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DeMarcus Ware Grades Out Well

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Pro Football Focus is rolling out a series about the best players based on their grades for the last five years. Only one Cowboys player is getting a top of the class grade so far.

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DeMarcus Ware has been among the elite edge rushers in the NFL ever since he entered the league. But he's always been more than just a "get after the quarterback" guy, he can play the run and can drop into coverage. He's been the Cowboys best defensive player, much of the time while being double- and triple-teamed. He's earned his accolades.

So I was interested in where he'd end up on PFF's scale when they launched a series of articles using aggregate grades over the last five years to see who comes out on top at specific positions. Edge rushers include defensive ends in the 4-3 and 3-4 outside linebackers. So did DeMarcus come out number one? Nope. He was just edged out by James Harrison of the Steelers (+155 to +154.8). Okay, maybe that's 1 and 1a instead of 1 and 2. I mean, separated by .2 of a point.

The irony is that Ware loses out to Harrison based on penalties. This is James Harrison we're talking about! Anyway, I guess all those 5-yard offsides penalties that Ware accumulates end up being the difference.

2. DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys (+154.8)

It's a given that regardless of how the Cowboys play, DeMarcus Ware is going to wreak havoc. Featuring in the Top 10 for both his pass rushing and run defense (as you can see below), it shouldn't surprise anyone to hear that Ware has picked up an astonishing 337 combined sacks, hits, and hurries over the past five years.

He's no friend of quarterbacks, that's for sure.

In the end, the rating above shows there was very little difference between Ware and Harrison, with Ware losing out because of his tendency to draw those dreaded yellow flags (36 of them). Still, given what he's produced on the field you can live with that, as the 11th overall pick of the 2005 draft has become a truly dominant player.

Ware ends up third as a pass rusher behind John Abraham and Cameron Wake (the grades were normalized for snaps played as long as a player had three years of service in the past five). Ware also places 6th in run defense.

Also, Anthony Spencer is the number two edge guy against the run.

So what do you think? Fair grading or not?