. The Baltimore Ravens took Ronnie Stanley with the sixth overall pick in the 2016 draft, and he got off to a good start in the first three weeks but has not played since due to injury. 

        

    Top Scorers

    • Top Left Tackle: Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys
    • Best Pass Blocker: David Bakhtiari, Green Bay Packers
    • Best Run Blocker: Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys
    • Most Powerful: Trent Williams, Washington Redskins
    • Most Agile: Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns

           

    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

         

    NFL1000 Midseason Left Tackle Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Tyron SmithDAL20.420.418.218.4885.4
    2Trent WilliamsWAS19.519.518.518.1883.6
    3Jason PetersPHI19.719.118.317.3882.4
    4David BakhtiariGB20.419.116.417.3881.3
    5Joe ThomasCLE20.018.315.319.1880.6
    6Cordy GlennBUF19.519.317.016.0879.8
    7Joe StaleySF18.119.616.316.1878.1
    8Donald PennOAK18.819.316.614.9877.5
    9Terron ArmsteadNO20.316.515.517.0877.3
    10Taylor LewanTEN18.918.615.616.1877.3
    11Russell OkungDEN18.919.115.315.9877.1
    12Andrew WhitworthCIN19.118.415.915.6877.0
    13Eric FisherKC17.719.015.615.4875.7
    14Taylor DeckerDET18.118.515.315.6875.5
    15Ronnie StanleyBAL18.317.015.016.7875.0
    16Luke JoeckelJAX18.018.015.016.0875.0
    17Jake MatthewsATL18.118.315.515.0874.9
    18Nate SolderNE17.618.015.415.0874.0
    19Michael SchofieldDEN18.018.015.015.0874.0
    20Laremy TunsilMIA17.017.015.017.0874.0
    21King DunlapSD18.217.514.814.8873.3
    22Cyrus KouandjioBUF17.717.015.015.3873.0
    23Jared VeldheerARI17.517.615.114.6872.9
    24Duane BrownHOU17.017.815.314.8872.8
    25Charles Leno Jr.CHI17.016.714.915.6872.1
    26Greg RobinsonLA16.116.717.114.0872.0
    27Chaz GreenDAL16.517.514.515.5872.0
    28Kelvin BeachumJAX17.217.015.014.3871.5
    29Ereck FlowersNYG16.316.715.714.7871.4
    30Mike RemmersCAR16.318.015.313.7871.3
    31Anthony CastonzoIND16.617.114.415.0871.1
    32Branden AlbertMIA17.415.814.215.2870.6
    33Michael OherCAR15.717.014.714.7870.0
    34Jake FisherCIN17.016.014.015.0870.0
    35Ryan CladyNYJ16.916.513.914.6869.9
    36Alejandro VillanuevaPIT16.016.913.715.3869.9
    37Donovan SmithTB15.616.415.614.1869.7
    38Tony HillsNO16.516.515.013.5869.5
    39Chris ClarkHOU15.817.414.413.6869.2
    40Andrus PeatNO16.716.014.314.0869.0
    41John WetzelARI17.015.015.014.0869.0
    42Matt KalilMIN15.516.014.514.5868.5
    43Alex LewisBAL15.716.314.313.7868.0
    44Mike RemmersCAR17.016.014.013.0868.0
    45Cam FlemingNE15.516.014.513.0867.0
    46Joe BarksdaleSD15.016.015.013.0867.0
    47Jake LongMIN14.515.515.013.5866.5
    48Bradley SowellSEA14.516.013.213.7865.3
    49T.J. ClemmingsMIN14.015.514.313.3865.0
    50George FantSEA16.016.012.013.0865.0
    51Chris HairstonSD14.716.012.712.7864.0
    52Billy TurnerMIA13.014.014.014.0863.0
    53James HurstBAL13.015.012.012.0860.0

Right Tackles

9 of 22

    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    The right tackle landscape has had many interesting storylines. One of the most notable involved the Eagles' Lane Johnson. He played excellent football through Week 5 and graded out as the highest-rated right tackle despite having a 10-game suspension for his second violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs looming over his head.

    Through four games, Johnson got it done in pass protection, surrendering only one sack in 159 pass attempts and was especially effective in the run game—in both in-line blocking and getting out in space. Johnson's appeal was denied and his suspension upheld. 

    Green Bay Packers tackle Bryan Bulaga is our No. 2 right tackle and has played tremendous football all season. Bulaga has proved, when healthy, he is a premier pass protector on the right edge and a mauler in the run game. However, the key is: when healthy. That's something the seven-year pro has had trouble with.

    Marcus Gilbert of the Pittsburgh Steelers came into his own in 2015 and got off to a good start in this year. But he was knocked out of action in Week 4. Gilbert showed tremendous strength, power and explosion at the point of attack while displaying great agility and patience in pass protection, which resulted in his surrendering only one sack in 146 pass attempts.

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

    Tennessee Titans rookie right tackle Jack Conklin has been solid. He's had moments where he was impressive, showing tremendous strength, power and physicality in the run game. He's also been stout in pass protection through picking his spots to set and using aggression. Tennessee has done a great job scheming help for Conklin in pass protection, which is smart to let him develop without taking too many live bullets.

        

    Top Scorers

    • Top Right Tackle: Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles
    • Best Pass Blocker: Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles
    • Best Run Blocker: Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles
    • Most Powerful: Trenton Brown, San Francisco 49ers
    • Most Agile: Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles

        

    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

         

    NFL1000 Midseason Right Tackle Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Lane JohnsonPHI20.821.316.517.0782.5
    2Bryan BulagaGB20.119.716.615.9779.3
    3Marcus GilbertPIT20.318.517.016.3779.0
    4Senio KelemeteNO16.020.018.017.0778.0
    5Zach StriefNO19.120.116.414.3777.1
    6Riley ReiffDET17.920.016.615.6777.1
    7Mitchell SchwartzKC19.419.115.016.1776.7
    8Ryan SchraederATL18.519.016.415.8776.6
    9Mike RemmersCAR17.720.316.315.0776.3
    10Morgan MosesWAS18.618.615.915.9776.0
    11Marshal YandaBAL18.019.016.016.0776.0
    12Trenton BrownSF17.918.417.114.3774.7
    13Demar DotsonTB18.317.315.616.0774.1
    14Eric WinstonCIN18.017.016.016.0774.0
    15Derek NewtonHOU17.418.815.215.2773.6
    16Doug FreeDAL17.019.115.614.0772.7
    17Jack ConklinTEN17.418.116.014.0772.5
    18Rob HavensteinLA17.717.915.414.4772.4
    19Ben IjalanaNYJ17.618.115.014.6772.4
    20Donald StephensonDEN17.516.815.315.5772.0
    21Jermey ParnellJAX17.117.315.115.3771.9
    22Marshall NewhouseNYG16.518.015.514.5771.5
    23Joe BarksdaleSD16.917.914.714.6771.0
    24Jordan MillsBUF16.917.915.314.0771.0
    25Bobby MassieCHI17.116.615.115.1771.0
    26Ty NsekheWAS17.017.015.015.0771.0
    27Daryl WilliamsCAR18.016.015.015.0771.0
    28Cam FlemingNE18.017.016.013.0771.0
    29Chris HubbardPIT17.016.714.715.3770.7
    30Michael SchofieldDEN17.016.515.514.5770.5
    31Vadal AlexanderOAK16.717.014.715.0770.3
    32Marcus CannonNE16.916.715.314.4770.3
    33Daryl WilliamsCAR17.316.714.714.3770.0
    34Austin PasztorCLE16.317.514.513.9769.1
    35Garry GilliamSEA16.116.414.714.7769.0
    36Ja'Wuan JamesMIA16.016.715.014.1768.9
    37D.J. HumphriesARI16.516.514.014.6768.6
    38Joe ReitzIND15.617.414.813.8768.6
    39Austin HowardOAK16.016.815.513.3768.5
    40Cedric OgbuehiCIN15.816.314.015.4768.4
    41Brent QvaleNYJ16.417.014.213.4768.0
    42Andre Smith Jr.MIN14.716.714.715.0768.0
    43Jason SpriggsGB17.017.012.015.0768.0
    44Bobby HartNYG17.015.813.614.4767.8
    45Chris ClarkHOU16.716.714.013.3767.7
    46Halapoulivaati VaitaiPHI16.016.714.713.3767.7
    47Ricky WagnerBAL16.816.213.813.5767.3
    48Joe HaegIND15.016.014.013.3765.3
    49James HurstBAL15.016.014.013.0765.0
    50Cornelius LucasDET15.015.014.013.0764.0
    51Ty SambrailoDEN14.015.713.313.7763.7
    52Jeremiah SirlesMIN14.316.013.313.0763.7
    53Chris HairstonSD14.015.014.013.0763.0
    54Shon ColemanCLE14.017.013.012.0763.0
    55Ryan HarrisPIT16.014.013.012.0762.0
    56D.J. FlukerSD14.014.016.09.0760.0
    57T.J. ClemmingsMIN12.014.014.012.0759.0 

Offensive Guards

10 of 22

    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Injuries have run rampant at this position, with seven of the top 15 graded guards having some sort of setback in the first half. This has forced several teams to turn to their sixth, seventh or even eighth offensive linemen. Depth up front has been vital, and teams such as the Cowboys, Eagles and Saints have been rewarded for holding onto interior line depth.

    Several young guards have stood out, though. Tampa Bay right guard Ali Marpet tops the list. Marpet has been the best lineman for the Buccaneers after a few mediocre weeks to start. His natural traits are hard to ignore. Marpet’s explosion off the snap allows him to get into defenders' bodies during run plays.

    With this positioning and impressive leg drive, Marpet dictates gap assignments and clears holes for the Buccaneers running game. His hand placement in pass protection could be more consistent, but he has all the natural tools and is developing for Tampa.

