Pro Football Focus is at its best when giving out information on things like passes defended, time to release for quarterbacks, etc. They are also now in the game for player ratings and rankings list, the usual click bait information of the off season that drives the conversation and now they have changed their approach.
After ranking the 101 best players of 2015, they are now delving into the best players in the NFL based on all the data they have available. I honestly am not sure how to explain this, read about it here, but through the first 50 players, two Arizona Cardinals are on the list.
98. Evan Mathis, G, Cardinals
PFF's affinity for Evan Mathis has been no secret over the years. He is a player that has consistently graded well when he has been on the field, and even this past season when carrying injuries and splitting time in Denver, he was one of the best-graded guards in the league, and the highest-graded run blocker. Pass-blocking has always been the weaker side of his game, though, and 2015 was the first season from him to earn a negative grade, surrendering three sacks and 22 total pressures over 1,010 total snaps (including the playoffs). At his age, it's possible we have seen his best play, and in a passing league, he needs to pick that part of his game up to appear higher on this list in a year's time. As a run-blocking guard, though, there is likely still nobody better. Even if he doesn't bury his man, nobody wins as consistently as he does in that area
PFF has long loved Evan Mathis, his game and his ability to win in the run game, but I was even a bit surprised to see him ranked as the 98th best player in the NFL right now. If he can truly deliver on this, the upgrade at the right guard position is without question. The issues arise from the fact he is older, and his deficiencies are in what Arizona likes to do the most, throw the ball. Mathis should be an upgrade, but the 98th best in the NFL? That's interesting.
89. Calais Campbell, DE, Cardinals
Calais Campbell may not be the most explosive player in the NFL, but in terms of consistent production, there aren't many better. While his ceiling may be some way short of J.J. Watt or Aaron Donald, he is still a major impact player on defense and capable of screwing up an offense's plans almost single-handedly. He has four straight seasons of strong grades as both a run-defender and pass-rusher, and seven straight years of excellent pass-rush grades.
Undersold by most, Calais continues to plug along a special career. If this is his last season in the desert, it has been one of consistency in an ever changing defense. He's the only starter remaining from the Whisenhunt era and outside of Larry Fitzgerald is the only remaining member from the Super Bowl team.
We'll update more tomorrow.