PFF’s Top 101 of 2014: No. 1, J.J. Watt

For the third consecutive season, J.J. Watt takes the title as the top player in the PFF 101.

| 2 years ago

PFF’s Top 101 of 2014: No. 1, J.J. Watt

2015-101-top10-wattWe’re running out of ways to state just how good J.J. Watt is. In fact, we ran out of ways a while ago and we’re left just repeating it and shaking our heads in wonder. He is so dominant that every time you dig into numbers and create a new set of data you hadn’t looked at before you have to check just where he falls on the scale for the fun of it.

We have created graphs before that Watt has literally broken the scale of. The entire league appears on a perfect bell-curve that peters out into nothing, then a little more nothing, then J.J. Watt, in a data point all of his own off the end of the scale.

Perhaps the best context I can think of to put Watt into is Justin Smith, who leapt back into our consciousness this week by announcing his retirement. Smith for a few years was as good as it got at his position, ostensibly the same position as Watt plays (though their exact alignment differs a bit), and we wondered aloud at PFF Towers whether he was as good as a player at that spot could get.

In both 2010 and 2011 he was second in the PFF Top 101, and probably would have been in a similar spot in 2009 if we had been running the feature that year. We were speaking about Smith in those years in the kind of awed terms we talk about Watt now, and then we saw just how much better a player could be at that position.

When Watt came along he didn’t just eclipse the average season-total grade for Justin Smith, he blew it out of the water like he was dropping depth charges on a dinghy. Justin Smith would put together a season with a PFF grade in the 30s, but Watt in 2012 broke out with a grade in the 90s (+94.2). The truly terrifying part is that grade has improved each year since, moving to +99.8, then +107.5 and shows no sign of regressing back to the norm of the human race.

Watt is completely redefining what we thought was possible at the position, and there is still space to improve. He still has ‘off’ games where he doesn’t post his usual ridiculous grade.

He has been so dominant for the Texans that they have changed his role within the defense, evolving it to allow him to truly dominate as a pass-rusher with the best possible opportunities. He began life as a ‘regular’ 3-4 defensive end, albeit one in a one-gap scheme that would see him targeting space rather than specific blockers. At the beginning of his career he would have been an analogous player to Calais Campbell, but he has never played a role like Ty Warren once did in New England – the big, two-gapping 3-4 end.

So what has JJ Watt become?

watt alignment

If you take a look at the above graph (click to enlarge) that shows the distribution of alignments of defensive linemen, you can see that Watt has evolved away from a defensive interior player. Kyle Williams and Calais Campbell represent the close crossover between one-gap 3-4 defensive end (what Watt used to be) and 4-3 pass-rushing (3-tech or ‘under’ tackle). The close proximity of those two lines was one of the reasons PFF has pushed for ID as a position group designation (interior defender) rather than 3-4 end or 4-3 DT, because you can see how close the alignment is between the two in this graph.

At the other end of the scale is Jason Pierre-Paul, a legitimate edge defender in his 4-3 defensive end spot. Pierre-Paul doesn’t spend a lot of time at all in inside alignments and that spike is typical of edge-rushers in the NFL.

JJ Watt occupies a third line, one that matches one player almost exactly – Michael Bennett from Seattle. Those two, despite being labeled as completely different positions and players, are essentially playing the same position when it comes to alignment distribution – an ID/ED hybrid.

Watt and Bennett still spend a lot of snaps inside, but their biggest spike is in the same area as the true edge defenders like Pierre-Paul. What makes Watt even more interesting is that he has the biggest spike of the group in the 9-technique alignment, the widest rush-alignment there is. That spike isn’t just the biggest of this group, but is one of the biggest in the league. Watt spends more time rushing from the wide-9 alignment than many of the players you would immediately think top that list.

In short, Watt is no longer just an interior force, but a player who now aligns all over the defense, and has become more of an edge defender than he is a defensive tackle.

