First-Rounders in Review

Checking in with what the 2014 first round has given the league, Khaled Elsayed notes how each of the first 32 have fared thus far in their rookie season.

| 3 years ago

First-Rounders in Review

1st-roundersSeven weeks in and we’re building quite the sample size of tape on the rookies who looked to take the lead by storm. Some are already earning recognition for their performances while others have gone largely unnoticed.

Well one week after we posted our race for Rookie of the Year we’re going one step further and giving you grades and snap counts on each and every single rookie first round pick.


1. Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans, OLB
Grade: +0.7
Snaps: 23
Analysis: Injury has taken Clowney from the public eye, helping to temper expectations but also managing to disappoint football fans eager to see how he would fare. One stop and just 23 snaps to show for his rookie year thus far.

2. Greg Robinson, St. Louis Rams, OG
Grade: +2.1
Snaps: 137
Analysis: Looked lost in preseason with positional flip flopping much to his detriment. That saw him start the season on the bench, but the usual output from Davin Joseph has seen him start the past two weeks. Robinson has looked good and that’s encouraging.

3. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars, QB
Grade: -12.5
Snaps: 317
Analysis: It hasn’t been pretty. With Chad Henne struggling, the team had to put Bortles out on the field knowing he was going to take his lumps and hope he will benefit from it in the long run.

4. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills, WR
Grade: -0.2
Snaps: 461
Analysis: An average grade for anything but an average performance. Watkins has either been very good or very bad as he has tantalized with his talent. Watkins has benefited from the more steady play brought by Kyle Orton.

5. Khalil Mack, Oakland Raiders, OLB
Grade: +16.6
Snaps: 395
Analysis: Zero sacks and so Mack is struggling right? Wrong. Mack has positive marks rushing the passer where his 16 combined hits and hurries suggest a sack is coming soon. However, its the run game where he’s really really starred. A truly promising start.

6. Jake Matthews, Atlanta Falcons, OT
Grade: -27.8
Snaps: 350
Analysis: Now, nobody knows just how hurt Matthews is and how much that ankle is affecting him. What we do know is that he doesn’t look good out there right now. These past three weeks have been tough to watch, propelling Matthews to the lowest grade of all tackles. Not what Atlanta had hoped for.

7. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, WR
Grade: +1.0
Snaps: 239
Analysis: The Bucs were likely expecting a bigger impact from Evans, with six rookies currently recording more yards. A lot of that owes to how bad the Bucs have generally been on offense, but there’s not been enough eye catching by the Bucs’ first-round pick.

8. Justin Gilbert, Cleveland Browns, CB
Grade: -4.1
Snaps: 207
Analysis: There’s been some good and some bad so far for Gilbert who has fit into the Browns’ sub-package defense as an outside corner. Since coming back from the bye, Gilbert has taken a noticeable step forward.

9. Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings, OLB
Grade: +3.4
Snaps: 464
Analysis: There was once a feeling that he might limited to more of situational role, but Barr has emerged as an every down player who is particularly effective coming forward. He’s still developing his coverage skills but is producing.

10. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions, TE
Grade: +1.5
Snaps: 188
Analysis: Just 20 targets and 10 receptions on his resume at this point, Ebron may develop into an athletic mismatch but right now he’s not much of a factor.

11. Taylor Lewan, Tennessee Titans, OT
Grade: +6.9
Snaps: 148
Analysis: Lewan wasn’t expected to start this year but an injury to Michael Roos has seen that change. While losing a player like Roos is never ideal Lewan has fit in nicely, allowing just three quarterback disruptions.

12. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants, WR
Grade: +3.2
Snaps: 165
Analysis: It says a lot for the talent of Beckham that he could miss so much offseason work and yet hit the ground running like he has. With three touchdowns already and a game-turning intervention against Atlanta, right now the Giants look like they’ve hit the jackpot.

1st-roudners-donald13. Aaron Donald, St. Louis Rams, DT
Grade: +15.5
Snaps: 223
Analysis: The team couldn’t have him coming off the bench any more, with his incredible ability to penetrate forcing his promotion to the starting lineup. Already ranked No. 2 overall in our defensive tackle rankings, Donald is dominating.

14. Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears, CB
Grade: +1.5
Snaps: 372
Analysis: Fuller was a front-runner for Rookie of the Year with his stellar outing against the Jets, but has regressed with three of his four games since then earning a negative mark in coverage.

15. Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh Steelers, LB
Grade: -2.9
Snaps: 129
Analysis: A sprained MCL has limited his time, missing action since Week 3. Before that he wasn’t setting the world on fire despite the loaded the box score.

16. Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys, OG
Grade: +7.0
Snaps: 495
Analysis: This rookie has been getting better every week. Martin is a big reason why the Cowboys’ offensive line has taken such a big step forward. Four positively-graded games in a row and is sixth overall in our guard rankings.


Click over to Page 2 for picks 17-32…

  • WILLY91137

    Mac grades out at 16.5 Reggie you done something right congratulations and goodbye

    • Aethelred

      Dude, I don’t think Reggie can hear you.

    • bobbyv

      32 out of 32 General managers would have picked Mack at that spot, it was a no-brainer.

    • Anthony

      Yeah…. How do you feel now?

  • cameronmm

    Verrett is a beast, I just wish he could stay healthy, they need him.

  • davathon

    I’m surprised at Juwan James’ grade. He’s looked good out there. Holes in the running game. Tannehill not on his back every play. I can’t believe he has a negative grade.

    • corners

      They also said hes been pretty quite, and thats good for a rookie offensive lineman.

  • calling all toasters

    But Kyle Fuller is the greatestest player since the Fridge!

    • Joe b.

      Reggie has to go. We need a proven talent evaluator. This. Raider fan of 45 years is losing too much sleep. Even if we get the number 1 draft pick, and plenty of cap space, who has faith that Reggie will not screw it up, again?

      • Mike

        A proven talent evaluator? Not a fan of the raiders, but you guys have a good thing going. How did he screw up this year’s draft? He hit 5 home runs with Mack, Jackson, Ellis, and Carrie who are all starting this year. And yall got a future QB. I don’t see how he screwed up.

        • calling all toasters

          Some people long for the days when Al Davis would draft a llama in the first round if it ran a 4.3 40.

        • eYeDEF

          He did let their best offensive lineman Jared Veldheer walk and didn’t sign a competent replacement when their OL was already piss poor last year. I guess protecting his investment at QB is not important to him in spite of having tons of cap space? He also let Lamarr Houston skip out of there too. It’s arguable whether he was worth what Chicago gave him but again, he didn’t sign a comparable replacement and it’s no surprise that the Raiders have no pass rush to speak of. Kalil can’t do it all on his own.

          • warcrimes

            Veldheer wasn’t coming back, he made that very clear, he wanted out of Oakland and Donald Penn was our best OL last year, dude. Houston got overpaid to suck on the worst defense in the league. The draft gave us fives starters and our QB of the future. Based on all that, McKenzie deserved another year.

  • Bigcatfish

    Just curious but why does Kelvin Benjamin have a negative score. Is it due to poor route running? He doesn’t have many drops to my knowledge.

    • eYeDEF

      You’re kidding right? Benjamin currently has a 11.63% drop rate, good for 11th in the league in that category. That’s even higher than his college drop rate of 9.68%.

  • Josh Knepshield

    Ryan Shazier had a +1.4 in week 1 and had like a +0.4 in game 2. He was injured in the week 3 game, so how does he have such a negative grade????

    • corners

      arent we in week 8, or has he been out since then? If hes been out since then it really doesn’t matter what his grade is it was a long time ago now.

      • Josh Knepshield

        He’s been out since week 3, and he had 2 positive grades before going down, so how in the world does he have a very negative grade here?

        • eYeDEF

          Good question.

  • W8ting4awin

    I’ve been backing Big Reggie for 3 years……..It kills me to say this but it’s time for a COMPLETE overhaul of the front office. The ONLY draft he got right was the one (2014) that came to him. Free agency has been a COMPLETE WASTE of time and money. When you let core players walk, there is a PROBLEM.

    • joof

      whos big reggie???

      • inked

        Reggie McKenzie

  • Thomas W

    Ebron has 10 catches, but a higher rating than either Watkins or Benjamin, with ~35 catches each. Ebron must be one heck of a blocker (note: he isn’t).