              

    Top Scorers

    • Top Offensive Guard: Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens
    • Best Pass-Blocker: Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens
    • Best Run-Blocker: Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens
    • Most Powerful: Trai Turner, Carolina Panthers
    • Most Agile: Joe Thuney, New England Patriots

        

    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

            

    NFL1000 Midseason Offensive Guard Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Marshal YandaBAL19.620.217.616.0780.4
    2B.J. FinneyPIT18.021.017.017.0780.0
    3Zack MartinDAL19.120.017.615.7779.4
    4Josh SittonCHI18.018.517.216.8777.5
    5Kelechi OsemeleOAK17.319.518.114.6776.5
    6Trai TurnerCAR17.418.418.614.9776.3
    7Mike IupatiARI19.317.717.914.1776.0
    8Derek NewtonHOU19.017.017.016.0776.0
    9Andrew NorwellCAR17.918.617.315.0775.7
    10Evan MathisARI18.318.516.315.3775.3
    11Richie IncognitoBUF18.118.317.614.3775.3
    12Justin PughNYG18.116.716.616.6775.0
    13T.J. LangGB18.317.416.615.6774.9
    14Joel BitonioCLE17.816.616.217.2774.8
    15Kyle LongCHI17.617.316.016.9774.7
    16Jack MewhortIND18.217.817.014.7774.7
    17Brandon BrooksPHI17.616.615.717.4774.3
    18Brandon ScherffWAS17.417.117.115.4774.0
    19Clint BolingCIN17.317.016.815.6773.6
    20Andrus PeatNO16.317.716.316.0773.3
    21Kevin ZeitlerCIN17.016.917.315.1773.3
    22Allen BarbrePHI17.017.215.716.2773.0
    23Laremy TunsilMIA17.017.015.016.8772.8
    24Andy LevitreATL17.916.916.614.4772.8
    25Gabe JacksonOAK16.817.417.514.1772.8
    26Ali MarpetTB16.716.415.916.7772.7
    27Ronald LearyDAL17.217.616.414.4772.6
    28David DeCastroPIT16.916.316.316.0772.4
    29John MillerBUF16.017.817.114.4772.3
    30Ramon FosterPIT18.016.517.513.2772.2
    31Chris ChesterATL16.017.316.514.6771.4
    32Quinton SpainTEN15.718.117.313.1771.3
    33Alex BooneMIN16.115.716.915.6771.3
    34John GrecoCLE16.117.116.314.7771.3
    35Joe ThuneyNE16.915.414.517.5771.3
    36Larry WarfordDET16.117.117.313.6771.1
    37James CarpenterNYJ16.616.816.913.9771.1
    38Orlando FranklinSD16.017.317.513.3771.0
    39Chris ReedJAX18.015.016.015.0771.0
    40Jeremiah SirlesMIN16.018.016.014.0771.0
    41Andrew TillerSF16.817.017.013.0770.8
    42Rodger SaffoldLA16.715.915.915.1770.6
    43Ryan JensenBAL16.316.316.314.5770.3
    44Lane TaylorGB16.915.415.615.3770.1
    45Mark GlowinskiSEA14.716.315.316.7770.0
    46Ted KarrasNE15.517.517.013.0770.0
    47Jah ReidKC16.016.015.016.0770.0
    48Eric KushCHI15.017.016.514.5770.0
    49Stefen WisniewskiPHI17.016.016.014.0770.0
    50D.J. FlukerSD15.616.417.113.8769.9
    51Laurent Duvernay-TardifKC16.215.614.216.8769.8
    52J'Marcus WebbSEA15.316.017.314.0769.7
    53Josh KlineTEN16.216.315.814.3769.7
    54John JerryNYG16.915.116.414.1769.6
    55Kevin PamphileTB16.016.016.713.9769.6
    56Max GarciaDEN15.617.117.012.8769.5
    57Xavier Su'a-FiloHOU14.916.815.914.9769.4
    58Graham GlasgowDET15.516.016.814.0769.3
    59Jeff AllenHOU15.116.716.913.4769.1
    60Shaq MasonNE15.115.715.715.6769.1
    61Shawn LauvaoWAS15.416.316.613.7769.0
    62Brian WintersNYJ16.115.115.914.9769.0
    63Alex LewisBAL17.714.314.715.3769.0
    64Darrion WeemsDEN14.517.517.512.5769.0
    65Zac KerinMIN16.016.015.015.0769.0
    66Tim LelitoNO15.016.816.014.0768.8
    67Denzelle GoodIND15.016.217.013.5768.7
    68A.J. CannJAX15.715.516.514.0768.7
    69Laken TomlinsonDET15.315.315.715.2768.5
    70Brent QvaleNYJ16.514.015.515.5768.5
    71Brian SchwenkeTEN15.516.516.013.5768.5
    72Jermon BushrodMIA14.315.716.614.9768.4
    73John UrschelBAL15.016.017.013.3768.3
    74Zane BeadlesSF16.314.414.915.3767.9
    75Senio KelemeteNO14.316.316.513.8767.8
    76Jamon BrownLA14.716.716.313.0767.7
    77Jonotthan HarrisonIND14.315.717.013.3767.3
    78Michael SchofieldDEN15.414.915.114.7767.1
    79Jahri EvansNO15.415.916.612.3767.1
    80La'el CollinsDAL14.714.017.314.0767.0
    81Spencer PulleySD13.016.015.016.0767.0
    82Zach FultonKC15.015.816.013.0766.8
    83Brandon FuscoMIN15.214.315.015.2766.7
    84Patrick OmamehJAX15.515.015.813.3766.5
    85Spencer DrangoCLE14.515.015.514.5766.5
    86Ted LarsenCHI15.515.015.014.0766.5
    87Parker EhingerKC14.315.816.013.3766.3
    88Alvin BaileyCLE14.514.315.515.0766.3
    89Cody WichmannLA15.814.014.814.4766.0
    90Wesley JohnsonNYJ15.014.015.015.0766.0
    91Jordan DeveyKC17.013.017.012.0766.0
    92Oday AboushiHOU15.016.015.013.0766.0
    93Joe HaegIND14.313.714.316.3765.7
    94Germain IfediSEA12.516.316.812.8765.3
    95Kenny WigginsSD15.014.015.014.0765.0
    96John WetzelARI15.515.013.014.5765.0
    97Arie KouandjioWAS13.515.515.513.0764.5
    98Earl WatfordARI13.315.216.212.5764.2
    99Joshua GarnettSF14.014.015.513.5764.0
    100Luke JoeckelJAX13.313.713.715.0762.7
    101Billy TurnerMIA13.012.013.016.0761.0
    102Dallas ThomasMIA13.012.014.015.0761.0
    103Austin BlytheIND10.015.015.011.0758.0

Centers

11 of 22

    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    It’s mainly been Travis Frederick and then everyone else at center.

    Frederick’s work in the run game has been exceptional, and his level of functional strength is unmatched at the position. The chemistry between him, Ronald Leary and Zack Martin is special. It's allowed the Cowboys offense to operate at an impressive clip with a rookie quarterback (Dak Prescott) and running back (Ezekiel Elliott) and an injured star wide receiver (Dez Bryant).

    It's rare to see a position group hyped as much as the Cowboys offensive line is, but in this case it is justified.

        

    Top Scorers

    • Top Center: Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys
    • Best Pass-Blocker: Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys
    • Best Run-Blocker: Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys
    • Most Powerful: Rodney Hudson, Oakland Raiders
    • Most Agile: Ryan Kelly, Indianapolis Colts

            

    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

         

    NFL1000 Midseason Center Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvr
    1Travis FrederickDAL18.719.717.415.1676.9
    2Ryan KellyIND17.817.316.416.6674.0
    3Travis SwansonDET17.617.816.515.6673.5
    4Matt ParadisDEN17.518.015.615.9673.0
    5Ryan KalilCAR17.417.616.015.7672.7
    6Rodney HudsonOAK17.417.517.614.1672.6
    7Alex MackATL17.017.916.814.6672.3
    8Mike PounceyMIA16.517.316.516.0672.3
    9Brandon LinderJAX17.517.016.515.0672.0
    10Joe BergerMIN17.017.716.414.7671.9
    11Cody WhitehairCHI16.917.315.116.4671.6
    12Eric WoodBUF16.317.516.615.1671.5
    13Maurkice PounceyPIT17.216.516.015.8671.5
    14J.C. TretterGB17.716.415.316.0671.4
    15Justin BrittSEA16.617.115.316.1671.1
    16Weston RichburgNYG17.916.115.415.1670.6
    17Max UngerNO17.716.615.314.9670.4
    18Matt SlausonSD16.417.416.513.8670.0
    19Mitch MorseKC16.416.414.016.6669.4
    20Jason KelcePHI16.116.714.416.1669.4
    21Spencer LongWAS16.017.016.014.4669.4
    22Greg ManczHOU16.317.615.913.6669.4
    23Nick MangoldNYJ17.018.217.011.2669.4
    24John GrecoCLE14.517.017.014.5669.0
    25Gino GradkowskiCAR15.020.016.012.0669.0
    26David AndrewsNE17.415.914.814.5668.5
    27Brett JonesNYG16.016.015.015.0668.0
    28Wesley JohnsonNYJ17.315.315.314.0668.0
    29Ben JonesTEN15.517.315.513.4667.6
    30A.Q. ShipleyARI16.116.314.914.4667.6
    31Daniel KilgoreSF16.614.715.414.9667.6
    32Jeremy ZuttahBAL15.616.414.714.6667.3
    33Joe HawleyTB15.016.414.614.1666.1
    34Cameron ErvingCLE14.215.614.415.8666.0
    35Kory LichtensteigerWAS15.316.313.714.7666.0
    36Tyler ShatleyJAX14.017.016.013.0666.0
    37Austin ReiterCLE17.015.012.016.0666.0
    38Kraig UrbikMIA16.017.012.015.0666.0
    39Russell BodineCIN15.816.315.412.0665.4
    40Anthony SteenMIA16.015.314.313.7665.3
    41Tim BarnesLA15.415.115.612.9665.0
    42T.J. JohnsonCIN13.014.015.014.0662.0 

3-4 Defensive Ends

12 of 22

    William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

    There aren't many surprises among the 3-4 defensive ends. That's if you expected Joey Bosa to look like J.J. Watt after the Chargers rookie missed the first few weeks.

    Besides that, it's the usual names.

    The 3-4 position has evolved. It used to be the big, run-defending bodies who didn't play on passing downs. Now, you have a mix of talents suited for defensive tackle, outside linebacker and 4-3 end, but their teams find a way to use them effectively.

    It has been a pleasure to watch Green Bay's Mike Daniels blossom into a premier interior defender, Baltimore's Timmy Jernigan become an impact player and Tennessee's Karl Klug become one of the most disruptive players in a limited role.

