Saints DE Cameron Jordan: 41st best player in the NFL?
By Sean Nief
The NFL Network’s Top 100 list seems to be one of those things put on this earth to make Saints fans mad. Cameron Jordan was the first Saints player on this year’s list and that says a lot.
Cameron Jordan has been one of the most consistent defensive players in the league since he entered it. He has found a way to improve his game every season and deserves to be recognized. Yet, the NFL Network’s Top 100 list has found a way to spurn him seemingly every year. This year’s edition has been no different.
The players’ list is supposed to be a celebration of the best players around the NFL each season as voted on by their peers. It would make sense because the players in the league understand the game on a completely different level than your average fan. They have been scholars and students of the game for years. Regardless, every year certain players are disrespected and lose out of the spot they deserve because of popularity and familiarity.
Cameron Jordan has been the victim of this in previous seasons. After going unranked in 2017, he was given a reasonable placement at 26 last season. This year, Jordan has somehow fallen 15 spots to the 41st position on the list. Despite receiving high praise from former teammate Akiem Hicks and Rams Tackle Andrew Whitworth, Jordan still feels as if he is underrated.
This season saw Jordan as a disruptive force in opposing backfields. He racked up 12 sacks, 18 tackles for loss and 21 QB hits. While his sack and QB hits have dipped slightly from the year before there was no significant drop-off. Jordan was also able to put up these numbers in a defense that drastically improved in the run game with the addition of Demario Davis.
Jordan’s individual achievement is incredible. He ranks fourth in sacks over the last two seasons. He is also the fifth-best in run-defense and fourth-best in pass-rush out of all edge rushers according to Pro Football Focus (premium subscription). There is no doubt that his consistent play is a cornerstone of the Saints defense that helped push the team to a 13-3 record and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.
Even in his best season and ranking, Jordan seems to have his achievements diminished by the players’ list. Last season was his best ranking to date after he finished that season with 13 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, and 28 QB hits. For comparison, Everson Griffen was ranked 19th on the list last season with a stat line of 13 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and 25 QB hits.
Even in a season where he seemingly performed better than Griffen, Jordan was ranked lower than him. Jordan’s stats this previous season are also comparable to Griffen’s performance but they garnered him a place 22 spots behind that ranking. Unless Jordan were to have a season with more than 15 sacks, it appears that his consistent performance will continue to go unnoticed by his peers.
Obviously, this list is purely subjective, though. There is a reason that so many players are upset with their ranking every season and that all of the fans scoff at the placement of most of them. For a defensive player to even crack the top 20 is a feat in itself. Only seven defensive players managed to do so last season and only six the year before that.
Jordan may be underrated in the eyes of the NFL Network and the players’ list but all of his fans in New Orleans understand his true value. He is a four-time pro bowler, one-time First-team All-Pro and one-time Second-team All-Pro. He is an absolute animal with a non-stop energy and he is the cornerstone of the Saints defense.