The bottom line is that JJ Watt is still improving, evolving, and developing into one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. His numbers across the board are ludicrous, posting more combined hits and sacks than Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, Calais Campbell and Fletcher Cox combined, for example, and he remains the best player in football, and the top player on the PFF Top 101. Now for a third year running.


Follow Sam on Twitter: @PFF_Sam


| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN and NBCSports.

  • Jason Williams

    This is where these rankings fall down a bit for me is that they don’t translate well to team success. Watt can play out of his mind and still lose but when Rodgers is “ON”, his team is going to score 40+ and not too many teams can match that.

    • eddysamson

      He got the MVP, quit your whining FFS.

      • Jason Williams

        I had to look up FFS. #sadbuttrue

    • Jacob Basson

      agree with eddy, I’m a huge rodgers booster and packer fan but the margin of superiority relative to the position is so much bigger for watt (150% over the next highest graded player vs. 25%) that this seems totally reasonable. their ‘all positions equal’ approach is explicit and they lead off Rodger’s profile by noting that “if the PFF Top 101 took position value into consideration, there’s little doubt that Aaron Rodgers would top the list” so I mean waddaya want…

      • Jason Williams

        not disagreeing with the rankings, just how they relate to wins and losses. I’ve watched JJ Watt take over a game and I’ve watched Rodgers take over a game. When Rodgers takes over a game, it’s a blowout win for the Packers. When Watt takes over a game, it’s a nail biter 50-50 proposition because the Texans quarterbacks are TERRIBLE.

        • Chris

          This is the reason PFF says you can’t compare grades across positions. Grading players by what they do every snap rewards players who “win” their snaps more often than not. This is Watt to a tee – he wins more snaps than anyone in the league.

          However we can all agree, certain positions winning their snaps have varying effects on a team’s ability to win a game. QB is at the forefront of those. A QB who wins 75% of his snaps is much more valuable than a DE who wins 75%.

          But PFF isn’t grading how much a player helps win the game, they’re grading individual performance each snap. That’s why you can compare players at the same or similar positions, but not across positions and certainly not on different sides of the ball.

          • Jason Williams

            fair enough (and as usual a well reasoned argument) 😉

    • Dildo Baggins

      The point of these rankings are to rank which players were the best in 2014, not which ones were the most “valuable”.

      • Riffle,Rod&Fly

        Look at how far Brady is ahead of Big Ben Hamburger. The list doesn’t follow those guidelines either.

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      I agree. When you look at the list as a whole, Brady seems to have received a huge boost for winning. Watt seems to have taken no penalty for losing in a weak division. To make sense of it, I guess the list just reflects the idea that QBs are held to different standards.

    • Dalen Erickson

      Nobody is debating that a great QB is far more valuable than even the best defensive player in football. Its about dominance at your position. As an example: Big ben and Romo were much closer to A-Rodge last year than say Calais Campbell, Mo Wilkerson, Fletcher Cox, or Sheldon Richardson were to Watt. None of those superstar 3-4 ends were even close. That is why Watt is at the top of that list

  • Dildo Baggins

    Fun stat:
    QB hits (Sacks not included) in 2014:
    JJ Watt: 44
    Browns: 38
    Falcons: 47
    Jaguars: 38
    Chiefs: 39
    Saints: 42
    Raiders: 44
    Chargers: 47
    49’ers: 45
    Bucs: 48
    Titans: 46

    • Malachi

      jesus… lol

      • marissah.kenned

        Do you use a pay.pal acc ??if you have you can generate an extra $420 at the end of each week in your Pay~Pal account by working ONLINE at home for 5 HOURS a day=> —>

  • Ma Masing

    JJ Watt is MVP to me he is such a beast

    • Chris

      Certain positions are more valuable to the team as a whole, as Jason is getting at down below.

      However when comparing to others at your position, no one is as dominant as Watt. The only other player who can make an argument is Gronkowski.

      • Ma Masing

        Do they ever give mvp to anyone outside QB i get rodgers is great player but watt is most dominant in his position

        • Malachi

          running backs

      • Dalen Erickson

        Ive said that same thing for quite sometime. The only player who compares to Watt as far as utter dominance of his position is Gronk.

