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NFL1000: Rookie Review from Week 14

NFL1000: Rookie Review from Week 14

After watching Atlanta Falcons inside linebacker Deion Jones through his rookie season, I had to adjust my expectations on a weekly basis because Jones was developing so well in head coach Dan Quinn’s defense.

A lighter, faster linebacker as opposed to a run-stopping bruiser, the 6’1″, 222-pound Jones had a few issues with field-reading and recognition early in the season. There were times when he’d outrun his knowledge and have to recover.

But his learning curve has been impressive, especially over the last month. He’s now been the NFL1000’s top rookie in two of the last three weeks. Against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, it all came together.

He returned an interception of a Jared Goff pass 33 yards for a touchdownbut he is about more than splash and flash. Watch how he diagnoses the route concept and the coverage, and watch how his coverage abilities allow the Falcons staff to roll defensive backs around him and align in more versatile coverages, and you begin to see his overall value.

Whether it’s sticking his nose in to stop the run, demolishing receivers on quick screens or dropping into coverage from the middle to the numbers, Jones has matched his athleticism with technique, and it’s great to see. I wrote this week that he should be named the Defensive Rookie of the Year despite the high number of first-year defenders on other teams performing well.

While Atlanta’s defensive rookie haul has been spectacular, the Chicago Bears have a few things to brag about as well. Not only have linebackers Leonard Floyd and Nick Kwiatkoski performed well (they’re our second- and fifth-ranked rookies this week, respectively), cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc may be the best story. Undrafted out of Florida Atlantic, LeBlanc was originally picked up as a free agent by the New England Patriots but didn’t make final cuts.

The Bears signed him because they were impressed by his work when the teams practiced against each other and how he played in the second preseason game.

He’s a guy that our college scouts liked coming out in the process and he’s a guy obviously in the preseason that just jumped out,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said in September, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.

He’s a bit undersized, but he’s extremely sudden, he’s very sticky in mirroring routes and he’s got excellent ball skills,” Pace continued. “He just has a knack for going and getting the ball. And that’s been an emphasis on our defense right now. Something that we want to improve on is ball skills and he definitely has that and that’s why he’s here.

The Bears put LeBlanc to work right away with a heavy snap count in coordinator Vic Fangio’s defense, and he’s responded with outstanding play of late. In hislast four games, LeBlanc has given up just eight catches on 17 targets for 56 yards, plucked an interception and allowed an opposing quarterback rating of 30.5the lowest rating allowed by any cornerback over that period. He ranks third in this week’s Rookie Review after his great work against the Detroit Lions.

It goes to show that if you’re playing well, you’ll eventually get your chance to shineand it proves even the great Bill Belichick whiffs on player evaluation once in a while.

It was a great week for many of the NFL’s first-year players. Here’s how we saw their performances.

Advanced stats provided by Pro Football Focus. Cornerback stats compiled by B/R scouts.

How do you quantify the effect of the low-drafted or undrafted star? How do you chart the progress of those rookies who are struggling to make their way regardless of their draft position? With the weekly NFL1000 Rookie Review, we’ll look to do both while keeping track of the stars of the 2016 draft. Part of that process is to align players with their draft positions relative to their on-field performance.

It’s what NFL teams do, and it’s what we’ll do.

Our Week 14 Rookie Review reveals a number of players who have taken major steps forward in their professional development. Here are five of the biggest movers and shakers.

1. Cre’Von LeBlanc, CB, Chicago Bears

2016 Draft Position: UDFA

Rank Last Week: NR

Rank This Week: 3

What Happened:An undersized (5’10”, 190 lbs), undrafted afterthought from Florida Atlantic, Cre’VonLeBlanc was a solid player for the Bears early in his rookie season, with unexpectedly high snap countsin the early going.

LeBlanc showed himself to be a fine slot defender in the first few weeks, but it’s what he’s doing in outside coverage of late that has people paying attention. Against the Lions on Sunday, he allowed three catches on eight targets for 24 yards. He had three passes defensed, came away with an interception and allowed a ridiculous opposing passer rating of 6.3. He’s become a player to watch.

2. Vonn Bell, FS, New Orleans Saints

2016 Draft Position: 61 (second round, 30th pick)

Rank Last Week: NR

Rank This Week: 4

What Happened:Only the San Diego ChargersDwight Lowery had a higher grade among all free safeties than Vonn Bell’s 77 in Week 14. Bell far and away had the best grade among rookies, with the Tennessee TitansKevin Byard coming in five points below.

New Orleansdefensive staff was cautious with Bell through his first few games, which is part of the reason he’s had an up-and-down season. But against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bell had success as a pass-rusher with one sack and two quarterback hurries, and he allowed just half his six targets to be completed, for 44 yards and an opposing passer rating of 74.3.

3. Vadal Alexander, OG, Oakland Raiders

2016 Draft Position: 234 (seventh round, 13th pick)

Rank Last Week: NR

Rank This Week: 14

What Happened:Vadal Alexander had a season-high snap count of 67 against the Kansas City Chiefs, and he was facing one of the top teams of pass-rushers in the NFL. While he did allow ahandful of pressures (pass-blocking is not yet a strong suit), he also displayed the kind of pure power that makes him a natural fit in Oakland’s blocking scheme.

