Rookie Impact: 2014 EDs

How did 2014's rookie edge defenders stack up to past seasons and how does that set expectations for the 2015 class? Ben Stockwell explores.

| 1 year ago

Rookie Impact: 2014 EDs

No position has seen more players selected in the first round over the last eight years than edge defenders. Teams are looking for early impact from their edge rushers and they certainly give them ample opportunities but with mixed results. While some come in and immediately place themselves among the best in the league, whether as full or part time players, plenty more struggle to hit the ground running in spite of what their athletic testing scores might suggest they should do immediately. The best classes in the last eight years have been paced by special seasons from rare individuals, is there anyone to pace the 2015 class to similar effect?


2014 Class Review

  • Only three of the 21 edge defenders selected in the 2014 draft played more than 500 snaps.
  • Khalil Mack (+55.3) was the rare talent to pace this class with his production against the run rarely paralleled by any player in the last eight years let alone another rookie.
  • Only the 2010 first round class of Brandon Graham, Jason Pierre-Paul, Derrick Morgan and Jerry Hughes produced fewer snaps than the 2014 first rounders.
  • Per player the draft class played less than 200 snaps last season, less than half the 2011 class’ 412 snaps per player.

Best Class

  • Highest Combined Grade: 2011 (+62.0 overall)
  • Having Von Miller (+48.2) in a draft class certainly helps boost its overall grade but Aldon Smith (+35.5) more than played his part in spite of only just topping 500 snaps.
  • Most Snaps Played: 2011 (9,064 snaps)
  • More than half of the edge defenders drafted (12/22) played more than 500 snaps with half of those topping 750 snaps.

First Round Outlook

  • Average Playing Time: 513 snaps
  • Average Overall Grade: -0.3
  • 500+ Snap Seasons: 21/39 selections
  • Best Rookie Season: Khalil Mack (2014), 1,034 snaps, +55.3 overall
  • Worst Rookie Season: Lawrence Jackson (2008), 657 snaps, -26.8 overall

Mid Round (2nd and 3rd) Outlook

  • Average Playing Time: 262 snaps
  • Average Overall Grade: -2.3
  • 500+ Snap Seasons: 8/48 selections
  • Best Rookie Season: Carlos Dunlap (2010), 287 snaps, +5.8 overall
  • Worst Rookie Season: Tim Crowder (2007), 403 snaps, -23.8 overall

Late Round (4th to 7th) Outlook

  • Average Playing Time: 111 snaps
  • Average Overall Grade: -2.0
  • 500+ Snap Seasons: 5/108 selections
  • Best Rookie Season: Aaron Lynch (2014), 521 snaps, +5.8 overall
  • Worst Rookie Season: Keyunta Dawson (2007), 422 snaps, -12.5 overall


Follow Ben on Twitter: @PFF_Ben

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

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