Totally Biased Feature: Numbers Don’t Lie [AFC East]

Everybody knows the big names. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, Calvin Johnson, and people are even coming around recognizing top defensive talent like Jason Pierre-Paul, Clay Matthews, and most recently, J.J. Watt.

What I will try and achieve over the course of eight articles is open up the eyes of fans to names they might not know, or hear over the broadcasts on Sunday. We all focus on the quarterback throwing the ball with laser like precision, or the running back darting through the gaping hole, but sometimes credit is deserved elsewhere. What about the safety who picked up the slack for the corner who just got burned on a go route? What about the defensive tackle who dominated his man on the line, and stuffed the running back behind the line of scrimmage on a crucial third down?

Sometimes of course, the credit does belong to the elusive back and the elite quarterback, but it’s my job to figure out who really is playing well.

I have to take the time to thank the folks at ProFootballFocus.com who have put together the most incredible collection of NFL statistics I have ever seen. The sheer size and scope of their findings are just incredible. So before you continue reading, I ask that you check out a video that really opened my eyes to just how awesome their website is.

Why YOU should subscribe to PFF [Video]!

So, without further ado, I present to you the first of eight articles, starting with the AFC East, and four players, who under further inspection, are playing at a level worth talking about.

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Buffalo Bills: Cordy Glenn, LT

Considered the second best guard in the 2012 NFL draft behind Stanford University’s David DeCastro, Glenn was selected early in the second round by the Buffalo Bills. After a switch to left tackle Glenn has dazzled right from the get-go, performing exceptionally well in pass block situations. He’s only allowed one hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick, and has yet to yield a sack on the 231 offensive snaps he’s been on the field for. Offensive weapons like CJ Spiller and the aforementioned Bearded Wonder have gotten a lot of glory so far, but it’s Glenn who has opened important running lanes, and protected Fitzpatrick’s blind side.

Pro Football Focus Says: Glenn’s pass block rating of +5.5 ranks 13th in the league, and tops among all rookies.

Miami Dolphins: Cameron Wake, DE

The level that Cameron Wake is playing at is almost impossible to comprehend, but we can give it one helluva try. Wake’s defensive rating is currently 30.1 through five games. To put that into perspective, the second best player on Miami’s defense is Karlos Dansby, who’s at a meager 9.7. By meager, I of course mean above average, just not the mammoth 30 spot that Wake is sporting. Wake has hurried, or sacked opposing quarterbacks a whopping 34 times, almost double J.J. Watt’s number of 18. If Wake continues to play at this insane level, which might be impossible, he would almost definitely win the defensive player of the year.

Pro Football Focus Says: Wake’s defensive rating of 30.1 is more than the second, and third best defensive ends whom in a 4-3 scheme combined. Jason Pierre-Paul and Chris Long’s collective total of 24.6 doesn’t even touch Wake’s.

New York Jets: Muhammad Wilkerson, DL

In 2011, when the Jets used their 30th pick in the draft to select Wilkerson out of Temple University, many draft experts say he might end up becoming a decent sleeper pick before too long. That might be nice to hear for a fourth or fifth round player, but fans expect their teams first round choice to produce from the get-go.

Wilkerson posted a defensive rating in 2011 of 4.6, good for 6th best on Gang Green. This year, he has broken out in a big way, already climbing to a robust 11.2 rating, with an incredible 11.3 coming from his run defense [Pro Football Focus gives out negative grades as well, accounting from the discrepancy above]. His 14 run stops are good for third on the team, and his tackle:missed tackle ratio is a stellar 17:1.

Pro Football Focus Says: Wilkerson’s run defense is second best in the entire league, falling only behind J.J. Watt

New England Patriots: Devin McCourty, CB

McCourty has been drawing the ire of Patriots fans since he was drafted in 2010, and I’m here to come to McCourty’s defense. Through the first five games of the season, nobody in the league, save for Seattle’s Richard Sherman, has been better in coverage than Mr. McCourty. He’s had 34 balls thrown his way, and has only allowed 16 completions, good for a 47% catch rate. That’s also good for second in the league behind Chicago’s Tim Jennings.

McCourty’s game log looks spotless as well, and can be seen below. If he continues to play at this level, with some improvement as the season goes on, and McCourty could quickly become one of the best cornerbacks in not only the AFC, but the entire league.

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Now, more than ever, I am totally open to any constructive criticism. This is just the start of what should be a fun and revealing series. I hope you enjoyed part one of eight, and continue to check out the future pieces! Comment and rate!

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  1. […] Just in case you missed them: #1. Numbers Don’t Lie [AFC East] … Published October 13th (Through Wk. 5) […]



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