It often takes a few years in order to judge how a draft class is. It’s been over two and a half years since the 2011 draft class heard their names called on draft day, and already a number of them are among the best players at their position. This week’s 32 Observations will focus on 32 of the early round non-quarterbacks who are getting significant playing with the team that drafted him.
Buffalo Bills: From 2012 to 2013, Marcell Dareus has more than doubled his Run Stop Percentage from 5.2% to 11.9%. He currently ranks fourth among all defensive/nose tackles.
Miami Dolphins: Center Mike Pouncey played nearly every snap in 2012, and there were only six games where he graded out negatively in run blocking. So far in 2013 he has played in 10 games and has already graded out negatively in run blocking six times.
New England Patriots: Only three offensive tackles have allowed more sacks than the nine that Nate Solder has allowed, but he has allowed just 20 other pressures. His Pass Blocking Efficiency of 95.2 puts him among the Top 20 pass blocking tackles in the league.
New York Jets: Due to strong play against the run as well as the pass, Muhammad Wilkerson has 33 stops on the year which is tied for third most among 3-4 defensive ends. This includes 10 sacks which is tied for the most at the position. The only problem is he also leads all 3-4 defensive ends in penalties with eight.
Baltimore Ravens: From Week 1 to Week 5, Jimmy Smith allowed a 58.3% catch rate, 13.1 yards per catch, two touchdown, zero interceptions and four passes defended. From Week 6 on, his catch rate allowed has decreased to 51.6%, yards per catch down to 11.9, hasn’t allowed a touchdown, has one interception and six passes defended.
Cincinnati Bengals: Each year A.J. Green has seen his Yards Per Route Run increase. It has gone from 2.12 to 2.32 and now 2.36. He currently ranks seventh among wide receivers in the category.
Cleveland Browns: Nose tackle Phil Taylor has an average Run Stop Percentage at 6.9%. He has done so by being very inconsistent about when he gets stops. He has three games with three run stops each, and then five run stops in his other nine games combined.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Out of all defensive linemen, Cameron Heyward has the most snaps this year at 595 of linemen who have yet to have a penalty called on them this year.
Houston Texans: Defensive end J.J. Watt has 64 total pressures on the year which is fourth best for a 3-4 defensive end in a season since 2008. He needs to average just over three pressures per game to break the record. He has had three or more pressures in all but one game this year.
Indianapolis Colts: Left tackle Anthony Castonzo has a Run Block grade of +9.3 which is the third highest for all tackles in the league.
Jacksonville Jaguars: After 2012 it seemed like Cecil Shorts was primed for a big year due to his 2.31 Yards Per Route Run which was 10th-best among receivers. This year he is down to 1.73 Yards Per Route Run which is just a little above average.
Tennessee Titans: In each of the last three weeks, Akeem Ayers was among the Top 4 rated 4-3 outside linebackers. Over his first nine games he had a Run Stop Rating was +0.9 and Pass Rush Rating was -0.2. Over the last three it has been at +6.9 and +5.4 respectively.
Denver Broncos: In 2012, outside linebacker Von Miller has at least one sack or hit in all 17 games he played in. In two of his last three games both against the Chiefs, Miller was held without a sack or hit.
Kansas City Chiefs: Center Rodney Hudson has a Pass Blocking Efficiency of 98.2 which is seventh best in the league and is the second best mark for a Chiefs center over the last six years.
Oakland Raiders: From Week 1 to Week 9, Stefen Wisniewski had a Run Block Rating of +0.3. Over the last four games it has been at +9.0 which has pushed him to having the second highest Run Block rating among centers.
San Diego Chargers: Defensive lineman Corey Liuget is leading the Chargers with 25 pressures. Every other team has at least one defensive player with 32 or more pressures.
Dallas Cowboys: Left tackle Tyron Smith has allowed just four combined sacks/hits this year, which is tied for the lowest for starting tackles.
New York Giants: Cornerback Prince Amukamara has eight run stops which is tied for the most among cornerbacks who don’t typically play much in the slot.
Philadelphia Eagles: Although the Eagles drafted 11 players in the 2011 draft, the only one to see more than 60 offensive or defensive snaps for them this year is their eighth of 11 picks Jason Kelce. After having a Run Block Rating of +1.4 or better in five of his first seven games this year, he has yet to have a Run Block Rating above +1.0 in his past five games.
Washington Redskins: Over the first nine weeks of the season, Ryan Kerrigan had a Pass Rushing Productivity of 11.6 which was among the best 3-4 outside linebackers. Over the last four games, he has a Pass Rushing Productivity of 6.8 which is among the worst 3-4 outside linebackers.
Chicago Bears: Year after year Stephen Paea has quietly been improving at defensive tackle. The number of games where he has achieved at least one pressure has increased from 45.5% as a rookie to 66.7% last year to 88.9% this year.
Detroit Lions: Defensive tackle Nick Fairley has seen a decline from 2012 to 2013 in both his Run Stop Percentage (7.4% to 3.4%) and his Pass Rushing Productivity (9.4 to 8.0).
Green Bay Packers: The player with the most offensive or defensive snaps this year from the Packers 2011 class is Davon House. On the bright side Davon House has a high pass defense to target ratio at 14.0% which is tenth best amongst the 67 cornerbacks who have been targeted 50 or more times. However he has also allowed a touchdown on 8.8% of his targets which is fifth highest.
Minnesota Vikings: While Brandon Fusco has become one of the top run blocking guards in the league, he has also shown improvement in pass protection. Last year his Pass Blocking Efficiency of 94.7 was the lowest in the league. From Week 1 to Week 8 this year, it improved to 95.9%. Over the last five weeks it has skyrocketed to 98.5% after allowing fewer than one pressure per game.
Atlanta Falcons: One position the 2011 draft class wasn’t strong at is running back, with Jacquizz Rodgers being one of the exceptions. His drop rate of 2.3 is the second best for all running backs with at least 30 catchable targets. Once he’s caught the ball, he’s had 14 players miss tackles on him which is tied for fourth best in the league.
Carolina Panthers: The only players from the Panthers 2011 draft class still on the roster are Cam Newton, and Kealoha Pilares who has 54 career snaps at wide receiver and has been on injured reserve this season after being waived/injured.
New Orleans Saints: From 2008 to 2012, the most pressure any Saints player had in a season was Will Smith in 2009 at 47 pressures. With four games remaining in the season, Cameron Jordan already has 58 pressures.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Over his first 14 games in the NFL, Adrian Clayborn was able to manage 46 pressures on his 380 pass rush snaps. Since then he has had nearly as many pressures at 45 but it has taken him 562 pass rushing snaps to get there.
Arizona Cardinals: Cornerback Patrick Peterson has seen his catch rate allowed decrease each year from 59.3% to 51.6% to 49.3%. This year he has allowed the fourth lowest catch rate for those with at least 600 snaps.
St. Louis Rams: Since 2008, there have been five players to reach at least 70 pressures from the defensive right end position including Robert Quinn. Quinn needs just six more pressures to have the most over the last six years.
San Francisco 49ers: Outside linebacker Aldon Smith has a Pass Rushing Productivity of 14.2 which is fourth best amongst all 3-4 outside linebackers. While that is an improvement to 2012, he has yet to match his rookie year Pass Rushing Productivity of 15.4.
Seattle Seahawks: Guard James Carpenter has a Run Block Rating of -10.0 which is seventh-lowest among all left guards.
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