        

    Top Scorers

    • Top 3-4 Defensive End: Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets
    • Best Snap Explosion: Joey Bosa, San Diego Chargers
    • Best Pass-Rusher: Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets
    • Best Run Defender: Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets
    • Best Tackler: Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets

             

    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

          

    NFL1000 Midseason 3-4 Defensive End Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvr
    1Muhammad WilkersonNYJ13.020.025.018.0782.0
    2Joey BosaSD14.019.020.014.0773.5
    3Calais CampbellARI12.017.120.615.9771.8
    4Emmanuel OgbahCLE12.014.022.015.0770.0
    5Mike DanielsGB11.917.619.314.3769.1
    6Cameron HeywardPIT13.016.220.213.4768.8
    7Timmy JerniganBAL10.416.319.714.4766.9
    8DeForest BucknerSF11.715.019.314.8766.8
    9Derek WolfeDEN10.817.118.913.6766.5
    10Jurrell CaseyTEN10.617.418.913.1766.1
    11Jadeveon ClowneyHOU13.015.718.312.7765.8
    12J.J. WattHOU12.317.016.313.3765.0
    13Zach KerrIND9.515.019.015.5765.0
    14Stephon TuittPIT10.914.919.113.4764.3
    15Chris BakerWAS10.015.518.813.6764.0
    16Cornelius WashingtonCHI10.516.816.014.0763.5
    17Akiem HicksCHI10.415.717.413.7763.4
    18Tenny PalepoiSD9.314.719.713.3763.3
    19Jaye HowardKC10.114.919.013.1763.3
    20Karl KlugTEN11.615.117.812.6763.3
    21Ziggy HoodWAS10.514.817.913.6762.9
    22Arik ArmsteadSF11.015.616.713.1762.4
    23Corey LiugetSD10.314.917.912.8761.9
    24Jared CrickDEN9.114.618.513.3761.6
    25Josh MauroARI10.314.016.514.0761.0
    26Xavier CooperCLE10.414.616.712.9760.7
    27Mike PennelGB9.713.716.714.3760.7
    28Robert NkemdicheARI11.713.716.312.3760.3
    29Chris JonesKC10.514.517.211.7760.0
    30Leger DouzableBUF9.414.616.513.0759.6
    31Carl NassibCLE10.514.515.512.8759.5
    32Frostee RuckerARI10.014.016.612.6759.4
    33Ricky Jean-FrancoisWAS9.013.917.013.4759.4
    34Mitch UnreinCHI8.913.916.813.4759.0
    35Jonathan BullardCHI9.814.016.013.0759.0
    36Quinton DialSF8.813.517.513.0758.8
    37Dean LowryGB9.014.016.313.5758.8
    38Adolphus WashingtonBUF9.314.316.512.2758.5
    39Denico AutryOAK8.914.316.412.6758.3
    40Jamie MederCLE7.113.417.713.6758.0
    41Lawrence GuyBAL7.912.917.913.0757.6
    42Brent UrbanBAL8.512.519.011.5757.5
    43Antonio SmithHOU9.514.315.512.0757.5
    44Tony Jerod-EddieSF8.513.016.014.0757.5
    45Angelo BlacksonTEN8.612.417.812.4757.4
    46Stephen PaeaCLE9.013.018.011.0757.0
    47Arthur JonesIND9.012.017.012.0757.0
    48DaQuan JonesTEN9.112.917.311.1756.5
    49Ricardo MathewsPIT8.612.417.211.8756.0
    50Henry AndersonIND8.314.315.811.8756.0
    51Devon StillHOU8.011.019.012.0756.0
    52Taylor HartSF8.014.016.012.0756.0
    53Billy WinnDEN8.312.117.111.9755.6
    54Kendall LangfordIND7.813.215.812.7755.5
    55Christian CovingtonHOU8.011.916.711.9754.6
    56Ed StinsonARI8.012.016.012.0754.0
    57Letroy GuionGB8.010.015.014.0753.0
    58Adam GotsisDEN8.010.016.013.0753.0
    59Jihad WardOAK7.311.815.812.0752.8
    60Allen BaileyKC8.211.815.011.0752.0
    61Darius PhilonSD7.511.815.311.5752.0
    62Kendall ReyesWAS7.012.012.011.0748.0 

4-3 Defensive Ends

13 of 22

    Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

    The haves and have-nots in the NFL in terms of pass-rushers are clear.

    The Minnesota Vikings have two of our top seven pass-rushers, while the Seattle Seahawks have three of the top six. This should be no surprise, as both teams have emphasized athleticism at the position.

    Eight of the nine best 4-3 ends are plus-athletes who were selected in the first four rounds of the draft, the only time those rare traits are available. The undrafted Michael Bennett, as always, is the exception to the rule with his interior-based game as a hybrid player.

    Some of the disappointments this year include the pairing of Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon in New York. While they rank just outside the top 10, they're being paid to be better.

    Los Angeles' Robert Quinn, who is the second-highest-paid 4-3 defensive end in the NFL, based on average annual salary, has been solid when healthy enough to see the field. The third-highest-paid 4-3 end, Cameron Jordan, has struggled in New Orleans relative to his contract. Ezekiel Ansah, who has been battling ankle issues in Detroit, is another edge defender with the arrow pointing down.

    Some risers are Atlanta's Derrick Shelby, before he was placed on injured reserve; Vic Beasley, who is now third in the league in sacks with 7.5; and Detroit's Kerry Hyder, who quietly might be a splash restricted free-agent option next offseason.

         

    Top Scorers

    • Top 4-3 Defensive End: Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles
    • Best Pass-Rusher: Everson Griffen, Minnesota Vikings
    • Best Run Defender: Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles
    • Best Snap Explosion: Robert Quinn, Los Angeles Rams
    • Best Tackler: Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles

           

    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

         

    NFL1000 Midseason 4-3 Defensive End Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunSnapTklPosOvr
    1Brandon GrahamPHI18.616.416.014.7872.9
    2Everson GriffenMIN19.415.416.314.6872.9
    3Michael BennettSEA17.818.014.514.7872.0
    4Cliff AvrilSEA18.715.016.314.3871.4
    5Robert QuinnLA18.814.216.814.2871.0
    6Frank ClarkSEA18.715.016.213.8870.8
    7Danielle HunterMIN18.114.715.913.3869.1
    8Khalil MackOAK17.715.115.113.9869.0
    9Carlos DunlapCIN19.514.913.813.5868.8
    10Jabaal SheardNE17.915.114.313.4867.8
    11Olivier VernonNYG17.015.714.613.3867.6
    12Jason Pierre-PaulNYG17.315.314.313.4867.3
    13Ezekiel AnsahDET17.013.315.014.5867.0
    14Derrick ShelbyATL14.715.714.715.0867.0
    15Kerry HyderDET17.615.012.813.9866.4
    16Charles JohnsonCAR15.416.013.413.9865.9
    17Vic BeasleyATL16.313.315.913.3865.8
    18Cameron JordanNO17.114.913.613.0865.7
    19Brian RobisonMIN15.714.913.713.9865.3
    20Sheldon RichardsonNYJ16.016.311.714.1865.3
    21Dante FowlerJAX16.314.014.013.6865.0
    22Armonty BryantDET17.513.313.313.5864.8
    23Cameron WakeMIA17.312.415.412.4864.6
    24Devin TaylorDET15.315.113.313.8864.5
    25Chris LongNE15.515.313.612.9864.4
    26Connor BarwinPHI15.913.714.613.0864.3
    27Dwight FreeneyATL16.912.415.112.6864.1
    28Yannick NgakoueJAX15.413.714.713.0864.0
    29Muhammad WilkersonNYJ15.515.512.513.3864.0
    30Tyrone CrawfordDAL15.814.212.714.2864.0
    31Trey FlowersNE15.615.912.313.0863.9
    32William HayesLA14.815.212.814.0863.8
    33Marcus SmithPHI15.513.314.013.8863.8
    34Adrian ClaybornATL15.914.112.813.8863.6
    35Noah SpenceTB15.712.614.713.0863.1
    36Brooks ReedATL14.813.813.014.2863.0
    37Robert AyersTB15.313.713.312.7862.3
    38Brandon CopelandDET14.814.312.513.5862.3
    39Jack CrawfordDAL15.313.413.612.6862.0
    40Vinny CurryPHI14.913.712.713.6862.0
    41Ryan DavisDAL15.013.712.314.0862.0
    42Andre BranchMIA14.315.012.912.7861.9
    43Cassius MarshSEA15.713.013.512.5861.8
    44Kony EalyCAR14.713.713.013.1861.7
    45William GholstonTB14.114.911.713.6861.4
    46Paul KrugerNO14.713.313.213.0861.3
    47Ethan WestbrooksLA15.514.312.312.2861.3
    48Lavar EdwardsCAR13.315.312.713.0861.3
    49Howard JonesTB15.513.312.812.5861.3
    50Davonte LambertTB14.214.012.813.0861.2
    51Mario WilliamsMIA15.314.612.711.6861.1
    52Lorenzo MauldinNYJ15.413.313.312.0861.1
    53David IrvingDAL16.012.412.812.6861.0
    54Shilique CalhounOAK15.313.313.312.0861.0
    55Shaq LawsonBUF16.014.012.012.0861.0
    56Benson MayowaDAL14.912.412.713.1860.3
    57Darryl TappNO15.213.212.412.2860.2
    58Kerry WynnNYG14.514.012.012.5860.0
    59Matt LongacreLA13.514.312.512.8860.0
    60Jason JonesMIA15.514.011.512.0860.0
    61Eugene SimsLA13.513.712.213.2859.5
    62Michael JohnsonCIN15.013.711.312.0859.3
    63Will ClarkeCIN14.613.412.311.7859.1
    64Chris SmithJAX14.013.011.013.0859.0
    65Mario AddisonCAR13.912.412.912.6858.9
    66Margus HuntCIN14.414.311.311.6858.6
    67Jared OdrickJAX12.815.310.513.0858.5
    68Owa OdighizuwaNYG13.513.012.512.0858.0
    69Kasim EdebaliNO14.012.412.212.0857.8
    70Anthony ZettelDET13.711.712.712.7857.7
    71Ryan DelaireCAR12.513.513.011.5857.5
    72Michael JohnsonCIN12.813.811.811.8857.2
    73Romeo OkwaraNYG13.513.311.012.3857.0
    74Channing WardTB14.013.011.011.5856.5
    75Denico AutryOAK12.014.011.013.0856.0
    76Terrence FedeMIA12.014.011.012.0856.0
    77Jason JonesMIA13.412.610.812.0855.8
    78Morgan FoxLA14.011.011.011.0854.0
    79Wallace GilberryDET10.512.59.311.8851.0

Defensive Tackles

14 of 22

    Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Despite not having the statistical dominance he had last season, Carolina's Kawann Short had another strong first half. He's been disruptive up front, but the secondary woes for the Panthers have been too much to overcome. Hopefully, Short will start turning his pressures into sacks and begin stuffing the stat sheet.

    St. Louis' Aaron Donald has been the best defensive tackle, as he's constantly detonating interior offensive lines. Philadelphia's Fletcher Cox had two of his worst games this season against Washington and Dallas, but he's been spectacular otherwise. Geno Atkins, Kyle Williams, Gerald McCoy and Nick Fairley are familiar names who round out the top 10.

    Three second-year defensive tackles have had impressive starts: New England's Malcom Brown, Atlanta's Grady Jarrett and the Jets' Leonard Williams. Brown finished ranked first in Week 5 for his performance against the Cleveland Browns. Jarrett ranked second in Week 6 for his game against the Seattle Seahawks. Williams has been a key cog for the Jets' stifling run defense, which is giving up just 3.3 yards per carry, a number that's tied for first in the NFL.

    The rookie defensive tackle class was lauded for having phenomenal top-end talent, mid-round depth and a few diamonds in the rough.

    Green Bay's Kenny Clark (first-round pick from UCLA), New England's Vincent Valentine (third-round pick from Nebraska) and Baltimore's Michael Pierce (undrafted free agent from Samford) have all been studs. Pierce and teammate Brandon Williams pair to make one of the most physically imposing fronts in football.

    Marcell Dareus, Sharrif Floyd, Sheldon Rankins and Eddie Goldman are talented players who have yet to make their impact on the 2016 season.

