Pro Football Focus has completed their annual list of the Top 101 individual players from the 2014 season. Their grading system is supposed to judge a player based on that season alone -- so if a player had one down season after a Hall of Fame career, they might not even appear on the list.
Based on last season's performances, three members of the Browns cracked the Top 101 players:
No. 20 - LT Joe Thomas (down from No. 12 in 2013) - "A couple of shaky games aside (by his standards), Thomas was at his imperious best. The picture of consistency since entering the league, he graded positively in all but three games. As ever, with Thomas it’s his pass protection that really stands out, but there’s no denying that the introduction of Kyle Shanahan got him in a run blocking scheme that really played to his strengths."
Key Stat: Graded positively in pass protection in all but one game.
No. 47 - LG Joel Bitonio (rookie) - "One of the rookies of the year. Bitonio didn’t take long to show how NFL ready he was, with only a couple of negatively graded games in the latter weeks of the season preventing him finishing higher. The second round pick was a boon to an already strong offensive line, fitting in seamlessly with his stellar run blocking catching the eye in particular."
Key Stat: Only offensive guard to score a +10.0 or higher grade for his pass protection and run blocking.
No. 95 - ILB Karlos Dansby (down from No. 59 in 2013) - "A good first year in Cleveland for Dansby who was exceptional in coverage where he had the second-highest grade of all inside linebackers. Slipped a little as he made less of an impact against the run than in 2013 (he only had 26 run stops) but when you’re as good in the passing game as Dansby you’re always in contention to get end of season awards."
Key Stat: 0.33 yards per snap in coverage number was the lowest of all inside linebackers.
It's not a surprise to see Thomas on the list, as he is the staple of consistency. It's also not a surprise to see Bitonio, who was beloved by the staff at PFF all of last season. Dansby just made the list, but when he was signed, the No. 1 question was, "is he better than D'Qwell Jackson?" Even at No. 95, it's a definitive, "yes."
The one player you could say was snubbed is CB Joe Haden, who was No. 75 a year ago. Haden had a bit of a slow start to this past season before coming on half-way through the year. Also missing are the Browns' two safeties. SS Donte Whitner was No. 61 a year ago (based on when he was with the 49ers). FS Tashaun Gipson probably would have made the list had he not suffered a season-ending injury, and I'd have to think the same would've been true for C Alex Mack.