He seems to have transcended the concerns about his athleticism that dogged him predraft and caused him fall to the seventh round. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie got himself a bargain because he runs a franchise that now believes in player development.

4. Robert Kelley, RB, Washington Redskins

2016 Draft Position: UDFA

Rank Last Week: NR

Rank This Week: 22

What Happened:Robert Kelley has just 255 snaps this season, but with his combination of short-area speed and power, he’ll start getting more reps in Washington’s undefined backfield. He had an outstanding three-game stretch against the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers earlier in the year.

Though his stats against the Philadelphia Eaglestough run defense didn’t blow anyone’s mind (63 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, plus two catches for 25 yards), he had a fabulous 22-yard touchdown in which he moved decisively through open gaps, took angles quickly and beat tackles near the goal line. Head coach Jay Grudensaidhe wants to get Kelley more involved, per JP Finlay of CSN Mid-Atlantic, and it’s about time.

5. Maliek Collins, DT, Dallas Cowboys

2016 Draft Position: 67 (third round, fourth pick)

Rank Last Week: NR

Rank This Week: 27

What Happened:At 6’2and 311 pounds, Maliek Collins doesn’t fit the prototype of an interior gap-splitting pass-rusher. But with the help of Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli (one of the greatest line coaches of his generation), the former Nebraska star is starting to stand out. Both against the New York Giants on Sunday night and against the Vikings a week ago, Collins has shown several important attributes from the 5-technique end position, aligned between the guard and tackle to either side.

He can split double-teams with his impressive leverage and upper-body strength, and he’s learning to jump gaps in zone and slide blocking. When strength meets speed and timing for defensive linemen, they become a problem for opposing entertainment news 2014 offenses, and Collins is well on his way.

Our Week 14 Top 50 rookie rankings are based on game-tape evaluation. We can now see how they shake out against preseason grades and expectations. Here’s how things stand this week:

Top 50 RankingsRankPlayerPosTeamPickNFL1000 ScoreLWMoving1Deion JonesILBATL5280NR2Leonard Floyd3-4 OLBCHI979193Cre’Von LeBlancCBCHIUDFA77NR4Vonn BellFSNO6177NR5Nick KwiatkoskiILBCHI11377106Ronnie StanleyLTBAL67697Noah Spence4-3 DETB3975228Kenneth DixonRBBAL13475129Keanu NealSSATL1775NR10Ezekiel ElliottRBDAL475111Taylor DeckerLTDET1674812Jack ConklinRTTEN874NR13Ryan KellyCIND18732614Jordan HowardRBCHI15073615Vadal AlexanderOGOAK23472NR16Kevin ByardFSTEN6472NR17Cody WhitehairCCHI56721818Wil LutzKNOUDFA712919Roberto AguayoKTB5971NR20DeForest Buckner3-4 DESF771721Graham GlasgowCDET95711422Robert KelleyRBWASUDFA71NR23Tyreek HillWRKC165703524Jalen RichardRBOAKUDFA701625Isaac SeumaloOGPHI79704626Derrick HenryRBTEN4570NR27Maliek CollinsDTDAL6769NR28Dean Lowry3-4 DEGB137693129Wendell SmallwoodRBPHI15369NR30Sterling ShepardWRNYG4069NR31Dwayne WashingtonRBDET23669NR32Chris Jones3-4 DEKC37694833LeShaun SimsCBTEN15769NR34Tyler BoydWRCIN55693335George FantLTSEAUDFA693636Joshua GarnettOGSF2869NR37Alex CollinsRBSEA17169NR38Emmanuel Ogbah3-4 DECLE3269NR39Carson WentzQBPHI268NR40Spencer DrangoOGCLE16868NR41Briean Boddy-CalhounCBCLEUDFA68NR42Matt Judon3-4 OLBBAL146683243Paul PerkinsRBNYG149683044Robby AndersonWRNYJUDFA684345Deon BushSSCHI124682846Laremy TunsilOGMIA13684547Joey Bosa3-4 DESD3684748Myles Jack4-3 OLBJAX3667NR49Yannick Ngakoue4-3 DEJAX6967NR50Jordan Jenkins4-3 OLBNYJ8367NR

The EaglesCarson Wentz showed off his ability to escape pressure with decisive movements on a regular basis against Washington on Sunday. He made a number of impressive athletic plays but displayed the same inconsistencies as a passer that have plagued his season.

His accuracy was again problematic, but his two turnovers weren’t a result of inaccuracy. He forced a pass to his tight end in the red zone even when the defensive back was sitting on the route, resulting in an interception. The fumble at the end of the game came because Wentz didn’t feel the pressure and showed off a slow process in the pocket.

Dak Prescott’s play for the Cowboys is under more scrutiny now than it has been all season. He had a long touchdown throw that was relatively easy because his receiver was wide-open after a hard play fake. His first interception came on a good throw, but Dez Bryant slipped in his route, leaving Janoris Jenkins waiting in place for an easy catch. Prescott needs to show more to justify the Cowboysfaith in him. The passing game has been too limited as of late, and he’s been a big reason why.