           

    Top Scorers

    • Top Defensive Tackle: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
    • Best Snap Explosion: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
    • Best Pass-Rusher: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
    • Best Run Defender: Brandon Williams, Baltimore Ravens
    • Best Tackler: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

           

    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

          

    NFL1000 Midseason Defensive Tackle Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvr
    1Aaron DonaldLA22.120.621.014.7684.4
    2Fletcher CoxPHI20.620.120.114.1681.1
    3Kawann ShortCAR19.318.121.014.4679.0
    4Sharrif FloydMIN21.019.020.013.0679.0
    5Ndamukong SuhMIA19.918.320.114.3678.6
    6Geno AtkinsCIN19.919.018.913.8677.6
    7Kyle WilliamsBUF18.418.420.414.2677.4
    8Gerald McCoyTB18.818.020.214.2677.3
    9Nick FairleyNO19.218.019.214.2676.7
    10Dontari PoeKC19.217.420.013.8676.4
    11Malcom BrownNE17.817.819.313.9674.8
    12Linval JosephMIN17.415.720.714.3674.3
    13Grady JarrettATL18.816.119.413.9674.3
    14Leonard WilliamsNYJ18.016.519.614.0674.3
    15Michael BrockersLA17.417.020.213.4674.0
    16Brandon WilliamsBAL17.415.121.313.7673.6
    17Johnathan HankinsNYG17.716.419.113.9673.1
    18Kyle WilliamsBUF18.716.317.713.3672.3
    19Brandon MebaneSD16.915.120.313.8672.1
    20Damon HarrisonNYG16.915.020.014.0671.9
    21Malik JacksonJAX17.717.517.513.0671.8
    22Roy MillerJAX16.713.321.814.0671.8
    23Alan BranchNE16.915.919.313.4671.5
    24Terrell McClainDAL17.316.218.513.3671.5
    25Bennie LoganPHI17.016.818.412.8671.0
    26Tom JohnsonMIN18.018.016.112.6670.9
    27Star LotuleleiCAR17.316.418.013.0670.9
    28Jack CrawfordDAL17.518.016.013.0670.5
    29Dominique EasleyLA19.016.616.411.9669.9
    30Tyrone CrawfordDAL17.015.518.512.5669.5
    31Steve McLendonNYJ16.414.818.913.1669.3
    32Vernon ButlerCAR16.716.716.712.7668.7
    33Clinton McDonaldTB15.814.818.513.3668.3
    34Corbin BryantBUF16.415.917.112.6668.0
    35Vincent ValentineNE16.415.217.213.0668.0
    36Kenny ClarkGB16.815.317.212.3667.8
    37Akiem HicksCHI15.516.017.512.5667.5
    38Ra'Shede HagemanATL16.514.517.312.7667.0
    39Michael PierceBAL16.014.218.412.4667.0
    40Danny SheltonCLE15.414.018.612.8666.9
    41Jarran ReedSEA15.514.817.512.2666.2
    42Earl MitchellMIA15.017.016.012.0666.0
    43Letroy GuionGB15.815.017.011.8665.8
    44Corey PetersARI16.314.016.312.7665.7
    45Sen'Derrick MarksJAX17.514.516.011.0665.5
    46Maliek CollinsDAL16.614.616.311.9665.4
    47Caraun ReidSD15.614.617.012.1665.3
    48Haloti NgataDET15.415.016.812.0665.2
    49Cam ThomasLA14.014.019.012.0665.0
    50Ahtyba RubinSEA14.614.317.112.7664.9
    51Rodney GunterARI15.614.616.711.7664.7
    52Jay BromleyNYG15.715.315.512.0664.5
    53Jordan PhillipsMIA16.016.515.011.0664.5
    54Cedric ThorntonDAL16.014.316.111.7664.3
    55Domata PekoCIN15.014.516.511.8663.9
    56Tyson AlualuJAX15.815.215.211.4663.8
    57Khyri ThorntonDET15.016.014.012.0663.5
    58Kyle LoveCAR16.313.715.711.3663.3
    59Paul SoliaiCAR14.812.617.611.8663.0
    60Stephen PaeaCLE16.013.016.011.0663.0
    61Tony McDanielSEA15.113.416.111.9662.7
    62Sylvester WilliamsDEN15.413.915.911.4662.6
    63Jordan PhilipsMIA15.613.815.411.6662.4
    64Jonathan BabineauxATL15.614.314.611.8662.4
    65Shamar StephenMIN15.013.815.511.7662.2
    66Jordan HillSEA15.013.016.012.0662.0
    67Sheldon DayJAX16.314.714.011.0662.0
    68Vince WilforkHOU14.613.315.912.0661.9
    69Beau AllenPHI15.114.115.610.9661.9
    70Adolphus WashingtonBUF14.414.216.011.2661.8
    71Stacy McGeeOAK15.514.014.511.3661.3
    72Tyson JacksonATL13.513.016.612.0661.3
    73A'Shawn RobinsonDET14.614.014.611.6661.0
    74Chris JonesMIA14.016.013.012.0661.0
    75Akeem SpenceTB14.413.315.611.4660.9
    76Hassan RidgewayIND15.513.414.511.3660.8
    77Abry JonesJAX14.113.315.611.1660.3
    78Javon HargravePIT14.614.114.111.3660.1
    79Julius WarmsleyMIA14.314.015.010.7660.0
    80Jarvis JenkinsNYJ14.013.016.011.0660.0
    81Tyrunn WalkerDET14.513.814.511.0660.0
    82David OnyemataNO14.513.714.311.2659.8
    83Courtney UpshawATL14.213.215.011.2659.8
    84D.J. ReaderHOU14.813.214.511.0659.7
    85Zach KerrIND15.113.513.811.0659.5
    86Tyeler DavisonNO14.314.213.711.2659.5
    87Pat SimsCIN14.013.015.510.8659.5
    88Will SuttonCHI15.012.715.010.5659.3
    89Jihad WardOAK14.013.014.411.0658.6
    90Adam GotsisDEN13.513.315.310.5658.5
    91John JenkinsNO14.213.013.810.8657.8
    92Justin EllisOAK13.413.014.110.7657.4
    93Cullen JenkinsWAS14.613.113.010.3657.1
    94David ParryIND13.612.913.011.4657.0
    95Quinton JeffersonSEA14.014.012.011.0657.0
    96Darius LathamOAK13.912.713.111.1657.0
    97Al WoodsTEN14.512.013.810.2656.7
    98Dan WilliamsOAK13.512.513.011.4656.5
    99Matt CatapanoNYJ14.011.014.010.0656.0
    100Mike PurcellSF13.411.712.39.7653.1
    101Austin JohnsonTEN12.011.013.011.0653.0
    102Sealver SiligaSEA12.011.013.010.0653.0
    103Quinton DialSF12.013.012.09.0652.0
    104Destiny VaeaoPHI12.012.010.09.0650.0

3-4 Outside Linebackers

15 of 22

    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    The top of our 3-4 outside linebacker rankings come with a few asterisks. For starters, Jadeveon Clowney, Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa have been moved around to various positions based on week-to-week snap counts. Clowney and Bosa have seen time on the edge, but both have played the majority of their snaps in 2016 at 3-4 defensive end. Mack was moved early on to 4-3 defensive end to account for Oakland's changes up front.

    If counting only the exclusive 3-4 outside linebackers, the new top five at the position would be Von Miller, Melvin Ingram, Chandler Jones, Jerry Hughes and Markus Golden. Miller has been the most consistently dominant pass-rusher in the group, but Ingram—arguably the most complete but underrated player at the position—isn't far behind. And Arizona's combination of Jones and Golden has revitalized the Cardinals' once-dormant pass rush.

    Still, no team is deeper on the edge than the Broncos, who have four of our 20 best 3-4 outside linebackers. Backups Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett would start for most NFL teams. The rookie class of 3-4 outside linebackers hasn't been great overall, but the recent emergence of Shaq Lawson and Leonard Floyd could help flip that narrative in the second half of 2016.

        

    Top Scorers

    • Top 3-4 Outside Linebacker: Von Miller (Jadeveon Clowney played two games at 3-4 OLB)
    • Best Pass-Rusher: Von Miller, Denver Broncos
    • Best Run Defender: Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders
    • Best in Coverage: Jerry Hughes, Buffalo Bills
    • Best Tackler: Von Miller, Denver Broncos

             

    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

             

    NFL1000 Midseason 3-4 Outside Linebacker Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunCvgTklPosOvr
    1Jadeveon ClowneyHOU23.022.09.522.5884.0
    2Von MillerDEN21.919.910.621.3880.8
    3Melvin IngramSD20.618.110.620.6877.1
    4Khalil MackOAK17.022.010.020.0876.0
    5Joey BosaSD21.520.09.018.0875.5
    6Chandler JonesARI20.517.99.919.3874.6
    7Jerry HughesBUF19.918.310.918.1874.3
    8Markus GoldenARI19.418.69.519.5874.1
    9Whitney MercilusHOU19.817.59.819.4873.5
    10Shane RayDEN19.117.910.019.0873.1
    11Nick PerryGB18.918.69.119.3873.0
    12Brian OrakpoTEN19.116.510.318.8871.8
    13DeMarcus WareDEN21.316.09.018.0871.7
    14Clay MatthewsGB17.218.210.418.8871.6
    15Derrick MorganTEN19.316.79.618.7871.4
    16Shaquil BarrettDEN18.417.310.018.6871.4
    17Trent MurphyWAS17.817.610.018.9871.4
    18Terrell SuggsBAL17.517.79.719.0870.8
    19Lorenzo AlexanderBUF18.416.510.418.1870.5
    20Ryan KerriganWAS19.016.39.018.7870.1
    21Willie YoungCHI18.416.99.618.1870.1
    22John SimonHOU17.616.89.918.4869.8
    23Julius PeppersGB18.615.99.318.6869.4
    24Dee FordKC18.115.49.918.0868.6
    25Preston SmithWAS17.816.09.518.0868.4
    26Jarvis JonesPIT16.017.19.618.6868.3
    27Tamba HaliKC17.916.39.117.7868.1
    28Kareem MartinARI21.013.09.017.0868.0
    29Za'Darius SmithBAL16.417.19.417.9867.9
    30Trent ColeIND17.016.59.517.5867.5
    31James HarrisonPIT16.016.010.917.6867.4
    32Erik WaldenIND17.416.39.417.1867.3
    33Leonard FloydCHI17.315.210.017.5867.2
    34Nate OrchardCLE15.717.39.317.7867.0
    35Kamalei CorreaBAL14.018.010.018.0867.0
    36Datone JonesGB16.716.09.017.8866.7
    37Ahmad BrooksSF16.116.010.417.0866.6
    38Jerry AttaochuSD17.215.59.217.7866.5
    39Emmanuel OgbahCLE16.315.79.917.4866.3
    40Kyle EmanuelSD15.316.39.517.6865.8
    41Matt JudonBAL15.616.29.417.2865.4
    42Lamarr HoustonCHI15.019.07.017.0865.0
    43David BassTEN15.515.98.917.1864.5
    44Alex OkaforARI15.315.09.617.3864.1
    45Kevin DoddTEN15.315.39.417.0864.0
    46Sam AchoCHI15.015.110.016.6863.9
    47Arthur MoatsPIT14.715.010.616.6863.9
    48Corey LemonierCLE15.315.39.017.3863.8
    49Aaron LynchSF16.315.09.715.7863.7
    50Akeem AyersIND15.414.310.316.4863.6
    51Tank CarradineSF14.815.89.516.5863.5
    52Kyler FackrellGB16.313.99.616.6863.4
    53Albert McClellanBAL13.815.010.617.0863.2
    54Joe SchobertCLE14.414.910.316.3863.0
    55Lorenzo MauldinNYJ16.013.010.017.0863.0
    56Jayrone ElliottGB16.013.89.017.0863.0
    57Elvis DumervilBAL15.515.09.016.5863.0
    58Cam JohnsonCLE16.613.49.216.4862.8
    59Dekoda WatsonDEN14.815.59.316.3862.8
    60Anthony ChickilloPIT14.014.99.717.0862.6
    61Christian JonesCHI14.515.59.016.5862.5
    62Brennan ScarlettHOU14.016.08.017.0862.0
    63Eli HaroldSF15.114.69.016.1861.9
    64Robert MathisIND16.113.48.616.5861.8
    65Lerentee McCrayBUF13.914.19.616.9861.6
    66Brandon SpikesBUF14.515.57.017.0861.5
    67Frank ZomboKC14.714.98.316.4861.4
    68Tourek WilliamsSD14.514.78.716.3861.3
    69Dezman MosesKC14.016.09.015.0861.0
    70Dadi NicolasKC16.512.09.515.0860.5
    71Tank CarderCLE13.514.510.015.5860.5
    72Houston BatesWAS14.014.09.016.0860.0
    73Aaron WallaceTEN16.011.59.015.5859.5
    74Curt MaggittIND13.014.38.816.0859.0

