Nov 19, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (90) rushes the passer against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL regular season is rapidly approaching. Soon, talks of the top players and best teams will flood social media as each team’s fanbase will champion for their guys. One of those key components to be considered a top player is how well they stack up against their divisional rivals.
In our last look back at the 2017 season, we take a glimpse at the players who have the highest grades against their division rivals from a season ago. We’ll take a look at the top-10 grades on offense and defense only on contests against their respective divisions. How well did your favorite players play against the division last year? Don’t see them below? Grab a PFF Elite subscription for access to Premium Stats 2.0 to find out for yourself.
Overall Grade against NFC East teams: 90.8
Unsurprisingly, the top of this list begins with an offensive lineman — a position the NFC East knows well. Zack Martin surrendered only three pressures in NFC East play last year, and surprise: all three were hurries. There’s something to be said for an offensive lineman who didn’t allow his assignment to hit or sack his quarterback in any of the eight division games.
Overall Grade against NFC East teams: 87.9
The NFC East offensive lineman pipeline continues with another stud, this time at center. Jason Kelce fared well primarily in the run game, forging space for his running backs en route to a division-best 91.9 run-block grade. Jay Ajayi should easily find success behind Kelce in both division and non-division games this year.
Overall Grade against NFC East teams: 84.2
A guard, a center and now, a tackle to round out the top three NFC East divisional standouts. Like Kelce, Trent Williams didn’t excel in pass-blocking in division play. Instead, it was run-blocking where he made his presence felt, finishing second in the category (91.7) only behind Kelce himself. That’s not to say Williams was poor in pass-blocking — he finished the year without allowing a sack in division games.
Overall Grade against NFC East teams: 79.8
Among offensive linemen with 100 or more snaps in division play, Stefen Wisniewski was third in pass-blocking (78.9) and ninth in run-blocking (75.0). Having a lineman that can shine in multiple facets is invaluable in a league where just average linemen are hard to come by. However, the NFC East is one division that boasts linemen talent throughout all four teams — and Wisniewski is no exception.
Overall Grade against NFC East teams: 79.5
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