Rankings are subjective and inherently there is bias in all rankings. Whether it is the ranker or those reading the rankings someone is going to have a bias when things are presented. As such, rankings do not really matter and they are just fodder for off season talk.
Typically I just like to write about what is said about the Cardinals player, give my overall thoughts and move along, but after reading this list a couple of times, there was a singular issue I took with the rankings of slot corners in the NFL, so I figured I'd write about that as well as what Farrar said about Mathieu being the sixth best slot corner in the league.
Mathieu can play cover safety as well as anyone in the league, and can even move to outside corner in a pinch, but it's his slot play as much as anything that makes him special. Mathieu is an aggressive gambler who baits receivers into believing they have a chance at the ball, only to close in at the last millisecond with his freakish athleticism and ever-improving game intelligence. He'll whiff once in a while, but Arizona's coaching staff encourages him to let it all hang out, and when he's healthy, the Cardinals reap the benefits. There isn't a receiver in the NFL he can't keep up with on a step-for-step basis.
Farrar hits on all the good points about Mathieu, he is as talented a cover man that there is in the league, he does gamble quite a bit, but that is what makes him special because his instincts are rare for anyone in the league. I really have no qualms with Mathieu's ranking, I'd personally have him two behind Chris Harris Jr. but again, rankings are subjective.
My issue comes in the form of Farrar's ranking of Brandon Boykin, a free agent in the league who has played for two teams over his four seasons and can't get on the field much even when he is on a team.
Boykin played more than 50% of his teams defensive snaps one time in his career, 2013 with Philadelphia, where he looked like he was about to take the league by storm as the next great slot defender. Then 2014 happened and his snaps played dropped. Most chalked this up to "Chip Kelly is dumb," and then he was traded for pennies on the dollar to Pittsburgh, a team desperate for help in the secondary and things looked good.
Yet, in Pittsburgh as well Boykin could not get on the field until the end of the season, when he finally saw his playing time increase.
What makes Boykin so good to Farrar:
It initially looked like yet another example of Chip Kelly misreading which players work best for him, but then it also took the Steelers a long time to find a place for him in their defense. Still, Boykin played predictably well in the slot when asked, which came as no surprise seeing as that's his specialty. The Steelers decided not to re-sign him this off-season, and the Panthers let him go soon after giving him a contract in March.
If a player is a top four at any position in the NFL, teams are going to not only sign him, but do so with gusto. Yet here sits the "fourth best slot corner" and we are into July, and he is without a team. Again, rankings are subjective and the NFL can be wrong about things, I have no doubt that it happens a lot, but we're now on team three that has said "no thanks" to Boykin's service. Maybe there is something to it.