Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Pro Football Focus came out with their first ever Top 50 NFL players list for 2017 and the Denver Broncos were well represented being one of just six teams with three players to make it into the Top 50.
Predictably, PFF had to squeeze Khalil Mack in above Von Miller as they do in every single ranking they do between the two players. We’ll ignore that nonsense and focus on what they had to say about Miller.
7. Von Miller, Edge, Denver Broncos
If Khalil Mack has been the slightly better player over the past two seasons, Miller has been right on his heels the entire way, and has a mind-blowing playoff run culminating in a Super Bowl victory that Mack has yet to achieve. That postseason run showed Miller at his unstoppable best, and he was arguably the single biggest reason behind Denver winning both the AFC Championship game and the Super Bowl that year. Miller may not have generated quite as much pressure as Mack, but he has got home more, and made more decisive and game changing plays over his career. The AFC West is not a happy place to play offensive tackle.
Their reasoning that Mack doesn’t have the supporting cast makes sense, but they value that over a player showing up with it matters the most. If I were to value one over the other, I’d value the plays made that decide games over whatever it is Mack does during the regular season.
Fact is, Miller is unmatched in making plays on third down or in the playoffs. It’s hard for me to put anyone at his position ahead of him, even if I am a bias-assed Broncos fan.
14. Chris Harris Jr., CB, Denver Broncos
It seems hard to believe that Harris was once an undrafted player out of Kansas. As a rookie, he was the team’s nickel corner before starting every season since then as one of their top two, before typically kicking inside to cover the slot when they go to nickel and dime packages. Over that time, Harris has allowed just 12 touchdowns in six seasons including 10 playoff games, and once went 35 straight games without allowing a score. He hasn’t allowed a reception longer than 52 yards over his career, and he remains one of the league’s most consistently solid performers at any position.
Damn right. The top ranked cornerback in the NFL according to PFF is none other than Chris Harris Jr. in that No Fly Zone. His play is down right ridiculous and when you pair him with Aqib Talib it becomes absolutely devastating for opposing offenses.
As much as I gripe about PFF’s man crush on Mack over Miller, I rejoice in their perfect analytical abilities when it comes to cornerbacks. We’ll call it a love/hate relationship.
46. Aqib Talib, CB, Denver Broncos
2016 was the first time in his career Talib put it all together, and displayed the kind of shutdown skills he has game in and game out over the course of a 16-game season. Talib didn’t allow a touchdown all year, and when targeted gave up a passer rating of just 49.5, only 10 points higher than simply throwing the ball into the dirt every snap. He surrendered only 351 receiving yards all season, and if we get this player again in 2017, he will vault up this list. The fact it is a career outlier so far is the only thing keeping him this far down it.
I’m not sure about this ranking, but the only other cornerbacks ahead of him besides his teammate were Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson, and Malcolm Butler. The first two I get, but I’ve never really believed Butler was elite. I guess my disdain for the New England Patriots clouded my judgement there.
Despite coming off his best season of his career, PFF punished him for not playing at this high of a level consistently. That makes sense. They want to see him follow it up with another complete performance.
So do we, PFF, so do we!
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