It’s hard to argue that the RamsJared Goff helped keep head coach Jeff Fisher employed. Goff’s performance against the Falcons had its positives, but he again showed major issues. The interception to Deion Jones was particularly problematic as he stared down his intended target and never even considered that Jones could run underneath for the comfortable interception.

Grading Scale

Acc: Accuracy (Graded out of 25)Arm: Arm Strength (Graded out of 25)Press: Pressure/Run Threat (Graded out of 20) (Pressure weighted at 15, run threat at 5)ديسمبر: Decision-Making (Graded out of 20)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie QB Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamAccArmPressDecPosOvrLWTrend1Carson WentzPHI15181312106852Dak PrescottDAL14181111106413Jared GoffLA1218101010602

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Notable Performances

Carson Wentz

Week 14 stats: 32-of-46, 314 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Wentz’s rookie season has been underwhelming. The Washington game gave you reason to be optimistic because he had a lot of good plays escaping pressure, but he continues to be limited throwing the ball downfield and was responsible for two turnovers that cost the Eagles a tight game.

Dak Prescott

Week 14 stats: 17-of-37, 165 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT

One of Prescott’s interceptions against the Giants wasn’t his fault, but the second was. Prescott misread the coverage and threw into the heart of Cover 3 deep downfield. The play summed up Prescott’s day as the Cowboys quarterback struggled to move the ball downfield with any consistency.

Jared Goff

Week 14 stats: 24-of-41, 235 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT

Goff had two interceptions against the Falcons, but the first of the two wasn’t his fault. He hit a perfect throw on a slant to Kenny Britt and the ball bounced off his hands and into the waiting arms of Ricardo Allen. The second interception was completely Goff’s fault as he stared down his receiver and allowed Jones to undercut the ball.

The CowboysEzekiel Elliott basically wrapped up Rookie of the Year honors Sunday night against a good Giants front. He continues to maintain his high level of play and his physical nature as the season heads down the homestretch. While he has massive holes to hit because of the Cowboyselite offensive linemen, Elliott’s ability to get vertical and punish defenders on contact was evident all night. He has a chance to be a star for years.

Jordan Howard has established himself as one of the Bearsbuilding blocks. He made big plays all game against the Lions and is productive as a pass-catcher. The Baltimore RavensKenneth Dixon and RedskinsRobert Kelley have both established themselves as the starters on their respective teams. They are excellent inside runners and have the power to break tackles on every effort.

The TitansDerrick Henry had a productive game, but it’s clear that despite being the second running back off the board in the draft, he is not as good as some of the other first-year players.

Fullbacks: The Denver BroncosAndy Janovich was placed on IR Nov. 30, and Derek Watt played only one snap because San Diego fell behind by such a big margin early at Carolina.

Grading Scale

In: Inside Running (Graded out of 25)Out: Outside Running (Graded out of 25)Rec: Receiving (Graded out of 20)Blk: Blocking (Graded out of 20)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie RB Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamInOutRecBlkPosOvrLWTrend1Kenneth DixonBAL1717181767532Ezekiel ElliottDAL1918151767513Jordan HowardCHI1817161667324Robert KelleyWAS19151516671NR5Jalen RichardOAK1816151567046Derrick HenryTEN17161516670NR7Wendell SmallwoodPHI1716151566998Dwayne WashingtonDET17151516669NR9Alex CollinsSEA15151716669NR10Paul PerkinsNYG16161515668511Devontae BookerDEN151415146646

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

C.J. ProsiseinjuryAndy JanovichinjuryDeAndre Washingtoninsufficient snapsKenyan Drakeinsufficient snapsDerek Wattinsufficient snaps

Notable Performances

Ezekiel Elliott

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Week 14 stats: 24 carries, 107 yards

Elliott had a solid effort against the Giants. He helped the Cowboys control most of the game with his inside running and physical nature on contact against a solid defense. He did not contribute in the passing game, the one area in which he can improve.

Jordan Howard

Week 14 stats: 13 carries, 86 yards; 2 receptions, 24 yards

Howard was good against the Lions, a divisional opponent. He continues to run hard, make big plays and give the Bears an explosive option on offense. He had a big effort in the passing game on a 19-yard gain.

Kenneth Dixon

Week 14 stats: 11 carries, 39 yards; 8 receptions, 42 yards

Dixon was the only consistent offensive player for Baltimore against New England. He is becoming the full-time running back, showing the ability to run inside and out. He was productive in the passing game, breaking tackles all night.

Another week, another game without a catch for Vikings first-round pick Laquon Treadwell. He played only 11 snaps on offense and didn’t receive a target. At this point, it’s a lost season for him.

Sterling Shepard continues to make big plays for the Giants. Out of the slot, he beat the CowboysOrlando Scandrick on 4th-and-short to keep a drive going. Shepard finished with the second-most snaps for the Giants at receiver and figures to be the long-term option opposite of Odell Beckham Jr.

In the AFC, the ChiefsTyreek Hill continues to impress. The speedster from West Alabama caught all six of his targets for 66 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders, with the score coming on a well-executed post route against a Cover 4 look from Oakland.

The BengalsTyler Boyd might have turned in his best game as a pro, catching all six of his targets for 49 yards. He shows a near mastery of the pivot or whip route.

