<
>
Insider

The NFL All-Improved Team: Players who made biggest jumps

Carson Wentz, right, emerged as a top-tier quarterback, while fellow signal-caller Case Keenum's timely breakout is likely to earn him a big paycheck. Rob Carr/Getty Images

After grading every player on every play over the course of the regular season, the Pro Football Focus analysis team has identified the most improved player at every position from 2016 to 2017. Pending free agents who had a notable (and timely) uptick in their performance also were spotlighted at every position.

Note that this is not a list of the players who saw the biggest jumps in overall grades from one season to the next. Other factors -- such as playing time, change in role and overall level of performance -- also were taken into account.


OFFENSE

QB: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

2016 grade: 78.3
2017 grade: 87.6

It was a close race between second-year quarterbacks Wentz and Jared Goff, and while Goff improved further overall, Wentz jumped into the elite quarterback conversation, which is harder to achieve than simply crawling out of the hole Goff was in as a rookie. Wentz had a passer rating of 110.3 when kept clean in the pocket, throwing 25 touchdowns, which ranked second in the league, despite Wentz missing the final three weeks of the season with a knee injury. Wentz also was phenomenal on third downs, leading the league in big-time throw percentage (12.0 percent) and passer rating (125.0).

Free agent: Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings

2016 grade: 64.5
2017 grade: 85.3

Keenum's leap in performance was almost as impressive as that of Wentz or Goff. He was fantastic all season and enters free agency with the question of whether he can repeat that in 2018 or beyond.

RB: Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

2016 grade: 50.7
2017 grade: 91.9

Gurley looked like he was lost in the woods in 2016, often bailing on clean holes and anticipating the breakdown of the blocking before it ever happened. He was reborn under first-year Rams head coach Sean McVay, and he was a powerful weapon as a receiver. Gurley had 15 runs of 15 or more yards over the season, and he was second in the league in yards per route run at 2.14, trailing only the Saints' Alvin Kamara. He ended the season as PFF's top-ranked running back after having ranked 41st the season before.

Free agent: Dion Lewis, New England Patriots

2016 grade: 68.6
2017 grade: 87.2

Lewis stepped into a bell cow role with the Patriots last season, more than doubling his snap count from 2016. He also led the league in PFF's elusive rating, breaking 49 tackles on 212 touches.