ProFootballFocus.com is one of the most respected publications when it comes to breaking down and analyzing NFL football games. I thought it would be good to share PFF’s take on the relative merits of Lions center Dominic Raiola.
Here is their assessment:
“Controversy erupted this week surrounding comments attributed to an anonymous NFL general manager regarding Lions center Dominic Raiola. The comments published on a prominent website described Raiola as a “complete fraud” and suggested that perhaps with an improved work ethic, he might hope to be an “average back-up” someday. The website has since apologized for publishing the comments but that probably hasn’t stopped many NFL fans from wondering. Since grading every player on every play is what we do here at PFF, we feel it’s only our duty to weigh in.
“So, would Raiola be lucky to make most teams as a backup center? Either this GM is just trying to get under Raiola’s skin, or he’s simply not looking at the same game film we are.
Raiola has been a starting center in this league for more than 10 years, and that’s saying something in itself. In our five years of grading, you could only look at Raiola’s 2010 campaign and legitimately make a statement like the one above. That year, Raiola ranked 30th in our overall grading and struggled in all aspects of his game. He rebounded last year (up to 24th overall) and was back to doing what he does best with a Pass Blocking Efficiency (PBE) rating good for fourth among NFL centers.
“So far this year, Raiola is having one of his finest seasons. His +9.7 overall grade is good for seventh among centers and his pass protection has again been elite — only five QB disruptions allowed, and ranked third in PBE. He’s also made big strides in his run blocking. He isn’t dominant — not the kind of guy who’s going to drive a defender to the ground or even out of a play — but he often does enough to keep a running lane open and is rarely beaten man-on-man. His +5.0 run blocking grade leads his team and is currently good for 11th among centers.”
So, there you go.