Last week, the NFL Top 100 placed Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake at No. 89. The list is voted on by pro players, and being chosen by a group of peers is surely a special honor, but many still felt that 89th out of 100 was way too low, a line of thinking that the statistical wizards over at Pro Football Focus have now validated.
Every year, PFF puts out a Top 101 list from the previous season, and on May 3, the list was finally complete. The keys to the list are that they are based on production on the field during the entire 2012-13 season, and every position is viewed as equally as possible. The list is compiled by a group of statisticians that make an art out of breaking down performance, and they see Wake much differently than the group that voted for the NFL’s list.
Here, Wake comes in at No. 8 overall, and when you look at his production last season, this makes much more sense than 89th. The players obviously respect Wake’s skill and ability, but he is not the most well-known player in the NFL, and this surely hurt his stock.
PFF does not take into account a player’s popularity. The play on the field and the level of competition are what matters for this list, and we would be hard-pressed to list anything that matters more.
At No. 8, Wake was actually topped by four other defensive players: Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 5), Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (No. 4), Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (No. 3), and Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt (No. 1).
This is an impressive group of defensive names, and Wake, who was listed at 16 on last season’s list, earned the right to be included among the best in the NFL.
Please feel free to comment in the section provided below, and let us know what you think about the difference between the two lists and which one you agree with more.