32 Teams, 32 Observations, Week 5

| October 13, 2011

We are five weeks into the season, and this week we begin a special version of 32 teams, 32 observations. This week will be all about the rookies, and catching up on how well they are doing after a month to show themselves.

In some cases impressive, in other cases not so much, but good, bad, or somewhere in between, here they are:
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AFC EAST
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Buffalo Bills: First-round defensive linemen Marcell Dareus has had a QB hit in each of  the past four games and is tied for the team lead in total pressures.
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Miami Dolphins: Mike Pouncey has a +7.5 run block rating, which is second best among all centers. The Dolphins have a 4.4 rushing average when running up the middle left or right gap, and both of their touchdowns have come just to Pouncey’s left or right.
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New England Patriots: Third round pick Stevan Ridley has averaged 6.4 yards per run, which is the highest for any rookie back, no matter the sample size.
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New York Jets: Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson has 10 stops on the season, which is tied for fourth most among 3-4 defensive ends.
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AFC NORTH
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Baltimore Ravens: Leading the league in yards per reception for receivers with at least 25% of their team’s snaps is Torrey Smith with 25.5. This is almost entirely due to the first quarter of the game against the Rams.
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Cincinnati Bengals: Quarterback Andy Dalton is one of the quarterbacks helped out by our PFF QB Rating, where he sits at 84.9; highest among rookies.
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Cleveland Browns: The duo of second round pick Jabaal Sheard at defensive end and first round pick Phil Taylor at defensive tackle has generated two sacks, three hits and 15 pressures in four games.
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Pittsburgh Steelers: Second round right tackle Marcus Gilbert is the only rookie with more than 100 snaps on the team, and has been better than most of Pittsburgh’s other linemen. He has allowed just two pressures per game, and has a positive run block rating.
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AFC SOUTH
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Houston Texans: Defensive end J.J. Watt has 15 overall pressures on the season, which is fifth-most for 3-4 defensive ends.
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Indianapolis Colts: Third round pick Drake Nevis has been very helpful in his limited 140 snaps. He has six overall pressures, as well as five stops.
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Jacksonville Jaguars: Surprisingly enough, Blaine Gabbert has a better rating when he is under pressure (0.0) than when he’s facing no pressure (-3.5)
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Tennessee Titans: Fifth round pick Karl Klug has made a big impact. Although he has yet to start a game, he has played 192 snaps (second most on the team’s defensive line), and has five sacks/hits on quarterbacks so far.
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AFC WEST
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Denver Broncos: Seventh round pick Virgil Green has received more snaps at tight end (73) than fellow rookie fourth round pick Julius Thomas (37). He also has a better catch rating, run block rating, and pass block rating.
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Kansas City Chiefs: While no rookie has played on offense, third round pick Justin Houston has seen 174 snaps on defense. He has been thrown at more, allowed more catches, yards, and yards after the catch than any other 3-4 outside linebacker.
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Oakland Raiders: Fifth round pick Denarius Moore has the highest receiving rating of all other Raider receivers. He has a pair of 20-yard runs (25 and 23), one for a touchdown, giving him the highest run rating of all wide receivers.
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San Diego Chargers: The only rookie with more than 100 snaps is Corey Liuget. Unfortunately, his -5.4 run defense rating is second worst for 3-4 defensive ends.
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NFC EAST
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Dallas Cowboys: First round pick Tyron Smith is the only right tackle in the league with a +2.0 rating in both pass blocking and run blocking.
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New York Giants: While the Giants have only given sixth round pick Greg Jones 90 snaps at middle linebacker, we’ve liked what we’ve seen from him. He has a +2.6 run defense rating; the highest for middle linebackers with less than 180 snaps.
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Philadelphia Eagles: Sixth round pick Jason Kelce has played every snap so far at center and has allowed 10 total pressures – three more than the next highest number.
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Washington Redskins: Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has had one sack and four pressures in each of the past three games.
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NFC NORTH
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Chicago Bears: Undrafted rookie Dane Sanzenbacher has 177 snaps which is 68 more than free agent addition Roy Williams. His 1.25 yards per pass route run ranks him 67th of 87 qualifying receivers.
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Detroit Lions: Second round receiver Titus Young has had a nice start to his season. He is one of 11 receivers with at least 14 catches without a drop.
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Green Bay Packers: To stick with the NFC North receiver theme, Randall Cobb has caught 90% of passes thrown his way. His 19.3 yards per catch is rather high considering 67% of his pass routes have come in the slot position.
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Minnesota Vikings: On average, 40% of a tight end’s receiving yards comes after the catch. Second round pick Kyle Rudolph has had 62% of his yards come after the catch.
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NFC SOUTH
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Atlanta Falcons: While the Falcons still use Michael Turner dominantly in the run game, when it comes to backs on passing downs, they have used him and fifth round rookie Jacquizz Rodgers equally. Each has run 73 pass routes, and Rodgers has stayed in to block 18 times compared to Turner’s 17.
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Carolina Panthers: Both Terrell McClain and Sione Fua were defensive tackles picked in the third round. However Fua has nine stops and an above average run defense rating, while McClain has just three, and has by far the lowest rating among defensive tackles.
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New Orleans Saints: Cornerback Patrick Robinson has allowed just 52% of passes thrown his way to be caught which is among the best, but the 16 yards per catch he allows is among the worst.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defensive end Adrian Clayborn had just three combined pressures over the first two games. He has had 11 over the past three.
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NFC WEST
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Arizona Cardinals: While Patrick Peterson has had some struggles at cornerback, his 177 punt return yards is fourth most, and it’s just on 11 returns.
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St Louis Rams:  Third round pick Austin Pettis has had one clear role with the Rams, and that is play in the slot, where 93% of his pass routes have been run.
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San Francisco 49ers: Over the past two weeks, Aldon Smith has filled the pass rushing void left by the departed free agents. He has been able to bring pressure on 10 of 45 pass rushes in that time.
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Seattle Seahawks: Fourth round pick K.J. Wright started the season at middle linebacker, and is now starting on the strong side. They have limited him to just 119 snaps in his four games, but he has at least one stop in each game and has a +3.4 run defense rating.
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Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke and check out our main Twitter feed too: @ProFootbalFocus
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