We’ve now taken a close look at last year’s rookie edge rushers, offensive tackles, and interior linemen in close detail, but this week’s theme is not position specific. Instead, we’re taking a look at some of the rookies that showed a big second-half improvement.
There’s an obvious learning curve for any rookie entering the NFL, but some handle it better than others. With first impressions perhaps skewing our views more than ever due to social media’s inherent ability to overreact, we often jump to conclusions on prospects while wasting no time to assign the “bust” label. However, all prospects develop at different rates, and this particular group may have needed the first half of the season to adjust to the speed of the league.
There’s no guarantee that any of these players will continue their growth, particularly on only a half-season sample size of success, but it’s a always good to see rookies show improvement as the season progresses.
**It’s important to note that grades are not comparable across positions, therefore each player’s improvement is not truly being evaluated on the same scale. Our own Sam Monson has more information on the best way to use PFF Grades.
Round 2, No. 33: John Cyprien, Jacksonville Jaguars
Role: 15 Starts at safety.
Click for an in-depth profile on Cyprien, showing his second half improvement.
|Cyprien||1st Half||2nd Half||Overall|
Round 2, No. 52: Jamie Collins, New England Patriots
Role: Played in all 18 games (including playoffs), mostly as a reserve before starting both playoff games.
Click for an in-depth profile on Collins, showing his second half improvement.
|Collins||1st Half||2nd Half (incl. playoffs)||Overall|
Round 1, No. 19: Justin Pugh, New York Giants
Role: Started all 16 games at right tackle.
Click for an in-depth profile on Pugh, showing his second half improvement.
|Pugh||1st Half||2nd Half||Overall|
Round 2, No. 44: Kawann Short, Carolina Panthers
Role: 17 games as part of defensive line rotation (including playoffs), playing 50.8% of the team’s snaps.
|Short||1st Half||2nd Half (incl. playoffs)||Overall|
Round 1, No 9. : Dee Milliner, New York Jets
Role: 13 Games, 12 starts at cornerback.
Click for in-depth profile on Milliner, showing his second-half improvement.
|Milliner||1st 7 Games||Last 6 Games||Overall|
Round 1, No. 15: Kenny Vaccaro, New Orleans Saints
Role: 14 starts at safety, including 276 snaps covering the slot.
Click for an in-depth profile on Vaccaro, showing his second-half improvement.
|Vaccaro||1st Half||2nd Half||Overall|
Round 1, No. 4: Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles
Role: Started all 17 games (including playoffs) at right tackle.
Click for an in-depth profile on Johnson, showing his second half improvement.
|Johnson||1st Half||2nd Half (incl. playoffs)||Overall|
Follow Steve on Twitter.