Unfortunately not every rookie is going to contribute in a positive manner so after looking at these first round guys, I’m going to give you a quick rundown on what some of the other rookies are up to.
Division by division, rookie by rookie. An arduous process I’m restricting myself to just offensive and defensive players who have played at least 100 snaps.
So here goes.
- Fourth round selection Chris Hairston (-0.8) has worked as an additional tight end, but saw his most significant action filling in at left tackle. He performed as well as can be expected in two starts, giving up a sack and three hits
- Cornerback Aaron Williams (-4.8) has had a tough time adjusting to the slot position or at least he haa when he saw considerable action against New England. Williams was overmatched against Wes Welker and gave up a touchdown to Rob Gronkowski.
- With Reggie Bush doing nothing to suggest he can be a feature back, Daniel Thomas (-0.4) has reaped the benefits by looking explosive in comparison.
New England Patriots
- The Patriots don’t have a single player drafted outside of the first round who has played more than 100 snaps this season.
New York Jets
- After picking up undrafted rookie Colin Baxter (-9.4), the Jets were forced to play him in three games. The result? He’s struggled badly, which has highlighted just how important Nick Mangold is. He has since been cut and signed to the San Diego practice squad.
- Raven fans won’t soon forget the debut of Torrey Smith (+1.2). In that game, he’s had five receptions, three touchdowns and 152 yards, though he hasn’t quite been able to make the same impact without Justin King playing against him.
- One player to keep an eye on is fifth rounder Pernell McPhee (+3.2). He’s made a good start as a part of the Ravens’ rotation and is coming off an impressive 11 snap performance on Monday Night Football.
- You can understand why Andy Dalton (+10.7) has been left in the shadows given the sheer volume of rookie quarterbacks, namely Cam Newton. Quietly, the second rounder’s play has resembled the efficient way Sam Bradford went about his rookie year in 2010
- When Bobbie Williams went down, fourth round guard Clint Boiling (-6.9) came into the starting lineup. He was benched after two full games and 19 snaps against San Francisco.
- He wasn’t meant to start right away, and fifth rounder Jason Pinkston (-8.6) has struggled at left guard. On the plus side, he isn’t much worse than Eric Steinbach even if he has given up five quarterback hits, and a further nine pressures while not missing any snaps.
- No Browns receiver has managed more snaps than Greg Little’s 387 (-1.3). He has yet to really make the most of these opportunities, as his only positive grading cam against the Raiders. However, he does lead all wide receivers in forced missed tackles with eight.
- Fourth round fullback Owen Marecic (-0.8) has yet to make much of an impression in his 131 snaps. Some good blocks here, and some bad blocks there he could be doing much worse.
- It should tell you just how well Jabaal Sheard (+11.2) has played, seeing as how he’s number three in my race for rookie of the year.
- Given how bad the Steelers’ tackles played last year, it was going to be hard for Marcus Gilbert (-0.5) not to provide an upgrade. He may have given up four sacks, but he has just surrendered seven other combined hits and hurries in his 158 pass blocks.
- Undrafted free agent tight end Weslye Saunders (+0.4) has spent 90 of his 111 snaps in some form of a blocking role. On his 21 pass routes he’s been targeted three times, for one reception and two yards
- With Mario Williams going down, Brooks Reed (-0.2) had some big shoes to fill. You can’t expect the second rounder to replicate what Williams can do, but look at these numbers; Williams picked up 24 combined sacks, hits and pressures on his 126 pass rushes. Reed has eight on 115 rushes. That kind of disparity may come back to haunt the Texans.
- Running back Delone Carter (-2.5) has seen more action (131 snaps) than former first round pick Donald Brown (79), but he hasn’t exactly impressed. Carter’s looked particularly out of place in pass protection.
- Undrafted free agent Joe Lefeged (-1.7) has been a large part of the Colts’ nickel defense, playing 169 snaps and not performing too badly … in comparison to some of his teammates that is.
- Drake Nevis (+2.8) is a rare sight to behold. A Colts defensive tackle who actually plays well? It’s a shame he’s been limited to 140 snaps.
- Hmm, what to say about Will Rackley (-15.6)? Well he’s managed a lot of snaps (352), but he’s also given up five sacks, two hits and nine pressures. That, and some woeful run blocking makes him our lowest ranked guard on the year.
- Fourth round wide receiver Cecil Shorts (-4.0) has dropped more balls (one), and had more interceptions thrown his way (two) than balls caught (0-of-7). As a result, he has only received nine snaps in the past three weeks.