        For example: WIth WRs its pretty objective. Is Megatron that much better than Dez? Not really.

        AP was pretty close to being on the level of Gronk and Watt for quite a while. He was the undisputed best at the position at least.

  • Chris

    That chart is really, really cool. I’d love to see it for every rusher in the league, including OLBs.

    Gotta wonder what Pernell McPhee’s chart looks like – dude lines up everywhere.

    • LightsOut85

      I concur (but I won’t hold my breath)

      • PFFSamMonson

        If someone reminds me next week on twitter I’ll get one made up for McPhee

  • Duval

    So Brandon Linder grades out as one of the best guards, makes dark green on the Jaguars depth chart with just his rookie year to work with, and he isn’t one of the 100 best players in the NFL?

    • phil

      Based strictly on last year alone and 101 people had better seasons.

      • Mr. Duval

        Linder’s was a rookie last year, so “last year alone” is his entire career.

        101 players did not have better seasons than Linder, he killed it last year with a (+16.6) PFF grade over the year AND he made PFF’s 2014 Pro Bowl roster as a reserve, right next to Josh Sitton (

        This feels more like an oversight than purposefully leaving Linder out of the top 101 players

        • Mr. Duval

          Fun fact: although they were both reserve guards on the 2014 Pro Bowl roster, Linder went unranked while Sitton was ranked 35th.

          What gives? Seriously, can anyone at PFF explain why Linder was left out?

          • Chris

            He wasn’t “one of the best”. He was the 10th best.

            Let’s do the math…if the 10th best player is going to make it, with 22 positions…this list would be over 200 players long.

            So the 10th best anything is a long shot to make it, especially at a position like guard.

            “Just his rookie year to work with” means nothing. The entire point of this drill was analyzing 2014 only, so it is meaningless that he was a rookie – everyone only had their 2014 play considered.

            Futher, I’d call it more of an oversight that Linder made the Pro Bowl team.

            They picked 6 guards regardless of conference, so you’d think the top 6 grades would make the roster? They left Mathis off the Pro Bowl team due to his low snap count even though he finished #2 on the season, so the rest of the top 7?

            The 6 they picked:

            #1 Yanda (#1 RG)
            #4 Sitton (#2 LG)
            #5 Bitonio (#3 LG)
            #6 Martin (#3 RG)
            #7 Osemele (#4 LG)
            #10 Linder (#6 RG)

            Passed up were:

            #3 Lang (#2 RG)
            #8 Brooks (#4 RG)
            #9 Zeitler (#5 RG)

            3 guards with better seasons at the same position as Linder were passed up for the Pro Bowl roster. So your complaint that he should make the Top 100 players because he made the Pro Bowl roster with Sitton is unfounded, and I’d argue he didn’t deserve to make their Pro Bowl anyway.

            Not that I don’t think Linder is a good player. He is. And he looks to have a bright future. He’s just not Top 100, and not even Top 200 IMO.

          • Mr. Duval

            lol dude you know that just because there are 22 people on the field doesn’t mean there are 22 positions, right? LET’S DO THE MATH:

            You’d have to count OG twice, OT twice, WR twice, and CB twice to come with that figure (you’d have to count DE, DT, and LB twice too, but that’s fair enough considering the significant difference between strongside/weakside LB and 1-tech/3-tech/5-tech on the dline)

            And if your argument is that LG and RG are different positions, why didn’t you call Linder the 6th best player at his position instead of 10th best (gotcha)?

            To say Linder wouldn’t even crack the top 200 is idiotic, but I guess you only said that because you got the number of players on the field and the number of positions there are mixed up…

          • Chris

            I’m glad you focused on the technicality instead of the point.

            So it’s 18 positions instead of 22. Linder still doesn’t belong in the top 100 as the 10th best guard, nor did he belong in the pro bowl. He had a really good rookie year. That’s it.

