Lowest-graded player at every position in NFL Week 1

Which player performances in Week 1 left something to be desired? Bryson Vesnaver breaks down the list.

| 3 months ago
Titans QB Marcus Mariota

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Lowest-graded player at every position in NFL Week 1


With Week 1 of the NFL season nearing it’s end, it’s time to look at the performances that weren’t quite up to scratch to start the year. Here are the lowest-graded players at every position in Week 1, with a few surprising names appearing on the list.

(Note: Changes may be made following our review process and once Monday Night Football games have been analyzed and graded. Click here to see the best players at every position in Week 1.)

Offense

Lowest-graded players Week 1

Quarterback: Marcus Mariota, Titans, 34.6 overall grade

Mariota had a bit of a rough go yesterday, as he completed 25-of-41 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns. He only had one interception on the record, but threw another one that was called back due to penalty. He just wasn’t on his game, missing his receivers almost as often as he found them, especially when he tried to push the ball downfield. Mariota was just 6-of-16 for 95 yards when the ball traveled at least 10 yards downfield.

Running back: Lamar Miller, Texans, 40.7

While he broke 100 yards on the stat sheet, it wasn’t as good a day for Lamar Miller as the numbers may suggest. Of those 107 yards, only 46 of them came after first contact. The 2.2 yards before contact that he averaged were seventh-best in the league, meaning he had great blocking, but nearly as soon as he was contacted, he went down. He forced just one missed tackle on the day, and also fumbled the football.

Tight end: Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers, 36.4

While Gates wasn’t bad when he was throw to, catching three-of-four targets for 20 yards and forcing a missed tackle, that wasn’t enough to make up for a poor run-blocking day. He allowed four tackles when run blocking, and also had a play where his man missed a tackle. He was beaten outside a handful of times, as well, forcing the running back to change his intended point of attack multiple times.

Wide receivers: Brandon Marshall, New York Jets, 43.7; and Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks, 43.8

Both Marshall and Lockett saw seven targets yesterday, and both players caught just three of them. Marshall gained 32 yards, but just six of those came after the catch. Lockett gained only 17 yards on his receptions. Both wideouts dropped an easy pass, as well. Neither were getting very open on a day where both of their quarterbacks needed all the help they could get.

Slot receiver: Albert Wilson, Kansas City Chiefs, 49.2

Wilson operated out of the slot on just over 90 percent of his 41 routes run on Sunday, but he had a fairly ineffective day there. From the slot, he caught just two-of-four passes for -2 yards. Outside the slot, he added another catch for 3 yards to bring his total on the day to just 1.

Left tackle: Charles Leno, Jr., Chicago Bears, 39.5

Leno, Jr. had a tough day protecting the passer for the Bears, as he allowed a sack, two hits, and two quarterback hurries. He wasn’t much better when blocking for the run, failing to open up holes most of the game and allowing a couple of run stops.

Left guard: La’el Collins, Dallas Cowboys, 40.1

Collins wasn’t horrible in the pass-blocking phase, allowing a hit and two hurries. In the run game, however, he allowed six tackles, including a big one for a loss. Not an ideal day for a Cowboys’ offense that needed to rely on their run game.

Center: Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles, 37.4

Kelce really struggled on Sunday at the center position for the Eagles. He was beaten a handful of times when pass blocking, giving up a QB hit and another hurry. In the run game, he was consistently unable to hold his blocks and allowed his man to blow up the play multiple times. He also added a low snap.

Right guard: Earl Watford, Arizona Cardinals, 38.0

Watford struggled blocking in both the pass and run game. He allowed a quarterback hit, and there were two times where he was beaten while pass blocking, but a pressure wasn’t recorded; he was also beaten twice for tackles in the run game.

Right tackle: Mike Remmers, Carolina Panthers, 34.8

Despite playing well for the first two quarters, Remmers had a really tough second half in the Thursday night opening game. When all was said and done, he allowed two sacks and three hurries, as well as a few other plays in which he was beaten but a pressure was not recorded.

