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Junior Galette, Drew Brees land in Pro Football Focus Top 101

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Pro Football Focus is currently counting down their Top 101 players of 2014. There’s a consistent theme for the selection process, as it focuses solely on play and ratings, not a popularity contest. Despite a 7-9 season, the New Orleans Saints still had several positive performances from their players last year.

To recap some of the better performances, the Saints had ten players finish with positive grades on offense last season:

  • Drew Brees, QB, +32.6
  • Zach Strief, OL, +10.9
  • Pierre Thomas, RB, +9.3
  • Terron Armstead, OL, +6.0
  • Jimmy Graham, TE, +5.7
  • Kenny Stills, WR, +5.2
  • Khiry Robinson, HB, +5.0
  • Austin Johnson, FB, +2.5
  • Robert Meachem, WR, +2.4
  • Mark Ingram, HB, +1.3

Despite finishing 31st overall on defense, the Saints managed to have five players finish with positive grades:

  • Junior Galette, DL, +20.3
  • Tyrunn Walker, DL, +8.0
  • Akiem Hicks, DL, +2.6
  • Parys Haralson, LB, +1.5
  • Jamarca Sanford, DB, +1.2

Based on the master NFL player list, Pro Football Focus has placed two players, Junior Galette and Drew Brees, in the Top 101. Both of these players improved over last year’s rankings.

Junior Galette

"70. Junior Galette, ED, New Orleans Saints (Unranked)The Saints’ season didn’t go to plan but you can’t fault Galette for that. He may not have got off to the most consistent start to the year but from Week 5 onward he was near unstoppable as he delivered big pressure game after big pressure game. The former undrafted free agent is one of the most fearsome edge defenders in the game.Best Performance: Week 9, NO @ CAR, +8.1Key Stat: Had the second-highest pass rush grade of all 4-3 defensive ends."

Galette finished as the fourth highest 4-3 defensive end overall, finishing behind Denver’s Malik Jackson (+24.2), Seattle’s Michael Bennett (+26.4), and Miami’s Cameron Wake (+32.2). His team leading 10.0 sacks ranked him 19th in the NFL.

Drew Brees

"37. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints (60th)Saints woes aside it was another quality year from Brees. His middle of the season was particularly impressive where between Weeks 7 and 13 he graded positively in each and every game. So why is the guy who had the second highest passing grade only 37th? Well, when it mattered most at the end of the season he produced some of his weakest performances, failing to lead the Saints to the playoffs.Best Performance: Week 13, NO @ PIT, +6.5Key Stat: Had the second highest adjusted accuracy score of all quarterbacks."

Brees finished as the second highest rated quarterback last year, finishing behind Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers (+40.4). Brees led the league in passing with 4,952 yards, finished fourth in passing touchdowns (33), and finished second behind Dallas’ Tony Romo in accuracy.

On a side note, punter Thomas Morstead finished as the fifth highest punter in the league with a +24.4 grade.

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