4-3 Outside Linebackers

16 of 22

    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    No 4-3 outside linebacker has separated himself from the pack. Seattle's K.J. Wright leads the pack and narrowly leads Bruce Irvin and Nigel Bradham, who are both within about a half of a point of Wright.

    The most delightful player to watch has been Philadelphia's Bradham, though. The small handful of defenders ahead of him were all expected to be as good as they are, but Bradham has been a menace for his new team.

    He is a well-rounded player who has proved he can have an impact in all phases of the game. He's one of the best coverage linebackers in the league, he can blitz and his run defense is as reliable as anyone's. Had it not been for one shaky performance in Week 6 against Washington, Bradham would likely be the top player on this list.

    More so than anything, the biggest trend has been that linebackers who provide value in the passing game, such as Oakland's Irvin and Minnesota's Anthony Barr, tend to grade higher than their peers.

              

    Top Scorers

    • Top 4-3 Outside Linebacker: K.J. Wright, Seattle Seahawks
    • Best in Coverage: Nigel Bradham, Philadelphia Eagles
    • Best Run Defender: K.J. Wright, Seattle Seahawks
    • Best Pass-Rusher: Bruce Irvin, Oakland Raiders
    • Best Tackler: K.J. Wright, Seattle Seahawks 

           

    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

           

    NFL1000 Midseason 4-3 Outside Linebacker Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRunRushTklPosOvr
    1K.J. WrightSEA18.920.78.420.3674.3
    2Bruce IrvinOAK17.820.510.519.1673.9
    3Nigel BradhamPHI20.119.68.419.7673.9
    4Lavonte DavidTB18.019.69.420.1673.1
    5Anthony BarrMIN19.018.610.018.9672.4
    6Thomas DavisCAR19.118.49.319.6672.4
    7Telvin SmithJAX18.020.67.120.1671.9
    8Jamie CollinsNE18.022.07.018.0671.0
    9Sean LeeDAL18.918.67.619.0670.0
    10Shaq ThompsonCAR17.118.97.019.1668.1
    11De'Vondre CampbellATL17.018.38.017.8667.0
    12Julian StanfordNYJ16.518.57.018.5666.5
    13Keenan RobinsonNYG17.018.07.517.8666.3
    14Vincent ReyCIN17.416.97.517.8665.5
    15Vontaze BurfictCIN17.417.87.416.8665.4
    16Rob NinkovichNE16.317.59.016.0664.8
    17Kemal IshmaelATL16.516.57.018.5664.5
    18Sean WeatherspoonATL16.016.77.018.7664.3
    19Karlos DansbyCIN16.016.47.618.1664.1
    20Bruce CarterNYJ19.015.08.016.0664.0
    21Devon KennardNYG14.618.07.617.4663.6
    22Mark BarronLA17.116.17.316.9663.4
    23Chad GreenwayMIN15.617.77.017.0663.3
    24Darron LeeNYJ13.816.67.817.8662.0
    25Kevin Pierre-LouisSEA16.017.07.016.0662.0
    26Jordan JenkinsNYJ15.816.07.515.8661.2
    27Michael MorganSEA14.317.07.316.3660.8
    28Nate StuparNO16.314.57.316.8660.8
    29Josh ForrestLA14.516.57.016.5660.5
    30Mike CatapanoNYJ14.315.78.715.7660.3
    31Brock CoyleSEA15.017.07.015.0660.0
    32Jonathan CasillasNYG15.315.17.315.3659.0
    33Erin HendersonNYJ13.316.37.316.0659.0
    34Zaviar GoodenDET15.015.07.016.0659.0
    35Dannell EllerbeNO17.014.07.015.0659.0
    36Brandon CopelandDET15.015.07.015.8658.8
    37Myles JackJAX15.414.87.015.4658.6
    38Antwione WilliamsDET14.315.57.015.8658.5
    39Malcolm SmithOAK14.614.77.415.6658.3
    40Daryl SmithTB15.115.47.414.3658.3
    41Mychal KendricksPHI14.115.17.415.6658.3
    42Jonathan FreenyNE13.714.37.316.3657.7
    43Shea McClellinNE13.814.88.314.8657.5
    44Damien WilsonDAL14.714.77.015.0657.3
    45Craig RobertsonNO13.315.27.215.5657.2
    46Koa MisiMIA15.313.06.716.0657.0
    47Philip WheelerATL13.615.07.314.9656.8
    48Perry RileyOAK13.514.57.015.5656.5
    49A.J. KleinCAR14.015.07.014.0656.0
    50Josh BynesDET12.014.09.015.0656.0
    51Justin DurantDAL13.514.57.014.8655.8
    52Stephone AnthonyNO13.514.57.014.5655.5
    53Andrew GachkarDAL13.514.56.515.0655.5
    54Daren BatesOAK13.014.07.015.0655.0
    55Kyle Van NoyDET12.614.07.914.1654.6
    56LaRoy ReynoldsATL14.013.07.014.0654.0
    57Neville HewittMIA14.413.47.013.0653.8
    58Thurston ArmbristerDET13.313.87.013.8653.8
    59Jelani JenkinsMIA13.813.07.213.2653.2
    60Kyle WilberDAL12.013.57.514.0653.0
    61Donald ButlerMIA13.413.46.813.4653.0
    62Michael MautiNO12.513.07.013.5652.0
    63Spencer PaysingerMIA14.012.57.511.5651.5
    64Dan SkutaJAX10.513.56.814.5651.3
    65Paul WorrilowATL10.014.06.013.0649.0
    66Arthur BrownJAX12.012.07.012.0649.0 

Inside Linebackers

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    The central theme of inside linebacker play is becoming clearer by the week. The top-flight players are those who remain on the field for all three downs and give their defense flexibility in assignments. Players such as Carolina's Luke Kuechly, Chicago's Jerrell Freeman and Minnesota's Eric Kendricks are so valuable, and often graded highly, because of their ability to impact the game as run defenders, in coverage and when asked to rush the passer.

    Roster spots are limited, and finding a central defender who can do it all can often mask deficiencies throughout the rest of your defense. The NFL’s base D is now primarily a nickel defense, meaning linebackers are stressed in coverage far more than they’ve ever been.

    As a result, we’ve seen players such as Arizona's Deone Bucannon and rookies Su’a Cravens and Jatavis Brown become increasingly valuable. They don’t fit the traditional body type and mold of a thumping run defender, but their athleticism and aggressiveness hide those limitations, while their abilities in coverage highlight them as versatile players.

           

    Top Scorers

    • Top Inside Linebacker: Jerrell Freeman, Chicago Bears
    • Best in Coverage: Su'a Cravens, Washington Redskins
    • Best Run Defender: Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
    • Best Pass-Rusher: Dont'a Hightower, New England Patriots
    • Best Tackler: Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers

            

    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

         

    NFL1000 Midseason Inside Linebacker Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunRushTklPosOvr
    1Jerrell FreemanCHI20.530.110.912.5680.0
    2Luke KuechlyCAR20.130.111.112.6680.0
    3Eric KendricksMIN20.629.410.111.9678.0
    4Bobby WagnerSEA19.429.310.912.4678.0
    5Dont'a HightowerNE20.028.012.012.0678.0
    6NaVorro BowmanSF19.029.811.311.5677.5
    7C.J. MosleyBAL20.628.410.810.6676.4
    8Zach OrrBAL18.029.111.112.0676.3
    9Elandon RobertsNE18.729.310.012.0676.0
    10Su'a CravensWAS22.025.710.311.7675.7
    11Benardrick McKinneyHOU18.528.511.111.5675.6
    12Zach BrownBUF18.629.410.311.3675.5
    13Preston BrownBUF18.028.311.012.0675.3
    14Danny TrevathanCHI18.529.09.811.8675.2
    15Denzel PerrymanSD19.529.39.710.7675.2
    16Brandon MarshallDEN19.428.010.111.6675.1
    17Ryan ShazierPIT18.528.810.011.3674.5
    18Deone BucannonARI20.027.89.910.9674.5
    19Jordan HicksPHI19.127.910.011.4674.4
    20Todd DavisDEN19.427.910.111.0674.4
    21Derrick JohnsonKC19.628.910.09.9674.3
    22Deion JonesATL19.927.79.111.4674.1
    23Will ComptonWAS18.928.59.111.5674.0
    24Nick KwiatkoskiCHI17.029.010.511.5674.0
    25Ramik WilsonKC19.528.09.011.5674.0
    26Kevin MinterARI18.528.510.010.8673.8
    27Max BulloughHOU18.328.39.311.7673.7
    28Jatavis BrownSD20.426.39.811.3673.6
    29Ray-Ray ArmstrongSF19.528.58.011.5673.5
    30David HarrisNYJ17.028.99.411.6672.9
    31Paul PoslusznyJAX17.928.99.111.0672.9
    32Vince WilliamsPIT18.827.810.010.3672.8
    33Albert McClellanBAL17.727.010.011.7672.3
    34Mason FosterWAS18.127.58.411.6671.6
    35Perry RileyOAK18.027.09.511.0671.5
    36Kwon AlexanderTB18.326.99.610.7671.4
    37Stephen TullochPHI16.728.38.711.7671.3
    38Avery WilliamsonTEN16.626.810.511.3671.1
    39Korey ToomerSD18.526.58.811.3671.0
    40Corey NelsonDEN19.025.010.011.0671.0
    41Brian CushingHOU17.028.08.810.8670.7
    42Chris KirkseyCLE17.126.910.110.5670.6
    43Joshua PerrySD17.327.78.710.7670.3
    44D'Qwell JacksonIND17.427.98.510.5670.3
    45Lawrence TimmonsPIT16.027.79.011.3670.0
    46John TimuCHI19.026.08.010.0670.0
    47Antonio MorrisonIND17.327.38.311.0669.8
    48Blake MartinezGB17.426.98.411.0669.7
    49Jake RyanGB17.026.98.311.3669.4
    50Joe ThomasGB19.425.08.810.4669.4
    51Justin DurantDAL18.225.48.810.8669.2
    52Cory JamesOAK16.826.38.811.3669.0
    53Michael WilhoiteSF18.025.78.710.7669.0
    54Sean SpenceTEN17.525.59.010.5668.5
    55Nate StuparNO18.725.78.010.0668.3
    56Wesley WoodyardTEN16.326.39.010.8668.3
    57Alec OgletreeLA17.625.49.010.1668.1
    58Anthony HitchensDAL15.327.08.411.4668.1
    59Demario DavisCLE17.026.08.410.8668.1
    60Kelvin SheppardNYG16.126.48.411.0668.0
    61Edwin JacksonIND17.025.09.510.0667.5
    62Justin March-LillardKC17.025.28.610.4667.2
    63Gerald HodgesSF16.226.48.010.4667.0
    64Ben HeeneyOAK17.027.08.09.0667.0
    65L.J. FortPIT16.025.010.010.0667.0
    66Josh ForrestLA16.027.08.010.0667.0
    67Nick DzubnarSD17.026.09.09.0667.0
    68Darron LeeNYJ17.025.08.010.0666.0
    69Manti Te'oSD16.327.08.38.3666.0
    70Jonathan AndersonCHI15.025.08.012.0666.0
    71LaRoy ReynoldsATL16.526.08.59.0666.0
    72Kiko AlonsoMIA16.624.08.710.6665.9
    73Sio MooreIND16.526.09.08.3665.8
    74Tahir WhiteheadDET16.125.37.910.3665.5
    75Rey MaualugaCIN16.025.38.19.9665.3
    76Christian JonesCHI14.026.08.011.0665.0
    77Sean WeatherspoonATL14.026.07.011.0664.0
    78Erin HendersonNYJ15.023.78.011.3664.0
    79Josh McNaryIND17.422.88.09.8664.0
    80Bruce CarterNYJ15.023.08.011.0663.0
    81Tyler MatakevichPIT15.024.08.010.0663.0
    82James LaurinaitisNO14.722.07.311.3661.3
    83Nick BelloreSF15.522.87.88.3660.5

