Rookie Recap: NFC West

Steve Palazzolo concludes our assessment of every rookie to see the field in 2012 with a look at the NFC West, home to the Seahawks' great draft class.

| 4 years ago
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Rookie Recap: NFC West


The last installment of our Rookie Recap series takes us to the NFC West. The NFC champion San Francisco 49ers featured a deep roster that had little use for its rookie class, but their development could have a major impact on their future. The Seattle Seahawks may have had the best draft in the entire league, especially with their third-round jackpot. The rebuilding effort in St. Louis has been accelerated with the plethora of draft picks from the Washington Redskins in their deal for the No. 2 overall pick before last year’s draft. The Rams had a number of first-year contributors last season. Finally, the Arizona Cardinals will need to see a lot of development in their rookie class as they fight to contend in what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL.

Be sure to check out our PFF Rookie of the Year and All-Rookie Team which are both good reference points for the best rookie performances of the season — and check out the rest of our recap series: AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West, NFC East, NFC North, NFC South.

Let’s take a look at the NFC West’s rookie class.

Arizona Cardinals

Michael Floyd, WR
Draft: First round, 13th overall
Snaps/Usage: 569 snaps, 530 at outside wide receiver

Notes: Floyd was the Cardinals’ third option for most of the season, though he saw an increase in playing time during the second half. He caught 45 of the 79 balls thrown his way for 562 yards and two touchdowns. His 1.35 Yards/Route Run ranked 63rd out of the Top 82 qualifying wide receivers, though he was certainly hurt by the Cardinals’ poor play at quarterback.

Bobby Massie, OT
Draft: Fourth round, 112th overall
Snaps/Usage: Starting right tackle for all 16 games

Notes: After a difficult start to his career, Massie turned his rookie season around and put together a top-notch second half.  He graded at -25.3 through his first seven games before notching a +12.2 in his last nine. Perhaps helped by added motivation from PFF, it was a miraculous turnaround for Massie. When you add it all up, he finished 47th among tackles in Pass Blocking Efficiency 92.8 and he got his run blocking grade up to a league average 0.0.

Other Cardinals rookies:

Third-round cornerback Jamell Fleming saw action in parts of 10 games and graded at -2.1 overall, including -2.4 in coverage. Fifth-round guard Senio Kelemete graded at -3.0 on his 43 snaps, but his catch on a deflected pass was an inspirational highlight for offensive linemen everywhere. Sixth-round cornerback Justin Bethel played on 13 defensive snaps, but his 14 special teams tackles tied for seventh in the league. Fellow sixth-rounder Ryan Lindley was part of the quarterback carousel that saw four players get starting nods on the season. He graded at -18.2 in his six games. The Cardinals featured two rookie offensive tackles for much of the year, as seventh-rounder Nate Potter started six games on the left side. He graded at -10.6 overall with 24 pressures surrendered on 273 attempts to match Massie’s 92.8 PBE. Undrafted wide receiver LaRon Byrd caught one of the two balls thrown his way for 8 yards. Undrafted free agent center Scott Wedige graded at -0.6 on his 17 snaps. The other undrafted free agent to see the field was linebacker Zack Nash who played 42 snaps and was unable to notch a pressure on his 17 attempts.

San Francisco 49ers

A.J. Jenkins, WR
Draft: First round, 30th overall
Snaps/Usage: 37 snaps, 21 in Week 17

Notes: Jenkins was unable to crack the 49ers’ depth chart as he saw most of his action in Week 17 mop-up duty. He dropped the only pass thrown his way.

LaMichael James, RB
Draft: Second round, 61st overall
Snaps/Usage: 57 snaps, all in the last four games

Notes: It took a while for James to see significant action as well, but he showed off his elusiveness with five missed tackles forced on only 27 carries. He also added three catches for 29 yards in his limited time.

Other 49ers rookies:

Seventh-round linebacker Cam Johnson played only 11 snaps and was held without a pressure on his eight pass rush attempts. Undrafted defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie saw the field for only 10 snaps and he was shut out on his nine pass rushes.

 Click below for the Seahawks and Rams

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Simon Traxl

    It’s Zack (not Scott) Nash out of Sac State, right?

  • Joe stockel

    To everyone:
    More players get injured in the fourth quarter of games than any other, this is due to players getting tired, sloppy etc…
    This is actually a simple solution, that could protect owners profits and make the players and the players union happy. Increase the roster sizes to 75 players, increase the gameday rosters to 60. More rotation less fatigue issues, get rid of practice squads and increase the salary cap by 50 million to account for the 22 player increase in roster size, and increase the draft to 10 rounds for one year inorder to have a balance of power and competitiveness at obtaining new players to fill the rosters. This can and should be done, every fan would love this and by doing this the league year can be adjusted to have two preseason games and 18 regular season games, but to transition to 18 regular season games the owners need to agree to a accross the board 10 percent increase in current contract salary. So a player making ten million this year would automatically make 11 million under the new schedule. This would not require a new CBA, this would only require an amendment to the current one, and would allow teams more flexibility in dealing with possible injuries such as concussions without severely limiting a team while players are evaluated on the sidelines.

  • eoms

    celek is undrafted FA,you missed that.

    • eoms

      As a 49ers fan,I really want to know abt celek’s grade,as walker gone to TEN.