Cleveland Browns get good grades from Pro Football Focus
Pro Football Focus seems very impressed with the talent level of the Cleveland Browns players. Let’s see how they rank with some of this year’s Super Bowl favorites
Pro Football Focus seems very impressed with the talent level of the Cleveland Browns players, and in fact, they compare favorably with the main Super Bowl contenders. Summary graphs are shown for the Browns, as well as New England (6 to 1), Kansas City (8 to 1) and the Los Angeles Rams (also 8-1), according to vegasinsider.com. The summary graphs are shown below if you want to skip the description of the math.
PFF keeps a huge database in which they claim every player is graded on every play. That database, though not infallible and not mainly intended for prediction of future performance, can be used to compare teams.
PFF seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of the players on each play, which is not exactly the same as talent level or a direct predictor of future success. For example, if a corner is supposed to cover the other team’s worst receiver, he might get better grades than if the same player had been assigned to cover the best receiver. Similarly, player grades are affected by schemes and play calls.
Despite those caveats, we are probably justified in believing that there is at least some correlation between PFF scores and the team’s talent level and it’s ability to win. What can PFF tell as about the talent level of this year’s Browns team?
With that in mind, PFF grades were converted to a modified percentile, and the scores for the starters are displayed graphically. In this case, 99th percentile corresponds to the best at each position in the NFL, and zeroth percentile means the player is ranked lowest among the starters among NFL teams.
The modified percentile P is obtained from — P = 100*(NC-R)/CN — where N is the number of starters at the position in the NFL.
For example, at quarterback, N=32 because there is only one first-string quarterback per team. C is a correction factor that accounts for the fact that there are more than 11 starting-level players per unit, due to injuries and extensive substitutions now in vogue in the NFL.
You don’t know in advance which players will be injured, but you do know that there will be more than 11 starters will be needed over the course of the season. Hence 14 was used as a fairer representation of the starting population per unit, and thus C= 14/11 = 1.273. The 11 players at the top of the present depth charts are shown on the x-axis with their percentile grade calculated on the y-axis. It’s possible to generate a negative percentile if a player is ranked very low. In that cas,e the player’s score is set to zero.
Scores for the Browns offense are show below, as well as similar graphs for the Patriots, Chiefs, and Rams who are the current Las Vegas leading contenders for the Super Bowl.
Note that the Browns are expected to start Austin Corbett, but he did not play enough to generate a PFF grade, so Eric Kush is listed as the starter for the simple reason that he played enough to be graded. Also, the Browns’ second string RB, Kareem Hunt, graded higher than wide receiving options Rashard Higgins and Antonio Callaway. PFF views Greg Robinson as the weakest player on the team, despite his stats being more impressive than other tackles on the team and zero sacks given up.
Robinson was installed as the starter in Week 9, and missed zero snaps for the rest of the season. He gave up zero sacks. PFF was more impressed with Todd Haley’s protégé Chris Hubbard, who gave up 8.5 sacks, but only one penalty in 16 games. Robinson managed to get flagged seven times. I dunno, a false start or holding call is bad but doesn’t result in getting your quarterback on IR. The 8.5 sacks from Hubbard is a bit concerning.