Over at Pro Football Focus, senior analyst Sam Monson is ranking the NFL’s Top 101 players right now. Manson reached the halfway point of his rankings this morning, with two Los Angeles’ Rams players making the list.
Before we get to the good stuff (and if you’re familiar with their work you already know this), you should note that PFF’s rankings aren’t going to be based on player popularity or touchdowns scored. Monson notes this list is intended to "look beyond that narrow band of play, and instead start to quantify who the best players are in the league right now from all of the available data." Positions are weighted equally, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see a run-stuffing tackle ranked ahead of a Pro Bowl quarterback.
Now for the good stuff! Coming in at No. 97 on the list...
97. Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
The running back position in today’s NFL is consistently talked about as being devalued, but there is a visible impact any elite runner can still bring to any offense, and we saw that last season when Todd Gurley got on the field. His explosive ability to turn a crease into a big gain gave a completely different dimension to the Rams’ attack, and if they can couple that with a viable passing offense, they may really be in business. So far, all we have really seen from Gurley is his ability with the ball in hand, and in today’s league, you want an elite running back to be a factor in the passing game, as well. 2016 will tell us if he has that in his arsenal, because a rookie season being eased back from a bad knee injury likely doesn’t tell the whole story in that regard. The Rams barely used him in that area in 2015; let’s see if they do this year.
77. Robert Quinn, DE, Rams
The performance we saw from Robert Quinn in the 2013 season may have been the best single-season of edge-rushing PFF has seen since we began grading (2007). He was completely unblockable at times, and able to get around the tackle and hit the quarterback in 1.5 seconds—or about as long as it took him to complete his drop and look up. The problem is that it’s getting longer and longer since that season. In 2014, he was good, but far from as spectacular, and 2015 was much the same story, with the addition of lost time through injury. We know Quinn is capable of obscene greatness, but we have to go back more than two years since we last saw it, and until he returns to that level, I can’t put him much higher on this list.