The NFL dead period is full of largely meaningless rankings and re-rankings, the kind of stuff we'll completely forget by Week 2.
But players, who are spending more and more time online these days, still see "experts" handing out rankings, and they're likely to respond when they feel like they've been disrespected.
Enter Lane Johnson, who either saw or was sent CBS Sports' ranking Monday of the 10 best offensive tackles in the NFL.
Good news: Johnson was (obviously) included on the list. Bad news: He was placed way too low.
Johnson came in at No. 8 among all tackles, at least a few spots too low. Here's how the selection was justified:
When he's cooking, you could talk about the Eagles right tackle as the very best offensive lineman in the entire league. Pro Football Focus awarded him with the highest run-blocking grade of any tackle last season and he only allowed one sack during pass-blocking snaps. He's elite. That said, Johnson was limited to 12 games last season and is now entering his 30s, which is what gives me pause from vaulting him up much higher.
When you have to begin your explanation by admitting the player could (should?) actually be way higher, you've already lost the battle.
Johnson's play has shown he's one of the best offensive linemen, period, in the league, and 2019 was the first time injuries forced Johnson to miss more than one start in a season since he entered the league in 2013, which makes the "12 game" point feels like a false argument.
The Eagles' right tackle called out the indignity Monday afternoon in an Instagram story.
As is noted in the story, Johnson finished Top 2 at right tackle last season among Pro Football Focus's overall grades, and had the best run-blocking grade in the entire league.
PFF's aren't the end-all, be-all of talent evaluation, but they're certainly a useful piece of the puzzle for evaluating lineman talent.
Johnson absolutely belongs ahead of Dallas's Tyron Smith, Kansas City's Mitchell Schwartz, and New Orleans' Terrell Armstead. I'd also put Johnson over the 49ers' Trent Williams, a fantastic player who didn't play in 2019, hasn't played a 16-game season since 2013, and turns 32 next month.
I'm not saying - and I don't think Johnson is saying - that the Eagles' right tackle is the best tackle in the NFL. But he's certainly not No. 8.
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