Grading Scale

Route: Route Running (Graded out of 25)Hands: Hands (Graded out of 25)YAC: Yards After Catch (Graded out of 20)Blk: Blocking (Graded out of 20)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie WR Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvrLWTrend1Tyreek HillKC1818131297032Sterling ShepardNYG1818131196993Tyler BoydCIN1818121296914Robby AndersonNYJ1620121196865Malcolm MitchellNE1716111296556Will FullerHOU1616111396547Mike ThomasLA16161310964NR8Corey ColemanCLE16151212964NR9Pharoh CooperLA16171210964NR10Alex EricksonCIN151412129621211Chester RogersIND15151111961NR12Charone PeakeNYJ151511119611313Cody CoreCIN15141112961814Tajae SharpeTEN14141111959NR15Rashard HigginsCLE14141111959NR16Laquon TreadwellMIN1212101195415

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Michael ThomasinjuryBraxton MillerinjuryJohnny Holtoninsufficient snapsDemarcus Robinsoninsufficient snapsChris Mooreinsufficient snapsKalif Raymondinsufficient snapsRicardo Louisinsufficient snapsJakeem Grantinsufficient snapsLeonte Carrooinsufficient snaps

Notable Performances

Sterling Shepard

Week 14 stats: 3 receptions, 39 yards

Shepard has established himself as the No. 2 target for Eli Manning, who trusts the rookie in big moments. Shepard caught a key fourth-down pass that allowed the Giants to get a field goal in the third quarter against Dallas.

Pharoh Cooper

Week 14 stats: 3 receptions, 22 yards

The RamsPharoh Cooper caught all three of his passes late in the fourth quarter, but he was able to take one short pass for 19 yards. He’s a slot receiver who is buried on the depth chart.

Mike Thomas

Week 14 stats: 1 reception, 16 yards

Mike Thomas is primarily a kick returner for the Rams. His only catch came in garbage time against the Falcons.

Tyler Boyd

Week 14 stats: 6 receptions, 49 yards

Boyd continues to see the bulk of action in the slot for the Bengals, catching all six of his targets against the Cleveland Browns. He is adept at running the pivot or whip route, which he showed again in the snow Sunday.

Tyreek Hill

Week 14 stats: 6 receptions, 66 yards, 1 TD

Hill caught a big score against the Raiders on Thursday night on a well-executed post route against a Cover 4 look. His speed gives the Chiefs the ability to change the course of a game on any given play.

Robby Anderson

Week 14 stats: 6 receptions, 99 yards

Robby Anderson might have turned in a bigger game Sunday were it not for a few passes he failed to catch. But his relationship with New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty shows, as he saw a team-high 11 targets. Anderson also shows a knack for winning at the catch point, and his two biggest plays came in contested situations.

The ChargersHunter Henry had only two catches against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, but one of them went for a touchdown, his sixth overall.His best work this week came as a blocker, as the rookie from Arkansas is developing that aspect of his game nicely.

Austin Hooper saw three targets Sunday but only secured one for five yards. The good news is he is becoming the Falconsmost-used tight end, so bigger days are coming.

Grading Scale

Route: Route Running (Graded out of 20)Hands: Hands (Graded out of 25)YAC: Yards After Catch (Graded out of 20)Blk: Blocking (Graded out of 25)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie TE Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvrLWTrend1Hunter HenrySD1216121966522Alex EllisJAX1114111866043Austin HooperATL1114121766064Nick VannettSEA1313111665915Stephen AndersonHOU1114111465656Temarrick HemingwayLA11121016655NR7Jerell AdamsNYG151512166643

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Seth DeValveinsufficient snapsThomas Duarteinactive

Notable Performances

Austin Hooper

Week 14 stats: 1 reception, 5 yards

Hooper out-snapped Levine Toilolo in this contest, 42-25, but was limited to three targets.

Hunter Henry

Week 14 stats: 2 receptions, 13 yards, 1 TD

Henry saw five targets from Philip Rivers this week, catching two of them, including one for his sixth NFL touchdown. He also is developing well as a blocker and looks to be the tight end of the future in San Diego.

Jerell Adams

Week 14 stats: 2 receptions, 11 yards

Clearly behind Will Tye, the GiantsJerell Adams is creating a role as an average blocker who has receiving ability.

Taylor Decker of the Lions notched his 13th straight start, this one coming against NFC North rival Chicago. Decker had a pair of holding penalties and ran into struggles against Leonard Floyd, but for the most part played well.

The RavensRonnie Stanley started his sixth consecutive game since returning from injury and was outstanding against New England on Monday Night Football.

Jack Conklin and the Titans returned from a Week 13 bye to take on the Broncos. The game signified Conklin’s 13th start as a pro, and it wasn’t easy. He went against Von Miller most of the contest, and Tennessee made sure Conklin had help. In the running game, Conklin was solid. Usually, he is above-average or even dominant, but the Broncos defenders did a good job of getting off blocks and locating the ball.

The Seattle SeahawksGeorge Fant started against Green Bay, his seventh straight. Fant continues to show weekly improvement, but he has a lot of work to do to build his pass-protection skill set. That was evident against the Packers, as his opponent beat him a couple of times at the snap.

