NFL Positional Rankings

Dantés

Gute Loot
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We all need fodder like this to get us through the offseason. Plus this sort of thing is highly debatable, so hopefully we get some nice, sharp arguments going on (realistically, this will get like 3 "likes" and fade into the forum ether, but I'm trying here).

To be clear, this is a projection for me. I'm not arguing who I thought was the best in 2016, but who I think will be the best in 20`17. A lot of this comes down to what people value. At RB for instance, I put a premium on passing down skills because that's where the league has gone. I'll address what I predict to be the most "hot take-y" in the blurbs.

So with no more ado...

Quarterback: Supporting cast means a lot to me. Roethlisberger has maybe the best in the game and is still pretty uneven-- so he's out. I think Cam Newton will fall out of this list for good once his body forces him to stop running (he's a sub-average NFL passer). Ryan was epic last season, but I predict that year to be an outlier that he won't achieve again without Shanahan (though I obviously still think he's great). Philip Rivers has been the best with the worst for a long time in my opinion.
  1. A. Rodgers, GB
  2. T. Brady, NE
  3. A. Luck, IND
  4. D. Brees, NO
  5. R. Wilson, SEA
  6. M. Ryan, ATL
  7. D. Carr, OAK
  8. P. Rivers, LAC
  9. M. Mariota, TEN
  10. M. Stafford, DET

Running Back: Elliott not being #3 is bound to be the most controversial thing in any of theses rankings (and I admit it carries the distinct risk of making me look foolish). However, McCoy has been one of the best for years at creating yards for himself and I expect that to continue for at least one more season. And honestly, what Howard did behind an average (at best) line and with a terrible support cast is more impressive to me than what Elliott accomplished in what is, bar none, the cushiest spot for a running back in the NFL.
  1. L. Bell, PIT
  2. D. Johnson, ARI
  3. L. McCoy, BUF
  4. J. Howard, CHI
  5. E. Elliott, DAL
  6. D. Murray, TEN
  7. J. Ajayi, MIA
  8. T. Gurley, LAR
  9. D. Freeman, ATL
  10. M. Gordon, LAC

Wide Receiver: Seems like Bryant gets credit as a top 5 guy for player that we haven't consistently seen in a couple of seasons now. He's still great, but in general I think Cowboys have a way of getting overrated. I gave the last spot to Hilton over Cooper because, while neither is a big RZ threat, Hilton creates the bigger plays.
  1. A. Brown, PIT
  2. O. Beckham, NYG
  3. J. Jones, ATL
  4. A. Green, CIN
  5. M. Evans, TB
  6. J. Nelson, GB
  7. M. Thomas, NO
  8. D. Bryant, DAL
  9. D. Hopkins, HOU
  10. T. Hilton, IND

Tight End: I probably have Rudolph higher than most would. I've always thought he was sleeping in that offense. With Bradford, I expect that he will continue to produce. And he's always been a quality blocker. I'm not sure that much else here needs explaining.
  1. R. Gronkowski, NE
  2. T. Kelce, KC
  3. G. Olsen, CAR
  4. J. Reed, WAS
  5. D. Walker, TEN
  6. K. Rudolph, MIN
  7. T. Eifert, CIN
  8. M. Bennett, GB
  9. J. Graham, SEA
  10. Z. Ertz, PHI

Offensive Tackle: Tyron Smith is still an awesome left tackle but, again, as a Cowboy I think he's a little overrated compared to the other "elites" (who I consider to be Williams and Thomas), as well as some of the young up and comers. The Pats and Titans have stellar duo (as do the Packers-- Bulaga would have been in my top 15).
  1. J. Thomas, CLE
  2. T. Williams, WAS
  3. D. Bakhtiari, GB
  4. T. Smith, DAL
  5. T. Armstead, NO
  6. A. Whitworth, LAR
  7. T. Lewan, TEN
  8. N. Solder, NE
  9. J. Conklin, TEN
  10. M. Cannon, NE

