clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Final 2018 ratings for all Panthers defensive players, per Pro Football Focus

New, comments

With public data available from Pro Football Focus, here is how the defensive mainstays fared in 2018

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The good people at Pro Football Focus spend enormous amounts of time breaking down every player’s performance on every individual play throughout the season. In the end, players can then be given a final rating somewhere between zero (poor) and 100 (elite). If you want to learn more about their methodology, you can read PFF’s Player Grade overview.

What I have always appreciated about PFF is that while no player evaluation system is perfect, at least PFF is consistent. Players are graded by the same criteria which enables them to be given one of seven grades based on their rating and position rank:

  • Elite
  • High Quality
  • Good
  • Above Average
  • Average
  • Below Average
  • Poor

Based on free, public information available at PFF’s Carolina Panthers page after Week 17, here are the final 2018 ratings, grades, and position rankings for each of the Panthers starters and regular contributors on defense. (Note, I did the same write-up last year and here’s the link.)

Grades and Ranks After Week 17, per PFF

Name Pos Overall Grade Position Rank
Name Pos Overall Grade Position Rank
Kawann Short IDL 85.7 Good 17
Kyle Love IDL 76.8 Above Average 32
Dontari Poe IDL 65.7 Above Average 82
Vernon Butler IDL 63.5 Average 92
Julius Peppers Edge 75.9 Above Average 23
Mario Addison Edge 69.5 Above Average 44
Wes Horton Edge 42.4 Below Average 107
Luke Kuechly LB 90.7 High Quality 2
Thomas Davis LB 74.2 Above Average 17
Shaq Thompson LB 68.6 Above Average 31
James Bradberry CB 66.4 Above Average 59
Donte Jackson CB 65 Above Average 64
Captain Munnerlyn CB 61.6 Average 84
Eric Reid S 66.5 Above Average 53
Mike Adams S 51.4 Below Average 83

Defensive MVPs

1 - Luke Kuechly: 90.7 rating, No. 2 linebacker. Luke will go down as one of the best linebackers in NFL history, health permitting. No surprises here and no need to explain any further.

2 - Kawann Short: 85.7 rating, No. 14 interior defensive lineman. KK had another solid season. Despite missing two games, his 12 tackles for loss dwarfed the combined totals of Dontari Poe (four), Kyle Love (zero), and Vernon Butler (zero), per Football Reference.

3 - Kyle Love: 76.8 rating, No. 32 interior defensive lineman. This one’s a surprise, but PFF loved Kyle Love. He registered just 19 tackles, 1.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, and zero tackles for loss. But some of the value of interior defensive linemen doesn’t show up on the stat sheet (e.g. eating blockers) so PFF saw something special with what Love was doing.

Defensive LVPs

1 - Wes Horton: 42.4 rating, No. 107 edge rusher. The Panthers struggled all year to get pressure on the quarterback coming from the edge and Horton was part of the problem. Despite playing 537 snaps, Horton registered just 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits.

2 - Mike Adams: 51.4 rating, No. 83 safety. Adams really struggled this year, especially in coverage. In my weekly “Plays to Love/Hate” column he tied for the defensive lead for the most “Plays to Hate” on the season, meaning his gaffes significantly impacted multiple games this year.

3 - Captain Munnerlyn: 61.6 rating, No. 84 cornerback. This one passes the eye test. Captain was either too slow, too short, or too out of position to consistently make plays. With the lack of a pass rush this year Captain was left on an island too often and the outcome usually wasn’t good.

Additional observations

Respecting our elders: Major props to Julius Peppers (75.9 PFF grade, No. 23 defensive end) and Thomas Davis (74.2, No. 17 linebacker) for terrific seasons. Carolina should seriously consider bringing both of them back next year if they can work out team-friendly deals.

Eric Reid’s production: Eric Reid’s (66.5, No. 53 safety) performance significantly exceeded his cap hit. Carolina signed him after Week 3 on a $1.4 million deal and he immediately delivered an “above average” season at a position of serious need.

Turning the corner: Both James Bradberry (66.4, No. 59 cornerback) and Donte Jackson (65.0, No. 64 cornerback) were given “above average” grades this year. Hopefully they both continue to improve as they play on rookie deals for the next few years.

Dontari Poe above average?: Color me surprised by this one. He seemed invisible to me so PFF must have seen him doing things like eating double teams that I missed. If “meh” was a grade, that’s the one I’d use.

Again, what I appreciate about PFF is that so much of what happens in football cannot be measured by simple statistics. Their system isn’t perfect (none are), but at least it’s consistent.

With that, props to Luke Kuechly, Kawann Short, and Kyle Love – the Carolina Panthers 2018 PFF Defensive MVPs.