Philadelphia’s Halapoulivaati Vaitai was inactive with a knee injury.

Grading Scale

OT: Left or Right Tackle designationPass: Pass Protection (Graded out of 25)Run: Run Blocking (Graded out of 25)Power: Power (Graded out of 20)Agl: Agility (Graded out of 20)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie OT Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamOTPassRunPowerAglPosOvrLWTrend1Ronnie StanleyBALLT2018141687622Taylor DeckerDETLT1819141587413Jack ConklinTENRT17211613774NR4George FantSEALT161713158693

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Notable Performances

Ronnie Stanley

Week 14 stats: 70 plays (55 pass), 2 pressures, 0 sacks

Stanley continues to show great range in pass protection and an above-average skill set overall. Stanley’s strength is that he is technically sound and can always rely on being in the right position with his feet, which allows him to effectively use his hands.

There are not many holes in his game, which is rare for a rookie. The Ravens have turned into a team that airs out the ball, and Stanley is asked to protect on an island without help often, at which he has excelled.

Guard may be one of healthiest positions in the league in terms of pure rookie quantity. We routinely see a sturdy amount of first-year players in the rankings, both as regular starters and at key depth options. This week saw the introduction of one new player, with seven of our regulars.

Grading Scale

Pass: Pass Protection (Graded out of 25)Run: Run Blocking (Graded out of 25)Power: Power (Graded out of 20)Agl: Agility (Graded out of 20)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie OG Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvrLWTrend1Vadal AlexanderOAK17181812772NR2Isaac SeumaloPHI1518161477063Joshua GarnettSF1318171476974Spencer DrangoCLE15161614768NR5Laremy TunsilMIA1614161576856Germain IfediSEA1217161376517Joe ThuneyNE1214121676188Joe HaegIND121313157603

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Notable Performances

Vadal Alexander

Many joked about how Vadal Alexander would hold up in a start against a tough division rival in a key game, and even I admit I was skeptical given the issues I saw on his tape at LSU. But Alexander looked like a natural fit in Oakland’s power scheme, showing off impressive punch and leg drive against Kansas City’s physical front.

Joshua Garnett

Joshua Garnett continues to be maddeningly inconsistent for the 49ers. He flashes dominance as a run-blocker, but his footwork puts him in bad positions in pass protection.

Joe Thuney

The PatriotsJoe Thuney has had a rough couple of weeks after a promising start to his career, struggling with the raw strength and power of the Ravensfront Monday night.

Graham Glasgow of the Lions has performed well at left guard through the last two months, but he moved inside to center last Sunday against the Bears after starter Travis Swanson’s concussion put him out of the action. The rookie had perhaps the best game of his NFL career.

In 72 snaps, Glasgow refused to allow a single pressure (the first time this year he’s done that) and he performed well in the run game. The Michigan alum did play some center in college and was thought to be a potential replacement for Swanson before the incumbent embarked on the bounce-back year he’s currently enjoying.

Neither Austin Blythe nor Joey Hunt (the only other rookies besides Glasgow, Cody Whitehair and Ryan Kelly to see substantive snaps at center) got on the field this week. But our consistent rookies had good outings, coming in at fifth and sixth overall at the position in Week 14.

Grading Scale

Pass: Pass Protection (Graded out of 25)Run: Run Blocking (Graded out of 25)Power: Power (Graded out of 20)Agl: Agility (Graded out of 20)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie C Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvrLWTrend1Ryan KellyIND1916161667322Cody WhitehairCHI1618161667213Graham GlasgowDET18151715671NR

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Notable Performances

Ryan Kelly

The Colts were awful up front this week, but Kelly managed to hold his own with almost no help.

Cody Whitehair

The BearsWhitehair plays a lot better with Josh Sitton next to him. With Sitton back healthy, Whitehair had a consistent week. The tackles are nothing to write home about, but this could be a special interior group, especially when Kyle Long returns.

Graham Glasgow

Glasgow moved inside for the first time in the regular season, replacing Swanson. The rookie adapted well to the position he also played in college, allowing no sacks, hits or hurries in 72 snaps.

This might have been the best overall week from the rookie 3-4 defensive end class, from a pure numbers and functional talent perspective.

We had standouts like the 49ersDeForest Buckner, PackersDean Lowry, ChiefsChris Jones, BrownsEmmanuel Ogbah and ChargersJoey Bosa, while the likes of the BearsJonathan Bullard and 49ersRonald Blair played significantly more reps this week than in previous games.

Grading Scale

Snap: Snap Explosion (Graded out of 15)Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 25)Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 30)Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 20)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie 3-4 DE Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvrLWTrend1DeForest BucknerSF1216211577112Dean LowryGB1216211376923Chris JonesKC1317191376944Emmanuel OgbahCLE12161816769NR5Joey BosaSD1316191376836Jonathan BullardCHI11151914766NR7Ronald BlairSF1115201376658Carl NassibCLE11121613759NR9Adolphus WashingtonBUF9121612756NR

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Notable Performances

DeForest Buckner

Week 14 stats: 11 tackles, 2 sacks

Buckner has established himself as the best true 3-4 defensive end in this rookie class, and his performance this weekend against the Jets furthered that notion. Buckner, who was rarely rotated off the field, compiled double-digit tackles and posted two sacks for San Francisco’s struggling defense.