- Although he’s coming off of his worst performance of the year, Akeem Ayers (+0.7) has made a decent start to life as a Titan. He’s the top ranked Titans linebacker as of right now.
- He may have been the 77th pick of the draft, but Jurrell Casey (+5.3) is like a first rounder. The three hundred pounder has been a big part of a Titans defensive line that has had to deal with a number of changes.
- After a strong start, Karl Klug (+2.2) hasn’t quite been so effective. The fifth rounder looked like a revelation after strong performances against Baltimore and Denver, but his ability to generate pass rush has pretty much evaporated since he saw a season high 61 snaps against Cleveland.
- Outside of two really rough games, Orlando Franklin (-10.4) hasn’t been all that bad. Still, those games show how much he struggles when faced with pure speed off the edge. Both Cameron Wake and Kamerion Wimbley caused him no end of problems.
- Rahim Moore (-4.5) may have been the top safety selected in the draft, but he’s failed to light it up in Denver. He’s had particular problems tackling, where he’s missed six of 20 attempted tackles.
- Fourth round safety Quinton Carter (-3.5) saw considerable action for the first time against San Diego (after 15 snaps a week earlier) and looked out of his element. Given a bye week to learn from the lessons of that game, he performed far more competently against an at times incompetent Miami offense.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Outside linebacker Justin Houston (-9.8) has spent the majority of his time in base packages, and hardly any time (30 snaps) rushing the passer. The result? Our third lowest grade for a 3-4 OLB, as he looks out of place in coverage and not much better in run defense.
- Third rounder Allen Bailey (-2.4) has failed to do much in his 136 snaps. He has negative grades in run defense and in pass rush (just three pressures on 98 attempts).
- He’s had some rough moments, but Stefan Wisniewski (-2.8) can generally be happy with his adjustment to life in the NFL. After three grades in the red during his first four weeks, he’s responded with three positive grades.
- Wide receiver Denarius Moore (+1.8) made a big impression in week two against Buffalo but what has he done since? Nine receptions for 66 yards, less than half of what he managed in one game.
- Losing Nnamdi Asomugha has been softened by the play of DeMarcus Van Dyke (-0.7). He may not be the best cornerback in the world yet, but he’s far from shamed the Raiders in giving up 9-of-24 balls thrown his way, while breaking up three passes and intercepting another.
San Diego Chargers
- No Charger rookie, other than first round pick Corey Liuget has played more than 100 snaps on offense or defense.
- Seventh round selection Bill Nagy (-9.0) ‘earned’ his grade on just 283 snaps. The Cowboys are better off without him in the lineup. His run blocking is atrocious.
- Before his break out game against the Rams, I can’t say I was overly impressed by DeMarco Murray (+3.1). But as soon as his offensive line gave him a chance to get to the second level, he made some nice moves to set a Cowboy record for rushing yards in a single game.
New York Giants
- He may have been undrafted, but fullback Henry Hynowski (-0.1) has managed to get on the field for 140 snaps. He doesn’t look like a star, but he’s held his own so far.
- The Giants have got Jacquian Williams (-2.3) onto the field an awful lot for a situational linebacker. He’s not embarrassed himself, but has over pursued a costly play or two. He’s managed 158 more snaps than Greg Jones.
- What can you expect out of a sixth rounder starting at center? Jason Kelce (-7.7) had a nice debut, and looked good against San Francisco, but other than that? He’s had some real issues in pass protection for a center, resulting in the fourth worst Pass Blocking Efficiency number for a center in the league.
- What is it with Eagles and sixth rounders? Brian Rolle (+1.7) may have missed four tackles, but has responded reasonably well to the challenges of starting since week four.
- The less said about Casey Matthews (-7.1) the better. In fairness to him, he looked out of his depth in pre season and should never have been put on the field for 149 snaps to start with.
- Running back Roy Helu (+0.0) looked excellent when he got the ball in his hands against Arizona. Since then? Well his role in the offense has fluctuated. Let’s see what he can do with Tim Hightower out of the lineup.
- Undrafted receiver Dane Sanzenbacher (-5.5) may have three touchdowns, but he also has five dropped passes and is catching only 57.6% of balls thrown his way. He’s no Earl Bennett.
- Chris Conte (+0.7) probably didn’t expect to see quite as much action as he has so far. But in 150 snaps he’s shown some promise, particularly against the Bucs in London. The Bears have rotated their safeties in the past and it will be interesting to see how much playing time he winds up with.
