Yesterday, I posted the Pro Football Focus ratings for the Raiders' entire depth chart. It seems whenever fans agree with their findins, they are a good source, and when they don't agree, it's "what do they know?" and the usual misunderstanding of why exactly we tend to trust their ratings over most. It's because they're completely objective and based on analyzing each individual play.
Using it to predict future performance is another story. The results don't consider things like injuries, difficult circumstances, or progress throughout a season. They can't because it would mean making a judgment call and that doesn't fit the straightforward analysis.
Not surprisingly, the poll results have most Raiders fans saying the depth chart rankings were "Too negative overall". Fans always think that because they are prone to the bright side and giving the benefit of the doubt to those players wearing the uniform of their favorite team.
With that said, there are a few players who have a very good chance of outplaying their current ratings which are based mostly upon each player's 2013 performance.
QB Matt Schaub
PFF rating: Below Average Starter
If you go solely on his numbers last year, below average actually seems pretty generous. But over his career, he has been at least a good starting NFL quarterback if not high quality. I have actually seen a few commenters say something to the effect "At his worst, Schaub is average." No, at his worst he is absolutely terrible. We JUST saw this. He threw six pick sixes last season in eight starts. That isn't average by any stretch. While I don't expect Schaub to revert to his Pro Bowl ways this season, he is just a season removed from that level of play so it seems difficult to believe he would simply fall off the cliff, never to return.
PFF rating: Below Average Starter
Technically, Ausberry didn't have a 2013, but he gets a rating none the less because he had played the two previous seasons. Ausberry took a while to get on track as an NFL tight end. It appeared as if he had figured things out last training camp and was easily the starter. That plan was upended when he was... and landed on his shoulder, placing him on injured reserve. Many have said he should get a "not enough information" but I completely disagree and here's why: He was active the previous two entire seasons. Just because we didn't see much from him doesn't mean we don't have the information we need. What it means is he wasn't good enough to see the field. Even "Below Average Starter(s)" have more than nine career catches over 28 career games. The reason I see him outplaying that is because we have seen what he is capable of doing when he gets it right. This former receiver has the necessary hands and speed and as of last off-season, he had put on the necessary weight as well. In last year's camp, he had clearly improved his blocking and that was half his issue before. If he is healthy, I have little doubt he will outplay his current rating.
PFF rating: Poor Starter
This is simply a case of early 2013 versus late 2013. King was struggling to find his footing (so to speak) as a first year NFL player at a position he hadn't played for very many years. He had the booming leg but had yet to catch up with the nuances of the game. He would just launch it and hope for the best, often outkicking his coverage or kicking a touchback that resulted in a pathetic net yardage average. But he improved greatly over the second half of the season, so much so I am surprised he wasn't able to ultimately make up for his early season struggles. He finished the season averaging the highest gross yards per punt average (48.9) in the league. He did this despite being second in the league over the first half of the season in touchbacks. All he needs to do now is continue to punt as he did over the latter half of last season and he would be considered at least average. If he continues on the same progress trajectory, we could see him more highly rated than that by season's end.