          • Jacob Basson

            if there are more than 10 positions, you wouldn’t expect the 10th best player at a position to crack the top 100. even a very aggressive reduction to 6 defense positions (safety, corner, inside and outside backer, inside and outside lineman, a substantial oversimplification) and 7 offense positions (3 OL positions, 3 skill positions, QB) gives 13 positions. why are you on this Linder crusade?

          • Dalen Erickson

            He made a mistake there but the point remains completely valid.

          • Dalen Erickson

            You nailed it. Well done. Thank you for saving me the time of answering this question

          • Dalen Erickson

            Lang and Mathis are substantially better than Linder

          • Jaguars28

            As an objective Jags fan, I agree with Chris. Linder may crack the top-100 some day, but right now he’s just a very good rookie.

  • David

    Yeah… if a player is grading 100+ and his defense isn’t the absolute greatest of all time, maybe you need to reevaluate your grades. I have to ask myself, what does his grade of +107.5 mean? Does it mean he’s more than twice as good as someone who grades +50? So you’d rather have Watt on the field than two +50 players? Obviously not. Is the scale logarithmic? What is it? If there’s no way to manipulate Watt’s 107.5 to compare it with other grades how is it quantitative?

    • Jacob Basson

      The grades can be compared across players within positions, but not across positions. Within a position, roughly speaking it means he exceeded the average expectation for him on twice as many plays. Check out their description of the grading here:

    • Chris

      Fun fact – a guy who wins 10 out of 10 snaps is twice as useful as a guy who wins 5 out of 10 snaps. If ya ain’t first yer last.

      • David

        So you’re telling me, that you’d rather line up 10 guys on defense if that 10th guy was JJ Watt, then line up 11 guys that included Justin Houston and Khalil Mack?

        Fun fact, that’s bullshit.

        • Chris

          Why do I only get 10 players because I have Watt? Last time I checked the Texans field 11 on defense.

          I’ll take Watt and Mack kthx.

          • David

            You said a guy who wins 10 out of 10 snaps is twice as useful as a guy who wins 5 out of 10 snaps. That implies you’d rather have the guy who wins 10 out of 10 snaps over a guy who wins 4 out of 10 snaps and a guy who wins 5 out of 10 snaps.

            If JJ Watt’s grade is twice that of someone else, does that mean he’s twice as good. What does it mean relative to someone else? If he is twice as good, naturally you’d rather have Watt as a 10th player than two other guys as 10th and 11 players.

          • Chris

            “If JJ Watt’s grade is twice that of someone else, does that mean he’s twice as good. What does it mean relative to someone else?”

            Players are compared in a vacuum. Watt wins 10 out of 10 snaps. If you remove Watt and insert the other guy, and he only wins 5, he was half as good as Watt.

            Nowhere in that is it assumed I only get 10 players.

        • Logic

          No, that’s not what he was saying. Terrible example since Justin Houston and Khalil Mack both win more than 50% of their snaps. Good try though. Next.

          • David

            Okay, but combined their grades don’t equal Watt. Why is Watt’s grade so outlandishly high? What does a 107.5 grade mean vs. a grade of 80 or a grade of 60? How are they comparable beyond “this number is bigger than other number”.

          • Arif Hasan

            This is a similar question to “what’s the purpose of measuring things in Fahrenheit if 40 degrees isn’t twice as hot as 20 degrees?”

            Yes, 107.5 is not twice as good as 50, but that doesn’t mean seeing the distribution of the numbers isn’t demonstrative—having a player with a +40 increase over the next-best player tells us a lot intuitively if that next-best player only edges out his peer by +1.

            This is just another example of data visualization and presentation. You are freaking out because 0.0 is average and not the lowest because it isn’t intuitive to you to add them. That doesn’t make them useless; it just requires like a little bit more thinking (honestly not that much more thinking) to understand that the math for using the grades is just a tad different if 0.0 isn’t the floor.

