Second Rounders In Focus: Week 8
I’ve been a little bit shy this year when it comes to looking at how the second-rounders have been faring. Yes, I myself was caught up in the hype of breaking down the First Rounders on a relentless basis, but now I’ve seen the error of my ways.
So, much like I’ve done with those to go in the first 32, I’m giving you grades, snap counts and some quick-fire analysis on each of the players selected at the start of Day 2 of the NFL draft. Come with me on this journey into the unknown…
33. John Cyprien, FS, Jacksonville Jaguars
Analysis: On the bright side he’s played every snap for the team. On the downside, he’s looked woefully out of his depth, with the game just too quick for him right now. He’s our lowest-graded safety and the team has evidently taken the approach he’ll be better for the lumps he takes this year.
34. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans
Analysis: Three catches with two of them being for touchdown is a cool ratio. Yet, the more you think the more you realize it’s revealing to how slow the team has been to put Hunter on the field (with offseason stories putting the blame for that on him). Of course as Kenny Britt has fallen out of favor, Hunter is seeing more playing time but he’s fighting for the No. 4 spot on the depth chart right now.
35. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Analysis: Ertz has been a bigger part of the Eagles’ offense than many would have expected with free agent James Casey reduced to just 29 snaps. Still, despite his snap count he’s been a relatively small part of an offense that chiefly runs through DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. With 14.4 yards per catch he can make you pay if he gets the ball.
36. Darius Slay, CB, Detroit Lions
Analysis: Initially got the start in Week 1 but some coverage issues meant he never locked down the job and since then he’s spent more time off the field than on it. Getting beat for three touchdowns has not helped his cause either.
37. Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Analysis: Our sixth-ranked running back, primarily on the back of his work catching balls out of the backfield. Bernard’s 287 yards isn’t a bad return given his role with the team, but it’s his 1.81 Yards Per Route Run (sixth-best of all backs) that really catches our eye.
38. Manti Te’o, ILB, San Diego Chargers
Analysis: A quiet start to life in the NFL after his tumultuous pre-draft process. In some ways he’ll be relieved people aren’t really talking about him. Te’o should also realize that’s, in part, due to him failing to make much of an impact after he was slow to get on the field with a training camp injury.
39. Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets
Analysis: When he’s good, he’s alright. When he’s bad, he’s downright awful. Smith has been no worse than Mark Sanchez so the enforced decision to start him has proved to be the right one. The team is in no weaker a position and Smith is no doubt benefiting by getting some valuable playing time. He simply has to be more careful with the ball if that defense is to carry the Jets to a record that might save the job of Rex Ryan.
40. Tank Carradine, DE, San Francisco 49ers
Analysis: He’s been activated off the non-football injury list so like you, we are all waiting to see if he can get himself on the field and see what we can do. The initial prognosis suggests not to expect too much this year.
41. Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo Bills
Analysis: Leads the Bills’ receivers in snaps but not in yards as he’s endured some quiet spells reflected by his 0.98 Yards Per Route Run (12th-worst of all receivers). Of course with the Bills’ QB spot being such a shambles there are some mitigating circumstances here.
42. Menelik Watson, OT, Oakland Raiders
Analysis: Perhaps it’s for the best. Watson hasn’t gotten on the field at all and in one of the biggest surprises of the season the line has managed to hold up. Who saw that coming?
43. Johnthan Banks, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Analysis: While Revis has excelled, the man who has spent the majority of time opposite him has not. Beaten for two touchdowns and allowing 69.4% of throws into his coverage to be complete, his -8.8 coverage is fourth-worst of all cornerbacks.
44. Kawann Short, DT, Carolina Panthers
Analysis: When you start looking at how the Panthers’ defense has turned around, it starts with their top two picks. Star Lotulelei is rightfully getting most of the praise, but Short has certainly contributed as a backup tackle who can add some penetration in their nickel defense.
45. Kevin Minter, ILB, Arizona Cardinals
Analysis: Currently down the team’s depth chart and reduced to a marginal role on special teams. This isn’t the year he makes a big impression, especially with Daryl Washington back from suspension.
46. Kiko Alonso, ILB, Buffalo Bills
Analysis: Has failed to generate much pressure on his blitzing, but that’s about all he’s done wrong. A playmaker in coverage and with a real nose for the ballcarrier when teams run and he’s on the field. You often find linebackers muscled out of things as rookies, but that has not been the case with the impressive Alonso.
