Neil’s NFL Daily: April 8, 2013

PFF's Neil Hornsby takes a look at the NFL issues of the day, including San Francisco's investment in their O-line, and the demise of Rolando McClain.

| 4 years ago

Neil’s NFL Daily: April 8, 2013

As free agency limps into its final stanza, with decent talent still available if the price is right (on the part of both parties), the draft takes center stage. It’s amazing to me, particularly with the emphasis on it being so high, that this is still such a hit and miss business. Our “Draft Grader” series puts that in stark relief, with one of the most recent examples being the Indianapolis Colts. You can argue the toss over a few of Khaled’s grades if you like, but -3.0 looks a fair reflection on three years’ worth of failure. It will be interesting when all the articles are completed to see the summary and determine the draft ‘winners’. My guess is even those ‘successful’ teams will still have a lot of improvement to make to the process.

This series started last week, and for those that didn’t see them here are the first three entries:

Wednesday – Nnamdi Asomugha, a myth? And Carson Palmer’s underlying weakness in 2012

Thursday – Daryl Washington’s suspension and why the Cardinal’s O-Line may be better than you think

Friday – Why Right Tackle is not the place to be from a salary perspective, and Jason Hanson’s retirement


Monday, April 8th

Anthony Davis Signs Extension with the 49ers

Beyond their performance on the field, another impressive thing about the San Francisco offensive line is the way their salary cap position has been managed. Signing Anthony Davis to a five-year extension was another example of the team’s commitment to that position group and, while the full details of how Davis’ contract has been managed aren’t available yet, the following table represents a good approximation of the way the 49ers’ group will look under the cap this year.


How the 49ers Pay their O-line

PositionPlayerSigned throughAnnual Avg.2013 Cap Hit
LTJoe Staley2017$7.2M$2.8M
LGMike Iupati2014$3.0M$2.6M
CJonathan Goodwin2013$3.0M$5.0M
RGAlex Boone2015$1.6M$1.9M
RTAnthony Davis2019$6.4M*$3.6M*
Total Cap Hit$15.9M*


To put this in perspective, the total 2013 cap hit is only $1m more than the Buccaneers paid for Carl Nicks in 2012 alone. That’s fantastic value across the board, particularly as the front office had the foresight to plug over $20m of Staley’s deal into the 2009 and 2010 seasons. That leaves them with a five-year average of $4.9m, and even in the last year of the deal (2017) his cap hit will be less than $7m.

So, was Davis worth it? Well, on the basis of his year-on-year improvement and the way he played last year, absolutely. He started as a rookie but really struggled in all areas, ranking fourth from last in Pass Blocking Efficiency and also giving up 11 penalties. While he was also poor in 2011, he showed improvement and last year saw him breaking out and ending up as our third-rated right tackle. He did struggle from time to time in pass protection (he was beaten consistently by Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre Paul in Week 5 and Cameron Wake in Week 14), but this was now very much the exception as opposed to the rule, and his run blocking was good throughout.

Rolando McClain Waived by Raiders

As one 2010 draftee moves upward and onward (Davis), another has moved out as, in one of the more obvious moves of the offseason, the Raiders said goodbye to McClain and his base salary of $4m. This goes to my earlier point about lacklustre drafting, as the first four linebackers selected, in order, that year were McClain (Oak), Sean Weatherspoon (Atl), Koa Misi (Mia) and Sergio Kindle (Bal). While the Falcons get a pass with Weatherspoon, the fact Daryl Washington, Sean Lee and Navorro Bowman were all still available leaves fans frustrated and bemused.

Although McClain’s skills in coverage and attitude left much to be desired he is still a solid two-down linebacker. His 27 stops in run defense (with only one missed tackle) saw him ranked eighth in Run Stop Percentage, and that is an area in which many teams need help.


PFF Mailbag

I get questions nearly every day, either directly or on twitter (@PFF_NEIL), and I felt this was a good forum to share some answers. Any questions I get that can be better answered without a character restriction I’ll respond to here.

Josh Cribbs – Wide Reciever?

Does Josh Cribbs have the skill to be an effective deep threat receiver? Could the Bears sign him? – @JohnPal75473737                 

After a decidedly dodgy start to his career as a more full-time receiver (2008), Josh Cribbs has done surprisingly well considering the sub-optimal quarterbacks he’s had to deal with — a succession of Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Jake Delhomme, Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden would break better receivers than him, so it’s possible he’s a better player than his numbers may suggest. Season 2011 was the last year in which he was featured as a receiver, and playing 567 snaps his 1.48 yards per route run was mid-table — not too shabby given how McCoy played. He also broke 10 tackles which, as you may expect, was pretty good for that number of plays.

That said, as much as I’d like to see him get another shot, I think his days as anything but a special teamer are over — teams rarely revisit these things without injury forcing their hand.

Rob Ninkovich 2012 Data

His overall rating shows a +0.2 in the DE category for 814 snaps. Pulling up his player profile shows a +9.0 overall rating for 1027 snaps. I assume he was profoundly good in limited time as an OLB, but cannot find any breakdown for those snaps? – Patrick

Firstly, a quick point of order. That +0.2 doesn’t include the playoffs, but the +9.0 overall does, so the actual numbers for all games are DE +3.0, OLB +6.0 (which included an excellent game against the Jets in Week 7). However, it’s important to note playing positions vary on a play-by-play basis while we only normalize (by assigning an overall position) by game. Therefore, there is some element of DE play in the OLB grade and vice versa.

We are currently looking at normalizing on a play-by-play basis which should deal with these issues.


Follow Neil on Twitter: @PFF_Neil


| PFF Founder

Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.

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