The Arizona Cardinals’ Chandler Jones was the runner-up for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year last season.
He was unveiled as the No. 15 player in the league in the NFL Network’s annual list of the Top 100 NFL players last month, coming in at No. 2 at his position in the voting, which was done by NFL players.
But one NFL site continues to have a much different opinion on the Cardinals’ outside linebacker, who has made a career out of terrorizing quarterbacks.
Pro Football Focus recently released its list of the top edge defenders in the NFL and Jones came in at No. 13 on its list.
Of Jones, Sam Monson wrote: “Generally speaking, skewing sack-heavy in terms of the percentage of your total pressure is not a repeatable skill for a pass-rusher. The notion of a rusher being a good “finisher” of pressure is not really a thing backed up by data, but as always, there are exceptions. For his entire career Jones has been an exception to that rule. Over the last three seasons, Jones leads all edge rushers in sacks by seven, but he ranks just seventh in total pressures (193). He is consistently able to earn the highest-value pass-rushing plays through technique and is one of the best players in football at his position.”
Acquired by Arizona in 2016, Jones has accumulated an NFL-high 60.0 sacks, 210 tackles, 67 tackles for loss, 98 QB hits, an NFL-high 17 forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries in four seasons (2016-19) with the Cardinals.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection (2015, ’17 and ’19) and two-time first-team All-Pro (2017 and ’19), no NFL player has more sacks (96.0) and forced fumbles (27) since 2012 when Jones entered the league as a first-round selection (21st overall) by New England.
But he’s the No. 13 edge defender in the NFL?
Pro Football Focus has a history of what some may see as questionable rankings for Jones.
In May, the site had him ranked No. 80 in its All-Decade Top 101 player rankings.
Monson wrote of Jones on that list: “Chandler Jones has been able to sack the quarterback like few other players in NFL history. He trails only Von Miller in official NFL sacks, and only four players took down the quarterback more times (half sacks are the discrepancy) over the course of the decade. He has always had a knack for decisive pass-rushing wins, whether it was in New England or in Arizona, but when you quantify every pass-rushing snap, there are other players who begin to leap over Jones in terms of how often they win. That ability to finish plays consistently is what propels him onto this list, though.”
A Pro Football Focus ranking of the Top 101 players in the NFL last season had Jones ranked No. 47 despite his second-place finish in the defensive player of the year voting.
The site also ranked him No. 10 in the league at his edge rusher position last season.
He was interestingly left off of another Pro Football Focus list, this one a preseason list of the Top 50 players in the league last season.
You would think the runner-up in NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting would get more recognition and respect.
Despite the lack of respect in lists from Pro Football Focus and other sites, Jones has his ardent supporters.
Several questioned his ranking in the latest Pro Football Focus list.
Count NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah among Jones’ supporters.
He doesn’t understand why Jones doesn’t receive more attention nationally.
Perhaps Jones will be ranked higher on Pro Football Focus’ list next season if he has another dynamic year in 2020.
Then again, if the site hasn’t been impressed with Jones’ play yet, will it ever be?