            Even without doing math, it’s useful to see that a player is significantly more likely to fail from play to play (-15.0 let’s say) than league average, but not more than the worst at the position (-30.0, let’s say)—perhaps this player could be good depth.

        • Arif Hasan

          A player who exists on the field and does exactly nothing would earn a -100 to -200 grade every season assuming teams did not adjust for the fact that it was an empty spot (if they did, the negative grade would be something like -120 every game because he would earn a -2.0 on every play), so having an empty spot on the field is not “0.0 points” – it’s an enormous deficit.

          Better comparison if the grades are arithmetic and positions are equal: J.J. Watt and a 0.0 player (like Zach Kerr) is worth more than Khalil Mack and Justin Houston.

          • David

            That makes sense, but it still seems suspect. Someone told me Houston has a better pass rush productivity than Watt? Is that true. And if so, why is Watt’s pass rush grade so much better than Houston’s?

          • Arif Hasan

            There was another example below, but there are two big things (and dozens of little things) involved in that kind of evaluation. Players receive grades based on what a player is “expected” to do given what is happening around them. If Houston racked up a lot of hurries, hits and/or sacks when unblocked, that earns something like a 0.0 or so grade, while if he does it through a double-team, it could earn a +1.5 grade. Another thing to consider is that Watt’s pressures come from the interior often, where it is less likely to happen (and therefore out of the norm—something to be rewarded more heavily).

            Among the dozens of little things—if Watt commands a triple team (as he has done on rare occasions) and frees up someone else to get the hit or sack, he will earn a positive grade. If Watt forced a fumble on a sack, he might earn a higher grade than if he didn’t. So on and so forth.

          • Dildo Baggins

            Another important factor is how quick the pressure gets there. A pressure that took 1,5 seconds is not graded the same as one that took 2,5.

            Watt is often beating his man right off the ball, which leads to higher grades.

        • Sincerely rude Brad

          Fun fact, you’re bitch have good day mam.

    • PetEng

      Seems like a stupid argument. He takes their cumulative grade from a -57.0 to a +50.0. The Houston Texans are a below average defense without JJ Watt and an above average defense with him. That’s pretty ridiculous for any single defensive player.

      Putting JJ Watt on a team like 2014 Patriots *would* probably make for one of the best defenses ever. They’d have a cumulative grade of +190.0. That is comparable to the 2013 Seahawks of 193.0.

      • David

        I’m just saying, I think Watt’s grade is inflated. Likely unintentionally, but still subject to some sort of bias. As it stands, the best sprinter in the world is 1.66 standard deviations better than an average Olympic sprinter. And according to PFF the best 3-4 DE is 4.36 standard deviations better than the average NFL 3-4 DE.

        It would seem that either JJ Watt is a mutant on par with several of the X-men, ooooooooooorrrr PFF made a mistake. I think I’ll apply Occam’s Razor on this one.

        • Logic

          Here’s an idea, watch all of the games he played in 2014 and the impact he had on every game and come back and tell me that the Texans would have gone 9-7 without him. Look at all the stats he racked up. I mean he got one of his three OFFENSIVE TDs by doing a fade route. He is simply the best player that has come along in pro football in years and anyone who has actually looked at the tape/stats should agree.

          • David

            Obviously grades aren’t measured by impact otherwise Rodgers would be #1, as PFF states themselves. So if Watt isn’t 107.5 by game impact, what does that 107.5 measure? His talent at the game? Okay, well how is that comparable to someone else’s grade?

            I don’t debate that he’s the best player, I debate that he’s the best player by such an enormous margin. I took the top 64 players’ grades and calculated a standard deviation. This time, Watt posted a ridiculous 6 standard deviations better than the average top 64 player. The next highest graded, Khalil Mack, was only 2 standard deviation better. Do I think Watt’s grade is at all believable? Fuck no, I don’t. I think an outlier of that magnitude is reason enough to toss the data set out.

            Also notice how Khalil Mack isn’t listed at #2, Rodgers is Why is Rodgers #2, instead of #7? If PFF admits themselves that their grades are not totally reliable, why try pump up Watt by using grades they don’t really believe in anyway?

        • Dildo Baggins

          If they inflated his grade, why would they give him a measly +1,4 against the Jaguars in week 14, despite everybody praising him for a 3 sack performance?

          Answer: The Jaguars are terrible and allowed him to go unblocked several times, which resulted in an easy stat padding game for him.

          • David

            If they didn’t inflate Watt’s grade, why is he 4+ standard deviations better than the average 34 DE? No human being is that much better than another human being. You can’t honestly believe that, can you? There’s likely some way the Texans utilize Watt that makes his grade seem better.

          • Chris

            You seem to be making two separate arguments here.

            The first is that you think Watt’s grade is “too good in comparison to his peers”. The other seems to be questioning whether or not there was bias in his grading because “no one should be that good unless he’s a mutant”.

            The first is related to your original argument – comparing +100 Watt to two +50 players. And you appear to have strayed and devolved into the second one.

            1. The point made above by Arif addresses this pretty well. To have an ’empty spot’ on defense is not a +0, it would be something like -1000 because that empty spot would lose every snap of the game for the entire season. So Watt’s +100 and that -1000 would not be as good as two +50s.

            Watt would have to grade over +1000 in order to go “2 for 1″ against the next two best players at the position.

            Instead of an empty spot, how about Watt and one of the worst in the league against two +50s? The worst DE/OLBs are typically around -20ish. So Watt’s +100 less that -20 would not have quite the same impact of two +50s. This would seem pretty simple – having the 2nd and 3rd best players at a position is better than the 1st and the worst.

            However the way it works in reality…the Texans don’t have to go with 10 defenders because they have Watt, and they don’t have to pair him with the worst defender in the league. Crick was their other starting end and he graded out pretty average over these season (around +0). And in this case, Watt’s +100 and Crick’s +0 can be just as good or better than two +50s.

            Also, I don’t see many other teams having two of the top 3 guys at a position, mainly because it costs way too much to sign so much elite talent at one position (unless you’re the Jets DL). It doesn’t cost THAT much less to sign the #2 or #3 compared to the #1 (Watt), so if a team can afford the #2 and the #3 why can’t I have Watt and the #4?

            2. Yes Watt is that good. As Logic said, watch some tape from a few games. He literally owns whoever’s in front of him most of the game. He is nearly unstoppable with one blocker in front of him with is combination of strength, speed, move repertoire, and intelligence.

            He is 4 standard deviations ahead because he wins that many more snaps than anyone else at the position. Hypothetically, as none of us have the play data, Watt is winning 80% of his snaps while his competitors at the position only win about 40%, and the average is 20-30%.

            Simply put, Watt is one of the best pure football players to play in decades. And when he’s done he may be the best defensive player in the history of the game. As someone else said, he’s performing at this high level with a below average defense surrounding him – imagine what he could do on an above average defense.

          • PetEng

            Additionally – David’s sample size is really, really small. We should be combining all the player seasons worth of data into a single histogram (2007+). With that it would be clear Watt probably isn’t 4 standard deviations out there, but maybe 3. He’s had 3 ridiculously seasons – which clearly means a +100 season isn’t that rare.

          • Troll Chris

            If you even think Watt will be top-10 all time, you’re mentally handicapped

          • Housontexans85

            He will get their eventually give him time. Btw stoping hating tranny.

          • Dildo Baggins

            I find it absolutely mind blowing that you dont believe a human being can be better at a sport than another human being… I am 100% convinced you havent watched him play.

            So you cant believe Aaron Rodgers is MUCH better than Brian Hoyer?

            So you cant believe Michael Jordan is MUCH better than say… Josh Smith?

            Reggie White was sure as hell MUCH better than pretty much any other defensive lineman in the NFL at that time.

            Antonio Brown vs Dwayne Bowe…

            I could go on.

