Pro Football Focus, the outfit that analyzes how a player performs on every play during a game, decided to rate how each NFL team did in the recent draft. They issued ratings of below average, average, above average, good and elite.
Only three teams received the “elite” ranking. As the title suggests, Green Bay was one of them, along with the Jets and the Cowboys. That’s reason enough to celebrate, but there’s more.
Eight teams were rated as good, six as above average, 10 as average and five as below average. Besides Houston and Kansas City, the teams with the lowest ratings were: Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago. Packers fans couldn’t ask for anything more.
Regarding draft day one, PFF said: “Green Bay is one team with a real case for ‘winning’ the 2018 NFL Draft.” They loved the trade-down and rapid trade-up, which produced a fine cornerback in Jaire Alexander and also a first-round draft choice next year.
PFF likes to compute the passer rating allowed when the receiver who a defensive back is covering is the target of the quarterback. Alexander allowed a passer rating of just 19.9 when targeted in his injury-shortened 2017 season. His rating was even better when he was healthy in 2016.
These numbers are off the charts. In comparison, the top cornerback in the draft, Denzel Ward, allowed a passer rating of 54.0 over his career at Ohio State. Mike Hughes, the third cornerback taken in round one, had a 43.8 passer rating when targeted.
The Packers’ other cornerback selection, second-rounder Josh Jackson, also had a dazzling passer rating of 31.3. How’s this: PFF, applying its sophisticated analytical approach, said Jackson simply had “the nation’s highest-graded season at cornerback.”
As to those Twin Cities wannabes, PFF said that picking cornerback Mike Hughes answered some of the Vikings’ needs, but that he has “off-field character issues” — making him a good fit in Minnesota. PFF implied that their second-round pick, tackle Brian O’Neill, will have his hands full shoring up the offensive line, which PFF described as “still a work in progress.” The only other Vikings picks worth commenting on were a fifth-round kicker and a sixth-round guard.
PFF saluted the Bears for picking the top linebacker in Roquan Smith, but that’s not difficult when you’re choosing at number eight. PFF thought Iowa center James Daniels “should go some way to stabilizing” a weak offensive line. In round three, Chicago chose receiver Anthony Miller — who many Packers fans liked — calling him a poor man’s Odell Beckham. Not much else here to talk about, but it will be interesting to see how well Miller does. He’ll have time to develop, now that Chicago acquired Allen Robinson in the offseason.
Of Detroit’s six picks, PFF mostly praised the choice of Arkansas center Frank Ragnow, number 20 overall. PFF seemed dubious about taking Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson in the second round ahead of many more highly-regarded backs. In taking a monstrous offensive lineman in round five, and a rare fullback pick in round seven, PFF termed this draft as being a “power-focus.”
It goes against what I’ve been thinking and saying, but in view of PFF’s draft grades, perhaps… perhaps the Packers can make a run at the divisional title this year after all.