47. Gavin Escobar, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Analysis: Escobar was quite frankly abysmal in preseason and has been used sparingly during the regular season. He’s spent the majority of his time operating from the slot (65.2% of routes from there) as the team keeps him away from blocking duties at all costs.
48. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Analysis: His blocking has earned him this negative grade while his work with ball in hand actually sees him getting a positive. Not always assisted by the most hole-opening blocking, he has shown an ability to make defenders miss.
49. Johnathan Hankins, DT, New York Giants
Analysis: The Giants are slow to bring up rookies and Hankins is the rule and not the exception. With Patterson, Joseph, Rogers and Jenkins ahead of him on the depth chart, did you really expect anything else? He did demonstrate his talent in his most significant action against the Eagles in Week 5 with four defensive stops.
50. Jon Bostic, MLB, Chicago Bears
Analysis: For all the praise he got it’s clear he wasn’t quite ready to start in the NFL, as evidenced when he’s filled in for D.J. Williams. The problems in the run game have proven to be his chief issue with getting acclimatized to the pro game.
51. David Amerson, CB Washington Redskins
Analysis: He’s had some bad moments that’s for sure — that game against the Packers at the top. That’s to be expected with a rookie seeing significant action and he’s improved since then. With a pick and four pass break-ups has certainly shown a knack for finding the ball.
52. Jamie Collins, LB, New England Patriots
Analysis: Perhaps we expected his role to grow with the injury to Jerod Mayo, but it just hasn’t worked out that way. Yet. Given what is asked of him you still worry when he’s left in coverage. Looks very new to him at times.
53. Margus Hunt, DE, Cincinnati Bengals
Analysis: He may have been arguably the star of Hard Knocks (to some people like myself anyway) but Hunt has essentially red-shirted this year. He did pick up a few snaps in garbage time and, much like his preseason play, has looked like he’s not quite ready to play at NFL speed.
54. Jamar Taylor, CB, Miami Dolphins
Analysis: Taylor has allowed all four throws into his coverage to be complete, including a touchdown. He hasn’t been seen since the Baltimore game and is taking the look of a “pick for the future”.
55. Vance McDonald, TE, San Francisco 49ers
Analysis: Is firmly established as the team’s No. 2 tight end, but on a run-heavy team he’s been granted only 11 targets, catching six and dropping two. McDonald is hardly setting the world alight as a run blocker but at the same time he’s not a liability. Filling a role in the offense at this time.
56. Arthur Brown, ILB, Baltimore Ravens
Analysis: Situational linebacker who the Ravens have got playing time in their obvious passing situation sub-package defense. There they’ve got him rushing the passer, a task to which he’s proved useful enough. Still, what defines him will be what he does when a bigger role is asked of him.
57. D.J. Swearinger, SS, Houston Texans
Analysis: Part of a secondary that has failed to deliver the goods. Initially viewed as a part of their dime defense he has got more playing time due to injuries. Better going forward than on his heels, it’s his work in coverage that has left us unimpressed.
58. Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos
Analysis: Most saw him as the prospective starter, but he’s arguably been the least impressive of the Broncos’ rushers (3.2 yards per carry) and has put the ball on the ground twice with fumbles. Given that his work in the receiving game has seen him drop more passes than he has caught, he might be looking over his shoulder at how UDFA C.J. Anderson gets on.
59. Aaron Dobson, WR, New England Patriots
Analysis: You read that grade right. Only two receivers have worse grades and only Davone Bess has dropped more passes (and Dobson catches up with his one fumble). He has been better since that horror show against New Orleans, but the Marshall receiver needs to up his game.
60. Robert Alford, CB, Atlanta Falcons
Analysis: The feisty Falcon has flashed the kind of talent that will excite the organization going forward. It hasn’t always been pretty but, outside of some problems versus the Rams, he’s handled the third cornerback duties well enough.
61. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
Analysis: Lacy has really offered a new dimension to the Packers’ offense with his ability to carry the ball for long spells. Not a breakaway threat with just the three runs over 15 yards, but has turned 124 touches into 16 missed tackles.
62. Christine Michael, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Analysis: Forced four missed tackles on his nine carries. Anyone else excited to see him get more touches? You may have to wait with Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin in front of him.
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