- It hasn’t quite worked out for Titus Young (-5.8) yet. An unspectacular start got worse when he dropped two balls vs. San Francisco, and caught nothing thrown his way against Atlanta.
Green Bay Packers
- Turns out the Super Bowl champions don’t need rookies. Though Randall Cobb has made a contribution, he’s only managed 95 snaps.
- Second rounder Kyle Rudolph (+4.2) has impressed when he’s been on the field, but the Vikings are easing him in right now. He’s seen 197 snaps which is 44.2% of the team’s total number.
- Whether he has lined up at defensive end or defensive tackle, Christian Ballard (-5.3) has looked like a player in need of some seasoning; has managed just four pressures on 70 pass rushes.
- He may not be the biggest of backs, but Jacquizz Rodgers (+2.7) has managed to make a positive contribution, forcing four missed tackles and earning more playing time than Jason Snelling.
- Sometimes rookie free agents look like rookie free agents. Byron Bell (-14.3) is one such example, with 247 snaps being too much to ask of him. He’s already given up two sacks, two hits and nine pressures.
- Sione Fua (-3.8) hasn’t made the greatest of starts to life in the NFL, but he’s held his own in run defense. It could be a lot worse …
- It’s probably about time Carolina lowered the snap count (309) on Terrell McClain (-12.2). The third round pick looks like a light weight in the run game and is hardly explosive rushing the passer. They’re simply asking too much from him right now.
New Orleans Saints
- Outside of their two first rounders, no Saints rookie has seen the field for 100 or more snaps.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Tight end Luke Stocker (+0.8) has been about as bland a rookie as can be in his 140 snaps. No pressure given up, seven receptions, and average with his run blocking. Come on Luke, give me something to say!
- It hasn’t taken long for Mason Foster (+1.6) to make himself home in Tampa. The middle linebacker has played in 124 snaps and outplayed both men on his outside. That owes some to their general poor play, but he can be happy with his contribution in his 288 snaps so far.
- It’s a shame Da’Quan Bowers (+4.5) is having his playing time understandably limited because of his knee problems. Otherwise he looks like a fine every-down defensive end. He hasn’t had an awful lot of opportunities to rush the passer, but has flashed what he can do when given the chance.
- The only rookie on offense to see more than 100 snaps is fullback Anthony Sherman (+1.3) with 101. He’s done a decent job, for the most part, after a wobbly start. He’s coming off his best game of the year where he did a good job against the Steelers linebackers. Nothing to be sniffed at.
St Louis Rams
- Wasn’t tight end Lance Kendricks (-5.9) going to light things up in his rookie year? Given the protection woes of the Rams surely he would be the safety net? Instead he’s dropped six balls and caught just 12. Not the start most had in mind.
- Greg Salas (-2.0) is the Rams rookie receiver who met the threshold of snaps for this list. He almost wishes he hadn’t, as now I have to explain why averaging a drop per game is a bad thing. He’s played the majority of his snaps in the slot and he’s no Danny Amendola.
San Francisco 49ers
- Fullback Bruce Miller (+0.6) had a big game against Philadelphia, after a bad one against Cincinnati. In the grand scheme of things his performances have balanced out, which makes him more consistent than Moran Norris.
- Consider me impressed by dime cornerback Chris Culliver (+4.8). Sure he’s only played 107 snaps, but in those 107 snaps he’s been targeted 12 times, allowing only six completions, while breaking up two passes and deflecting another. Quite the set of cornerbacks the 49ers could have.
- Right guard John Moffit (- 7.3) has only missed 10 snaps, but you’d be forgiven for thinking at the start of the year that should have been much more. In the last three weeks he’s responded with better performances, and it will be interesting to see how he copes in his rematch with Darnell Dockett, which didn’t go well for him first time around.
- Apologies to Doug Baldwin (+3.0) fans. I must have cursed him when I wrote so positively about him three weeks ago, as now he’s turned into a bit of a non factor. Sure Charlie Whitehurst can have that effect on you, but Baldwin needs to shoulder some of the blame for his performance against Cleveland. Still, he’s proved to provide excellent value.
- It won’t be long before K.J. Wright (+7.2) is making moves in my race for rookie of the year. Only his snap count (165) and two down role is holding him back. Amazing that the fourth rounder looks more like the player they wanted Aaron Curry to become than the former fourth overall pick ever looked like being.
- He may be a fifth rounder, but so far Richard Sherman (+1.1) hasn’t looked out of place. With Seattle short on cornerbacks, he may be about to face his biggest tests in the coming weeks.