The annual player ranking season is upon us. Pro Football Focus, one of the industry leaders in cutting edge statistical analysis, dropped their top 50 players heading into the 2019 season last week. The Jaguars, as you might have guessed, weren't well represented. But two of their top defenders did make the list.
Calais Campbell, the Jaguars' soon-to-be 33-year-old defensive end, came in at number 26. Here's what PFF had to say about Campbell:
Campbell has earned an 85.0-plus run-defense grade in each of the past five seasons, all while playing at least 300 run-defense snaps every year. Most recently, he turned in a career-high 93.8 run-defense grade with Jacksonville in 2018, which was good for league-best among qualifying edge defenders.
Though Campbell's pass-rush grades have fallen off since his career-best 89.2 pass-rush grade in 2016, he's still proved more than capable of terrorizing quarterbacks in his own right. He's still kept his pass-rush grade above 70.0 in each of the past three seasons, and he's recorded at least 50 total pressures in five of the last six campaigns.
From PFF's Mike Johnson on Campbell's epic 2018 season:
"Over the latter stages of his 11-year NFL career, Campbell has blossomed into one of the very best players at his position, notably finishing among the top three in overall grade among his peers in each of the last three seasons. The Jaguars made the no-brainer decision to exercise their 2019 team option for Campbell in February, with plans of a contract extension in the future. Barring injury, expect more elite-level outings from Campbell next season with the likely possibility of one being the best performance at the edge position once again."
A fair assessment, to be sure, of Campbell's body of work.
The second player to make the list, Jalen Ramsey, aka the Goat, came in at fifteen. PFF's breakdown of the Jaguars' young cornerback:
Ramsey's three-year coverage grade (90.9) ranks fourth among the 53 NFL cornerbacks with at least 1,200 coverage snaps played since 2016, allowing receptions on just 164-of-305 targets for 2,207 yards and eight touchdowns in the process. He ranks fifth on the list in completion percentage allowed (53.8%) and eighth in passer rating allowed (72.1), as well.
Though he did turn in just a 72.8 coverage grade this past season, Ramsey should return to form in 2019 and beyond considering just how dominant he's been across his three-year career. PFF's Mike Renner listed Ramsey on his list of bounce-back candidates earlier this offseason.
"A year after Ramsey firmly put himself in the conversation for best cornerback in the NFL, Ramsey inexplicably took a sizable step backward in Year 3. He had fewer picks (3), pass breakups (9), allowed more yards (749), allowed a higher completion percentage (54.6) and allowed a higher passer rating (73.8). Those are still pretty darn good numbers though, and I'm not expecting it to be too long before Ramsey is back to his 91.3 overall grade level from 2017 once again."
I think PFF may have overstated Ramsey's decline in play last season. He was rarely picked on and with the Jaguars seemingly always trailing, opportunities for Ramsey to make meaningful plays were few and far between. Still, it's true that Ramsey wasn't quite as good in 2018 as he was in 2017. Hopefully, he'll regain his All-Pro form.
Are there any Jaguars you think are missing from this list? Let us know in the comments below!
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