- This is based solely on 2012 play. Nothing that happened in years previous was accounted for.
- This is created with an “all-positions created equal” mantra, so it asks for a leap of faith that you assume a guard is an important as a quarterback (there are some exceptions here with more situational roles not quite as equal)
79. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (3rd)
Given that Brees led the league in yardage and touchdowns thrown, this plummet down the rankings must be viewed as something of a disappointment. We all know he’s capable, and there were games where he flashed the kind of talent that saw him finish third last year. But too many costly picks meant he was nowhere near that spot this year, as the Saints and their quarterback struggled to deal with the consequences of “BountyGate”.
Best Performance: Week 15 versus Tampa Bay, +6.2
Key Stat: His 1,234 yards on deep passes led the league during the regular season.
76. Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia Eagles (Unranked)
Season 2012 was something of a glimpse at what Graham is capable of, as he got on the field for only 435 snaps. That, and that alone, was why he didn’t finish any higher because he was outstanding when he was on the field. Finishing as the most productive pass rusher in the league, Graham was near unstoppable when he got on the field.
Best Performance: Week 15 versus Cincinnati, +6.2
Key Stat: Turned his 205 pass rushes into 45 combined sacks, hits and hurries. That gave him the best Pass Rushing Productivity rating of any defensive player.
Is this why the Eagles feel okay about their seemingly crappy linebacker situation?
I’ve been saying to it anyone who will listen that Brandon Graham is a great football player. Not good. Great. While the start of his career was slowed by injuries, a difficult defensive rotation, coaching changes, and the very public success of Jason Pierre-Paul (drafted two picks after Graham in 2010), this past year the guy showed how powerful of an edge-rusher he can be. Sneakily one of the strongest players at his position.
The problem now is that Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Billy Davis have installed a 3-4 hybrid for this upcoming year, forcing BG to drop weight and play OLB. Can a 4-3 DE with t-rex arms be a successful NFL 3-4 OLB? Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that if I were a contending team with a 4-3 I’d trade a second rounder for Brandon Graham in a second. The media would kill you, but the end result would be a steal.