Defense

Worst defense of Week 1

Edge defender: Jason Jones, Miami Dolphins, 36.6

Jones was mostly invisible on Sunday; in 54 total snaps, he had just one sack, and it was an unblocked clean-up. He made no impact in the run game, either, failing to record even an assisted tackle there.

Interior defender: Tyrone Crawford, Dallas Cowboys, 34.5

Crawford was consistently handled by the Giants’ offensive line, especially in the run game. He made just one tackle on the day, and it was of the clean-up variety. He also didn’t record a single pressure when rushing the passer.

Interior defender: Jaye Howard, Kansas City Chiefs, 38.3

Howard was in a similar boat as Crawford, as he too made just one run game tackle and failed to record any quarterback pressure on the day.

Edge defender: Kyle Emanuel, San Diego Chargers, 37.4

Emanuel had a tough time pass-rushing, as he failed to record a single pressure on the day. He also dropped back into coverage a handful of times, where he allowed two catches on two targets for 43 yards (both receptions went for first downs).

Linebacker: De’Vondre Campbell, Atlanta Falcons, 30.4

Campbell had a really tough go of things in his debut for the Falcons, as he made just four tackles on the day with only two of those being defensive stops. He missed two tackles in the run game, as well, and was generally blocked out of plays altogether. He also surrendered four catches on four targets for 52 yards and a touchdown.

Linebacker: Justin March-Lillard, Kansas City Chiefs, 31.2

March-Lillard was playing the first defensive snaps of his career, and while he made eight tackles, none of them constituted a defensive stop. He missed one tackle, and was generally ineffective in trying to stop the run.

Cornerback: Ken Crawley, Saints, 30.4

Another year, another Saints corner making this team. Crawley was targeted seven times on Sunday and allowed six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t fare well in the run game, either, and missed three tackles on the day.

Cornerback: Bradley Roby, Denver Broncos, 31.1

Roby had a tough go of things in coverage, too, allowing five-of-seven completions for 69 yards. While that doesn’t seem too bad, many of those catches were big first downs, and he also missed a tackle in the game.

Slot cornerback: Logan Ryan, New England Patriots, 45.0

Ryan spent the majority of his defensive snaps lined up in the slot covering star Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was clear who got the best of that matchup, as Ryan allowed six-of-seven passes to Fitz to be completed for 54 yards and two touchdowns. He also surrendered a big 11-yard catch to Michael Floyd.

Safety: T.J. Ward, Denver Broncos, 36.0

It was a tough day for safety T.J. Ward. He struggled in his run defense, missing a tackle and not making a single defensive stop on the day. He was also beaten in coverage a handful of times, and just wasn’t making the plays he’s known to.

Safety: Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks, 37.6

Thomas is a shocking name to see on this list, but he really struggled in coverage on Sunday. He was late with help on occasion, and missed three tackles on the day.

Kicker: Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings

Walsh missed two field goals (37 and 56 yards), as well as an extra point. He also only forced two touchbacks on seven kickoffs.

Punter: Drew Kaser, San Diego Chargers

Kaser’s punts averaged just 35.6 yards in the air, and they were frequently returned. His net average of 26.4 was the lowest of the week.

| Analyst

Bryson has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, and has also been a contributor to 120 Sports.

  • Steven Macks

    Blair Walsh kicking short of the end zone on kickoffs seemed to be more of a tactical decision than, say, bad kicking.

    • Jacob M. Lundeen

      This is league wide. Rumblings leading up to the season were a lot of HCs are really upset about the rule change, so they were intentionally not going for touch backs. I think PFF still needs to collect that data, but, for at least this year, parse that out and show two different grades.

      • Thebaskett

        collecting data fine.. but to use it as a good vs bad performance.. shouldnt be there

        • Jacob M. Lundeen

          That is why I said it should be parsed out and be presented as two different grades.

      • Zack23

        “A lot of HCs are really upset”
        There’s 8 teams represented on the rules committee, I find it hard to believe that they agreed in the new rule without the support of a vast majority of teams.

