PFF midseason grades: Rams’ best and worst performers from first half

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

It was a successful first half of the season for the Rams, who got off to a 7-2 start and are just one game out of first place in the NFC West. Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford and Jalen Ramsey have been four of the most important players thus far, but the Rams have also gotten impactful contributions out of lesser-known players.

Pro Football Focus has been grading players all season long and at the midway point, we have an idea of which players have stood out in a positive way and who has underperformed.

Below are the top five and bottom five players on offense and defense based on PFF’s grades, excluding those who haven’t played at least 100 snaps this season.

Top 5 offense

There are really no surprises at the top of the offensive grades. Kupp is the No. 2 wide receiver in the NFL based on PFF’s grades, leading the league in receptions, yards and touchdown catches. He’s broken out in a huge way this year, benefitting massively from Matthew Stafford’s arrival.

Speaking of Stafford, he’s only PFF’s 15th-best quarterback with a grade of 78.8. He’s put together a terrific season so far, but PFF still isn’t very high on the Rams quarterback. Even still, he’s been one of the best quarterbacks in football and remains in the MVP hunt despite last week’s dud.

Whitworth and Havenstein have been studs at the tackle position all season, each ranking in the top 14 among qualified tackles in PFF’s grading. Whitworth has given up just seven pressures all year, while Havenstein has allowed 13.

Woods started off slow but has come on in recent weeks. He’s been rock solid as a run blocker all year and now that he’s getting some more opportunities as a receiver, he’s capitalizing and putting up solid numbers.

Bottom 5 offense

  • David Edwards: 65.1

  • Johnny Mundt: 64.7

  • Van Jefferson: 63.0

  • Tyler Higbee: 62.8

  • Sony Michel: 62.3

Edwards is the Rams’ lowest-graded offensive lineman this season but even his 65.1 grade is respectable. It’s only slightly behind Austin Corbett’s 69.9 grade, so the Rams have been steady across the offensive front.

Mundt is out for the year but before he went down, he was doing very little as a receiver. Where he excelled was in run blocking, earning a grade in that department of 71.0 – fourth-best on the entire team. Higbee hasn’t gotten much praise from PFF but he’s getting plenty of opportunities and running a ton of routes at tight end.

Van Jefferson’s three drops have hurt his overall grade but he’s been a good WR3 for Stafford behind Woods and Kupp.

Michel only has a pass-blocking grade of 53.1 despite his highlight-reel blitz pickups, and his rushing grade of 66.8 isn’t all that bad.

Top 5 defense

  • Aaron Donald: 92.4

  • Jalen Ramsey: 83.9

  • Ogbonnia Okoronkwo 83.5

  • Greg Gaines: 78.4

  • Leonard Floyd: 77.6

It’s amazing to see how big of a gap there is between Donald and even a star like Ramsey. Donald deserves to have a grade that high, helped by his 91.7 pass-rush grade, which puts him third among all players. But Ramsey should also have a higher grade with the impact he’s had in his new role as the “star” defender. Ramsey has allowed just 359 yards in coverage on 53 targets and has three interceptions, and his ability to step up as a run defender has not gone unnoticed.

Okoronkwo has been a bright spot at outside linebacker, too, generating 11 pressures on only 92 pass-rush snaps. For comparison, Donald has 41 pressures on 342 pass-rush opportunities. Floyd has been outstanding and likely would’ve had a higher grade if he hadn’t missed eight tackles.

Gaines has become a starter in place of Sebastian Joseph-Day and the Rams are in good hands because he has the fifth-highest defensive grade on the team. He’s been great as a pass rusher, generating 35 pressures in 269 opportunities.

Bottom 5 defense

  • Darious Williams: 60.1

  • Terrell Lewis: 54.1

  • Troy Reeder: 51.7

  • Michael Hoecht: 47.8

  • Nick Scott: 42.5

Williams hasn’t had the best season, certainly not on par with the year he had in 2020. He’s back after a three-game absence but the Rams need him to step up a bit more than he has as the No. 2 cornerback.

Lewis started the year strong as his role grew but after generating nine pressures in Weeks 5 and 6, he has just six total in the last three games.

Reeder’s biggest issue has been tackling, missing on seven of his attempts this season. He’s also given up 20 catches on 27 targets, allowing 184 yards in coverage.

Hoecht and Scott are both part-time players who haven’t had much of an impact, though Scott did pull down two game-sealing interceptions in the first eight weeks.

1

1