Along with mock drafts and other assorted. . .ummm, “excitement,” the offseason in the National Football League is a time for lists. Lots and lots of lists. One of those comes from the folks at Pro Football Focus, who today dropped the first installment of their Top 101 Players of 2018 list. The initial installment features two Minnesota Vikings defensive players.
The first one is safety Harrison Smith, who is at the very end of the list at #101. Smith is no stranger to being on this list. . .he’s made it four times and, in fact, was #3 overall on this list just a year ago. Here’s what PFF had to say about his season:
Although his overall grade dropped to 79.7 this season from 91.8 in 2017, Smith remained elite against the run with a 91.3 run defense grade, best among safeties. He was also one of the most reliable tacklers in the NFL with a 21.5 tackle efficiency rating, again, best among safeties who logged 400 or more snaps.
After the huge season he had in 2017, I suppose a bit of a drop-off was expected. Still, I can’t think of any safeties I’d rather have leading the back end of a defense ahead of the Hitman.
Joining Smith on the list is defensive end Danielle Hunter, who appears in the PFF Top 101 for the first time in his career. Hunter checks in at #98, and I imagine he’s just going to continue to climb these rankings in the years ahead. The man is only 24 years old, after all. Here’s what PFF had to say about Hunter:
Hunter has been remarkably consistent in each of his four seasons with the Vikings in terms of PFF grade. In 2018, he finished with a 78.4 overall grade and generated 67 total pressures.
I’m certain that these won’t be the only Vikings we’ll see on the list this season. As the list updates, we’ll provide the links and the commentary from Pro Football Focus right here for your reading pleasure.