        • David Kubik

          Just cause the owners support it doesn’t mean the coaches do

          • Zack23

            Coaches are on the committee too

          • Mike Riley

            Dinosaurs like Jeff Fisher are on the committee. I doubt he speaks for all 32 coaches.

          • David Kubik

            yea, but i have heard tons of coaches also speak out against it. I’m not sure their voices were actually taken into account.

    • Paddy Holland

      patriots pinned the cards multiple times inside the 20, good special teams units will definitely be trying to keep the ball in play

  • WL- Minneapolis

    Attn PFF: I wouldn’t use touchbacks as a measure for kickers this year, as teams are purposely not going for touchbacks sometimes.

  • Thebaskett

    i dont think touchbacks should be counted as good or bad since with the new rule, i think we see less of them due to coaches not wanting them to start at the 25

  • Tim Edell

    I thought Earl Watford was playing OG in place of Mathis yesterday not C?? And Pasztor was playing RT?? I definitely could be wrong

    • crosseyedlemon

      Your right far more often than your wrong Tim…welcome back for another season.

      • Mercutio

        This article is totally mistimed, SF & LA haven’t played yet and will fill out more than a few of the slots

        • crosseyedlemon

          Technically that’s a possibility, but the staff is in a bit of a no win situation the way games are scheduled now. If they waited till Tuesdays most fans would have trouble remembering the events of the early Thursday matches.

    • Bill Doerr

      Watford was at RG. He came in as a replacement backup, but I thought overall for a backup he looked good, esp in Arians offense which asks a ton of their O-Linemen with all the 5-7 step drops

  • Evan Rogers

    Mariota threw 2 td’s though……

  • YouBarkIBite

    “Neither were getting very open on a day where both of their quarterbacks needed all the help they could get.”

    While I agree Lockett had a poor day catching the ball, there is just no way you can say he wasn’t “getting very open” based on the TV broadcast — there is simply not enough information available. Seattle had nearly 50 pass plays in the game and WRs are almost always off camera unless they’re targeted. Using 7 out of 40+ patterns run to measure a receiver’s ability to get open is kinda ridiculous. The All-22 is essential.

    • Nelson Cobb

      You think they just use the TV broadcast to do their grading??

      • YouBarkIBite

        I guarantee you they use the TV broadcast, it’s in their FAQ. They only review a small subset of plays using All-22, which isn’t even available until a couple days after game day. The same day/next day grades they post are 100% from the TV showing.

        • Nelson Cobb

          I didn’t see it anywhere in their FAQ where it says that, and I really don’t believe that. If they’re using TV broadcast, then all these rating are bogus and very misleading. You can’t accurately grade half the positions on TV. The Safety and CB position might not even be seen but once or twice an entire game. I have a hard time believing that they’re doing that. And then you’re claiming they don’t review every single play at all??? So, now only aren’t the grades truly accurate, they’re lying on top of it, cause they clearly say an analyst grades each and every play of every player for every game. But you’re saying they don’t??

          • YouBarkIBite

            Looks like they’ve changed their grading FAQ to further obscure their actual methods. I’ve followed PFF for five years. They have always graded based on the TV broadcast. That was Neil Hornsby’s original shtick — he was a normal guy grading every play based on rewatching the regular TV feed many times. The NFL only started offering all-22 to the public 2-3 years ago via NFL game pass, and this coaches film is only available a couple days after the game is played. PFF used to say on their grading FAQ something like “we are very confident in grading based on the TV broadcast, but our graders will later review certain plays using All-22 that are flagged by our charters”. That is why some of their game grades will mysteriously change a couple days later, if you haven’t noticed. Everyone who used PFF before Chris Collinsworth took over knows this. I’m guessing you discovered PFF via NBC exposure and made a bunch of assumptions based on PFF’s marketing hype. If this makes you disbelieve their process — well, then that’s exactly why they’re obscuring that information. I still think PFF has some validity, you just need to understand the context of their grading. They used to be more transparent about it but now they’ve gone corporate and it seems they only care about selling more subscriptions.