Dean Lowry

Week 14 stats: 2 tackles, 1 sack

Lowry has been a rotational player for the majority of the Packersseason, but as a big end in their mostly one-gapping scheme, the 6’6″, 296-pounder took advantage of Seattle’s lack of talent up front and disrupted both the run and pass. He even registered a sack, his second in two weeksan impressive feat for a rookie non-pass-rusher.

Two rookies make up this entire class, as they’re the ones making consistent impact.

Jacksonville’s Yannick Ngakoue is one of the only bright spots on a bad Jaguars team, but his flashes have been in just a couple of plays each week.

Grading Scale

Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 25)Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 25)Snap: Snap Explosion (Graded out of 20)Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 20)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie 4-3 DE Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamRushRunSnapTklPosOvrLWTrend1Noah SpenceTB2115171487512Yannick NgakoueJAX20121413867NR

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Notable Performances

Yannick Ngakoue

Week 14 stats: Forced fumble

This was the typical game for Ngakoue. He usually has a handful of good speed rushes around the arc and has six sacks on the year. Outside of that, he disappears for stretches as he’s still not an every-down defensive end.

Noah Spence

Week 14 Stats: None

In another game that Noah Spence didn’t register a statistic, he was able to make an impact as a pressure player. As a third-down defender, he’s one major reason the Buccaneers have allowed just 64 points in their last five games combined.

The CowboysMaliek Collins and PanthersVernon Butler led the way this week among rookie defensive tackles.

Collins had a great game against the Giants as his speed and quickness was too much for their interior offensive line. Butler had a solid game as well, showing nice power and technique against the Chargers.

Oakland’s Jihad Ward had a rough outing Thursday night against the Chiefs. He was routinely late off the ball, showed poor hand placement and was easily moved off the line of scrimmage on a handful of occasions. Ward has a lot of work to do before he can be a viable starter.

Grading Scale

Snap: Snap Explosion (Graded out of 25)Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 25)Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 25)Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 15)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie DT Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvrLWTrend1Maliek CollinsDAL1616181276972Vernon ButlerCAR1616171176743Hassan RidgewayIND1616151176564Vincent ValentineNE1615171076535Jarran ReedSEA1514171176426Austin JohnsonTEN14131712763NR7Kenny ClarkGB16141610763NR8Sheldon RankinsNO1513151176119Michael PierceBAL15131610761810Sheldon DayJAX13141410758NR11David OnyemataNO14121510758NR12A’Shawn RobinsonDET141313107571113Destiny VaeaoPHI131213107551014Jihad WardOAK111211975012

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Darius LathaminjuryJavon Hargraveinjury

Notable Performances

Maliek Collins

Week 14 stats: 2 tackles

Collins showed off his athleticism this week, running circles around the Giants offensive line at times. He looks like the future at 3-technique in Dallas.

Vernon Butler

Week 14 stats: 2 tackles (1 assisted)

Butler flashed power and technique against San Diego’s heavy guard duo of D.J. Fluker and Orlando Franklin. The first-round pick has played well since being a healthy scratch a few weeks ago.

The league’s next great pass-rusher could be Leonard Floyd, who has played as well as any 3-4 outside linebacker over the last two months.

He was dominant again in Week 14, finishing with the position’s second-highest score as he terrorized Matthew Stafford and the Lions. Detroit couldn’t block him for long stretches. His case for Defensive Rookie of the Year grows every week.

The rest of the class lacked a definitive standout. Matt Judon makes a play or two every week for the Ravens, while the ChargersChris Landrum and TitansAaron Wallace both recorded their first career sacks in Week 14.

Shaq Lawson was disappointing during the Buffalo Billsloss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the ColtsCurt Maggitt has consistently graded as the worst rookie 3-4 outside linebacker.

Grading Scale

Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 25)Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 25)Cvg: Coverage (Graded out of 15)Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 25)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie 3-4 OLB Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamRushRunCvgTklPosOvrLWTrend1Leonard FloydCHI261692087912Matt JudonBAL201391886833Chris LandrumSD211291686654Aaron WallaceTEN2110917865NR5Shaq LawsonBUF171281686126Curt MaggittIND19109158616

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Joe Schobertinsufficient snapsKyler FackrellinjuryDadi NicolasinactiveKevin Doddinjury

Notable Performances

Leonard Floyd

Week 14 stats: 3 tackles, 1 pass defended

Floyd’s transformation has been nothing short of incredible. Lost and lacking a plan for the first month-and-a-half of his NFL career, Floyd has since developed into one of the NFL’s most consistent pass-rushers at the position.

The discovery of a counterattack and a building confidence in his natural ability appear responsible for the steady progression. Floyd didn’t have a sack against the Lions, but he consistently pressured Stafford, using outside rushes and inside stunts to collapse the pocket and disrupt the passing game.

Any fears about Floyd’s future have been erased. He looks like a blossoming star and a core building block for the Bears.

Myles Jack of the Jaguars has hit his stride. He’s not shocking the world, but Jack has finally gotten to a point where he can consistently fulfill his assignment and minimize offensive efforts. It has been encouraging to see him round out the season as well as he has.

