Lamar Jackson Is Snubbed From Pro Football Focus' Top 50 Player Rankings
Pro Football Focus revealed the top 10 players on its annual Top 50 player rankings today, and Lamar Jackson was not among them.
In fact, the Ravens quarterback doesn't appear anywhere on the list. I even checked it twice.
Jackson, just one year removed from being named the second unanimous MVP in NFL history, was left off the PFF50, which ranks the best players in the league entering the 2021 season.
It seems inexplicable that Jackson could be excluded from the list, but PFF data scientist George Chahrouri offered an explanation.
"Lamar Jackson, I think has the chance to be one of the most uniquely special players. But from a passing standpoint, his PFF grade has been low,"
Chahrouri said on "NFL Total Access'' "If he has that consistency this year in the passing game, there's no doubt that he's top 50, top 20, top 10 material.
"But that PFF grade from a passing standpoint needs to improve a little bit so that he can truly impact the defense with his legs and his arm. And I think it's just a little inconsistent at this point. It's tough, though, even saying that, to leave Lamar off the list because he's such a special player."
Chahrouri said it himself: "He's such a special player." PFF's passing grade be damned.
Jackson was No. 8 in last year's PFF50, and not cracking the top 50 this year is preposterous.
While Jackson was not as productive last season as he was in 2019, when he threw a league-leading 36 touchdown passes (to just six interceptions) in addition to setting a single-season rushing record for a quarterback, he undoubtedly still kept opposing defensive coordinators up at night.
What Jackson did last season had no bearing on his ranking anyway. According to PFF, the rankings are
"a projection of what we think will happen and not necessarily a reaction to a spectacular or underwhelming 2020 season."
Six quarterbacks made the list: Patrick Mahomes (No. 2), Tom Brady (No. 7), Aaron Rodgers (No. 10), Russell Wilson (No. 22), Josh Allen (No. 40) and Dak Prescott (No. 50).
While player grades and rankings make for interesting debates, the bottom line is that Jackson is 30-7 during the regular season as a starter and has taken the Ravens to the playoffs in each of his three seasons.
Jackson is a game-changer. Period.
Two Ravens – cornerback Marlon Humphrey (No. 29) and left tackle Ronnie Stanley (No. 46) – made the list.
"Humphrey doesn't get the recognition he deserves because of his role within the Baltimore defense and the things they ask him to do precisely because he is their best coverage player. Over the past two seasons, only Xavien Howard has a higher PFF coverage grade when in single coverage. Humphrey has achieved that despite lining up in the slot on 58.8% of his snaps in that time, a position that often leads to far more coverage losses."
"Stanley may be the best pass-protector in the entire NFL at any position. He has back-to-back PFF pass-blocking grades of at least 90.0 (albeit in an injury-shortened year in 2020). He has surrendered just 16 total pressures across his last 719 pass-blocking snaps, allowing his quarterback to be hit or sacked just three times in that period. Stanley's run blocking has improved throughout his career, but it's his pass-blocking prowess that powers him to this ranking."
Analyst: Ravens Not One of NFL's Five Most Complete Teams
Speaking of snubs ...
NFL.com analyst Marc Ross ranked the top five most complete teams entering this season. Four of the five are AFC teams. None of the four are the Ravens.
The Cleveland Browns are No. 1, followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers (coming off a 7-9 season) and Buffalo Bills.
"There are certainly arguments to be made for teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals, but other candidates caught my eye," Ross wrote. "After all, this is my list."
A year ago, the Ravens were No. 1 on NFL.com's Adam Schein's list of the most complete teams.
Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters Ranked No. 1 Cornerback Tandem
Now here are some rankings I can get behind.
Bleacher Report's Maurice Moton ranked the NFL's top five cornerback tandems, and Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are No. 1.
"Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters complement each other well," Moton wrote. "Humphrey doesn't jump a lot of routes for interceptions, but he can handle lead wide receivers on an island and gets his hands on the ball. … The Baltimore Ravens can also rely on Humphrey to make tackles in the open field and force turnovers upon contact. In 2020, he led the league in forced fumbles (eight), an impressive feat for a cornerback. Humphrey also recorded a team-leading 70 solo tackles with four for loss and 2.5 sacks.
"Peters isn't a reliable tackler in open space, but he's arguably the top ball hawk in the NFL. The two-time All-Pro has the most interceptions (31) since 2015. In 2019 and 2020, he allowed a passer rating below 79."
Three Ravens Draft Picks Recognized for Making Strong Impressions
ESPN's NFL Nation reporters gave their impressions of the first-round picks of the team they cover, and Jamison Hensley said he likes what he's seen in offseason workouts from wide receiver Rashod Bateman and outside linebacker Odafe Oweh.
"The way Bateman runs routes, he looks like a No. 1 wide receiver," Hensley wrote. "This offseason, he had some drops and missed some practices with muscle issues. But, when he was on the field, he got open more consistently than any other Baltimore receiver.
"Oweh's effort and competitiveness have jumped out at Outside Linebackers Coach Drew Wilkins. Oweh often chases down plays 30 yards down the field and looks fast doing it. He'll be an instant contributor on the Ravens' third-down packages because of his explosiveness. His lateral movement is rare and just can't be coached."
Meanwhile, fifth-round outside linebacker Daelin Hayes made Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport's list of rookies who are looking like draft-day steals.
"A couple of practice sacks don't mean a lot. Hayes fell to the draft's third day because of a perceived lack of athleticism," Davenport wrote. "But the Ravens have a track record of developing young pass-rushers, and for what it's worth, [Matthew] Judon was a fifth-round pick in 2016. That worked out OK."