Guard: Here's a spot where I don't think a Cowboy is overrated at all.
  1. Z. Martin, DAL
  2. M. Yanda, BAL
  3. K. Osemele, OAK
  4. K. Zeitler, CLE
  5. T. Lang, DET
  6. G. Jackson, OAK
  7. R. Foster, PIT
  8. J. Bitonio, CLE
  9. D. Decastro, PIT
  10. B. Brooks, PHI

Center: And here's another one. The Pouncey bros, on the other hand...
  1. T. Frederick, DAL
  2. A. Mack, ATL
  3. R. Hudson, OAK
  4. R. Kalil, CAR
  5. C. Whitehair, CHI
  6. R. Kelly, IND
  7. C. Linsley, GB
  8. M. Pouncey, PIT
  9. M. Pouncey, MIA
  10. M. Paradis, DEN

Interior Defense Line: This was easily the hardest list to pare down. So much talent at these positions right now. I left Wilkerson in after a down year because he career suggests he will bounce back to elite status. Mike Daniels, Linval Joseph, and Jurrell Casey just missed. It's hard to know where to put Watt (EDGE or DL), but he's #1 either way.
  1. J. Watt, HOU
  2. A. Donald, LAR
  3. G. Atkins, CIN
  4. F. Cox, PHI
  5. N. Suh, MIA
  6. K. Short, CAR
  7. C. Campbell, JAC
  8. L. Williams, NYJ
  9. M. Wilkerson, NYJ
  10. G. McCoy, TB

Edge Rusher: The AFCW dominates this list. It was another hard one to fit into 10 spots. I gave some projection credit to Clowney and Hunter. I think the former is finally healthy and will show out. And the latter is a freak show who just turned in 12+ sacks and will be 22 when he starts his third season (22!!!).
  1. J. Bosa, LAC
  2. J. Houston, KC
  3. K. Mack, OAK
  4. V. Miller, DEN
  5. D. Hunter, MIN
  6. J. Clowney, HOU
  7. M. Bennett, SEA
  8. O. Vernon, NYG
  9. C. Jordan, NO
  10. B. Graham, PHI

Off-Ball Linebacker: It was tough to come up with 10 really impressive names here. This position is down league wide. I suspect that all of the best athletes are being moved to EDGE because of the direction of the game.
  1. L. Kuechley, CAR
  2. B. Wagner, SEA
  3. J. Collins, CLE
  4. R. Shazier, PIT
  5. C. Mosley, BAL
  6. S. Lee, DAL
  7. L. David, TB
  8. V. Burfict, CIN
  9. K. Wright, SEA
  10. D. Hightower, NE

Cornerback: I fully expect Belichick to turn Gilmore into an elite corner (just look what he's done with the much more limited Butler). I put a premium on man coverage ability. Sherman is the lone exception to that rule. If Jason Verrett ever stays healthy, look out.
  1. P. Peterson, ARI
  2. S. Gilmore, NE
  3. R. Sherman, SEA
  4. J. Verrett, LAC
  5. J. Ramsey, JAC
  6. C. Harris, DEN
  7. J. Jenkins, NYG
  8. D. Rodgers-Cromartie, NYG
  9. D. Trufant, ATL
  10. A. Talib, DEN

Safety: I don't know what to say here. These are safeties....
  1. H. Smith, MIN
  2. E. Thomas, SEA
  3. E. Weddle, BAL
  4. L. Collins, NYG
  5. D. McCourty, NE
  6. T. Mathieu, ARI
  7. E. Berry, KC
  8. K. Chancellor, SEA
  9. K. Neal, ATL
  10. H. Clinton-Dix, GB
 

Poppa San

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Clinton-Dix seemed to be out of position a lot last season, showing up a step or two late in coverage support. Sometimes made his CBs look even worse than they were. Burnett I believe is a better overall player at the safety position.
 
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Clinton-Dix seemed to be out of position a lot last season, showing up a step or two late in coverage support. Sometimes made his CBs look even worse than they were. Burnett I believe is a better overall player at the safety position.

