Ranking the top 10 best and worst players on Eagles through 2014 PFF grades

Ever since I subscribed to the premium stats section of Pro Football Focus, I have been obsessed with looking at all the data they have and the player ratings. While some of the ratings are obviously arguable and should be taken with a grain of salt, it brings an interesting perspective to how good or bad some players actually are.

Before the season starts, here’s a look at the top 10 best and worst players currently on the Eagles, based on their PFF ratings. Unfortunately, this excludes guys like Sam Bradford and Kiko Alonso who missed all of last year, but I’ll include their 2013 ratings at the end as perspective. Ratings do not include any special teams numbers.

Top 10 Highest Ratings

1. OT Jason Peters (PFF rating: 38.2)

It’s not really a shock that Peters is No. 1 on this list. He should be unanimously considered the best player on this team. He was rated as the top tackle in all of football with his ridiculous 38.2 rating.

2. DE Fletcher Cox (PFF rating: 30.5)

Cox is also the obvious choice for the best player on the defense, even if he was snubbed from the Pro Bowl last year. He was easily one of the best players on the team last year and deserves to be this high.

3. OLB Brandon Graham (PFF rating: 22.8)

I have no idea if Chip Kelly looks at PFF, but there’s a reason Graham was brought back and given a contract extension. According to these PFF grades, he was the third-best 3-4 outside linebacker last year despite not even starting.

4. ILB Mychal Kendricks (PFF rating: 19.1)

Unsurprisingly, here’s another guy that Chip decided to re-sign to an extension this offseason. Kendricks may be a little smaller than what he normally looks for in a linebacker, but he’s proven that even when missing a few games, he can still be one of the most productive players on the defense.

5. RB DeMarco Murray (PFF rating: 16.2)

Murray obviously didn’t play for the Eagles last year, but had an unbelievable season as the key player for the Cowboys’ offense. While he likely won’t play as big a role in Philly, he should still have a very good season.

6. OT Lane Johnson (PFF rating: 15.3)

When Peters eventually retires, it’s pretty clear that Johnson is next in line to move over to left tackle. Johnson has been improving since starting in Week 1 of his rookie year and should continue to get better each year.

7. TE Zach Ertz (PFF rating: 10.3)

Ertz hasn’t improved enough yet as a blocker, but much of this rating comes from his contributions to the pass game, which were pretty good last year, but could still be better.

8. S Malcolm Jenkins (PFF rating: 8.3)

Jenkins had the misfortune of playing in the same secondary as a bunch of awful players last year, yet he still performed well individually in most games. He only graded negatively in four of 16 games, two of which were against Green Bay and Seattle.

9. C Jason Kelce (PFF rating: 7.5)

Kelce didn’t have quite as good a year as he did in 2013, yet he still had a very nice season as the team’s starting center. Expect for him to return to 2013 form if he’s fully healthy.

T-10. DE Vinny Curry (PFF rating: 6.0)

I’ve said it countless times that Curry is the most underrated player on the team and their best backup. He should see an expanded role now that he’s playing some outside linebacker too.

T-10. TE Brent Celek (PFF rating: 6.0)

I was actually surprised to see Celek this high after struggling to do much in the pass game. However, he was excellent as a blocking tight end and didn’t commit a single penalty all year.

Top 10 Lowest Ratings

1. CB E.J. Biggers (PFF rating: -13.0)

It seems strange that they not only brought in Biggers this offseason, but decided to keep him over Jaylen Watkins, who they used a fourth round pick on in 2014. Biggers was okay in preseason and will (unfortunately) play a fair amount in Week 1 against the Falcons.

2. WR Riley Cooper (PFF rating: -12.7)

Anybody following the Eagles knows that Cooper is a bad player. He was the lowest rated player on offense for the Eagles last year, and deservedly so.

3. LB Brad Jones (PFF rating: -11.4)

Jones was another guy they brought in who had a poor 2014 campaign who may see some time in 2015 with the Eagles. He may be more of a special teams guy, but he still graded negatively in special teams last year too. He’ll likely play both linebacker positions if he plays defense.

4. QB Mark Sanchez (PFF rating: -9.8)

Sanchez had some good moments last year like on Thanksgiving against Dallas and against Carolina, but he was pitiful in games against Green Bay and their second game against the Giants. Hopefully he doesn’t play very much.

5. OL Matt Tobin (PFF rating: -8.2)

Tobin struggled last year in his seven starts and struggled again this preseason. He never graded at 1.0 or above in a game last year.

6. WR Seyi Ajirotutu (PFF rating: -7.1)

I was surprised to see Ajirotutu rated this low. He was also graded negatively for his special teams work, which was also a surprise. He didn’t show much on offense in preseason, so it’s likely that he’ll be almost exclusively a special teams player.

7. DT Beau Allen (PFF rating: -6.9)

I was surprised to see Allen have this low of a rating too. I thought he played well last year, but he only graded positively in four of the 16 games he played.

8. OG Andrew Gardner (PFF rating: -6.4)

Gardner wasn’t anything special last year, moving all over the offensive line depending on who was injured. In the nine games he played the majority of the offensive snaps, his performance varied drastically. His best game (Week 15, DAL) he scored a 4.7 and his worst game (Week 3, WAS) he scored a -6.9.

9. DE Brandon Bair (PFF rating: -4.9)

Bair was essentially nothing special, but as the fourth-best defensive end on the team, not much was expected from him. He struggled in the first four games, but was more consistent the rest of the season.

10. C David Molk (PFF rating: -4.8)

Molk had to come in at center in Week 3 against the Redskins and performed terribly, receiving a -5.8 grade in just 46 snaps. He had one good game in Week 6 against the Giants, but other than that he mostly struggled.

Players who missed all or most of 2014

ILB Kiko Alonso (2013 PFF rating: 10.3)

Alonso had a sensational rookie season, and his rating would’ve been tied for seventh best on the team in 2014. However, I was surprised that it wasn’t higher. I think he could definitely surpass 15 this year.

Sam Bradford (2013 PFF rating: 1.9)

Bradford’s rating is low because of two reasons: he had to play for the Rams, and because he missed most of the season due to injury. I expect his accuracy to allow him to multiply this number by at least five in 2015.

Walter Thurmond (2013 PFF rating: 4.8)

Thurmond only played in two games last year, so I took his 2013 rating as a better comparison. He wasn’t a main contributor for the defense, so a rating such as this is pretty solid for his role.

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