Advanced statistics and grades are becoming more commonplace but remain controversial.
Some people think their grades are suspect, but that their unit rankings and advanced metrics are worth following. Others think that grades are gospel.
Either way, it’s always sure to spark a debate.
Today, Pro-Football Focus released their preseason offensive line unit ranks, based on projected starting line ups.
The Bears are 13th, down two spots from the end of the 2017 season and down eight spots from last year’s preseason ranking. Why the big dip? Turnover and slumps, here is PFF writer Michael Renner:
We had this line ranked fifth at this time a season ago, but that was before Cody Whitehair disappointed in his sophomore campaign and Josh Sitton moved on to Miami. The interior that was so strong in 2016 and fueled a huge rookie campaign from Jordan Howard that all of a sudden looks much different. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Rookie second-round pick James Daniels out of Iowa slots into left guard and was the highest run-blocking graded center in the country last year at only 20 years old. If Whitehair can get back to his rookie level which saw him earn an 85.9 overall grade and Kyle Long can stay healthy, this will be a top line once again.
PFF grades Charles Leno as the best returning starter, with an 80.4 overall grade and Bobby Massie as the worst with a 69.9. They project second round pick James Daniels to be the starting left guard, his overall college grade was 89.0.
Whitehair did have a poor showing last season after killing it as a rookie and Kyle Long is such an unknown based on his injury-plagued 2016 and 2017 seasons.
For what it’s worth, the Bears rank behind the Packers (ninth) and Lions (eighth). The Eagles top the list for the second consecutive year.
What do you think? Are the grades a joke? Are the Bears too high or too low? Be sure to check out the entire list and let us know.