PFF misses the goalposts badly in 2024 projections for Rams positional group

Los Angeles Rams Minicamp, Sean McVay
Los Angeles Rams Minicamp, Sean McVay / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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If you are in the NFL offseason, you can look for a lot of rankings, projections, lookbacks, and peer-aheads from a wide range of NFL websites. One of the most prolific is Pro Football Focus, whose bread and butter reason for being is reviewing and evaluating the performance of every player in the NFL on a weekly basis. Those evaluations are graded with a numeric value. Each week, a new set of numeric scores are tallied for the player.

Over time, PFF has the grades for individual players, and then aggregates those scores into positional groupings. It's that unique data source that gives value-added to subscription holders.

But in the off-season, what is there to measure and aggregate? To fill in the gap, PFF launches a number of lookbacks over player performances to rank individual players and player groups from the previous season. With that on the agenda, it is a simple task to flip the polarity of those same reports of historical data forward to peer ahead on projections of players or positional groups.

Okay, so this is the offseason, and PFF is ranking all 32 teams 'offensive lines for 2024. So, where did they project the LA Rams offensive line? Earlier in the year, Dallas Robinson of Pro Football Network gave the Rams offensive line no better than 11th ranking for 2024.

For the 2023 season final rankings, (subscription required) Pro Football Focus ranked the Rams' offensive line no better than 14th, in large part thanks to the team's fifth-highest run-blicking grade (71.5) in the league. And yet, would they be more generous in their projections for 2024?

Actually, they would be even harsher critics. The Rams' offensive line for 2024 is projected to finish at 16th, two spots worse than 2023, despite the significant investment into the team's offensive line. Here is what Zotan Buday had to say about the Rams offensive line projections:

"The Rams shrewd trade acquisition of Kevin Dotson ahead of the 2023 campaign paid massive dividends. He put together a breakout season, finishing with the second-highest PFF grade among guards and earning himself a new contract with the Rams.

Los Angeles will hope Jonah Jackson, who the team signed in free agency, will yield similar results, as they are expected to be once again among the better run-blocking units in the NFL."

Zoltan Buday

So how could PFF writer Zoltan Buday get it so wrong? The answer will surprise you: