When Matt Williamson from ESPN dropped his list of the top 15 players in the NFC West, he probably had no idea of the mileage he would get out of it. Actually, he probably did, or at least his editors did. And that's ok, thoughtful lists that provoke good debates are valuable unlike the flotsam and jetsam of random slideshows engineered for nothing more than page views.
Williamson's list sure did raise the hackles of St. Louis Rams fans, most notably for leaving RB Steven Jackson off the list. To try and paint another picture of the list, I went back and looked at the players on there using a could of statistical measures, giving us a way to compare the players with Jackson and other Rams with a flat, more objective view of things.
The list and more evidence that maybe Jackson did in fact belong there, after the jump.
For this I used the "approximate value" stat from Pro Football Reference. From PFR:
...the Approximate Value (AV) method is an attempt to put a single number on the seasonal value of a player at any position from any year (since 1950).
- Larry Fitzgerald - AV: 7; DVOA: -12.9 percent
- Patrick Willis - AV: 14
- Justin Smith - AV: 11
- Vernon Davis - AV: 9; DVOA: 27.5 percent
- Chris Clemons - AV: 7
- Aubrayo Franklin - AV: 7
- Brandon Mebane - AV: 5
- Russell Okung - AV: 4
- James Laurinaitis - AV: 9
- Mike Iupati - AV: 0
- Chris Long - AV: 9
- Darnell Dockett - AV: 10
- Frank Gore - AV: 8; DVOA: -8.9 percent
- Calais Campbell - AV: 7
- David Hawthorne - AV: 7