We at Windy City Gridiron enjoy bringing you some of the unique Premium Content from Pro Football Focus. Their grading system allows us to show some of the Chicago Bears players in a different light. In the PFF Top 101 of 2012, they didn't rank strictly with the grades in mind, rather their slew of writers gave a subjective take of the top players based off the 2012 season.
Their #1 player J.J. Watt, had an incredible season, and incidentally he was the highest graded player for them last year at a ridiculous +101.6. The Chicago Bears placed three in the Top 101, and Lance Briggs just missed the cut.
Here are the three Bears, and what PFF had to say about their selections.
84) Henry Melton, DT
It was a big year from Melton who further developed his knack for making plays that will get you the attention of those watching the game. His problem remains that his desire to get up the field leaves him susceptible to being taken out of plays, particularly in the run game. However, his attacking attitude pays off more than enough to warrant a spot on this list, with Melton finishing in the Top 10 for defensive tackles in both our Run Stop and Pass Rushing Productivity Signature Stats.
Best Performance: Week 8 versus Carolina, +7.6
Key Stat: Led all defensive tackles with an 11.6 Run Stop Percentage.
With as good a season Melton had last year, I really believe his best football is ahead of him. He's only 26 years old, and he's still developing as a defensive lineman. I'm sure the Bears would like to lock Melton up long term at some point this off season.
30) Brandon Marshall, WR
While Marshall was productive in Miami, he never really did hit the heights they had hoped for. That wasn't a problem in his first year in Chicago though. Reconnecting with Jay Cutler like the two had never been separated, Marshall found the end zone 11 times and turned his 181 targets into 118 receptions and 1,508 yards. That Marshall had to break 17 tackles to help him get those tell you just how physical he was.
Best Performance: Week 5 at Jacksonville, +3.7
Key Stat: With 2.76 Yards Per Route Run, Marshall had the second-most of any receiver who ran at least 250 routes.
I was surprised with how much Cutler was targeting him, that defenses still couldn't slow him down. It was an incredible record breaking season for Marshall in 2012. With key additions to the offense this off season, Marshall may not reach his '12 numbers, but the offense as a whole could flourish. Thanks to Marshall the other Bears receivers will have plenty of room to operate.
19) Charles Tillman, CB
You need only look at the key stat to see the kind of unrivaled impact that Tillman had. For a cornerback to make that many plays of that nature almost has to be seen to be believed. Still, without backing it up in coverage it wouldn't get him a spot on the list, so to feature so highly tells you how well he did there. Tillman added 14 combined interceptions and pass deflections while allowing just 9.4 yards per reception.
Best Performance: Week 9 at Tennessee, +5.5
Key Stat: Forced 10 fumbles.
Saying Tillman is improving with age, in my opinion, does a disservice to his early years. I've long thought Tillman was under-appreciated by NFL fans, and he was on the cusp of Pro Bowl stature long before he finally broke through. His career numbers look Hall worthy, even though I doubt he ever is recognized as such.
What do you guys think about the Bears that made the cut? Do you think these three will also make that other list that the NFLN is running through?
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