The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have two of the best rookies at their positions this preseason, according to Pro Football Focus. One of them is, of course, Vernon Hargreaves -- he of two interceptions, one more defensed pass and a whole lot of being around the ball. He's the best-graded cornerback in the 2016 NFL preseason so far. Good fun.
The other player is....fourth-string tight end Alan Cross, apparently? What?
Hey Rookies,— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 23, 2016
Welcome to the NFL . Keep up the good work! pic.twitter.com/VEX40dpTxM
Cross has all of one catch this preseason, so it's not like he's actually standing out going against all of the backups of the backups. Except, I guess, as a blocker. Which presents one amusing possibility: Cross might beat out sixth-round pick Dan Vitale, who hasn't stood out this season. Unlikely, but possible.
Mostly, this is a really good reminder to take players' performances against third-string backups with a grain of salt. It's also a good reminder that Pro Football Focus' grading does not take opponent quality into account whatsoever.