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Harrison, Pierre-Paul lead 2017 Giants roster in Pro-Football-Reference’s Approximate Value

Numbers show, in part, why Giants weren’t very good

Kansas City Chiefs v New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Pro Football Reference recently released its Approximate Value (AV) metric for the 2017 season. AV is PFR’s attempt to put a singular number for the seasonal value of each player. You can read about what goes into it here. It’s not a perfect metric by any means, nor does it try to be — the word “approximate” is in the name. Its best usage is tied to an updated version of the draft pick trade chart put together by Chase Stuart at Football Perspective, which gives a more realistic value to draft picks than the old Jimmy Johnson chart. It’s also useful in figuring out how to value veteran players for draft pick trades, something teams are still struggling to do.

Still, putting this value on players each season can give a fair estimate of what that season was like. The players with the highest AV this season were Tom Brady and Todd Gurley at 19. One hundred and two players had an AV over 10 during the 2017 regular season, but there was not a New York Giant among them.

Jason Pierre-Paul and Damon Harrison tied for the team lead at 8 AV. 141 players had at least 9. For Pierre-Paul that matched last season’s output, but for Harrison is was 10 below the 18 AV he had in 2016, though that was second in the league behind only MVP Matt Ryan (21).

Here are a few other Giants-related notes:

  • The front-four four the Giants made up four of the team’s top-seven by AV. Behind Pierre-Paul and Harrison were Dalvin Tomlinson (7) and Olivier Vernon (6).
  • Only 14 rookies had more AV than Tomlinson’s 7. Seven others also had 7.
  • Eli Manning finished with 7 AV, which ranked 24th among quarterbacks. Some quarterbacks ahead of him included Josh McCown (9), Jacoby Brissett (10), Tyrod Taylor (12), and Joe Flacco (9). The 7 AV ties 2013 for Manning’s worst-full season as a starter. His seven-game rookie season performance was worth minus-1 AV.
  • Andrew Whitworth, famously not a Giant, tied for the AV lead among offensive linemen at 15, along with Eagles center Jason Kelce. The highest Giant offensive lineman was John Jerry with 6. Ereck Flowers was next at 5. Both of those marks were mostly due to playing in 16 games.
  • A possible future Giant, Carolina Panthers guard Andrew Norwell, had a 14 AV, behind only Whitworth and Kelce, and might have priced himself out of the Giants’ budget with a career season in the final year of his contract. Kevin Zeitler received a five-year/$60 million contract with $23 million guaranteed after a 5 AV contract year.
  • Landon Collins, who had 13 AV last season, had just 6 AV in 2017. 14 safeties had a higher mark.
  • Despite Evan Engram’s disappointing looking 5 AV, only six tight ends had a higher mark: Rob Gronkowski (13), Travis Kelce (10), Zach Ertz (8), Delanie Walker (7), Jared Cook (6), and Jack Doyle (6). Engram led the rookie class of tight ends with only San Francisco’s George Kittle at 4. Gerald Everett and O.J. Howard were next at 3 AV and David Njoku was at 2. Only five other rookie tight ends had at least 1 AV on the season.
  • Forty-two cornerbacks had a higher AV than Ross Cockrell’s 4, which cements his case as the year’s most underrated cornerback in the league.

Feel free to dig around with AV yourself. You can find the full ranking here and the Giants roster here.