Cornerbacks

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    Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

    When Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett was lost for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in early October, it didn’t just leave San Diego without its best defensive player. It left a giant "what if?" in our cornerback grades. Because Verrett was playing as well as any pass defender in the league, and his absence has allowed other great cornerbacks to earn praise.

    There are many predictable names at the top of our midseason top 50—Aqib Talib has probably been the best overall cornerback to this point, and there’s no question that the Broncos have the best cornerback threesome with Talib, Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby. But the fun thing about scouting every player every week is the names that pop up out of nowhere.

    Houston’s A.J. Bouye has been a shutdown sensation of late, allowing no touchdowns and a 66.0 opposing passer rating on 35 targets, and we’d expect his rating to rise in the season’s second half. Casey Hayward of the Chargers has taken some of the sting out of Verrett’s absence, and Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes has become the player the Vikings hoped he would be when they took him in the first round of the 2013 draft.

    Conversely, some big names have fallen a bit. Darrelle Revis has not looked himself this season, and his ranking of 22nd on the list reflects that. More teams are throwing curls and comebacks at Richard Sherman, understanding that sharp angular routes are perhaps the only way to foil the Legion of Boom’s leader consistently, and that’s why he’s ranked 17th at this point in time.

    Cornerback is a tough job—one blown coverage can make all the difference—and though we grade on every play, those standout moments either way do affect performance scores pretty graphically. Here’s how we saw NFL cornerbacks through the first half of the season.

    Top Scorers

    • Top Cornerback: Jason Verrett, San Diego Chargers
    • Best in Coverage: Jason Verrett, San Diego Chargers
    • Best Reaction: Marcus Peters, Kansas City Chiefs
    • Best in the Slot: Chris Harris Jr., Denver Broncos
    • Best Tackler: Lamarcus Joyner, Los Angeles Rams

         

    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
    NFL1000 Midseason Cornerback Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamCvgReactSlotTklPosOvr
    1Jason VerrettSD24.823.516.86.8980.8
    2Marcus PetersKC23.424.316.76.0979.4
    3Chris Harris Jr.DEN23.023.617.95.9979.4
    4Patrick PetersonARI22.823.416.15.1976.4
    5Janoris JenkinsNYG22.122.716.16.1976.1
    6Aqib TalibDEN22.922.016.05.4975.3
    7Desmond TrufantATL21.921.316.16.0974.3
    8Bradley RobyDEN20.922.016.85.5974.1
    9Casey HaywardSD21.621.416.65.5974.1
    10Jason McCourtyTEN21.820.816.35.6973.4
    11Jimmy SmithBAL21.021.016.15.9973.0
    12Xavier RhodesMIN20.621.415.66.0973.0
    13Lamarcus JoynerLA19.720.316.67.1972.7
    14Brent GrimesTB21.320.615.75.9972.4
    15Tramaine BrockSF20.720.915.45.9971.9
    16Josh NormanWAS19.720.415.66.4971.1
    17Richard ShermanSEA20.320.115.16.4971.0
    18Jimmie WardSF20.019.815.56.8971.0
    19Darius SlayDET21.320.315.35.0971.0
    20Alterraun VernerTB20.320.015.36.3971.0
    21Micah HydeGB19.020.016.76.3971.0
    22Darrelle RevisNYJ20.418.916.06.4970.7
    23Jalen RamseyJAX19.320.116.16.1970.7
    24Sean SmithOAK20.620.415.45.3970.7
    25Vontae DavisIND19.820.316.05.5970.7
    26Malcolm ButlerNE20.019.616.35.8970.6
    27Ross CockrellPIT20.320.015.45.9970.6
    28Dominique Rodgers-CromartieNYG20.720.015.35.5970.5
    29Trumaine JohnsonLA21.019.415.05.8970.2
    30Kevin JohnsonHOU19.519.815.36.2969.8
    31Morris ClaiborneDAL20.019.115.06.1969.3
    32Robert AlfordATL19.819.315.65.3968.9
    33Tyvon BranchARI20.018.815.45.4968.6
    34A.J. BouyeHOU18.319.016.45.6968.6
    35Joe HadenCLE18.818.816.05.8968.4
    36Johnathan JosephHOU19.418.915.85.4968.4
    37Kareem JacksonHOU18.818.515.85.5967.7
    38Adam JonesCIN19.018.615.85.3967.6
    39Terence NewmanMIN19.618.614.75.4967.3
    40Prince AmukamaraJAX18.218.615.85.2966.8
    41Brandon FlowersSD19.017.316.35.3966.8
    42Stephon GilmoreBUF18.919.015.04.8966.6
    43Tyrann MathieuARI17.618.615.46.0966.6
    44Phillip GainesKC18.418.814.65.8966.6
    45Brian PooleATL17.618.015.95.9966.4
    46William GayPIT19.117.715.44.9966.1
    47Trae WaynesMIN17.917.915.35.7966.0
    48Captain MunnerlynMIN17.917.715.06.3965.9
    49Darius ButlerIND17.617.217.05.0965.8
    50Rashard RobinsonSF18.418.015.44.9965.7
    51Brandon CarrDAL18.118.015.05.6965.7
    52Vernon HargreavesTB17.317.915.75.7965.6
    53Dontae JohnsonSF18.017.515.55.5965.5
    54James BradberryCAR18.817.514.55.8965.5
    55Ronald DarbyBUF18.618.114.75.0965.4
    56Dre KirkpatrickCIN18.018.014.75.7965.4
    57Patrick RobinsonIND18.217.815.64.8965.4
    58Damarious RandallGB18.318.014.85.0965.0
    59Bashaud BreelandWAS18.017.815.05.2965.0
    60Darryl RobertsNYJ17.018.515.05.5965.0
    61DeShawn SheadSEA18.017.414.36.0964.7
    62Leon HallNYG17.717.713.96.1964.4
    63CJ GoodwinATL17.018.015.05.0964.0
    64Marcus WilliamsNYJ17.317.014.95.8963.9
    65Kendall FullerWAS16.617.216.05.0963.8
    66David AmersonOAK17.517.814.44.9963.5
    67Leodis McKelvinPHI17.317.314.85.0963.3
    68Bene BenwikereCAR17.016.015.35.5962.8
    69B.W. WebbNO17.016.814.25.2962.6
    70Marcus CooperARI16.416.714.75.6962.4
    71Robert McClainCAR16.316.015.25.8962.3
    72Eric RoweNE16.716.315.05.3962.3
    73LaDarius GunterGB16.916.714.05.6962.1
    74Nolan CarrollPHI16.617.014.35.6962.1
    75Nickell Robey-ColemanBUF16.416.815.34.8962.1
    76Jamar TaylorCLE16.316.514.85.5962.0
    77Sean DavisPIT16.016.014.36.7962.0
    78Buster SkrineNYJ16.316.914.45.3961.9
    79Antonio CromartieIND17.515.314.35.8961.8
    80Steven NelsonKC16.316.714.94.9961.7
    81Nevin LawsonDET16.616.414.84.9961.6
    82Anthony BrownDAL15.815.515.06.3961.5
    83Steve WilliamsSD16.015.815.35.3961.3
    84Jalen MillsPHI16.316.014.45.4961.1
    85Logan RyanNE15.915.914.85.5961.0
    86Byron MaxwellMIA18.016.313.04.7961.0
    87Orlando ScandrickDAL16.315.315.05.5961.0
    88Sterling MooreNO16.516.814.04.8961.0
    89Aaron ColvinJAX15.715.715.75.0961.0
    90Ron BrooksPHI15.815.815.05.2960.8
    91Eli AppleNYG16.416.214.25.0960.8
    92Quandre DiggsDET15.915.415.35.3960.8
    93Jeremy LaneSEA15.715.415.15.4960.7
    94D.J. HaydenOAK15.416.514.35.3960.4
    95Quinten RollinsGB15.715.314.35.3960.3
    96Bryce CallahanCHI15.815.314.75.2960.0
    97Tracy PorterCHI16.015.614.45.0960.0
    98Josh ShawCIN15.115.115.15.4959.9
    99Greg TolerWAS16.315.514.05.0959.8
    100Jude Adjei-BarimahTB15.015.214.75.8959.7
    101Quinton DunbarWAS15.615.614.05.4959.6
    102Chris Lewis-HarrisCIN15.516.014.05.0959.5
    103T.J. CarrieOAK16.015.015.04.0959.0
    104Cre'von LeBlancCHI15.714.814.25.2958.8
    105Craig MagerSD14.814.515.35.3958.8
    106Deiondre' HallCHI15.314.014.36.0958.7
    107Tramon WilliamsCLE15.315.214.24.8958.5
    108Daryl WorleyCAR15.214.714.25.5958.5
    109Juston BurrisNYJ14.515.514.55.0958.5
    110Artie BurnsPIT14.815.514.24.8958.3
    111Demetri GoodsonGB15.014.714.35.3958.3
    112Davon HouseJAX15.814.813.05.8958.3
    113E.J. GainesLA14.815.314.05.3958.3
    114A.J. BouyeHOU15.014.015.05.0958.0
    115Jerraud PowersBAL13.815.015.35.0958.0
    116Trevor WilliamsSD15.015.014.05.0958.0
    117Tavon YoungBAL14.715.113.94.7957.4
    118Ken CrawleyNO15.614.913.64.4957.4
    119Bobby McCainMIA14.415.113.75.0957.3
    120Jacoby GlennCHI14.714.413.65.4957.1
    121Xavien HowardMIA15.813.311.37.8957.0
    122Brandon WilliamsARI13.014.014.07.0957.0
    123Mackensie AlexanderMIN14.014.014.55.5957.0
    124Sherrick McManisCHI15.014.013.06.0957.0
    125Pierre DesirSD14.015.013.06.0957.0
    126Lorenzo DossDEN13.014.016.05.0957.0
    127Keith ReaserSF14.515.013.35.0956.8
    128Brice McCainTEN14.114.914.14.4956.5
    129De'Vante HarrisNO15.513.514.04.0956.0
    130Justin ColemanNE14.314.313.35.3956.0
    131Troy HillLA14.813.813.05.4956.0
    132Tony LippettMIA14.013.813.55.8956.0
    133Johnson BademosiDET13.714.313.75.3956.0
    134Rashaan MelvinIND14.214.413.04.8955.4
    135Dashaun PhillipsWAS14.314.713.34.0955.3
    136Briean Boddy-CalhounCLE13.613.413.45.8955.2
    137Shareece WrightBAL14.413.412.65.6955.0
    138Tharold SimonARI14.013.513.55.0955.0
    139Antwon BlakeTEN14.014.513.04.5955.0
    140Justin BethelARI13.014.014.05.0955.0
    141Cyrus JonesNE13.713.313.75.0954.7
    142Perrish CoxTEN14.113.312.35.3954.0
    143Dwayne GratzJAX13.014.512.05.0953.5
    144Darqueze DennardCIN13.513.812.04.8953.0
    145Zack SanchezCAR13.013.013.05.0953.0
    146Teddy WilliamsCAR13.013.013.05.0953.0
    147Chimdi ChekwaMIA12.013.014.05.0953.0
    148Chris DavisSF13.013.012.05.3952.3
    149Trevin WadeNYG12.813.012.54.5952.3
    150Josh HawkinsGB13.013.011.03.0951.0
    151D.J. WhiteKC12.012.712.05.3951.0
    152De'Vante BausbyCHI12.512.512.54.5951.0
    153Darryl MorrisIND13.012.310.35.3950.0
    154Coty SensabaughLA12.011.011.06.0949.0
    155Tracy HowardCLE13.011.012.04.0949.0
    156Brian DixonNO11.012.012.05.0949.0
    157Michael HunterNYG11.010.012.05.0947.0
    158Charles JamesHOU10.010.013.04.0946.0
    159Zack SanchezCAR10.09.010.05.0943.0