Conversely, Jets linebacker Darron Lee continues to be mediocre. Throughout the year, Lee has had games where his run fits are ugly, and he had one of those efforts this week. He was constantly out of his assignment gap and tended to be too late getting over to make tackles. The Jets better hope he makes a leap next season.

The FalconsDe’Vondre Campbell had a decent rebound effort. Last week, Campbell was at a season low against the Chiefs. He bounced back a little against the Rams and re-established himself as a functional rookie linebacker.

Grading Scale

Cvg: Coverage (Graded out of 25)Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 25)Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 15)Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 25)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie 4-3 OLB Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamCvgRunRushTklPosOvrLWTrend1Myles JackJAX181781866712Jordan JenkinsNYJ1617101866753De’Vondre CampbellATL181771866624Darron LeeNYJ161491866365Cory LittletonLA15147156573

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Jaylon SmithinjuryJosh Forrestinjury

Notable Performances

Myles Jack

Week 14 stats: 1 tackle

It took him a while, but Jack is taking to his position well. He’s properly carrying out assignments and making sure to avoid egregious mistakes.

Jordan Jenkins

Week 14 stats: 3 tackles, 0.5 sack

As per usual, the JetsJordan Jenkins did a little of everything. He had the half-sack and even looked solid in coverage. It was another quality performance.

De’Vondre Campbell

Week 14 stats: 1 tackle, 1 TFL, 1 pass defended

Campbell’s peaks as a pass defender are nice. He has issues with being aware of picks and rubs, but when he gets to just cover his guy, Campbell often wins. He had his sixth pass deflection of the season.

Darron Lee

Week 14 stats: 5 tackles

Lee needed to do more than just tackle. He finished some plays and helped the defense avoid giving up major gains, but he failed on a number of routine reads that led to decent chunks of yardage.

Cory Littleton

Week 14 stats: 1 tackle

Along with Rams teammate Mark Barron, Littleton was a liability in the run game. He was late to react and make plays, often allowing the Falcons to gain more yards than they should have on a given play.

The FalconsDeion Jones was highlighted in the NFL1000 scouting notebook this weekand for good reason. Jones had one of the best performances in coverage that I’ve seen all year. He recorded one interception that he returned for a touchdown and nearly added another two.

The Rams don’t possess an elite offense, but Jones was running on crossing routes with Tavon Austin and carried wheel routes from Todd Gurley up the sideline. He continues to impress as a do-it-all rookie who earned the top grade of the group this week.

Just behind Jones is another first-year player who has grown into a starter. Chicago’s Nick Kwiatkoski started in place of the suspended Jerrell Freeman, and he’s made quite a case to enter next season as a starter inside. He had no trouble against the 49ers last week but showed tremendous patience and mental processing skills against the Lionstalented offense.

The ChargersJatavis Brown saw a handful of snaps Sunday and looked every bit as comfortable in coverage as he was pre-knee injury. San Diego won’t make the playoffs, but it has an exciting young defender to build around.

Grading Scale

Pass: Pass Defense (Graded out of 25)Run: Run Defense (Graded out of 35)Rush: Pass Rush (Graded out of 15)Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 15)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie ILB Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamPassRunRushTklPosOvrLWTrend1Deion JonesATL2329111168042Nick KwiatkoskiCHI1930111167713Jatavis BrownSD1824910667NR4Antonio MorrisonIND17239106653

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Cory Jamesinsufficient snapsTyler Matakevichinsufficient snapsJoshua Perryinsufficient snapsSu’a Cravensinsufficient snaps

Notable Performances

Deion Jones

Week 14 stats: 5 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD

Jones was all over the field against the Rams. He was active in coverage and nearly added another two interceptions to the one he returned for a touchdown. He continues to stand out as the best rookie inside linebacker.

Nick Kwiatkoski

Week 14 stats: 8 tackles, 1 sack

Kwiatkoski played well for the second game in a row. After beating up on the 49ers last week, Kwiatkoski proved his performance wasn’t a fluke. He is relentless in pursuit of the ball and doesn’t shy away from contact, which is a requirement in the NFC North.

Antonio Morrison

Week 14 stats: 9 tackles

In his first extended playing time of the season, Antonio Morrison was active but failed to show an ability to cleanly diagnose the interior run game. Morrison’s continued development is crucial as the Colts try to fix an unimpressive defense.

Week 14 featured the most rookie cornerback participation we’ve seen in 2016. Twenty first-year players saw five or more snaps, which qualified them to be graded. Most surprisingly, five of the top six cornerbacks were drafted no earlier than the fourth round.

Titans corner LeShaun Sims, Browns corner Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Jets corner Juston Burris and Cowboys corner Anthony Brown have shown upside that would have vaulted them up draft boards if teams had known their potential. Most rookies have settled in as average or lower players in our grades, but this group had several top-50 corners.

One week doesn’t determine a career or even characterize what one full season can entail, but it is interesting to see Day 2 picks like Arizona’s Brandon Williams, New England’s Cyrus Jones and Carolina’s James Bradberry and Daryl Worley struggling consistently while later picks have played better in their opportunities. Sims was the beneficiary of the Titanscutting Perrish Cox, and he looked like he belonged against a pair of talented Broncos receivers last week.