It's possible Clinton-Dix ended up being out of position too often because he tried to cover up for the shortcomings of a cornerback group lacking talent.
 

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It's possible Clinton-Dix ended up being out of position too often because he tried to cover up for the shortcomings of a cornerback group lacking talent.
Maybe he should have played the proper positioning game more often so that when the CBs DID do it right and he WAS there, they would not have looked quite as inept. either way, this thread is to debate rankings among the league. I think HaHa is rated higher than he should be but is capable of being there.
 
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Maybe he should have played the proper positioning game more often so that when the CBs DID do it right and he WAS there, they would not have looked quite as inept. either way, this thread is to debate rankings among the league. I think HaHa is rated higher than he should be but is capable of being there.

Well, FWIW PFF graded Clinton-Dix as the 20th highest safety out of 90 qualifying players at the position last season. According to them he excelled in run defense (8th) while slightly struggling in coverage (34th).
 
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Dantés

Gute Loot
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HHCD is a good run defender who has steadily improved in coverage. He's taken steps every year. One more shift in the right direction commensurate with what he's done to this point should have him cusping on the edge of the top 10.

Burnett might look better in the stat sheet, but what HHCD is asked to do is more difficult and more important.
 

Mondio

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Clinton-Dix seemed to be out of position a lot last season, showing up a step or two late in coverage support. Sometimes made his CBs look even worse than they were. Burnett I believe is a better overall player at the safety position.
It's my one knock on him. Wth all the flux back there I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt heading into this year. Is he too slow? Too late in recognition? Or too busy trying to help everyone around him and getting out of position? I think he's solid, but needs to do more to really earn the praise he's been getting
 

El Guapo

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When you are surrounded by inferior talent that is constantly out of position and giving up plays, one cannot help but to cheat over and try to help. I saw this out of HHCD quite a few times and understand it. His job may be to do his job, but a player's natural inclination is to help stop the bleeding - not play in a silo. I'm merely saying that HHCD has the tools, but likely wasn't using them to the fullest because of what surrounded him.
 

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Clinton-Dix seemed to be out of position a lot last season, showing up a step or two late in coverage support. Sometimes made his CBs look even worse than they were. Burnett I believe is a better overall player at the safety position.
I don't think either one can cover good tight ends and I haven't seen where either one can get to the sidelines quickly. Imo, they are a not good fit for the other. Hoping to see one of them gone after this season and would really like to see Jones, Brice or Randall become the 2nd.
 

elcid

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I don't think either one can cover good tight ends and I haven't seen where either one can get to the sidelines quickly. Imo, they are a not good fit for the other. Hoping to see one of them gone after this season and would really like to see Jones, Brice or Randall become the 2nd.

While I agree that HHCD gets too much praise for what he did last year, I would be disappointed to see him leave. Like pointed out, this guy is taking (big) strides each year. Burnett is very dependable, if not good, but overall nothing special. Unless he has a special year (or Brice and Jones have shown not to adequately be able to man the position) I would not mind seeing him go if his demands are too high, all though I would be reluctant to let yet another veteran of our defense go. Every time when I feel like our defense is rebuilding properly, getting to the right mix of young and old, some solid vets walk away, making us completely reliant on the (often up-and-down or unpredictable) play of our rookies/2nd year players.
 

Mondio

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I think they're both fine in their own right. They just don't seem to compliment each other well. BUt there are a lot worse things you could have than to solid and dependable safeties back there.
 
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I don't think either one can cover good tight ends and I haven't seen where either one can get to the sidelines quickly. Imo, they are a not good fit for the other. Hoping to see one of them gone after this season and would really like to see Jones, Brice or Randall become the 2nd.

The Packers exercised the fifth year option for Clinton-Dix, extending his contract through the 2018 season. Burnett is an above average strong safety and might get even more important playing a hybrid role. I would be in favor of bringing him back on a reasonable deal.
 

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