The star ballhawk’s third season might have lacked the flash of his 11-interception breakout the year prior, but he was arguably an improved player. Diggs posted the finest PFF coverage grade of his career (67.0) and improved his run defense grade, again a new career high, from 35.7 in 2021 to 66.2. One of several young Dallas playmakers who were on the verge of breaking the bank, Diggs became the first to ink an extension when he signed a five-year, $97 million deal at the start of training camp.
Simmons played the fewest games of his career (12) last season due to injuries. So, naturally, he set career highs in interceptions and forced fumbles with six and three, respectively. He generated plays all over the field for a team that desperately needed it thanks to an offense gone missing, which resulted in the ever-reliable safety’s third second-team All-Pro season of the last four years.
A disrupting force on the interior of Tennessee’s defensive line, Simmons followed up a breakout 2021 with his second straight second-team All-Pro campaign. His 7.5 sacks were just one shy of his career best and tied for seventh among all defensive tackles. A stellar run-stuffer to boot, Simmons inked the third-most lucrative contract at his position on a per-year basis in April.
One could be forgiven for expecting a drop-off from Poyer with his teammate, Micah Hyde, missing all but two games due to a neck injury. The two have formed one of the league’s most fearsome safety duos since 2017. Instead, Poyer reached his first Pro Bowl on the heels of four interceptions for a defense that ranked second in scoring under his leadership.
Prescott’s 12-spot drop from his 2022 ranking stems from his league-leading 15 interceptions, but he otherwise overcame those gaffes to keep Dallas’ well-oiled machine humming. The Cowboys offense ranked fourth in points and 11th in yards, both better than their much-ballyhooed defense. Dak also had a masterful five-touchdown performance to cap Super Wild Card Weekend to turn out the lights on Tom Brady’s career.
Last season, Pollard turned the years-old murmurs about him being Dallas’ best backfield option over Ezekiel Elliott into unanimous agreement. He broke 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career while scoring 12 total TDs and averaging 5.2 yards per carry, good for the third-best average among all running backs. He now stands alone as the Cowboys’ RB1.
After two straight seasons knocking on the door with nine sacks each, Burns broke into the double-digit sack club in 2022 with 12.5. He also set career bests in multiple other categories with 63 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 22 quarterback hits. With versatility that extends to defending the pass (78.3 PFF coverage grade), Burns has the potential to become an even bigger star in defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero’s new scheme.
Evans has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in all nine of his NFL seasons. The four-time Pro Bowler snapped a two-year streak of scoring double-digit TDs in 2022, but he compiled his most receptions (77) and yards (1,124) of the Tom Brady era. He also hasn’t fumbled since October 2018. Already a member of the 10,000-yard receiving club ahead of his 30th birthday, Evans is consistency personified.
The Commanders defensive lineman has made a 36-spot leap from the Top 100 ranking he snagged following his first Pro Bowl season in 2021. Allen was again a menace at defensive tackle for Washington in 2022, logging 7.5 sacks to bring his career total to 33.5. He also forced two fumbles and made his first career interception to run his Pro Bowl streak to two.
Rodgers had a down season by his standards, which means it was still well worthy of admiration from his peers. Despite breaking the thumb on his throwing hand, he gutted it out for 3,695 yards and 26 touchdowns and fell one game shy of willing Green Bay to the playoffs after a 4-8 start. Soon, the Jets will enjoy the spoils that come with employing a four-time MVP.