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PFF ranked the front 7s in the NFL: Guess how many the Falcons faced in the top 10


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Saw this gem on PFF and was reminded of the gauntlet of defenses the Falcons have faced this season.

Like it's been said before these Falcons are battle tested.

https://www.profootballfocus.com/pro-ranking-all-32-defensive-front-sevens-this-season/

 

The league’s defensive front-seven units are easily one of the most difficult groups to rank in the NFL. With other positional groups, analysts have to consider one or two aspects of the game at most, but with the front-seven, pass-rushing, run defense, and the coverage prowess of linebackers all have to be factored in.

To arrive at this season-ending ranking, we leaned on our season grading of the starters, with strong deference to those receiving the bulk of the snaps. When injuries occurred, we weighed the snap counts of the injured players against his replacement in order to arrive at the most accurate ranking.

1. Seattle Seahawks

Top overall grade: LB Bobby Wagner, 90.9

Lowest overall grade: NT Jarran Reed, 44.2

The class of the league for some time, the Seahawks paired the league’s most productive linebacker duo this season with a defensive line that can get pressure via multiple avenues. Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, and Frank Clark all had top-40 pass-rushing grades among edge players, while Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright both finished with top-10 grades for off-ball linebackers.

2. Philadelphia Eagles

Top overall grade: DE Brandon Graham, 93.3

Lowest overall grade: DE Connor Barwin, 42.1

It was a difficult decision between the Eagles and the Seahawks for the No. 1 spot, as this front-seven propped up a hodge-podge secondary to form one of the league’s most effective defenses for a good portion of the season. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox finished with the third- and fourth-highest pass-rushing productivity marks at their respective positions. Philadelphia’s front-seven also features a budding star in second-year linebacker Jordan Hicks, who led all players at the position with five interceptions.
 

3. Carolina Panthers

Top overall grade: DT Kawann Short, 87.7

Lowest overall grade: NT Star Lotulelei, 46.9

Carolina started off slowly, but by the middle of the season, the Panthers were once again dominating around the line of scrimmage. Everyone knows about Kawann Short by now, who finished as the third-highest graded interior defensive lineman, but defensive end Mario Addison’s season flew more under the radar. He finished fourth among all edge players in pass-rushing productivity and racked up his double-digit sack total in only 433 snaps all season.

4. Los Angeles Rams

Top overall grade: DT Aaron Donald, 95.6

Lowest overall grade: DE Robert Quinn, 60.6

Aaron Donald on his own would be good enough to beat out a handful of front-sevens around the league, but pair him up with a myriad of other talented pass-rushers and you get a top-five unit. Defensive end William Hayes and defensive tackle Michael Brockers both earned top-25 grades at their respective positions in 2016. The play, when healthy, from defensive end Robert Quinn, though, is mildly concerning. His pass-rushing productivity has declined every year since 2013.

5. Arizona Cardinals

Top overall grade: DE Calais Campbell, 90.4

Lowest overall grade: DT Corey Peters, 73.8

The Cardinals’ defense finally got something they’d been missing for some time—an edge rush. Unfortunately, it just so happened to coincide with the collapse of their secondary. Chandler Jones had a career year, finishing with the seventh-highest grade of any edge player, while Markus Golden made the second-year leap, finishing 24th. As a whole, Arizona recorded the highest pressure rate of any team in the NFL, at 40.15 percent.

6. Minnesota Vikings

Top overall grade: DT Linval Joseph, 83.3

Lowest overall grade: LB Anthony Barr, 43.1

It’s amazing that the Vikings are among the top 10 on this list with Sharrif Floyd playing only 25 snaps all season long and Anthony Barr disappearing for long stretches of play. Helping quell those losses, though, were the performances of second-year players Danielle Hunter and Eric Kendricks. Hunter was 15th among edge players in pass-rushing productivity, while Kendricks was seventh among inside linebackers in run-stop percentage.

7. Denver Broncos

Top overall grade: OLB Von Miller, 91.1

Lowest overall grade: DE Jared Crick, 41.3

For much of the season, this team felt like “Broncos-lite” compared to a year ago. It seemed like they should have been relatively the same unit, but you just couldn’t quite put your finger on why things were different. The fact of the matter is that losing studs like Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan had a ripple effect that saw this unit take a step back as a whole. Even though they still got pressure on opposing quarterbacks at the second-highest rate in the NFL, they had to blitz at the third-highest rate to do so. The Broncos’ run defense suffered, as well, with Sylvester Williams and Jared Crick grading out among the worst interior players in that regard.

8. Kansas City Chiefs

Top overall grade: DE Chris Jones, 83.5

Lowest overall grade: NT Dontari Poe, 55.8

This was one of the most difficult units to rank. If everyone was fully healthy all season long, the Chiefs could very well have been No. 1. But that wasn’t the case, and multiple players seemed to play through nagging injuries, limiting their production. Jaye Howard, Dee Ford, Derrick Johnson, and Justin Houston all missed time at some point during the year, while Ford and Houston had multiple games where they actually played hampered by injury. It was still a quality unit, though, with the play of rookie defensive tackle Chris Jones being a revelation. The second-rounder finished with the fifth-highest pass-rushing productivity mark among interior players.

9. Green Bay Packers

Top overall grade: DE Mike Daniels, 85.3

Lowest overall grade: OLB Clay Matthews, 44.6

The Packers’ defense has been hounded for their incompetency all season long, but those struggles almost entirely reside in the secondary. In fact, almost every player the Packers threw out along the defensive line performed at an above-average level—Datone Jones, Julius Peppers, Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Letroy Guion, and Nick Perry all fit that bill. The only thing holding Green Bay back is the lack of an impact linebacker, as the team’s highest-graded player at the position, Jake Ryan, was still only 43rd overall.

10. Houston Texans

Top overall grade: OLB Whitney Mercilus, 87.4

Lowest overall grade: NT Vince Wilfork, 45.1

It’s impressive to see that, without the best defensive player of the last decade, the Texans still fielded a top-10 front-seven this year. Jadeveon Clowney continued the dominant level of run defense he flashed in 2015, while Whitney Mercilus firmly established himself as one of the league’s premier edge rushers. It’s a shame, though, that injury has zapped Brian Cushing of his dominant blitzing prowess, as he managed three combined sacks and hits this year after averaging 13 over his first three season in the league.

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13 minutes ago, JerseyNo12 said:

I knew it was more than half, but I was a little surprised to see Green Bay on that list. They do have a good pass rush though with Clay and Peppers off the edges.

Matthews isn't the same player.  He has missed some time, but he had his lowest sack total of his career this year.

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21 minutes ago, JerseyNo12 said:

I knew it was more than half, but I was a little surprised to see Green Bay on that list. They do have a good pass rush though with Clay and Peppers off the edges.

I am shocked to see them also. Maybe it's that horrific secondary that drags them down into the gutter.

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I was about to guess all of them before I clicked... assuming it would be ranking 5 fronts.

I was close.

Green Bay is a good front. Mike Daniels and Perry are especially stout against the run. They're still no match. Atlanta has faced and grooved tougher.

Hope this continues to put at ease some of those nervous nellies still lingering about. The Falcons did not back their way into this position. They went the hard way to get here.

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3 minutes ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

I was about to guess all of them before I clicked... assuming it would be ranking 5 fronts.

I was close.

Green Bay is a good front. Mike Daniels and Perry are especially stout against the run. They're still no match. Atlanta has faced and grooved tougher.

Hope this continues to put at ease some of those nervous nellies still lingering about. The Falcons did not back their way into this position. They went the hard way to get here.

Good Post

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