Neil’s NFL Daily: July 1, 2013

Neil Hornsby paints a picture of the quality of starters atop the depth charts of the Falcons and Cardinals, the start of a new series that will cover each franchise ...

| 4 years ago

Neil’s NFL Daily: July 1, 2013

Sixteen working days to go until the start of my training camp tour, and as that amount multiplies nicely by two to produce a well-known NFL number, I thought this was a great opportunity to start swotting up and also introduce a bit of nostalgia — for me at least. Back in the day, at this time of every year, I used to pull together depth charts and try and gauge the quality in the starting units. Well, I’m now in possession of substantially better information (at least regarding non-draftees) and thought constructing a likely starting roster for each team might be informative for everyone.

Alphabetical order is always a PFF staple, so let’s begin with the Cardinals and Falcons.


Monday, July 1st

Strength of Starting Units

A few words before I kick off on how these are constructed.

The packages utilized for the starting units will be the most frequently used one from last year (unless I know this is unlikely to be the case in 2013), and I’ve graded only the probable starting group. The colours attributed to each player are not simply a straight take based on last year’s performance — I’ve extrapolated where I think it’s appropriate, or changed grades if I feel injury or lack of back-up drastically reduced them. For draftees, I’ve just used default grades based on where they were selected.


Arizona Cardinals (Click to enlarge)


— I’ve given both Palmer and Mendenhall the benefit of the doubt respectively due to the former working in a more conducive environment, and the latter being healthy.

— I’m viewing Bobby Massie more on the second half of his season than the first, but did consider both.

— Before Dockett gets an upgrade he needs to show something and not just talk about how badly Ray Horton’s scheme affected him — it hardly slowed Campbell did it?


Atlanta Falcons (Click to enlarge)


— Lamar Holmes is really a guess based on a lower-round player starting at tackle for the first time.

— Gonzalez’s blue grade clearly disregards his awful blocking over the past few years.

— Konz did not play well at RG last year, and I may have extrapolated to orange but for the position change.


Other editions of Neil’s NFL Daily can be found HERE


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| PFF Founder

Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.

  • Nick D

    Tony Gonzalez a ‘difference maker’ and Julio Jones just ‘high quality’ in 2013? Ryan slighted also given his play last year. Not sure how Palmer or Mendenhall can be considered anything better than ‘below average’ as starting caliber players. Many of these rankings seem like they’re a couple years off the mark.

    • Neil

      I clearly didn’t do a great job of explaining “difference maker” as what I was trying to show was the best three or four players at each position – I’ll clarify tomorrow. Against that criteria, while both Jones and Ryan were very close there are other better players.

      As for Gonzalez – he was our top ranked receiving TE by a country mile and perhaps fit that description better than any other player at his position.

      • Nick D

        I’ll buy that on Tony G. Ryan probably 3rd best in NFC? Regarding Palmer, not sure I see a single NFC team that would be improved with him as the starter. If I’m remembering correctly his numbers were greatly inflated in garbage time, and he’s terrible on 3rd down.

        • Neil

          Although I’m not a million miles away from you on Palmer the “above average” was gut on the basis I think he’ll fit Arians offense and benefit massively from #11.

          As for NFC QBs last year he graded higher than Bradford, Freeman, both Eagles & Ponder and (with the possible exception of Bradford) that could easily happen again.

          • sgtrobo

            yeah, i think it might not be a bad move to try to segregate (if possible) QB play from the WR. Fitz makes any QB look better, but I dunno, just feels “wrong” giving Palmer and above average

  • Tom Kislingbury

    Nice idea here. Id change the graphic so backs look like they’re paying the same game as everyone else. And the safeties are playing behind the LBs.
    Feels like we need a separate category for rookies too rather than just guessing or lumping them as average.

    • Neil

      I agree with the comment regarding rookies and I’ll change these and ensure all other conform. Great minds think alike clearly as Khaled said exactly the same thing just before they went up.

      • sgtrobo

        agreed. I don’t think it’s out of line thinking that Jonathan Cooper will be above average (for example)

  • Murph

    Looks neat, but it might be easier to visually parse with a 2 or 3 color gradient as opposed to the 4 that it is now.

  • sgtrobo

    interesting concepts here.

    Arizona: Projecting into 2013, not sure how Mendenhall or Palmer get anything better than ‘average’. Also gotta give Daryl Washington a ‘difference maker’ tag, although with him missing 4 games, can’t argue too much with him where he is

    Atlanta: Cannot see Julio Jones not being a ‘difference maker’. 3rd season in, he’s a beast. I don’t think konz deserves a ‘poor’. He is a center, not an offensive guard. At least give him a below average. 😛

  • Radical

    I’d have to say that Ryan belongs in the blue chip group for the following reasons.

    – If you go by Overall rating, Ryan falls into the same bracket as Brees, but that also includes Wilson. The three tiers being Peyton Manning(50+), Brady and Rodgers(44-45), and the aforementioned group that are graded between 39-41.

    – If you go by Pass rankings, which should be the bigger emphasis for QBs, Ryan falls into the same bracket as Brady, Rodgers, and Brees(37-39). After that, there’s a substantial drop off to the next tier(Ben and Eli).

    • CommonSense


      • Radical

        Bet that compelling retort took you quite a while to come up with.