Inspired by FiveThirtyEight’s MLB Pitcher Ratings, I wanted to make my own rating system to be able to grade NFL sub-squad groups (such as linemen and linebackers). Thus, with some direction from the site, I set out to grade each defensive player using a system similar to Bill James’s game scores. With that, I was able to plot each team’s players together to try to give you a sense of which teams have the best D-lines.
Some key takeaways:
-The NFC West and AFC North lead the pack for the highest division average for linemen grades.
-The Bosa brothers are good. Notice the furthest right dot on the 49er’s and Charger’s section.
-The Chiefs are still lacking some defensive line support. Besides one outlier (Chris Jones), all of their linemen are below average.
Here we can find each team’s average grade and their respective cumulative grade. Keep in mind that grades can be negative, and typically range from -20 to 100 (not a restrictive range). The biggest surprise here is certainly Tampa Bay–ranked at 23, this team seemed to have one of the better D-lines in football in recent years. Evidently, it must be their linebackers and secondary making a stronger impact. One team that certainly doesn’t surprise me is the Jets, ranking last in the league, with an average lineman grade of -6.5.
Lastly, I put together a table of the top 100 graded linemen in the NFL. Keep in mind that the average grade is only 8.7! Here are some key takeaways:
-The 49ers have the best D-line tandem in the league with Nick Bosa and DJ Jones, they rank 2 and 3 and boast grades of 83 and and 83.5, respectively.
-Guys with the last name ‘Jones’ tend to be good pass rushers–4 of the top 5 all have the same last name!
-What happened to Khalil Mack? Mack didn’t even make the list, as his grade falls at an abysmal -8.5!