Bloggers, media and sport fans used to heap scorn on Bleacher Report, mainly due to some questionable user-generated content that damaged the site’s reputation in its infancy. However, since their big money deal with Turner 18 months ago, they’ve added some talented and respected names as featured writers and a great deal of their content is now well worth checking out.
One of the featured writers they added to their roster was draft scouting guru and former TJB Podcast guest Matt Miller, who – along with several other film junkies – is spearheading the B/R NFL 1000 project, where they attempt to rank the NFL’s top 1,000 players. The project is now into its third year and they’ve just started releasing this year’s results. For more on how the project works go here.
Here’s what they said about Wilson:
A little underrated as a corner, Kyle Wilson (5’10”, 190 lbs, four seasons) is the type of player who keeps everything in front of him and rarely allows receivers to get behind him. He is at his best when playing off coverage. He will get pushed around at the line of scrimmage when in press coverage. Wilson has good straight-line speed but isn’t extremely fluid in the hips, which causes him to be slow in and out of his breaks. Rex Ryan loves Wilson’s versatility and will line him up all over the field, including some plays at safety.
Read Bent’s thoughts after the jump.
Bent, TheJetsBlog.comFor once, I actually think these rankings are fair. Remember, the fact they ranked Milliner 100th, doesn’t mean the 99 guys ahead of him are better than he is, or will be better than him in 2014, it’s just a reflection of his 2013 performance. Despite an extremely impressive December, which earned him defensive rookie of the month honors, Milliner was so poor until the last few games that ranking him this low is justifiable.
Remember, these lists don’t take into account past performance or future potential. They even acknowledge this in their article where they say “If [this list was] based on upside, Milliner would be ranked much higher.” Milliner certainly struggled over the first 12 games, but we expected him to make a slow start. As I wrote when Milliner finally signed his rookie deal after missing the start of training camp, “Traditionally, defensive backs coached by Nick Saban at the college level have taken some time to adjust because NFL coaches employ slightly different techniques”. While it took him some time to adjust, Milliner led the NFL in passes defensed during the second half of the season and certainly showed enough that I’m confident he’ll have a good year in 2014. However, his early season struggles still need to be taken into account for the purposes of his rankings here.
I’ll have a special BGA on Milliner at some point after the draft.
Again, Cromartie’s low ranking seems fair. His coverage numbers were extremely poor, as he gave up a reception of 30 yard or more in seven different games, having done so in just four games in each of the previous two seasons. Once again, his ranking rightly doesn’t take into account past performance or predict how he’ll do in the future, so it remains to be seen if that was a temporary, injury-fueled blip, or the moment where his wheels fell off for good. Evidently that was a chance the Cardinals were more prepared to take than the Jets.
On the assumption that there are 64 starter-level players in the league, Wilson being at 72 pegs him as one of the better third corners in the NFL, which again seems warranted. It says a lot that whenever Milliner was benched, Darrin Walls replaced him rather than Wilson. In 2012, Wilson started opposite Cromartie in place of the injured Darrelle Revis, reverting to the slot (with Ellis Lankster outside) in nickel packages, but in 2013, they opted to keep him in the slot permanently.
It’s disappointing that Dimitri Patterson doesn’t appear on the list because it would have been interesting to weigh up his rankings and comments against some of the other corners the Jets could have pursued this offseason. The reason is obviously that he didn’t play enough snaps. However, much like Kenrick Ellis, the contributions he made even in those injury-limited opportunities were still much better than many of the players who are on the list. Patterson had PFF’s 18th best coverage grade and only five cornerbacks intercepted more passes than he did. I can understand why a guy like Vince Wilfork (who graded out negatively in 177 snaps) would be left out of these lists, but Patterson and Ellis were both productive enough in over 200 snaps to warrant inclusion. Darrin Walls might also have been an interesting study – he played 292 snaps.
To be fair, when you consider the scope of this project, it’s difficult to complain about them having to draw the line somewhere. After all, it’s not the NFL 1003 project, is it?
We’ll continue to keep an eye on this project over the offseason.