Hannah Foslien / 2017 Getty Images
As is often the case with the analytics website Pro Football Focus, many cling tight their style of analyzing player effectiveness, while others dismiss them as stat nerds who don’t really know what they’re analyzing and don’t have a full understanding of what makes or breaks a play.
Depending on which side of that fence you’re on, PFF’s release of the best and worst defensive front sevens in the league is met with acknowledgement or dismissal.
In their own words, PFF admitted that ranking front sevens is much more subjective than most position groupings because, as PFF said, “defensive front-seven units are easily one of the most difficult groups to rank in the NFL. With other positional groups, analysts have to consider one or two aspects of the games at most, but with the front-seven pass rushing, run defense and the coverage prowess of linebackers all have to be factored in.”
The metrics used for the team rankings depended heavily on the starters, especially with those who receive the majority of snaps compared to teammates. Injuries were factored in, comparing the injured starters with their replacement, to arrive at what was viewed a more accurate overall ranking.
The Minnesota Vikings finished sixth overall in the rankings. Here is a list of the top 10 and bottom 10 front sevens according to PFF:
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