Aaron Donald leads Los Angeles Rams in PFF Top 101; Who has disappeared ?
We’re now two weeks away from the NFL season finale, a Super Bowl thriller between the Rams and Bengals (still not a misprint). As the Rams focus on a repeat and how to travel to Arizona on February 12 for Super Bowl LVII, Pro Football Focus has recapped the best players of 2021 from an individual perspective.
The PFF Top 101 represents the 101 best individual performances this season, regardless of position, and credits the best players of the season that has been. Some basic criteria for the roster, according to PFF, is that it’s only for 2021 play, ignoring past play or future expectations, for the sake of the roster, all positions are equal.
The Los Angeles Rams had seven players represented on the PFF roster. Is there anyone missing who should have been included?
2. DL AARON DONALD
Snaps 2021: 1,261 | 2021 PFF score: 93.5
Donald has been the highest-ranked player on this list in four of the past six seasons, and he’s come close once again. Including the playoffs, Donald has once again topped 100 pressures, accomplishing that feat in four of the past five seasons. What is perhaps most impressive about his performance this season is that he played over 1,000 snaps in the regular season and actually recorded the most snaps PFF has recorded of a lineman. interior defense over one season. Donald has always pressured quarterbacks at the elite level despite being asked to endure a historically high workload.
Donald goes from No. 1 last year to No. 2 in 2021. He has always proven to be the anchor of the defense and probably should have been named Super Bowl LVI MVP.
3. WR COOPER KUPP
Snaps 2021: 1,301 | 2021 PFF score: 93.0
Kupp is both a phenomenal receiver and the beneficiary of the type of deployment that makes it nearly impossible for an opposing defense to put him out of play. He lined up in the slot on 65.5% of his shots, generating 1,402 yards from that interior roster alone in the regular season. Kupp gained 3.45 yards for every run from the slot, as this lineup makes it very difficult for defenses to defend him with their best corner or play aggressive man coverage.
Kupp was not ranked on this list in 2020 and seemed to be playing with a chip on his shoulder last year, quietly becoming one of the best, if not the best, wide receivers in the game.
24. EDGE VON MILLER
Snaps 2021: 939 | 2021 PFF score: 91.2
It once looked like Miller’s star had started to fade, but a trade to Los Angeles and the possibility of another Super Bowl has reinvigorated him. Against Tampa Bay in the playoffs, Miller notched his first double-digit pressure game since Week 8 of 2019, and he showed he still had gas in the tank. His perennial dominance against the run has remained intact, and while he may not generate a league-leading pressure rating in the future, he can still be extremely effective in that area.
Miller hasn’t been rated on a bad enough defense in Denver in 2020. But during his stint in Los Angeles, he showed why the Rams were smart in trading for him, even with everything they gave up. Mission accomplished. The question is will he be back for another run in 22?
29. CB JALEN RAMSEY
Snaps 2021: 1,269 | 2021 PFF score: 84.4
Ramsey has taken on a new role within the Rams defense this season, lining up in the slot or in the box on 42.7% of his shots compared to just 23.6% the previous season. The star cornerback responded with his best season since that incredible year in 2017, racking up a career-high 14 pass breakups and 26 defensive saves. Ramsey is an elite playmaker, and his new role puts him in the thick of the action more often.
Ramsey moves up from No. 64 on the 2020 list and with good reason. Even with all the things the Rams asked him to do differently in 21, he didn’t miss a beat.
43. QB MATTHEW STAFFORD
Snaps 2021: 1,343 | 2021 PFF score: 86.1
Matthew Stafford in Los Angeles looked a lot like Matthew Stafford in Detroit for most of the season, but the results were better thanks to everything around him. However, once the playoffs started, his game went to a different level. Other than Josh Allen, Stafford was the highest-ranked playoff quarterback and made big plays late in the Super Bowl to put on another game-winning drive and cap his first season in Los Angeles with a ring.
There were several people who questioned “the trade” when Stafford came to the Rams, but he quickly silenced the critics, especially in the playoffs. Sure, he had his “Goff” moments, but overall he did what he was supposed to. Bring a Lombardi Trophy back to the city of Los Angeles.
53. T ROB HAVENSTEIN
Snaps 2021: 1,236 | 2021 PFF score: 83.4
Completing a string of good tackles, Havenstein ended his season with a Super Bowl ring. He’s been exceptional as a run blocker this year, posting his third top mark in that area in four seasons. As a pass blocker, he allowed 31 pressures on 763 pass blocking snaps and was excellent in the Rams’ win over the Bengals to close the campaign.
Havenstein moves up the list from last season when he was at No. 86. His run blocking has really set him apart this year as his pass blocking keeps improving.
97. BRIAN ALLEN
Snaps 2021: 1,181 | 2021 PFF score: 74.8
Allen ended his season with a Super Bowl victory, helping the Rams defeat the Bengals in the big game. Allen allowed 25 pressures during the season including the playoffs and earned a 79.5 PFF run blocking rating.
The last Ram to appear on the list was unranked in 2021 and has improved enough on the offensive line to not only help win a Lombardi Trophy, but to be included on this list. What do you think he appreciates the most?
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