LeSean McCoy Left Off Top-101 Players, PFF Explains

Oct 2, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) gets past New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) for a touchdown during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) gets past New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) for a touchdown during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

PFF recently released their top-101 NFL players of the 2016 season and Buffalo Bills’ RB LeSean McCoy was questionably left off the list. How come?

Just a week after Buffalo Bills‘ RB LeSean McCoy named himself the league’s best running back, Pro Football Focus leaves him off their list of the top-101 players last season.

That’s right, you read it correctly. After his second season in Buffalo and one of the best seasons of his career, McCoy apparently didn’t perform well enough to crack PFF’s list.

To defend their positioning, PFF released another article that listed 10 players that were close to making the list, but didn’t quite get the call — McCoy being one of those players. Their reasoning for leaving him off left even more questions about the decision.

PFF contributed it to LeSean McCoy‘s inability to block the quarterback.

"LeSean McCoy ended the season with 1,267 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground, while also adding 356 receiving yards and another touchdown. He had without a doubt an excellent season, but fell short of the 101 list by a narrow margin. The single biggest thing that kept McCoy out was his performance as a blocker. This may seem like an insignificant thing for a running back, but in today’s league, backs need to be able to pass block, or their quarterbacks are in trouble. That’s why rookie runners often don’t see the field in passing situations, and it’s why complete backs are still such a valuable commodity — they can be trusted to keep their QBs upright."

I can understand the need for a blocking back in today’s NFL, but I can’t understand ranking a player that heavily on it — especially when it’s not the type of game he brings to the table. McCoy isn’t expected to be a key blocker in the Buffalo Bills‘ offense. If he was, I would understand PFF’s explanation.

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When you look at his stats, LeSean McCoy is simply one of the top-three backs in the league – regardless of how good he is at blocking. For that reason, he should no doubt be on this list and even be put in the top-25.

PFF elaborated on the whole blocking thing, bringing numbers into the equation:

"McCoy was kept in to block 92 times this season, and earned a pass-blocking grade of 37.1 — the worst mark of any running back in the NFL. On those 92 snaps, he allowed 13 total QB pressures. McCoy was certainly in the conversation in the latter stages of the list, and would be among the next few names to go on it, but was ultimately kept off by his blocking performance."

To put it simply, LeSean McCoy got robbed by PFF. Sure, it’s just an offseason ranking that doesn’t really mean anything. However, when you’re a website with as much credibility as PFF, you should be a little more accurate with your rankings.

Take it from McCoy himself, who stated that there is “no back that can touch me” on ESPN a week ago. He took to Twitter to express his opinion on PFF’s list:

I think we can all agree with McCoy on this one.

What stings even more is that there were 5 running backs in total that made the top-101 list — Ezekiel Elliott (22), David Johnson (23), Le’Veon Bell (27), Jay Ajayi (31) and Jordan Howard (75). Let’s compare McCoy’s numbers to theirs.

  • Ezekiel Elliott: 322 attempts, 1,631 yards, 15 TD, 5.1 avg.
  • David Johnson: 293 attempts, 1,239 yards, 16 TD, 4.2 avg.
  • Le’Veon Bell: 261 attempts, 1,268 yards, 7 TD, 4.9 avg.
  • Jay Ajayi: 260 attempts, 1,272 yards, 8 TD, 4.9 avg.
  • Jordan Howard: 252 attempts, 1,313 yards, 6 TD, 5.2 avg.

Of those 5 running backs, none of them were as effective as LeSean McCoy. His 5.4 yards per carry were better than all of them. His yards count was similar to almost all of them, despite having nearly 50 less attempts than all of them. His TD count (13) is better than Bell, Ajayi and Howard.

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I mean, I just don’t understand PFF’s reasoning with this and McCoy has every right to call them out on it. Basically, PFF is trying to say that McCoy still has more to prove — which is absurd.

Here’s a look at who PFF named the top-10:

  1. Tom Brady – New England Patriots
  2. Aaron Donald – Los Angeles Rams
  3. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
  4. Khalil Mack – Oakland Raiders
  5. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
  6. Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
  7. Mashal Yanda – Baltimore Ravens
  8. Landon Collins – New York Giants
  9. Brandon Graham – Philadelphia Eagles
  10. Eric Weddle – Baltimore Ravens

LeSean McCoy wasn’t the only player that deserved a spot on the list, but didn’t make it. PFF also left Patrick Peterson, Vic Beasley, Earl Thomas, C.J. Mosley, Kirk Cousins and Dont’a Hightower off their list.

Richie Incognito was the only member of #BillsMafia to crack the list, being named No. 64 in 2016. It’s the second consecutive season he’s made the list.

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Where do you think PFF should’ve ranked LeSean McCoy? My call is top-30. Leave your comments below!