Can a quarter of the season really have passed?
Well, it has (unless you’re the Steelers or Colts) and already some players are standing out.
That’s right, we’ve been so impressed by certain NFL-ers our analysts couldn’t help but gather to discuss who should be on the PFF “All-First Quarter of the Season” Team.
The results? Here’s the offensive side of things and you can click here for the defensive.
Quarterback: Matt Ryan, ATL (+19.5)
What to say about ‘Matty Ice’? Naturally the plaudits are coming in thick and fast after he has orchestrated the Falcons to a 4-0 record, and it shows up in our grading with Ryan ahead of the pack. That owes in large part to impressive accuracy (80% Adjusted Accuracy Percentage), some clutch throws, and some top quality work under pressure where he has still completed 60.5% of passes and earned a +4.5 grade.
Honorable Mention: Tom Brady (NE), Eli Manning (NYG), and Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
Running Back: Marshawn Lynch, SEA (+3.5)
With a rookie quarterback struggling to get things going in the air, it stands to reason that the Seahawks have been extra reliant on Lynch finding his inner beast and taking it from there. Fortunately, Lynch has delivered and currently leads all running backs with 21 forced missed tackles on his 92 rushes that have helped him pick up 3.2 yards after contact per carry. That gave him the edge over others in a very competitive field.
Honorable Mention: Willis McGahee (DEN), C.J. Spiller (BUF), and Adrian Peterson (MIN)
Fullback: Vonta Leach, BLT (+3.4)
His one rush yielded a 5-yard touchdown, but that’s not why he makes the list. No, it once again comes down to Leach being the most consistent lead blocker in the league… but Greg Jones isn’t a million miles off.
Honorable Mention: James Casey (HST) and Greg Jones (JAX)
Tight End: Vernon Davis, SF (+10.0)
While a stunning performance from Greg Olsen nearly stole a starting spot, the consistency of Davis holds off the challenge. Davis has graded in the green in all four games and is yet to earn a negative grade in any area. His four touchdowns get him the attention he deserves, but so often a hit-and-miss run blocker, he’s taken his game to a new, much more reliable level.
Honorable Mention: Greg Olsen (CAR) and Rob Gronkowski (NE)
Wide Receivers: Roddy White, ATL (+10.5) and A.J. Green, CIN (+10.2) with Percy Harvin, MIN (+8.2) in slot
You think maybe all the attention Julio Jones has got motivated Roddy White a little? Currently at the top of receiver rankings, White has made a series of stunning catches that have kept Falcon drives alive. The numbers really don’t do justice to the plays he’s made. Numbers do, however, do justice to the step forward Green has taken this year. His 3.17 Yards Per Route Run is the second most in the league, and he’s provided an outlet that is making that Bengals’ offense tick. They’ll be joined by Percy Harvin in the slot, with the Viking having already forced 10 missed tackles, four more than any other wide receiver.
Honorable Mention: Calvin Johnson (DET), Vincent Jackson (TB), and Reggie Wayne (IND)
Tackles: Duane Brown, HST (+12.7) and Sebastian Vollmer, NE (+9.6)
You figured Brown may have reached his ceiling after a fantastic 2011. If his start to 2012 is anything to go by, then he quite clearly hasn’t. A left tackle who is averaging one quarterback disruption allowed per game, and who can contribute in the run game, there isn’t anyone better right now. On the right side, Vollmer has quietly gone about his business and is yet to surrender a QB hit or sack. It should be noted that are three left tackles getting honorable mentions, with the standard of right tackle play way down on what we’ve seen in recent years.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Clady (DEN) , Branden Albert (KC), and Joe Staley (SF)
Guards: Mike Iupati, SF (+8.3) and Marshal Yanda, BLT (+13.0)
With a fine performance against the Jets, Iupati takes the nod at left guard. That was his fourth positively-graded performance in a row as the agile big man continues to open up running lanes while only surrendering two quarterback disruptions so far. Yanda may have given up four penalties, but you can look past that with some dominant run blocking. His performances the past two weeks should let everyone know just who the top guard in the league is right now.
Honorable Mention: Alex Boone (SF), Evan Mathis (PHI), and Jahri Evans (NO)
Center: Mike Pouncey, MIA (+10.8)
They may be twins but since entering the league, one Pouncey has, in our opinion, made a far greater impact. That man is, of course, Mike, who more than just helping on double teams can control defenders one-on-one and move to the second level. Right now there isn’t a better center in the league.
Honorable Mention: John Sullivan (MIN) and Will Montgomery (WAS)
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled