Top 10 Performances, Week 1
We’ve always said our grades need intelligence applied to them and that’s what we’ll try to do here; this isn’t just an arithmetic exercise. Strength of opponent and where the balance of the overall grade came from (run, pass, and coverage) is taken into account.
Feel free to disagree and name the omissions below in the comments section.
1. Cameron Wake, DE (MIA) +7.7
Simply destroyed one of the best right tackles around in Sebastian Vollmer on the way to seven Tom Brady disruptions including two strip-sacks.
2. Matt Ryan, QB (ATL) +5.9
According to the NFL Top 100 Players Poll at least 14 quarterbacks are better than the Falcons’ star. A 94.1 QB rating when under pressure says maybe things will be different in 2015.
3. Derek Newton, RT (HST) +5.7
Right tackle has been a weakness since Eric Winston departed but became the strength of the offense against a decent Washington front-five. Perfect in pass protection and strong in the running game, both at the point of attack and second level.
4. Luke Kuechly, MLB (CAR) +5.5
Fortunate to win DPOY ahead of Watt and Quinn in 2013, was the lynchpin of a brilliant defensive display vs. Tampa Bay. What’s the odds he plays better this year and gets none of the plaudits?
5. J.J. Watt, DE (HST) +7.4
Business as usual for our “best player in football in 2013”. He’s so consistently great he makes the outstanding seem mundane.
6. Le’Veon Bell, RB (PIT) +4.2
A remarkable 84 of his 109 rushing yards came after contact. Then he throws in another 88 yards through the air. By far the best performance of his young career.
7. Matthew Stafford, QB (DET) +7.1
We said this was the year of no excuses and he made none. OK, so the opposition wasn’t great, but the throw back across his body, directing traffic, to Calvin Johnson for a touchdown was probably worth a place on this list in itself.
8. Aqib Talib, CB (DEN) +2.7
There may have been better graded performances by corners this week, but none against the type of weaponry that the Colts can deploy. Thrown at 10 times he allowed only five catches for 27 yards with two knockdowns.
9. Jurrell Casey, DE (TEN) +6.4
New position, new contract, same performance level including seven QB disruptions and two stops in run defense. Only the quality of the O-line he faced stopped this ranking from being higher.
10. Kelechi Osemele, LG (BAL) +5.7
It’s been a bad few days for the Ravens, but Osemele’s performance was at least a bright spot. Returning from injury in Week 7 last year he put in his best display since the Super Bowl against a very creditable Bengals D.
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