The Saints recently landed four players in Pro Football Focus’ list of the top 50 NFL players for 2018.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas ranked 39th overall. His 93.0 overall rating was second only to Antonio Brown’s 93.7 overall rating. Even though Thomas only spent 22.3% of his snaps lined up in the slot, he still led the league with 3.63 yards per route run.
The next closest slot receiver was averaged more than a yard less per route run from the slot. Thomas also broke the NFL record for most receptions (196) by a receiver over their first two seasons.
Rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore ranked 32nd overall. His 45.3 passer rating when targeted was by far the best on the league. He was so effective quarterbacks avoided throwing in his direction for the most part. Of the few 68 times he was targeted, Lattimore had five interceptions, 10 pass breakups, and never gave up even a single touchdown.
Quarterback Drew Brees ranked 24th overall. Though his numbers in 2017 weren’t as gigantic as years’ past, Brees remained the league’s most accurate passer and tied with Matt Ryan (88.6 overall grade) behind Tom Brady (95.5) as the second highest graded QB.
Brees’ added help from the Saints’ backfield allowed him rely more heavily on a balanced offense rather than playing catch up with a gunslinging mentality.
Defensive end Cameron Jordan ranked 13th overall. Jordan has become the Saints most important player not named Drew Brees. Last year was the third consecutive season in which Jordan logged at least 50 quarterback hurries.
In 2017, Jordan compiled a staggering 74 total pressures during the regular season, followed by 13 more in the playoffs. His 10 batted passes during the season and two more in the playoffs were also the most in the entire league.
As uplifting as it is to have such strong representation from the Saints roster on this list, two glaring omissions remain. Running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara certainly did enough to garner a spot, but it appears their position is just not as highly valued as defensive backs, quarterbacks, and edge ushers. Only Le’Veon Bell made the list at all and was ranked 24th overall.