          • Brandon Chester

            Completely agree. There has been times the articles change after posting them to the public. Just yesterday they said Alex Smith threw 0 INT’s. When it was one. They are so worried about getting their information out there as fast as possible that they make poor judgment calls. I have no clue who runs PFF but they need new leadership. Its not about how fast you can grade, but how accurate you are during grading.

          • Roo Mal

            NOT TRUE: I HAVE GAME REWIND; its available 24 hours and its been available since every single one of the 2011 games; the year I first bought it. Thats FIVE ENTIRE YEARS: 2011,12,13,14,15. I’ve used all 22 to see how bad Tebow really was; (He was putrid; there’s so many open D Thomas and Eric Decker plays; its every down)
            ALSO; before 2011 lots of writers had All-22 availability from some kind of thing the NFL did with writers. Andy Benoit had All-22 footage way before 2011; I know that for a fact. It’s very conceivable PFF did so too.

          • Roo Mal

            AND: They have a team of people watching each game; so Im happy to hear about updating grades after more eyeballs chart the game.

          • YouBarkIBite

            Instead of arguing with me, why don’t you just ask PFF? I’ve used their product for a long time. I stand by all my statements.

          • Rock Lancaster

            The NFL didn’t make it available to subscribers until 2012, not 2011. Prior to 2012, the people that wrote for this site were simply guessing. They still guess, but not to the extent they used to guess.

          • Brandon Chester

            Not that they are completely wrong but they often rush through their grades. I’ve always said this. It isn’t the PFF writers opinions that matter. It’s the coaching network. I have found plenty of miscues in their first week. Top preformers for the chargers versus chiefs and they don’t include Gordon. Yet he is a top 5 RB now. Best players of the week included Eric Fisher, yet he is ranked 11th. That literally makes no sense. Sometimes when they first publish articles it has incorrect stats. They said Alex Smith had zero INT’s yet he had one.

          • eYeDEF

            To be fair, I got the sense they added a lot of new employees to the staff that are compiling data for the first time this season that are just getting the hang of nailing down process. I expect accuracy to improve.

          • Brandon Chester

            I don’t know. I think if you look up the legitimacy of all these “new” writers it won’t bring you much confidence. These guys judgment are probably no more accurate then if you graded yourself. Honestly the coaching network needs to be note involved. More people with legitimate credentials.

          • eYeDEF

            But I’m not sure that would necessarily improve the final product. I think reasons behind the deficiencies are the need to rush the product out there for the consumer public and lack of manpower to double check work and fill in the holes with All 22 once it comes out. I bet even if you brought a pro team of scouts on board they’d tell you they can’t give accurate or fair evaluations with the limited angles they see on first broadcast. PFF’s limitations are logistical more than being poor at evaluation. I’m sure new hires have a process on exactly how to come up with grades that would be fairly mechanical in compilation. It’s the lack of information that kills the analytical quality.

          • Brandon Chester

            That’s part of their MO tho. They say right there where it says how we grade that they have 3 people check the grades and grade differently.

            I also don’t think that they grade via broadcast. It’s PFF. Chris Collins worth funds them. You mean to tell me they don’t have the same footage that chris is up there drawing with in the commentators booth?

            I think the lack of quality is because these guys weren’t professional’s at one time. Even Mitchell Schwartz had to call some PFF analyst out with their inaccurate grades. He’s a professional lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs.

            I mean D. Ford was graded as a poor starter at the end of week 1. I check it today and low and behold! His grade has risen to a casual starter level.

            These grades are flawed and their losers/winners of the week aren’t accurate. Its disappointing because it takes credibility not only from PFF but everyone that uses it. Now every Sport’s journalist is relying on a grade that could easily be changed once the grades from the coaching network arrive. I don’t know why they don’t just hire ex athletes.

