Before this turns into a bash Pro Football Focus piece, let me say something nice about them. It is a site with very lofty and impressive goals. They try to do something most people don't have the time, resources or intelligence to attempt. Play-by-play grading, on its surface, can be an extremely valuable resource for a complicated game that has so many parts working simultaneously across all 100 yards of the field. Pro Football Focus tries to make sense of the chaos and spit out an easily understandable number for all to consume. They also provide unique, standalone stats, like quarterback pressures, that can't be found anywhere else and can really help see impact beyond the traditional stat sheet.
But this effort doesn't always go as planned. Sometimes you give a quarterback who threw five touchdowns and zero interceptions a negative grade. Sometimes you calculate Ryan Tannehill as a top 10 quarterback. And sometimes, you completely overlook a guy who totaled 14.5 sacks, good for third-most in the league.
That's right, in Pro Football Focus' top 101 players of 2015, Ezekiel Ansah -- the leader of the Detroit Lions defense last year -- was left completely off the list.
Now it's unfair to simply point at Ansah's sack numbers as the only bit of evidence as to why he deserved a spot on the list. That's why it's important to note he also had four forced fumbles (second-most in the league), 15 tackles for loss (12th-most), and did it all with a rag-tag group of backups alongside him on the defensive line for most of the year.
It's one thing to snub Ansah. It's another to place guys like Alshon Jeffery -- who missed seven games(!!!) -- , James Harrison (5.0 sacks), and Whitney Mercilus (who had a respectable 12.0 sacks, but had the benefit of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney in front of him) above the talented defensive end.
This isn't about PFF having an anti-Lions bias, or even discrediting all they do. This is just an individual case of the system leaving one of the league's most talented players criminally overlooked.
Oh, and you may not want to look to see who No. 1 is.