If you woke up this morning thinking Football players are a helluva lot like publicly-traded stocks, you’re right! Obviously. And the good news for Jets fans is that 2011 was a bear market. A lot of key players underperformed, and some, of course, were better than we should expect them to be going forward. Let’s take a look.
Note: The lists below have little or nothing to do with who I like as players, or who I think is “good” or “bad”. I’m only evaluating the likelihood that they will be more productive this year than they were in 2011. Brandon Moore, for example, is awesome, and yet he’s on my Sell list.
Who I’m Buying:
Santonio Holmes – With a cumulative grade of -11.0, PFF graded Holmes out at 194 of 200 wide receivers last year. Re-read that last sentence. He wasn’t good at anything that took place on a football field. He was far and away the worst blocking receiver in the league and he committed five penalties. So it didn’t just look like Holmes didn’t care at times last year, he played like it too. In 2010, he was ranked 30th by PFF and in ’09 he was 10th. Tone will be better than he was last year, probably by a significant margin. And even if he’s hurt and doesn’t play, his replacement will be better than he was. Stock: UP
D’Brickashaw Ferguson – 2011 was Brick’s worst year as a pro. Among qualifying tackles, PFF ranked Ferguson 4th in 2008, 9th in ’09, and tied for 4th in 2010. Last year he slipped all the way to 27th, which still placed him roughly in the top one-third of qualifying tackles. Brick almost never commits a penalty and he’s very, very good (if not quite dominant) when he’s at his best. At 28 years old, his knees probably aren’t what they used to be, but I have no reason to believe he won’t have a big bounce-back year. Stock: UP
Nick Mangold – Mangold was PFF’s second rated center in the league last year and I think his stock is down? In a word, yes. Mangold is dominant when healthy. His grade of 26.0 last year compares to a 37.2 in 2008 and a 35.2 in 2009. Playing all of the 2012 season at just 28 years old, I see no reason why Mangold won’t be better this year. He’s not the second best center in the NFL. He’s the best. By a good margin. Stock: UP
Yeremiah Bell – There’s not that many players around the league that I love to watch play, but Bell has been one of them in recent years. He’s good. In 2011 he was bad. He was one of PFF’s top ten safeties in 2010. In 2008 and 2009, he was 31st and 27th, respectively. Last year he ranked 77th (still four spots ahead of my main man, Eric Smith). I didn’t watch Bell enough last year to know what went wrong, but he was very good in his two contests against the Jets. Time isn’t on the recently-turned 34 year old’s side, but I’m still buying. Stock: UP
Who I’m Selling:
Brandon Moore – As teased above, I think it’s very unlikely that Moore will continue to play at his recent level. He was the most effective pass blocking guard in all of football over the last three seasons. He’s good. I love Moore. But, at 32, his best days are probably behind him. After ranking 7th in 2009 and 10th in 2010, Moore was PFF’s 18th best guard in 2011. I’m following the trend. Stock: DOWN
Sione Pouha – Like Moore, Pouha is good and I like him very, very, very, very much (that’s 500 words on the nose…you can count if you want). And like Moore, I doubt Pouha can duplicate his 2011 season, when he was the number one defensive/nose tackle in the league. He’ll be very good again, but probably not best-in-the-league good. Stock: DOWN
You'll notice that my Buy list is a lot longer than my Sell list. Again, 2011 was a pretty bad year. There were very few Jets who played above their heads, and a lot that played like they were drowning. These are all good things.