            Nobody in the NFL wins more of his snaps than JJ Watt, which is why his grade is so high. If you dont like grades, how about the fact he posted over 30 total pressures more than the next closest player in the NFL and over TWICE as many as the next closest 3-4 End (Yes i know his alignment doesnt reflect a 3-4 End as much anymore).

          • Dalen Erickson

            you missed his point entirely. Im not even sure if you read his comment before you replied. Everything you just said was a waste fo your time because your talking to yourself. Im not even saying I completely agree with him ( I dont have the understanding of analytics that David does so I really cant make an argument either way) but you missed the whole thing. He didnt say one player cant be better than another…..the fact that you think someone would say that in seriousness shocks me…He said do you really think one human can be THAT much better as in better enough that two of the lesser player wouldn’t make up for it which is of course ridiculous. 2 +50 players have to be more valuable than 1 Watt. HAS to be. There I do agree with him

          • Dildo Baggins

            Jesus christ Dalen…. Read his post again then read my reply again. “No human being is that much better than another human being.” It seems like a recurrent theme, that you guys actually dont watch tape.

            Im gonna try again… Even if you dont believe in grades, why the hell does Watt have over TWICE as many pressures than his “peers”.

          • Dalen Erickson

            i was agreeing with you for the most part. I just like to play devils advocate. Didnt I say that I DONT agree with David? I was just saying that I dont think hes saying one player cant be better than another, I dont think hes a complete idiot to say that. I was just saying I think his point is that he doesnt think theres THAT big of a difference…which I dont agree with. I dont know why your jumping on me

    • LightsOut85

      It sounds like you’re thinking more along the lines of win-probability, or the performance of a unit. That is, “does a doubled grade mean the player affects the game/unit twice as much”

      An example could be offensive line run-blocking. I suspect there *is* some sort of “line” where anything more & the grade is more reflective of personal, isolated performance (ie: totally mauling the defender, vs just quickly stepping between them & the RB) – even though it wouldn’t affect the outcome of the play more than someone “at the line”. It’d be interesting to know where this lies, to be able to say “for an elite run-blocking line, you don’t really need a better run-blocker than (insert name here)”.

      That said, in terms of ranking players, it (grades being double, win-probability, the “line”) is irrelevant because they’re solely a measure of individual performance, not how much they affect their overall defense (or offense) – that is something that strongly based on what position we are looking at. (Really, no one non-QB player is going to make a very noticeable difference on a unit).

      • David

        I’ve noticed that PFF grades seem to follow an exponential distribution. I think this might be because human bias tends to exaggerate good into great and bad into terrible.

        • Arif Hasan

          The grades per snap for each position follow a normal distribution (at the alpha = 0.01, 0.05 and 0.10 levels). This makes sense, as talent is generally considered to be distributed normally within populations.

        • Chris

          It may appear that way because, bad players tend to lose more and more snaps if they’re given more and more chances. Where as good players win more and more snaps the more chances they get.

          • Troll Chris

            Hey Chris: you’re the reason people hate America.

          • Chris


  • Football

    Whitey Mercilus>>> JJ Watt

    • garry

      nice, very nice man

    • Chris
    • ravens>bum steelers

      Stop watching football fan-girl and again what happen to the steelers in the playoffs bum.

    • Dalen Erickson

      Can we have this guy put down?

      • Football

        Geez, someone takes football way too seriously.

        Also, I can’t take a man seriously who takes selfies.

        • Chris

          Your grey visage is a true wonderment to behold, I agree.

          • Football

            Well, at least I don’t look like a criminal. That’s a positive.

          • H-Town All Week

            J.J. Watt beats you up doe. Where is his lunch money at?

          • Chris


          • Dalen Erickson

            so wait I look like a criminal?

        • Dalen Erickson

          its called a joke man. Did you notice thats the one of the only picture on my profile? I have 1 picture for every two years Ive had an account. How can people see what you look like if you dont take even 1 picture. There are these creatures called women, I know you have no idea what those are, and they like stupid FB so those of us that like women have to conform. Try to come up with an insult that doesnt sound like it came from a 13 year old boy