          • eYeDEF

            I don’t know. I think if they had access to All-22 before the rest of us because of special access by Collinsworth they’d be shouting it from the rooftops, or at bare minimum it would be stated very clearly in their FAQ and promoted since it’s a selling point that improves their credibility when a chief criticism has been that they don’t open source their grade formulas. That’s what always made their grades suspect to me, that they probably didn’t for fear of exposing their grades as built on a house of cards due to initial broadcasts leaving too many holes to provide proper analysis. Collinsworth only came onboard a few years ago so at a bare minimum they’ve graded on initial judgments prior to All-22 for the overwhelming majority of their existence. But I think your observation of Ford’s grade today only confirms that they still don’t have any special access prior to Wednesday and are forced to grade off initial broadcasts.

            My understanding of the Mitchell Schwartz criticism was that any analyst not familiar with the inner workings of the play design of who was assigned what responsibility can provide accurate grading. I’m not sure that’s something that can be remedied regardless of how professional the staff is.

            The NFL really needs to get its act together and offer the option of All-22 viewing as an add on. That’s something I would gladly pay for but should be part of what’s offered in a broadcast anyway since it improves knowledge and interest in off camera game away from the game. That would be the solution to the inaccurate initial assessments. The other problem right now is that PFF has become so widely cited in mainstream analysis people are taking the initial grades a little too seriously. PFF needs to be a little more transparent with their process. The other gripe I have of them is that they protect their sig stats as their crown jewels instead of allowing the public access to them. I noticed they are offering their real grades and sig stats to the mass public again like they did before last season but for private citizens that aren’t press when I requested a quote it was $1500.

          • Brandon Chester

            I think its impossible to grade a game. Their grade formula is demonstrated through the grades. They grade certain things differently. For example when Alex smith goes 11-20 and none of his passes go for 10 yards or more they will criticize him for that. Ford’s grade isn’t about them not having access to all 22. If you have NFL game pass you have the all 22 camera view the very next day. I think its the coaching network who adjusts and corrects their grades.

            No the Mitchell Schwartz criticism was because they showed a GIF of Luke Joeckel being steam rolled on a play. Schwartz quickly butted his 2 cents in and said how do you know he didn’t trip over the center? They start talking and even Schwartz said I’d need the back camera view to see who’s feet were in the wrong place. I don’t even think NFL game pass offers a back camera view of the QB’s view in the pocket. I think that you are correct about analyst not having the slightest clue what everyone’s job duty’s are.

            If you have a Verizon phone, or any type of tablet, Computer, direct TV esc. That NFL game pass shows the 22 angle. Its 100 dollars unless you are a Verizon customer or direct TV. Then its free. Ya people are taking these grades to seriously. That’s because the NFL is starting to incorporate it more. I mean for the starting lineups when they all say their name and college now they have their PFF grades below them.

            Sig stats? Isn’t that like the broken tackles, deep throw accuracy? I noticed that as well. When I signed up for PFF i noticed this. That is a bunch of bull hokey. All they give us now is the players grades. I can’t find out how many pressures a lineman gives up. 1,500 dollars just to get signature stats? Complete garbage. NFL game pass is better. You can grade yourself for 100 dollars and be just as accurate as them.

          • Roo Mal

            I think its fucking bullshit, the criticism of PFF. Sure once in a while it looks like a lineman got beat because they’re responsibility was right, not left. But PLENTY of Lineman get good and great grades. It’s always the guys on Mediocre O Lineman bitching. The critic was on the shitty NYG O-Line for God’s sake!!

          • Brandon Chester

            Wrong Mitchell Schwartz never played for the giants. His brother did Geoff Schwartz. Mitchell Schwartz is the RT for the Kansas city chiefs. Before that he played RT for the Cleveland browns and he’s never missed a snap.

            I just think its impossible they can grade that quickly. What they do is they favor the main stream markets. For example Oakland ead a top ten rated team going into week 17. Their overall record? 7-8. Chiefs were riding a 9 game winning streak and they were ranked 12th. Their record? 10-5. How can u grade a 7-8 team better as a 10-5 team? Makes completely no sense.

          • Brandon Chester

            Also Mitchell Schwartz has always had a positive PFF grade. So its not like he’s mad that he gets bad grades. He’s a player that has never missed a game. He just doesn’t like the harsh “I’ll gif you into eternity” when the lineman tripped. Even Mitchell Schwartz said he’d need the back angle camera view to find out if he did.

