Members of the Who Dat Nation are probably still licking their wounds after the dramatic and controversial ending to last week’s close loss to the Denver Broncos. But despite all the turnovers and lackluster special teams play, one Saints player continued to perform at a Pro Bowl level.
Defensive end, Cameron Jordan, the 2011 first round pick, has quietly become the Saints highest graded player. In fact, the former Cal Bear is currently boasting the highest overall season grade (PFF Grade - 89.2) on the team . That’s higher than Zach Strief (PFF Grade - 85.8) who is also playing the best football of his ten-year career, and another guy named Drew Brees (PFF Grade - 87.8).
Jordan isn’t just one of the best players on his team. He is currently ranked fourth overall among all NFL edge defenders. Only Philadelphia’s Brandon Graham, Oakland’s Khalil Mack, and Denver’s Super Bowl MVP winner, Von Miller, are ranked ahead of Jordan at this point in the season.
Not only is Jordan playing well, but he’s also playing a lot. Out of the top 20 ranked edge defenders in the league, only five have played more snaps than Jordan’s 559. His run defense grade for the season is 83.9, while his pass rush grade is 86.7. Even in coverage, Jordan posts a respectable grade of 60.0
Despite falling to the Broncos, the Saints’ defensive end was awarded Pro Football Focus’ proverbial “Game-Ball” and labeled Week 10’s overall top performer at his position. His play was described as simply dominant. He played so well the Broncos had to bench their starting right tackle Donald Stephenson mid game. Then he went ahead and dominated the backup right tackle too.
By the final whistle, Jordan had racked up one sack, one hit, seven hurries, and six run stops while posting a game-best 90.0 overall grade. Pro Football Focus made a great observation that out of 78 snaps, Jordan accrued 10 total pressures and eight defensive stops. That means one out of every four defensive plays, Jordan made a direct impact on the play. That’s fantastic.
As the Saints gear up to play an important divisional game against the Carolina Panthers on a short week, Jordan is going to have to muster a similar performance in order to make Cam Newton’s job difficult. According to Jordan’s 2016 stats and overall grades, we have no reason to believe he’ll bring anything less than his “A” game.