First, the necessary disclaimer: PFF grades are stupid, unless they praise Jets players, in which case how can anybody be so stupid as to deny the grades are the best of all possible NFL grading systems?
OK, now that we have established our parameters, here’s how Pro Football Focus views the Jets class of 2017: not great.
PFF rates the top 19 rookies at the midway point in the 2017 season here. No Jets made the list. But that’s not terrible; only 19 out of more than 300 rookies made the list. So let’s get into a deeper dive of PFF’s rankings of the Jets class of 2017.
First, some explanatory notes. The PFF grading system corresponds roughly to an American school grading system, without the kind of creeping grade inflation that makes an A expected and a B barely acceptable. 90 and above are the elite. Think A on a report card. 80-89 players are good; think B on a report card. 70-79 equals a C; average starter material. 60-69 equals a D; these guys need to be replaced as starters. Below 60 equals an F; backup material ranging down to this guy has no business being on an NFL roster.
Here’s how the three Jets rookies who have had substantial playing time are graded by PFF to date:
Marcus Maye: 76.2. A solid C grade, 36th of all NFL safeties, a decent NFL starter. Not bad for a rookie.
Jamal Adams: 70.2. Barely a C- grade, 53rd among all NFL safeties. That corresponds to the kind of player a team should be looking to upgrade, but since Adams is a rookie we assume the upgrade is likely built in with expected development. The safety grades correspond to many of the viewpoints expressed here by members of the GGN community, at least with regard to Maye being viewed as having a better year than Adams.
Elijah McGuire: 50.5. An F- grade, unranked among the running backs. That corresponds to a player who perhaps does not deserve meaningful snaps and should struggle just to make a roster. If you believe in PFF grades, and remember, they are stupid unless they praise Jets players, this is a concerning grade. Running backs typically have the shortest of NFL development curves, and are often NFL ready day one, at least as far as their running skills are concerned. Poor pass protection and receiving skills are usually what delays the development of rookie running backs, but in McGuire’s case, by far his worst grades were in running the football. He is rated as a C-/D+ player in blocking and receiving, but has a dismal 48.5 grade for his running skills. Ouch.
Overall two rookies being rated average to a little below average NFL starters from day one is not awful for a rookie class, although it probably is worse than many Jets fans perceive the two rookie safeties.
What do you think? Did PFF get it right, or are PFF grades stupid?