Rookie Impact: 2014 Safeties

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

| 2 years ago

Rookie Impact: 2014 Safeties

rookie impact SThe specific blueprint for a safety changes with the vogue defensive scheme in the league but what doesn’t change is the need for range to cover and security in tackling to limit big plays. Per player no defensive position plays more in their rookie season than safeties with an average of a little under 300 snaps per rookie led by first rounders who almost always play full time immediately. The ideal might be the super athletic cover one free safety but if you widen your focus then rookie safeties can contribute positively in a variety of ways.

Rookie Safeties - Click to Enlarge

Rookie Safeties – Click to Enlarge

2014 Class Review

  • Only three rookies safeties, all of them first rounders, played 500 snaps last season.
  • Only two safeties taken in the final two rounds of the draft saw the field as rookies.
  • Tre Boston earned the highest grade in the rookie class with some strong play over the final month of the season in Carolina.
  • Top pick Calvin Pryor rebounded from a rough spell in coverage early in the season to earn a positive coverage grade in three of his last four games.

Best Class

  • Highest Combined Grade: 2010 (+28.5 overall)
  • The Chiefs were forced pair rookies at safety in 2010 and had the two highest graded rookie safeties in that class with Eric Berry (+8.5 overall) and Kendrick Lewis (+4.1 overall)
  • Most Snaps Played: 2013 (8.461 snaps)
  • Three players topped 1,000 snaps, six more topped 500 snaps. The performance didn’t match the playing time however with the 2013 class netting the worst overall grade in the last eight years.

First Round Outlook

  • Average Playing Time: 841 snaps
  • Average Overall Grade: +0.8
  • 500+ Snap Seasons: 14/16 selections
  • Best Rookie Season: Eric Berry (2010), 1,093 snaps, +8.5 overall
  • Worst Rookie Season: Deone Bucannon (2014), 705 snaps, -12.4 overall

Mid Round (2nd and 3rd) Outlook

  • Average Playing Time: 404 snaps
  • Average Overall Grade: -1.0
  • 500+ Snap Seasons: 12/37 selections
  • Best Rookie Season: Michael Mitchell (2009), 217 snaps, +9.5 overall
  • Worst Rookie Season: John Cyprien (2013), 1,062 snaps, -17.0 overall

Late Round (4th to 7th) Outlook

  • Average Playing Time: 140 snaps
  • Average Overall Grade: -0.4
  • 500+ Snap Seasons: 11/105 selections
  • Best Rookie Season: Tre Boston (2014), 369 snaps, +5.6 overall
  • Worst Rookie Season: Bacarri Rambo (2013), 340 snaps, -11.5 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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