          • eYeDEF

            Yeah I was unfamiliar with the role of the coach’s network but saw Sam Monson make a reference to an adjustment made by them in the comments of another article so I’m sure you’re right on that. Wh0a I completely missed that they’re actually using PFF grades below players in live broadcasts. No wonder why they’re so broadly cited now by mainstream sports sources. I was wondering what was up with that. I only have verizon on my mobile and sub to nfl game pass on that, cable I have comcast so I wasn’t aware of the all-22 availability for free. I’ll have see if I can sub it through my phone and blow it up on the big screen.

            Yeah access to their unique signature stats was always the most valuable part of the service they offered for pay prior to last season when they cut off the public and sold them exclusively to teams and scouts, which I’d guess forms their biggest money making client base now. By comparison the grades are worthless. The true value is the sig stats. But where would we be if the public never had access to traditional stats? I guess now they can say they do offer them to the public, it just happens to cost $1500 for access.

  • crosseyedlemon

    The Bears have too many games where Jay Leno looks like he could block better than Charles.

  • 24AHAD

    Peters would be on here if Keenan Allen didnt get hurt. Horrible game. I simply do not understand why hes not in press coverage more.

    • Brandon Chester

      Exactly. As a chiefs fan I totally agree. Peters was being eaten alive. I hope he can step it up versus Hopkins. He’s had a pick in both the Houston games last year. That was Hoyer throwing the ball that time.

  • AKjester

    Earl Thomas looked very poor against the Dolphins. I hope he didn’t have a concussion, but it could explain the odd angles he took and the missed assignments. This grade would have been more obvious if Tannenhill had not overthrown an open receiver on a 50 yard bomb at the end of the game that would have won it for the Dolphins.

    • osoviejo

      “…if Tannenhill had not overthrown an open receiver on a 50 yard bomb at
      the end of the game that would have won it for the Dolphins.”

      Ah yes, the ol’ “let’s cherry pick a play to change the outcome of the game gambit.”

      You do recall that Wilson also overthrew an open receiver on a bomb, don’t you? No? Of course not.

      Confirmation bias–the bread-and-butter of fanboys everywhere.

      • AKjester

        Your criticism of my post is very misplaced. My post is about Earl Thomas when I am talking about Tannenhill’s missed throw. Likely, it was Earl’s assignment to make sure no player was behind the defense, especially at a stage of the game where it means the team would lose if completed. It looked like Earl failed on that assignment. That’s not cherry picking a play, that is pointing out that his error nearly cost the Seahawks the game on a less obvious play than where Stills straight dropped the ball.
        Whether Wilson overthrew anyone does not have significance whatsoever on my comment on Earl Thomas’ play.

        • osoviejo

          Omit “…that would have won it for the Dolphins”, and I would not have responded. Should be obvious that I took no issue with your Earl Thomas take.

  • Zack23

    So did Revis earn his spot on his own private “worst game of the week” island? Or does AJ have to visit and whip him all over again?

  • Nelson Cobb

    After tonight, looks like you’re gonna have to replace Logan Ryan with Brashaud Breeland tomorrow. Steelers have absolutely abused him tonight!! Now he just completely whiffed on DeAngelo Williams as Williams walked into the end zone. And I though Washington fans said they were gonna have the best CB duo in the NFL this year???

  • Josh Stewart

    I find the lack of Rams players on the list in a 28-0 loss the the 49ers (yeah.) troubling.

    • Brandon Chester

      It was made before Monday. PFF always rushes their article.

  • David Japhet-Mathias

    How is Breeland not on this list?

    • Brandon Chester

      It was made before the Monday night games. They have Eric Fisher as having the best game for a LT. Yet he’s ranked 11th. How does that even make sense?

  • osoviejo

    “…in 54 total snaps, he had just one sack…”

    What an odd criticism. If he does that for a season, he’s a $15 million a year player.