Free Safeties

19 of 22

    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    The expected players have topped the free safety position thus far.

    The interesting aspect is the varying styles of the top three. Devin McCourty, our No. 1 free safety, is one of the most consistent players at his position despite being asked to fill multiple roles. New England will have McCourty play single high on one snap, in the slot the next and in the box over the tight end on the play after that. He's a well-rounded player who stands out with consistency, regardless of his assignment.

    Harrison Smith will also field multiple assignments each game. Head coach Mike Zimmer and the Vikings will use him as a chess piece that the offense has to account for on each play. He could be a part of a two-deep safety look on one play then line up in the A-gap along the line of scrimmage the next. Unlike a lot of free safeties, he's a strong presence in the box and is used more aggressively in the run game and as a blitzer, but his range is also impressive.

    Rodney McLeod is more the prototypical free safety. The Eagles will have him sitting in center field most of the game, 20 yards off the line of scrimmage. From there, he demonstrates fantastic range that allows him to stay on top of routes down the sideline from the middle of the field.

    It also enables him to quickly break on anything he reads underneath and arrive at the catch point at the same time as the ball. His range and instincts have been on display, and the Eagles have benefited massively from his addition.

    Those three are setting the standard for the free safety group.

    Nobody is averaging a grade of 80 or above, meaning there haven't been many spectacular performances. But it's the consistency that is most important at the position. As the last line of defense, free safeties need to instill confidence in coaches that they'll be aware of danger on every play. It's no good having a hard-hitting free safety if he can't be trusted to stay on top of routes and save touchdowns on deep shots. That reliability sets McCourty, Smith and McLeod above the rest of the group.

             

    Top Scorers

    • Top Free Safety: Devin McCourty, New England Patriots
    • Best in Coverage: Devin McCourty, New England Patriots
    • Best Recovery: Rodney McLeod, Philadelphia Eagles
    • Best in the Slot: Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings
    • Best Tackler: Devin McCourty, New England Patriots 

       

    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

             

    NFL1000 Midseason Free Safety Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvr
    1Devin McCourtyNE23.924.46.416.5879.1
    2Harrison SmithMIN23.324.36.716.0878.3
    3Rodney McLeodPHI23.124.96.115.9878.0
    4Darian StewartDEN23.624.16.315.8877.8
    5Ha Ha Clinton-DixGB23.422.75.915.3875.3
    6Byron JonesDAL22.022.96.615.6875.0
    7Tyrann MathieuARI23.022.06.016.0875.0
    8Glover QuinDET22.822.35.915.8874.6
    9Earl ThomasSEA22.023.95.714.9874.4
    10Isa Abdul-QuddusMIA22.022.35.616.1874.0
    11Clayton GeathersIND21.722.36.115.7873.9
    12Eric ReidSF21.022.46.415.9873.7
    13Darian ThompsonNYG21.022.06.016.5873.5
    14Maurice AlexanderLA21.722.05.715.9873.3
    15Tre BostonCAR21.621.76.115.7873.1
    16Ron ParkerKC21.621.66.315.7873.1
    17Duron HarmonNE22.321.65.415.9873.1
    18Lardarius WebbBAL21.722.05.615.7873.0
    19Andre HalHOU22.122.55.514.8872.9
    20Dwight LowerySD21.521.95.915.6872.9
    21George IlokaCIN20.622.16.015.8872.5
    22Derron SmithCIN22.023.05.014.0872.0
    23Tracy HowardCLE22.021.06.015.0872.0
    24D.J. SwearingerARI21.721.65.315.3871.9
    25Dexter McCoilSD20.921.65.615.7871.7
    26Marcus GilchristNYJ21.321.06.115.3871.6
    27Corey MooreHOU22.020.85.315.3871.3
    28Justin SimmonsDEN20.020.36.016.7871.0
    29Corey GrahamBUF20.520.96.015.6871.0
    30J.J. WilcoxDAL21.520.75.315.5871.0
    31Jairus ByrdNO21.421.05.015.3870.7
    32Reggie NelsonOAK20.920.35.615.6870.4
    33Michael MitchellPIT20.320.45.715.6870.0
    34Chris ConteTB19.019.07.017.0870.0
    35Kentrell BriceGB20.220.45.615.8870.0
    36Will BlackmonWAS20.521.25.315.0870.0
    37Andrew AdamsNYG20.021.05.016.0870.0
    38Anthony HarrisMIN20.022.05.015.0870.0
    39Adrian AmosCHI20.119.96.315.6869.9
    40Vonn BellNO19.820.05.715.5869.0
    41Bradley McDougaldTB19.521.25.514.8869.0
    42DeAngelo HallWAS19.719.76.015.3868.7
    43Rashad JohnsonTEN19.920.45.414.9868.6
    44Robert BlantonBUF19.520.36.014.8868.5
    45Kevin ByardTEN19.420.05.915.1868.4
    46T.J. GreenIND19.320.05.115.9868.3
    47Marqueston HuffBAL20.020.05.015.0868.0
    48Ricardo AllenATL20.020.35.314.3867.8
    49Michael ThomasMIA19.719.05.715.3867.7
    50Tashaun GipsonJAX19.319.95.015.0867.1
    51Ibraheim CampbellCLE19.019.55.315.2867.0
    52Cody DavisLA19.019.05.315.7867.0
    53Chris ProsinskiCHI18.018.05.015.3864.3
    54Nat BerheNYG17.317.36.015.0863.7
    55Michael GriffinCAR16.016.05.015.0860.0 

Strong Safeties

20 of 22

    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    What Kam Chancellor has done with the Seahawks has had an effect on the rest of the league. Teams are now looking to their strong safety for a Chancellor-like spark. Obviously, he is a unique specimen. But the way he's been a force in the running game as the extra defender in the box has led to attempts to follow his lead.

    The problem is, other safeties don't have the same ability he does. Chancellor can set the tone on defense with a huge hit, but it will often be a fundamentally sound tackle, too. If not, he gets away with it because of his 6'3", 225-pound frame.

    Now, the state of tackling in the NFL is poor across every position, but it feels worse at strong safety sometimes because too many players are trying to land a big, Chancelloresque, tone-setting hit. It results in them dropping their heads, not wrapping up and runners bouncing off them. A lot of players have been guilty of it, especially younger guys.

    Browns rookie Derrick Kindred has filled in well against the run at times, meeting the running back in the hole. But then he'll go for the knockout hit, and the runner will break the tackle. That's why the likes of Reshad Jones and Eric Weddle join Chancellor at the top of the strong safety charts. They know when to go for the big hit and when to make the simple play.

    Those two also offer plenty in coverage and bring versatility to their respective defenses. Jones was the one safety across both positions averaging above an 80 grade because of the multiple strings to his bow. It's a shame, then, that he will miss the rest of the season after injuring his shoulder. 

