Tennessee Titans fans should have some questions after these power rankings.
ESPN and Pro Football Focus recently did a power ranking of the Tennessee Titans and the other 31 NFL teams (ESPN+) and ranked them by talent. I came away…confused.
My biggest question is how are these grades even calculated? The only preamble to this article is this paragraph:
"“We dove into the Pro Football Focus database and ranked every roster as it stands right now, focusing on the expected starters. PFF grades every player on every play of every game of the NFL season, allowing us a comprehensive look at what each player has to offer for the upcoming season. Projected starting lineups on offense and defense are provided, including our player grades from the 2018 season.”"
There isn’t an average grade or a point system as far as I can tell and I don’t even know if there is a way to offset rookie contribution. So if a team is going to start three rookies is that three “0s” added to their total? If the Cardinals decide to sit Kyler Murray are they going to be considered “more talented” just because they are playing a player with a concrete grade to add to their score?
All of that is to say, that you should probably take these grades with a grain of salt. These are interesting as a baseline of the information that the national media is going to reference, but they aren’t perfect models and they don’t claim to be.
With that in mind here is where PFF ranked the Tennessee Titans:
16. Tennessee Titans: Grades on 24 players
Elite players: 0
Good players: 5
Average players: 8
Bad players/not enough: 9
What they got right:
–Austin Johnson and DaQuan Jones both had subpar grades, which makes sense based on their play last year. If Johnson becomes what he was in college or if Jones can return to pre-biceps injury form, it would go a long way towards helping this team until Jeffery Simmons gets healthy.
-Only one other team in the NFL has a LT/LG combination as good as the Titans and that is the Indianapolis Colts.
–Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson are one of a handful of starting CBs that don’t have a “bad” player.
–Marcus Mariota managed an “average” score which seems right when you factor his good healthy games in with his bad hurt games.
What they got wrong:
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–Kevin Byard is the best safety in football and he could lead all safeties in sacks or interceptions on a near yearly basis if they used him strictly in coverage or strictly as a run-first player.
–Delanie Walker not playing last year hurt his stock on this list because he couldn’t be included in the ranking I’m guessing judging by the fact that he has a 78.0 but isn’t filled in blue like other TEs with similar or worse grades. It feels like we know exactly what we are going to get with Walker and ankle injuries aren’t that serious if I remember correctly.
–Derrick Henry was great in December last year, but why in the world is he ranked as a good player because of one month of great play, but Rashaan Evans, Kenny Vaccaro and Malcolm Butler don’t get the same bump? Is it just because he is a more recognizable name?
All in all, I think this should have been something grouped into tiers and the grading process should have been explained better. Somehow the Texans have the worst OL in the NFL, and the grading system just kinda shrugged and ranked them ahead of the Titans because they Hopkins and Watt I guess.
If this was a tiered grading system and the Titans and Texans both had “B” level talent I guess I could understand it a lot more, but seeing them ranked ahead of the Titans when they are more likely to end up letting Watson get sacked 70 times than they are to have he or Will Fuller play a 16 game season next year, doesn’t make sense to me.
Check it out for yourselves, but ultimately I think having ESPN have to grit their teeth and not knock the Titans is probably a tough pill for them to swallow and so much of this season could be changed with how the rookies and Delanie Walker are able to help this team.