Top Preseason Grades: 3-4 Outside Linebackers
We don’t know about you, but we’ve had some with preseason. It’s not the best way of seeing who will succeed when win-loss records start to matter, but it has given us a first look at some players and really gives second- and third-stringers a chance to prove their worth.
So with three weeks of action in the bag we’re going to be looking across all the positions to let you know who have earned the grades in the Top 5 at each position.
Now of course there’s a lot more than five players at each position we’ve graded. We’ve run every player to play a single snap on offense or defense through the grading process so if you want to see how they’ve fared this preseason, and get access to seven seasons worth of historical grades and access for 365 days which will include the entire 2014 season (and postseason) then you’ll need a PFF Premium Package. At only $26.99 you won’t get better value.
3-4 Outside Linebackers
1. Tamba Hali, KC: +6.7
Breakdown: With a particularly strong performance against the Minnesota Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil, Hali jumped to the top of our 3-4 outside linebackers grades, with his pass rushing being particularly pleasing to watch.
Signature Stat: Hali has registered a sack, two hits and three hurries from 30 pass rushing attempts this preseason.
2. Brandon Graham, PHI: +6.5
Breakdown: A player who has always looked deserving of a much bigger role, Graham has continued to prove that this August. He has graded negatively in coverage, but proved too much to handle for opposing offensive lineman both against the run and as a pass rusher.
Signature Stat: With seven total pressures from 25 pass rushing snaps, Graham has a Pass Rushing Productivity Rating of 23.0.
3. Pernell McPhee, BLT: +5.1
Breakdown: Lining up both at outside linebacker and as a sub-package interior pass rusher, McPhee looks much more like the dangerous pass rusher we saw back in his rookie year in 2011. At the very least he looks more than capable of being a solid depth player for Baltimore in 2014.
Signature Stat: Against the Dallas Cowboys McPhee had a sack, a hit, and three hurries from just 16 pass-rushing snaps.
4. Marcus Bernard, ARZ: +4.1
Breakdown: The only player in the Top 5 who hasn’t graded in the green as a pass rusher, Bernard has instead impressed in coverage and against the run.
Signature Stat: Bernard has allowed just one reception into his coverage in August, while also coming away with an interception in coverage.
5. Elvis Dumervil, TB: +4.0
Breakdown: The second Ravens outside linebacker in the Top 5, Dumervil has stood out as a pass rusher while playing just 42 snaps this preseason.
Signature Play: WAS @ BAL, Q2, 2:51 – Dumervil beats Washington right tackle Tyler Polumbus to the outside to record a sack.
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