         

    Top Scorers

    • Top Strong Safety: Reshad Jones, Miami Dolphins
    • Best in Coverage: Eric Weddle, Baltimore Ravens
    • Best Recovery: Reshad Jones, Miami Dolphins
    • Best in the Slot: Kam Chancellor, Seattle Seahawks
    • Best Tackler: Kam Chancellor, Seattle Seahawks

         

    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

             

    NFL1000 Midseason Strong Safety Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvr
    1Reshad JonesMIA20.221.216.716.5680.5
    2Kam ChancellorSEA19.019.817.317.3679.3
    3Eric WeddleBAL20.418.915.716.4677.4
    4Keanu NealATL19.819.715.715.8677.0
    5Shawn WilliamsCIN19.520.015.515.8676.8
    6Morgan BurnettGB18.819.315.816.0676.0
    7Kemal IshmaelATL18.518.316.816.3675.8
    8Tony JeffersonARI18.418.915.816.5675.5
    9Eric BerryKC19.019.415.415.6675.4
    10Malcolm JenkinsPHI18.918.915.915.7675.3
    11Andrew SendejoMIN18.818.515.816.0675.2
    12Robert GoldenPIT18.318.016.316.3674.8
    13T.J. WardDEN18.619.615.315.3674.8
    14T.J. McDonaldLA18.718.915.415.6674.6
    15Daniel SorensenKC18.118.915.616.0674.6
    16Barry ChurchDAL18.718.615.715.3674.3
    17Bradley McDougaldTB19.018.016.015.0674.0
    18Karl JosephOAK18.818.315.315.5674.0
    19Donte WhitnerWAS19.018.015.715.3674.0
    20Micah HydeGB18.018.315.815.8673.8
    21Landon CollinsNYG18.018.415.715.4673.6
    22Will ParksDEN18.418.614.815.6673.4
    23Patrick ChungNE18.018.415.115.4672.9
    24Johnathan CyprienJAX18.117.415.915.4672.9
    25Aaron WilliamsBUF18.318.714.914.9672.7
    26Duke IhenachoWAS17.518.815.514.8672.5
    27Jordan PoyerCLE17.218.015.215.8672.2
    28Keith McGillOAK17.017.515.516.0672.0
    29Antoine BetheaSF17.717.315.315.6671.9
    30Da'Norris SearcyTEN17.317.315.315.8671.8
    31Quintin DempsHOU16.818.015.215.6671.6
    32Mike AdamsIND17.817.115.115.5671.5
    33Tyvon BranchARI17.017.315.016.0671.3
    34Jayron KearseMIN18.517.514.015.0671.0
    35Kenny VaccaroNO17.217.714.515.5670.8
    36Kelcie McCraySEA17.317.314.715.3670.7
    37Jordan DangerfieldPIT16.518.014.515.5670.5
    38Eddie PleasantHOU17.017.014.715.7670.3
    39Tavon WilsonDET16.417.015.315.6670.3
    40Sean DavisPIT18.018.014.014.0670.0
    41Jaquiski TarttSF17.216.415.015.2669.8
    42Harold Jones-QuarteyCHI17.117.014.415.0669.6
    43J.J. WilcoxDAL17.016.014.016.0669.0
    44K.J. DillonHOU16.016.015.016.0669.0
    45Walt AikensMIA16.017.015.015.0669.0
    46Derrick KindredCLE16.117.314.814.8668.9
    47Calvin PryorNYJ16.416.314.815.5668.9
    48Kurt ColemanCAR16.616.614.914.9668.9
    49Anthony LevineBAL16.616.814.215.2668.8
    50Chris ConteTB16.716.214.815.0668.7
    51Rafael BushDET15.616.315.115.4668.4
    52Daimion StaffordTEN15.816.814.814.3667.5
    53Jonathan MeeksBUF16.015.514.315.3667.0
    54Tracy HowardCLE16.017.013.015.0667.0
    55Roman HarperNO16.015.814.014.5666.3
    56David BrutonWAS16.316.013.513.8665.5
    57Adrian PhillipsSD15.815.813.714.2665.5
    58Miles KillebrewDET14.715.714.014.7665.0
    59Keith TandyTB14.015.014.016.0665.0
    60Duke WilliamsBUF13.314.314.315.0663.0
    61Winston GuyIND15.015.012.514.0662.5

Kickers

21 of 22

    Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

    The top spot for kickers goes to Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens, as he's living up to the big contract the Ravens handed him over the offseason (four years, $16.8 million).

    He has been perfect on the year, making all 18 field goals he has attempted. He's also gone 9-of-9 on extra points. Tucker has been outstanding from distance as well, going 7-of-7 on kicks between 40 and 49 yards and 4-of-4 on kicks from more than 50 yards. While there was some question heading into the season about his prowess from this range due to struggles in 2014 and 2015, he has proved to be worth every penny.

    Adam Vinatieri and Dan Bailey occupy the next two spots, with the ageless wonder Vinatieri also perfect on the season (18-of-18), while Bailey is 14-of-16. The 43-year-old Vinatieri has shown no sign of slowing down, making all five of his attempts from 50-plus yards, and Bailey continues to be extraordinarily steady for the Dallas Cowboys. Greg Zuerlein and Caleb Sturgis round out the top five, with both kickers enjoying their best years as pros.

    Also of note is Wil Lutz, who finds his way into the 10th spot, as the rookie has been a pleasant surprise for Saints fans following a rough first two games.

    The season has not gone as well for Roberto Aguayo, the highly touted rookie out of Florida State who has seen significant struggles with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aguayo grades out as the worst kicker in the league, with accuracy issues cropping up more frequently than is acceptable.

    Also struggling are Mike Nugent, Dan Carpenter, Nick Novak and Blair Walsh, all of whom have had issues on both extra points and field goals. Walsh has been better since the season opener and shows signs of regaining his form, but Nugent, Carpenter and Novak have had lingering issues.

    Also of note are Stephen Gostkowski and Stephen Hauschka, who both are slightly below average this season after years of success. More than anything, this points to the year-to-year volatility of kickers, though both have the talent to pull themselves into the top 10.

        

    Top Scorers

    • Top Kicker: Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
    • Best Leg: Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
    • Most Accurate: Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
    • Best Tackler: Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints

          

    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

            

    NFL1000 Midseason Kicker Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamPwrAccTklPosOvr
    1Justin TuckerBAL33.934.74.4376.0
    2Adam VinatieriIND31.134.64.5373.3
    3Dan BaileyDAL33.132.44.6373.1
    4Greg ZuerleinLA32.332.74.3372.3
    5Caleb SturgisPHI32.432.14.4372.0
    6Matt BryantATL30.933.44.5371.8
    7Jason MyersJAX32.030.64.7370.3
    8Josh BrownNYG30.632.04.2369.8
    9Josh LamboSD30.332.04.5369.8
    10Wil LutzNO31.730.14.9369.7
    11Chandler CatanzaroARI32.029.94.5369.4
    12Mason CrosbyGB31.630.34.4369.3
    13Brandon McManusDEN31.030.44.5368.9
    14Graham GanoCAR32.129.04.4368.6
    15Ryan SuccopTEN31.129.84.5368.4
    16Dustin HopkinsWAS31.829.04.5368.3
    17Sebastian JanikowskiOAK31.129.44.5368.0
    18Chris BoswellPIT31.728.64.4367.7
    19Matt PraterDET30.929.14.5367.5
    20Steven HauschkaSEA32.027.64.7367.3
    21Stephen GostkowskiNE31.928.04.4367.3
    22Nick FolkNYJ30.628.64.5366.8
    23Phil DawsonSF29.130.34.4366.7
    24Cody ParkeyCLE30.728.34.3366.3
    25Andrew FranksMIA31.327.64.4366.3
    26Cairo SantosKC29.428.64.7365.7
    27Connor BarthCHI29.628.14.5365.3
    28Blair WalshMIN30.726.64.1364.4
    29Nick NovakHOU27.329.44.4364.1
    30Dan CarpenterBUF29.327.44.5364.1
    31Patrick MurrayCLE28.527.05.0363.5
    32Mike NugentCIN29.126.64.5363.3
    33Roberto AguayoTB30.623.14.7361.4 

Punters

22 of 22

    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Thomas Morstead has rebounded from a difficult 2015 to be the top punter of the first half. He has been above average in all three major areas, but in particular, his ball placement stands out. He is the only punter in the NFL who has not landed a ball between the hashes in the first eight weeks, placing only eight punts inside the numbers.

    Second-ranked Johnny Hekker is the only punter with a higher accuracy rating, as he has had a slightly higher percentage of punts outside the numbers, as opposed to those simply landing on the numbers. Oakland's Marquette King is also enjoying a breakout season as the third-ranked punter, with big distance and strong accuracy numbers covering up slightly above-average hang time.

    Rounding out the top five are Indianapolis' Pat McAfee and Tampa Bay's Bryan Anger, with McAfee showing a well-rounded game and Anger leading the NFL in hang time for the season.

    Rookie struggles are notable in the bottom of the rankings, with Lachlan Edwards and Drew Kaser occupying two of the bottom three spots. Veterans Kevin Huber, Jeff Locke and Donnie Jones are also struggling. Rookies tend to go through an acclimation period to the NFL ball and the demands of the pro game, so this is not entirely unexpected, and the three veterans have had up-and-down careers and have found themselves in this area before.

    More interesting is the group above, where Jon Ryan and Ryan Allen are ranked Nos. 22 and 23, respectively. Both players have had strong outings, but inconsistent play has been an issue. Ryan has been average in all aspects of the game, while Allen has shown a strong directional ability but below-average power and hang time.

            

    Top Scorers

    • Top Punter: Thomas Morstead, New Orleans Saints
    • Best Leg: Marquette King, Oakland Raiders
    • Most Hang Time: Bryan Anger, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    • Most Accurate: Johnny Hekker, Los Angeles Rams
    • Best Tackler: Thomas Morstead, New Orleans Saints

           

    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

        

    NFL1000 Midseason Punter Rankings
    RankPlayerTeamDistHangAccTklPosOvr
    1Thomas MorsteadNO16.716.335.03.1374.1
    2Johnny HekkerLA16.615.935.43.0373.9
    3Marquette KingOAK17.514.834.83.1373.1
    4Pat McAfeeIND17.014.834.43.0372.1
    5Bryan AngerTB15.618.331.73.0371.6
    6Sam KochBAL16.114.335.03.0371.4
    7Brett KernTEN16.515.033.62.9371.0
    8Andy LeeCAR17.316.031.03.1370.4
    9Brad WingNYG15.614.433.73.0369.7
    10Sam MartinDET16.816.130.53.0369.4
    11Britton ColquittCLE14.315.833.43.0369.4
    12Chris JonesDAL16.316.430.63.0369.3
    13Shane LechlerHOU16.415.031.63.0369.0
    14Matt DarrMIA14.414.133.73.0368.3
    15Tress WayWAS14.614.932.53.0368.0
    16Pat O'DonnellCHI12.515.833.03.0367.3
    17Jordan BerryPIT15.414.430.93.0366.7
    18Bradley PinionSF13.917.029.93.0366.7
    19Matt BosherATL15.016.428.63.0366.0
    20Colton SchmidtBUF10.314.335.13.0365.6
    21Brad NortmanJAX14.716.928.03.0365.6
    22Jon RyanSEA14.414.330.63.0365.3
    23Ryan AllenNE12.913.532.93.0365.3
    24Dustin ColquittKC12.615.730.43.0364.7
    25Riley DixonDEN13.613.330.93.0363.8
    26Jacob SchumGB11.914.431.33.0363.6
    27Drew ButlerARI10.016.329.73.0362.0
    28Ryan QuigleyARI10.817.028.23.0362.0
    29Donnie JonesPHI12.614.428.93.0361.9
    30Jeff LockeMIN13.915.426.43.0361.7
    31Kevin HuberCIN14.013.028.33.0361.3
    32Drew KaserSD10.814.029.33.0360.0
    33Lachlan EdwardsNYJ12.313.627.93.0359.8
    34Chandler CatanzaroARI1.010.028.03.0345.0