All positions are created equal in the eyes of Pro Football Focus. The data supplier also doesn't care what a player did in the past – at least when it comes to its annual Top 101.
With that in mind, the PFF staff included three Giants on the list for 2018: rookie running back Saquon Barkley (No. 27), wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (No. 36) and outside linebacker Olivier Vernon (No. 70). It was the fourth appearance on the Top 101 for Beckham and third for Vernon.
"The AP offensive rookie of the year led the league with 71 missed tackles forced this year, while his 31 missed tackles after the catch alone would have ranked 20th among all running backs in terms of total missed tackles forced," the PFF staff wrote. "He also led all 47 NFL running backs with 100-plus carries in breakaway percentage at 54.0%, as 706 of his 1,307 rushing yards came from runs of 15 or more yards."
PFF's top five players, in order, are: Rams interior defensive lineman Aaron Donald, Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Chiefs quarterback and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Eagles interior defensive lineman Fletcher Cox.
Beckham, who was limited to just four games in 2017, bounced back with his fourth 1,000-yard campaign in five seasons. According to PFF, he was the fifth-best wide receiver in 2018. Vernon, meanwhile, overcame his own injury and missed the first five games. He went on to finish with 7.0 sacks, including 2.5 in the season finale against Dallas, and made his first Pro Bowl as an alternate.
"After an ankle injury forced Vernon from the field early in the 2018 season, he rebounded nicely with an 86.3 overall grade and 86.0 pass rush grade, ranking 13th and tied-for-seventh respectively, among edge defenders," the PFF staff wrote. "Vernon made an impact with 46 total pressures on 414 pass-rush snaps for a pressure rate of 11.1 percent."
PFF, unlike the AP, did not have Barkley as the Offensive Rookie of the Year. That honor went to Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in a memorable year for rookies across the board.
"When it came to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, it came down to three guys who almost every other season would have run away with the award," PFF's Michael Renner wrote. "After a slow transition to the league, Colts' guard Quenton Nelson was dominant down the stretch and finished the season as PFF's second-team All-Pro left guard. Giants' running back Saquon Barkley was a home run threat every time he touched the football and finished with a top-5 receiving grade and rushing grade among starting backs.
"At the end of the day, though, what Baker Mayfield did as a rookie at the quarterback position was historic. Mayfield earned the second-highest grade we've ever given to a rookie quarterback but unlike Russell Wilson – the previous leader – Mayfield achieved that grade in a pass-heavy offense. His 531 dropbacks were 55 more than Wilson despite coming in three fewer starts."