Neil’s NFL Daily: July 5, 2013

Neil Hornsby continues to assess the projected starting line-ups of NFL season 2013, and today looks at the Broncos and Cowboys.

| 4 years ago

Neil’s NFL Daily: July 5, 2013

As may have been expected, July 4th was an incredibly quiet day in the NFL and consequently my grading of both the Bengals and Browns received very little in the way of criticism. People clearly had far better things to do than lambast me for not colouring [insert name of random player here] blue. However, today I feature the Broncos, and more particularly the Cowboys, so maybe I’ll take a trip down to the beach when this gets published.

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:



Friday, July 5th

Dallas Cowboys (Click to enlarge)


— I like Tony Romo, I really do. I went back and forth on the above average/high quality thing for some time but in the end, looking back over his grades for the past couple of years, you come away realizing he just screws up too many games, and too many key plays to make the dark green. I am a bit of a Romo apologist because at times he’s genuinely brilliant, but how many times can you trust he’ll play more consistently before you give up?

— For the second half of the year Bryant was a clear blue-chip player but initially he played like an orange, hence the grade.

— I worry that this might be the last time we see DeMarcus Ware grading blue. He didn’t play the run at his usual high level in 2012 and even his pass rush skills weren’t as you’d expect. I hope the season was a blip and not a trend.


Denver Broncos (Click to enlarge)


— Ronnie Hillman might be the starter in Week 1, but I don’t expect it will be long before they either promote Ball or go back to Knowshon Moreno. Hillman looks a reasonable change-of-pace option but his late season performances did nothing to suggest extended playing time.

— Vasquez is an excellent guard and a perfect fit for this offense; he’s a superb pass protector, mistake free and certainly a worthy UFA pick-up. However, his lack of domination in the running game meant I couldn’t bring myself to grade him higher at this point.

— The grading of Chris Harris may have some people new to PFF wondering if I’ve made a mistake, but over the past two years he has been the best slot corner in football. Last year he gave up a catch rate of only 57% and a QB rating of 66.5 while playing 325 snaps in the slot. He may well be the most underrated player in the NFL.

— Truthfully, I have very little idea what the Broncos will do with three of the six non-secondary positions in nickel. Of all the teams I’ve looked at so far the lack of clear, sensible options would have me worried as a Broncos fan.


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 could have put the rooked Williams at DT and Ayers and RE in Denver’s nickel. Based off your previous list Murray is a better graded player than Forte??

    • PFF_Neil

      Although I do like Murray and am nearly always impressed I think the disparity is maybe not correct. I was very down on Forte last year on the basis he got paid and then failed to deliver to that standard. You can argue injury or o-line but overall DM & MF should probably be the same. The real question now is that average of above average?

  • Ben Fitzgerald

    Did Ware grade as average or above average for you guys last year?

    • PFF_Neil

      Above Average (just) although it was very polarized – his pass rush was still very good but his run D was not to his usual high standard. Then add in a glut of penalties and it was a strange year for the great one.

  • Chris B

    What color would McGahee have been? Just curious.

    • PFF_Neil

      Probably light green – although he played well overall his two very poor games at Cincy and Carolina were worrying.

  • Shawn S

    What color would Justin Durant be in Dallas’s assumed base 4-3-4?

  • Nate

    Wesley Woodyard just “above average”??? Man, that guy really doesn’t get anywhere near the love he deserves. One of the most underrated players in the NFL, IMO.

  • pbskids4000

    How is last year’s leader of yards per coverage snap not elite. Give Champ Bailey the blue he deserves.