Performance Based Value: Atlanta Falcons
In this series of pieces, Pro Football Focus is hammering into the value of players. To us it’s a “Performance Based Value” number, telling you what players were worth (by our grading) in 2012. You can read about the work we’ve done to create it here, but in short:
• It’s solely about what a player did on the field in 2012
• Players are grouped by positions so their play essentially earns them a portion of the positional salary pool
• It’s all about cap hits (these values are approximate)
Here are 2012′s most undervalued and overvalued Atlanta Falcons:
(* Denotes player missed significant portion of time through injury)
1. Robert McClain, Cornerback
With the injury to Brent Grimes, McClain moved up the depth chart to the nickel slot cornerback spot and took advantage of his opportunity. He allowed just 9.2 yards per catch, and had an interception and eight passes defended, compared to zero touchdowns allowed. It won’t be long before he gets a contract that more matches his play.
2012 Cap Hit: $470k
2012 Performance Based Value: $5.3m
Value Differential: +$4.8m
2. Jacquizz Rodgers, Halfback
This former fifth-round pick ended up taking more snaps at running back than anyone else on the Falcons’ roster. He mostly came in for passing downs, and did a great job in blocking allowing just one hit and three hurries, and added 17 missed tackles caused on receptions, which ranked third in the league.
2012 Cap Hit: $520k
2012 Performance Based Value: $3.8m
Value Differential: +$3.3m
3. Vance Walker, Defensive Tackle
Walker is yet another young, late-round draft pick the Falcons were successful in finding and developing. He has been decent at making run stops with a Run Stop Percentage of 6.7%, and avoided mistakes with no missed tackles or penalties. He was limited by the rotation at defensive tackle, and played in only 50% of snaps, but he has the talent to be utilized even more.
2012 Cap Hit: $1.3m
2012 Performance Based Value: $4.5m
Value Differential: +$3.3m
4. John Abraham, DE – Cap: $4.5m, PBV: $7.8m, Value Differential: +$3.3m
5. Julio Jones, WR – Cap: $3.7m, PBV: $6.9m, Value Differential: +$3.2m
6. William Moore, S – Cap: $890k, PBV: $3.7m, Value Differential: +$2.8m
7. Roddy White, WR – Cap: $8.0m, PBV: $10.4m, Value Differential: +$2.4m
8. Matt Bosher, P – Cap: $490k, PBV: $2.8m, Value Differential: +$2.3m
9. Todd McClure, C – Cap: $610k, PBV: $2.5m, Value Differential: +$1.9m
10. Akeem Dent, MLB – Cap: $640k, PBV: $2.2m, Value Differential: +$1.5m
1. Brent Grimes, Cornerback*
In 2011, Grimes was our third-highest rated cornerback in terms of coverage. The Falcons used the franchise tag on him and unfortunately 52 snaps into the 2012 season Grimes was lost for the year. The Falcons certainly missed Grimes’ presence, as Dunta Robinson went back to an every-down player. It’s really hard to get value out of a player who was given the franchise tag and played less than one game.
2012 Cap Hit: $10.3m
2012 Performance Based Value: $40k
Value Differential: -$10.2m
2. Michael Turner, Halfback
Turner wasn’t used enough to be worth anywhere near his large contract. He had a high 43 missed tackles caused, but managed just 3.8 yards per carry. He was rarely used in passing situations, and for good reason as he dropped four passes compared to 19 caught. It’s not surprise with such a high cap hit and his play that he was among the Falcons released.
2012 Cap Hit: $7.0m
2012 Performance Based Value: $1.1m
Value Differential: -$5.9m
3. Dunta Robinson, Cornerback
After three years in Atlanta, Dunta Robinson has officially not worked out. He allowed too high a catch rate at 66.0%, and 300 yards allowed after the catch was tied for seventh-most in the league. He had somewhat of a redeeming factor in his 3.4 Run Stop Percentage, but when you want your cornerbacks to primarily be coverage men, it isn’t surprising that Robinson was also recently cut.
2012 Cap Hit: $6.0m
2012 Performance Based Value: $2.0m
Value Differential: -$4.0m
4. Ray Edwards, DE – Cap: $4.5m, PBV: $830k, Value Differential: -$3.7m
5. Justin Blalock, G – Cap: $3.9m, PBV: $1.3m, Value Differential: -$2.5m
6. Jonathan Babineaux, DT – Cap: $4.6m, PBV: $2.6m, Value Differential: -$2.1m
7. Matt Bryant, K – Cap: $2.6m, PBV: $830k, Value Differential: -$1.8m
8. Stephen Nicholas, OLB – Cap: $2.5m, PBV: $1.2m, Value Differential: -$1.4m
9. Peria Jerry, DT – Cap: $2.0m, PBV: $810k, Value Differential: -$1.1m
10. Harry Douglas, WR – Cap: $1.8m, PBV: $730k, Value Differential: -$1.1m
Summary – Team Value Differential: -2.6m
If you ignore Brent Grimes, the Falcons are a decent team in this category. They have a lot of young developing players, and the top three overvalued players not named Grimes are already gone. The number may be negative, but the Falcons have been handling their over and undervalued players well.
Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke