Pro Football Focus is releasing their 50 best players entering the 2019 season this week, and two New Orleans Saints players find themselves in the Top 20. Ryan Ramczyk (45th) and Alvin Kamara (36th) were both in the Top 50 during the initial unveiling, and teammates Cameron Jordan and Michael Thomas now join them.
Cam Jordan just cashed in on a very well-deserved contract extension from the Saints, adding another three years onto his currently deal worth up to $55.5 million and included $42 million in guaranteed money. Jordan will now be with New Orleans through the 2023 season. He finished out 16th on the Pro Football Focus Top 50.
With the league’s flashy (i.e., Khalil Mack, Demarcus Lawrence, Von Miller) edge defenders stealing the limelight, Jordan has very quietly earned 90.0-plus overall grades in each of the past three seasons. Calling him underrated is putting it lightly.
Jordan’s three-year overall grade (92.1) ranks tied for third with Calais Campbell, another underrated edge defender on this list, among players at his position with 1,200 or more defensive snaps played since 2016. He also ranks fifth in run-defense grade (90.4) and fourth in pass-rush grade (90.8) among the same group of qualifiers.
Michael Thomas is coming off another career year, as he made NFL History by having the most receptions by any player in their first three seasons. Thomas was targeted 147 times in 2018, hauling in 125 receptions for 1,405 yards and 9 touchdowns. Here’s what PFF had to say on his 12th overall ranking.
Only Julio Jones (94.3) has earned a higher receiving grade than Thomas (93.2) among the 82 NFL wide receivers with at 900 routes run over the past three seasons (2016-18). He also ranks third on the list in passer rating when targeted (116.8) and yards per route run (2.39), catching 352-of-448 targets for 4,210 yards, 202 first downs and 26 touchdowns in the process.
Thomas has also dropped just 2.76% of his 448 targets in his career, a rate that ranks third among the 59 wide receivers with at least 200 targets since 2016. Only Seattle Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin (2.46%) and Tyler Lockett (2.65%) have recorded lower drop rates in the three-year span.
If there’s any Saints players that would crack the Top 10, it would likely be Drew Brees.