Neil’s NFL Daily: July 4, 2013

Celebrate the 4th of July by joining with Neil Hornsby to evaluate the projected starting line-ups of the Browns and Bengals - it's the PFF way to spend a holiday.

| 3 years ago
NFL-Daily-Feature

Neil’s NFL Daily: July 4, 2013


The grading of NFL starting line-ups rolls smoothly on, with the biggest issue being fans of particular teams believing their players have been swindled out of “elite” status. Just a couple of things to point out in this regard — firstly, my criteria are very strict (some of these guys might be considered blue-chip in certain circles, but I’m only looking at the top three to four at each position), my charts, my rules. Secondly, and this is just me, but as a fan of no particular team I have a view that a large majority of fans believe their best players are better than they actually are, and their lesser players worse. Whether this is just simple psychology, a function of focusing so much on one team, or something else, I don’t know. However, if say you’re a Texans fan and want to give me grief for colouring J.J. Watt in yellow, lie and tell me you’re a Cardinals fan — I’ll take it far more seriously.

For those new to the series and wanting to catch up, you can find the other teams covered to date with this handy set of links.

Charts by team:

ARZ ATL | BAL | BUF CAR CHI CIN | CLE | DAL DEN DET
GB | HOU IND | JAX | KC MIA MIN NE NO NYG NYJ
OAK PHI PIT STL SD SF SEA TB TEN WAS

 

Thursday, July 4th

Cincinnati Bengals (Click to enlarge)

Notes:

— More than many teams, the Bengals have options at a number of positions and in each case I chose who I thought would be the better player: Wharton over Clint Boling, Robinson over Kyle Cook, Eifert over Jermaine Gresham, and Burfict (in nickel) over Rey Maualuga. You can also make a good case arguing they’ll do a lot to get Dre Kirkpatrick snaps over both Jones and Newman, but who knows how he’ll play? In the end I went with players I could accurately grade.

— Dalton is a remarkably inconsistent QB and can range between high quality (@ Washington, Vs. Giants) and poor (@ Baltimore, Vs. Miami, @ Houston) on a game-by-game basis. I almost went “below average”, but his ceiling is much higher than that.

— I almost had Whitworth in the blue and, while his pass protection deserves that accolade, his run blocking still needs to improve.

 

Cleveland Browns (Click to enlarge)

Notes:

— I’d like to project Weeden as moving on, but his best graded passing performance last year was only +1.7. He also had six games of -3.4 or worse.

— While Thomas’ work in the running game is far from elite, he is by some margin the best pass protector in the league and hence the grade.

— Joe Haden is certainly elite in terms of talent, but he needs to demonstrate this more often on the field. Is this the year he shows us exactly what he can do on a consistent basis?

— Johnson Bademosi may well win the starting free safety role, but the grade would have been identical.

 

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

 

Follow Neil on Twitter: @PFF_Neil

 

| 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.

  • JaTerrance Dwayne Young

    You dont think Leon Hall should be considered high quality???…u just had him in your top 10 CB over the last 5 years

    • Neil Hornsby

      That’s a fair shout actually – He was good without being excellent last year but maybe his previous body of work means I should have extrapolated him positively. I may well change that one.

    • PFF_Neil

      I Changed it, your point was well made.

  • Grant

    Where’s Josh Gordon?

    • Neil Hornsby

      With his suspension (and the fact is only one strike away from a year ban) and a hardly excellent rookie year, I decided Benjamin might be the best bet for #3WR. Clearly I prefer Gordon but unless he grows up quickly I can see him losing the #2 role to Bess.

    • BuckeyeKeel

      My ? as well, also Phil Taylor?

      • PFF_Neil

        Unlikely he’ll play regularly in nickel

    • PFF_Neil

      With his suspension (and the fact is only one strike away from a year ban) and a hardly excellent rookie year, I decided Benjamin might be the best bet for #3WR. Clearly I prefer Gordon but unless he grows up quickly I can see him losing the #2 role to Bess.

  • Josh

    I might not always agree with your opinions on certain players, but I respect the amount of work you are putting into these lineups and 99% of the time I can agree with them as a whole team.

  • James

    How did Cincinnati spend 50% of their snaps in the nickel if they spent 608 out of 1166 with 5 defensive backs on the field, 52% of the snaps

  • Dan

    Whitworth and J. Thomas are incredibly similar LTs in terms of stats. Whitworth run blocks slightly better than Thomas and Thomas pass blocks slightly better than Whitworth. How is Thomas a blue chip and not Whitworth?