LB With New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan being named the #99 player across the NFL by NFL Network, Saints fans are forced to wait to see any other fleur de lis make the NFL Network Top 100. In the mean time, Pro Football Focus released a Top 101 list, and four Saints showed up on the list.
Working backwards, coming in at #98, Cornerback Delvin Breaux.
Breaux had one of the more unusual seasons for a corner in the NFL. Having come to the Saints from the CFL, Breaux ended up starting all season and notching one of the better coverage grades (10th) of the year thanks to 15 passes defensed and three interceptions. For all the good, however, there was a lot of big plays against him, and he surrendered 10 touchdowns overall.
Best performance: Week 3 at Carolina: +3.9 grade
Key stat: Breaux allowed a catch once every 13.5 snaps he was on the field. The ninth-best mark for CBs
QB Drew Brees ranked #78.
It's easy to think of Brees as just a big contract hanging around the necks of the Saints, because they aren't winning as many games anymore, but their franchise quarterback was still playing pretty well, if not quite as well as he has at his peak. He was accurate on 77.2 percent of all pass attempts adjusting for drops, which was seventh-best in the NFL, and still passed for over 4,800 yards.
Best performance: Week 17 at Atlanta: +5.4 grade
Key stat: Brees was the most accurate passer on throws over 20 yards at 50.6 percent
In a jump from NFL Network's #99, Cameron Jordan shows up at #33.
Cameron Jordan's career has produced highs and lows as he has moved around the New Orleans' defense, but 2015 was his best season to date, even if it doesn't quite match the statistical high of 2013. This past season, he notched 10 sacks, 70 total pressures, five batted passes, and strong grades in the run game on the edge for the Saints. But for a relatively quiet ending to the season, with three straight average games, he could have ranked even higher. Overall, though, Jordan demonstrated he can be a difference-maker in a major way.
Best performance: Week 7 at Indianapolis: +9.2
Key stat: Jordan recorded 70 total pressures over the regular season and five batted passes when rushing the passer.
The highest-ranked Saints, Tackle Terron Armstead, came in at #26.
One of the true breakout seasons of 2015, Terron Armstead ended the year as our third-highest-graded tackle in the league, trailing only Joe Thomas and Tyron Smith. Armstead earned himself a big-money extension with that season, and also a spot high in the Top 101. He allowed just 20 total pressures over the year, and run-blocked extremely well, giving the Saints a major boost at the left tackle position. He has improved each season of his career, and did not have a single bad game in 2015.
Best performance: Week 7 at Indianapolis: +5.1
Key stat: Armstead allowed 20 total pressures over 952 snaps of play, on his way to the third-highest grade among all tackle
Across the NFC South, representatives from the Carolina Panthers were LB Luke Keuchly (#3), QB Cameron Newton (#8), DT Kawaan Short (#30), TE Greg Olsen (#67), G Trai Turner (#79), RB Jonathan Stewart (#83), G Andrew Norwell (#99), and LB Thomas Davis (#100). Of the Atlanta Falcons, only WR Julio Jones (#8) and RT Ryan Schrader (#72) showed up on the list. The sole representative of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was RB Doug Martin (#38).