32 Observations: Roster Surprises

The preseason has come and gone and left each of the NFL's 32 teams with its initial 53-man roster. Nathan Jahnke offers up one surprise member of each team.

| 4 years ago

32 Observations: Roster Surprises

32-obs-PREWK04Over the past few days, we have spent a lot of time letting you know about the players who didn’t make the initial 53-man rosters. Today’s 32 Observations will focus on 32 players who did make the roster despite the fact few predicted they’d get there before training camp started. Each of these players is accompanied by some piece of information you didn’t know about how they performed in the preseason.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: Although undrafted rookie Nickell Robey allowed five of six passes thrown his way to be caught, he never allowed a catch for more than 8 yards.

Miami Dolphins: Second-year safety Kelcie McCray had a +1.8 Coverage grade in the preseason, which was the second-highest for safeties who were targeted seven or more times.

New England Patriots: Undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins had a 21.05 Drop Rate, which was fourth-highest for wide receivers with at least 15 targets.

New York Jets: Journeyman defensive lineman Leger Douzable had a Run Stop Percentage of 9.8%, which was tied for sixth-best among 3-4 defensive ends.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: Undrafted rookie Brynden Trawick allowed just two catches on his four targets in the preseason for a total of 9 yards. Neither pass went for a first down.

Cincinnati Bengals: While undrafted rookie Jayson DiManche made a number of stops in the run game, he was most impressive during the rare time he rushed the passer. He had a sack and two hurries on just four pass rushes.

Cleveland Browns: Undrafted rookie offensive tackle Martin Wallace stayed in to pass block 101 times and didn’t allow a single sack or hit.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Second-year wide receiver Derek Moye had seven players miss tackles on him on his 10 receptions. That was three more than any other wide receiver.

AFC South

Houston Texans: Undrafted rookie running back Cierre Wood averaged at least 5.0 yards per carry in three of his four preseason games. His 5.5 yards per carry average across four games was the highest for those with 30 or more carries.

Indianapolis Colts: Although undrafted rookie Caesar Rayford led the Colts 3-4 outside linebackers in total pressure with 11, and sacks with five, his Pass Rushing Productivity of 9.7 was the worst of the five Colts outside linebackers with 25 or more snaps.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars leaders in stops in the preseason were defensive tackle Abry Jones, with 11, and linebacker LaRoy Reynolds with 8, both undrafted free agents who made the roster.

Tennessee Titans: Seventh-round rookie Daimion Stafford saw 33 of his 34 snaps in the last preseason game. He was targeted once in the last game and he intercepted that pass.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: Undrafted rookie C.J. Anderson played in the team’s first preseason game only, and had 15 carries. However, he had six players miss tackles on him which was tied for ninth-best for all backs.

Kansas City Chiefs: Undrafted rookie Tyler Bray was under pressure on 11 drop-backs in the preseason. He was sacked on four of them, threw incomplete passes on six, and completed a pass on just one.

Oakland Raiders: Undrafted rookie Ryan Robinson had seven stops in the run game, which was tied for the most for 4-3 defensive ends. He did this on 43 snaps, which led to a 16.3 Run Stop Percentage.

San Diego Chargers: Undrafted rookie Jahleel Addae was one of just two safeties to have two passes defensed.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: Undrafted rookie Jeff Heath had four stops in the run game, which was tied for fifth-most among safeties.

New York Giants: While third-year defensive end Justin Trattou had three preseason sacks, he was more impressive in run defense. His 13.5 Run Stop Percentage was ninth among 4-3 defensive ends.

Philadelphia Eagles: Undrafted rookie Matt Tobin had a +4.5 rating in the preseason, due to impressive run blocking and pass blocking, which was seventh best for all offensive tackles.

Washington Redskins: Quarterback Pat White averaged 8.6 yards per carry on designed runs to the left end or right end, which was the second-most for all players with 10 or more carries to those gaps, regardless of position.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: Although most of the cornerbacks with three or more passes defensed in the preseason were rookies, the only one who went  undrafted was C.J. Wilson.

Detroit Lions: Undrafted rookie LaAdrian Waddle had a Pass Blocking Efficiency of 99.0, which was the best for those who predominantly played right tackle.

Green Bay Packers: Undrafted rookie Andy Mulumba was one of five 3-4 outside linebackers with a +0.5 rating or higher in run blocking, pass rushing, and coverage. This led to a +3.6 overall rating that was tied for seventh at the position, and tied for the best among rookies.

Minnesota Vikings: Undrafted rookie Zach Line had the seventh-highest overall rating for a fullback, in large part thanks to a 61-yard catch. He totaled 74 receiving yards in the preseason which was by far the most for fullbacks, and he was the only one to have two touchdowns.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: Both of the Falcons’ backup tackles are undrafted rookies. Ryan Schraeder and Terren Jones allowed no sacks or hits on their combined 159 pass blocks in the preseason.

Carolina Panthers: Undrafted rookie Brandon Williams ended up making the roster at tight end despite having the lowest overall PFF rating for tight ends, at -9.2.

New Orleans Saints: Tight end Josh Hill made it on the roster as an undrafted rookie thanks to his run blocking. His +1.6 run block rating was eighth-best for the position, but he dropped the only pass thrown his way.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Most cornerbacks allow the receiver to get a few yards after the catch, but undrafted rookie Rashaan Melvin was the only one to allow negative yards after the catch, at -4 yards. He did this on the five catches he allowed.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: While Jaron Brown had a decent preseason receiving, with 11 catches for 145 yards, run blocking is something he can still work on. His -1.3 blocking rating was sixth-worst for wide receivers.

St. Louis Rams: Typically a team will have one or two undrafted rookies on their team. The Rams have three undrafted rookies, all at linebacker — Jonathan Stewart (+0.1), Daren Bates (-0.3), and Ray Ray Armstrong (+2.2), despite none of the three standing out much in the preseason.

San Francisco 49ers: Second-year defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie made the team due to some great play against the run. His Run Stop Percentage of 12.3% was fourth-best for 3-4 defensive ends.

Seattle Seahawks: Undrafted rookie Benson Mayowa recorded four sacks, which was tied for second among 3-4 outside linebackers, and 10 total pressures which was fifth-best at the position.


Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • Mark Stevens

    Rams had 5 undrafted rookies make the team, including Cunningham (RB) and Rivers (DE)