Rookie Impact: 2014 Interior OL

How did 2014's rookie guards and centers stack up with past rookies? Ben Stockwell explores.

| 1 year ago

Rookie Impact: 2014 Interior OL

rookie impact G+CA widely held belief is that an interior lineman taken high in the draft is a waste. No matter the immediate or long term success of the player some would rather try for the home run selection at a “more valuable” position? While there may be some semblance of validity to that theory there are some teams struggling with subpar veteran line play and in recent seasons interior linemen have come in and hit the ground running adding value to their team. With three rookie guards playing at close to a pro bowl level last season the 2015 class will have a tough act to follow.

Rookie Interior OL - Click to Enlarge

Rookie Interior OL – Click to Enlarge

2014 Class Review

  • 13 of the 27 interior linemen selected last season played 500 snaps or more last season with only eight failing to see the field at all.
  • The trio of Joel Bitonio (+22.4), Zack Martin (+21.6) and Brandon Linder (+16.6) got off to fast starts producing seasons comparable to the best veteran guards in the league.
  • The likes of Trai Turner (+4.5) and Gabe Jackson (+3.7) who produced solid rookie seasons can count themselves a little unfortunate to have been overshadowed by that trio.
  • The likes of Travis Swanson (-12.4) and Weston Richburg (-14.3) whose futures may be at center struggled however to make a positive impact at guard in their debut seasons.

Best Class

  • Highest Combined Grade: 2009 (+38.7 overall)
  • Short on playing time but long on quality, the ’09 class was led by Alex Mack (+25.1) and Louis Vasquez (+12.9) with only four players earning a negative overall grade and only one (T.J. Lang) below -5.0 overall.
  • Most Snaps Played: 2014 (13,334 snaps)
  • Topping the 2011 class by more than 6,000 snaps the 2014 class had ten players start 13 games or more.

First Round Outlook

  • Average Playing Time: 844 snaps
  • Average Overall Grade: +5.6
  • 500+ Snap Seasons: 12/14 selections
  • Best Rookie Season: Alex Mack (2009), 1,016 snaps, +25.1 overall
  • Worst Rookie Season: Ben Grubbs (2007), 882 snaps, -5.4 overall

Mid Round (2nd and 3rd) Outlook

  • Average Playing Time: 558 snaps
  • Average Overall Grade: -4.1
  • 500+ Snap Seasons: 27/49 selections
  • Best Rookie Season: Larry Warford (2013), 1,158 snaps, +24.2 overall
  • Worst Rookie Season: Justin Blalock (2007), 946 snaps, -38.7 overall

Late Round (4th to 7th) Outlook

  • Average Playing Time: 119 snaps
  • Average Overall Grade: -1.0
  • 500+ Snap Seasons: 12/117 selections
  • Best Rookie Season: Carl Nicks (2008), 915 snaps, +23.4 overall
  • Worst Rookie Season: Zach Fulton (2014), 1,021 snaps, -14.6 overall


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| 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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