Rookie Recap: NFC East
Steve Palazzolo continues his assessment of the 2012 NFL rookie class by delving into the NFC East, home to RG3 and an impressive crop of young players.
Rookie Recap: NFC East
There may not have been a division more heavily influenced by the rookie class than the NFC East. The Washington Redskins became an immediate contender on the strength of two Rookie of the Year candidates, while the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants were denied a playoff berth after an underwhelming performance from their first-year players. The Philadelphia Eagles had a disappointing season, but their rookie class may have the brightest future after a number of players saw significant playing time. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys featured only three rookies that saw more than 100 snaps on the season.
Let’s take a look at the NFC East’s rookie class.
Notes: The Cowboys made an aggressive move from the middle of the first round to grab Claiborne at sixth overall with hopes that he would develop into the shutdown cornerback they’ve lacked in recent years. It was a mixed bag for Claiborne as he generally showed well in coverage, but his eight penalties ranked seventh among cornerbacks (including five in one game in Week 10) and he had issues in run support, particularly toward the end of the year. His 1.21 Yards/Cover Snap ranked 36th out of the top 77 at the position.
Tyrone Crawford, DE
Draft: Third round, 81st overall
Snaps/Usage: 303 snaps, 173 at RE
Notes: Crawford was a regular in Dallas’ defensive line rotation for all 16 games. He rushed the passer on 163 of his 303 snaps with eight total pressures to show for it, good for a Pass Rush Productivity of 3.9. Crawford’s Run Stop Percentage of 9.0 tied for eighth among the top 3-4 defensive ends.
Other Cowboys rookies:
Fourth-round linebacker Kyle Wilber managed a -2.0 coverage grade on just 16 total snaps on the season. Athletic sixth-round tight end James Hanna was sprinkled into the lineup for 109 snaps that saw him targeted 11 times. He came away with eight catches for 72 yards, 52 of which came after the catch (6.5 YAC/reception). Undrafted free agent running back Lance Dunbar saw the field for 91 plays that included 21 carries for 75 yards (3.6 Yds/Carry). He forced five missed tackles on those 21 attempts. Fellow undrafted free agent Ben Bass played 26 snaps on the defensive line, all of which came in Weeks 11 and 12. He graded at -1.5 in his limited time.
New York Giants
Notes: Wilson burst out of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s doghouse in Week 14 with a 13-carry, 100-yard performance against the New Orleans Saints. He started to regain the coaching staff’s trust down the stretch after an opening night fumble made him an afterthought for much of the season. Wilson finished the season with 358 yards on 71 carries (5.0 Yards/Carry) and an Elusive Rating of 39.0. He also returned 57 kicks at 26.9 Yards/Return including a touchdown.
Rueben Randle, WR
Draft: Second round, 63rd overall
Snaps/Usage: 250 snaps, 236 at outside wide receiver
Notes: Randle made the most of his limited opportunities, as he averaged 15.7 yards on his 19 receptions, including three touchdowns. Furthermore, 21 of his 32 targets came beyond 10 yards as the Giants looked his way for big play opportunities and he came through with four catches of at least 30 yards. Randle also showed good hands, as he dropped only one of the 20 catchable balls thrown his way.
Jayron Hosley, CB
Draft: Third round, 94th overall
Snaps/Usage: 465 snaps, 253 in the slot
Notes: Hosley struggled to a -12.1 overall grade and spent the majority of his snaps as the Giants’ slot cornerback. His 1.52 Yards/Cover Snap in the slot ranked 33rd out of the Top 40 qualifiers, while his 139.0 QB Rating surrendered from the slot ranked last in the league. Hosley also missed seven of his 35 tackle attempts.
Other Giants rookies:
Fourth-round tight end Adrien Robinson didn’t run a pass route on his three snaps. Seventh-round defensive tackle Markus Kuhn played 173 snaps as part of the defensive line rotation. He was pushed around in the running game to the tune of a -5.4 grade. After a good career at Florida, and some off-the-field issues, safety Will Hill made his NFL debut this season playing 218 snaps, 106 of which came covering the slot. He graded at +3.0 overall including +2.2 against the run.
Continue for the Eagles and Redskins…