Mid-season comparison of Rams PFF grades to the beginning of the season: Defense edition

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Many, including myself feel as though the 3-5 L.A. Rams have more talent than advertised. Here is a look back to September 22nd when I compared the Pro Football Focus grades of each Rams starter to the best player at each position. Now I am going to take what will be the second of three comparisons for the season. Of course just like last time PFF grades are subscription based. So what has changed since September according to PFF? Well now let’s look at the defensive side of the ball.

 

November 11th: DE Robert Quinn: PFF Grade: 76.5 Positional Grade: 50th

September 22nd: DE Robert Quinn: PFF Grade: 73.7 Positional Grade: 36th

Differential: PFF Grade: +2.8 Positional Grade: -14

 

Robert Quinn has flashed some serious star power this season, but he has been battling injuries for the most part. Without Quinn the Rams might not have held on in Tampa Bay. Quinn gives the Rams a force coming off the edge to compliment Aaron Donald. 

 

November 11th: DE William Hayes: PFF Grade: 78.4 Positional Grade: 40th

September 22nd: DE William Hayes: PFF Grade: 76.9 Positional Grade: 25th

Differential: PFF Grade: +1.5 Positional Grade: -15

 

Another edge rusher on the Rams that has been plagued by injury this season. Will Hayes has still shown improvement since the beginning of the season. Now that he is fully healthy, his production should pick up again.

 

November 11th: DT Aaron Donald: PFF Grade: 95.6 Positional Grade: 1st

September 22nd: DT Aaron Donald: PFF Grade: 94.8 Positional Grade: 1st

Differential: PFF Grade: +0.8 Positional Grade: 0

 

He’s the best defensive player in the league. Donald somehow continues to get better. He should be on track to win the Defensive player of the year. 

 

November 11th: DT Michael Brockers: PFF Grade: 80.5 Positional Grade: 19th

September 22nd: DT Michael Brockers: PFF Grade: 82.1 Positional Grade: 5th

Differential: PFF Grade: -1.6 Positional Grade: -14

 

Michael Brockers is another player who has battled injury this season. He is the glue to this defensive line and has a pretty good season for the Rams.

 

November 11th: MLB Alec Ogletree: PFF Grade: 80.1 Positional Grade: 24th

September 22nd: MLB Alec Ogletree: PFF Grade: 87.4 Positional Grade: 2nd

Differential: PFF Grade: -7.3 Positional Grade: -22

 

Alec Ogletree is at a new position, in charge of much more than before and he is adapting well to it. He has fallen off since week two just a bit. However, that just means he isn’t elite at the position yet, but Ogletree has played the middle very well this season. 

 

November 11th: OLB Mark Barron: PFF Grade: 75.8 Positional Grade: 32nd

September 22nd: OLB Mark Barron: PFF Grade: 78.8 Positional Grade: 26th

Differential: PFF Grade: -3.0 Positional Grade: -6

 

Mark Barron looked like he could be one of the best outside linebackers in football with his performance last season. The hybrid safety however, might actually be better off going back to his old position at safety if T.J. McDonald is suspended or leaves in free agency.

 

November 11th: CB Trumaine Johnson: PFF Grade: 77.9 Positional Grade: 32nd

September 22nd: CB Trumaine Johnson: PFF Grade: 46.3 Positional Grade: 79th

Differential: PFF Grade: +31.6 Positional Grade: +47

 

Trumaine Johnson is again, another player who has battled injury this season. He has played well overall and his grade might be a little misleading as he has locked down his assignment often this year. As far as that 13-plus million dollar franchise tag? He hasn’t quite lived up to those lofty expectations.

 

November 11th: CB E.J. Gaines: PFF Grade: 42.9 Positional Grade: 108th

September 22nd: CB Coty Sensabaugh: PFF Grade: 43.0 Positional Grade: 85th

Differential: PFF Grade: -0.1 Positional Grade: -23

 

Something is really wrong with E.J. Gaines. He is according to PFF, graded lower than Coty Sensabaugh, who is no longer with the team anymore. Gaines has struggled, but for the most part it’s been his miss tackles that have really hurt his grade.

 

November 11th: NCB LaMarcus Joyner: PFF Grade: 83.2 Positional Grade: 11th

September 22nd: NCB LaMarcus Joyner: PFF Grade: 78.9 Positional Grade: 20th

Differential: PFF Grade: +4.3 Positional Grade: +9

 

LaMarcus Joyner has turned his career around in a big way. Joyner is graded just outside the top 10 that possess names like Chris Harris Jr., Darius Slay and Aqib Talib. Joyner has played very well all season and that is including the broken toe he had earlier in the season he played with. Joyner has looked like the second-round pick the Rams thought they were getting in him. 

 

November 11th: FS Maurice Alexander: PFF Grade: 82.4 Positional Grade: 16th

September 22nd: FS Maurice Alexander: PFF Grade: 83.4 Positional Grade: 5th

Differential: PFF Grade: -1.0 Positional Grade: -11

 

All off-season the Rams were linked to veteran names such as Donte Whitner & Dashon Goldson. The Rams decided to roll with the youth and it’s paid them off big time. Maurice Alexander has had a great season and has been the bright spot at FS since the Rams lost Rodney McLeod in free agency. 

 

November 11th: SS T.J. McDonald: PFF Grade: 76.6 Positional Grade: 42nd

September 22nd: SS T.J. McDonald: PFF Grade: 82.5 Positional Grade: 6th

Differential: PFF Grade: -1.0 Positional Grade: -11

 

T.J. McDonald has surprisingly been outplayed by the first-time starting safety Alexander. McDonald has had a solid year, but usual lapses in coverage are what basically can sum up his season. 

 

The crazy thing is that the offense has been horrible and just about everyone on the offense improved their grade. On the other side of the football, this defense has played very well and surprisingly enough many of these defensive players have dropped in their grading. 

 

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