Sims gave up two catches on five targets for a whopping 20 yards. He also broke up a pass and was aggressive against the run, adding a tackle for loss. Sims will be important for the Titans and their playoff push.

Jones, a second-rounder from Alabama, had a rough go for the Patriots on Monday Night Football. He had special teams blunders and wasn’t much better in coverage. He was caught peaking in the backfield multiple times and looked out of his element. He only played because of injuries, but it seems like it’ll be the last time we see him on the field this year in New England.

Juston Burris wasn’t challenged much, but the Jets rookie looked comfortable and confident in coverage. Yes, the 49ers receivers don’t strike fear in the hearts of many corners, but Burris allowed eight yards in coverage on four targets. The Jets will take his giving up one catch a game.

Grading Scale

Cvg: Coverage (Graded out of 30)React: Reaction/Recovery (Graded out of 30)Slot: Slot (Graded out of 20)Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 10)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie CB Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamCvgReactSlotTklPosOvrLWTrend1Cre’von LeBlancCHI2123195977NR2LeShaun SimsTEN2019156969NR3Briean Boddy-CalhounCLE1920155968NR4Juston BurrisNYJ1819165967NR5Anthony BrownDAL1817175966NR6Vernon HargreavesTB161717696567Tavon YoungBAL171715596328Jalen RamseyJAX161715696319Javien ElliottTB1416166961NR10Rashard RobinsonSF16161559611011Artie BurnsPIT1615155960412Eli AppleNYG1614156960313Adairius BarnesDET1415155958NR14Mike JordanLA15141559581215Jalen MillsPHI13151559571416James BradberryCAR1314145955917DeiondreHallCHI1413135954NR18Daryl WorleyCAR1313136954819Cyrus JonesNE1212145952520Brandon WilliamsARI1211135950NR

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

MacKensie Alexanderinsufficient snapsKendall Fullerinsufficient snaps

Notable Performances

Anthony Brown

A sixth-round pick of the Cowboys, Brown has stood out as an off-man corner across from Brandon Carr. Brown allowed just two of five targets to be completed and notched an interception this past week, showing a growing confidence and comfort within the defense to continue improving.

DeiondreHall

DeiondreHall saw only 10 passing snaps, but he flashed both good and bad in his limited time. The 6’2corner is stiff and was beaten badly off the line in press coverage on the only target he saw. That’ll need improvement. But his length and physicality were also a positive, as the Bears won several jams with Hall pressing.

Saints safety Vonn Bell stood out this week against Tampa Bay, showing up all over the field. He was given multiple assignments in the absence of Kenny Vaccaro, who will miss the rest of the season because of suspension.

Bell performed well in man coverage against a tight end on a curl route in the first quarter, sticking close and giving him no room as the ball sailed past incomplete. He also played well in underneath zone coverage, reacting quickly to any routes underneath and breaking down on them to make the tackle and prevent extra yards after the catch.

Bell made an impressive play in the first quarter. He worked out to the flat as part of his zone-coverage responsibility but felt a slant route being run behind him from the outside receiver. He kept his eyes in the backfield on the quarterback and adjusted his position, sinking back inside, giving him a chance to dive and break up the pass to the slant route.

Bell was an effective blitzer, forcing Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winstonto scramble on one occasion while taking away his lane on a play-action bootleg. That forced Winston to step up in the pocket and quickly get rid of the ball before Bell closed on him. He finally registered a half-sack after working around a running back to meet a teammate at the quarterback.

Kevin Byard had a solid week for the Titans, though it was less eventful than Bell’s. He played a lot further off the line of scrimmage than he normally would. While he has played deep, Tennessee moves him around and uses him in the box, جدا. This week, however, he spent a lot of time staying over the top of routes and trying to take away deep shots.

A good example of that came in the third quarter. He got himself over the top of a deep shot to Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and made the tackle after the ball had been completed. A few plays later, he made up a lot of ground to make another tackle on Thomas just short of the goal line to save a touchdown.

Grading Scale

Cvg: Coverage (Graded out of 30)Rec: Recovery (Graded out of 30)Slot: Slot/LB (Graded out of 10)Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 20)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie FS Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvrLWTrend1Vonn BellNO242461587742Kevin ByardTEN2122615872NR3Kentrell BriceGB1920515867NR4Justin SimmonsDEN191851586535T.J. GreenIND181851586416Andrew AdamsNYG18175158635

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Notable Performances

Vonn Bell

Week 14 stats: 7 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 pass breakup

Bell had a bigger role this week, and he appeared to thrive. He showed versatility, matching up well in man coverage against tight ends while also showing good zone awareness. He got a pass breakup in zone coverage, working out to the flat while feeling a slant route run behind him. Bell sunk back and closed the throwing window, diving to break up the pass before it could reach the receiver.

He was an effective blitzer, registering a few pressures and half a sack. He also blew up a screen pass, working around a block to get in position to make a tackle. The quarterback spotted him and wisely threw the ball away.

T.J. Green

Week 14 stats: 2 tackles, 1 pass breakup

T.J. Green had a rough week against the Texans at times but made a couple of solid plays in between. He gave up separation to a tight end stick route on 3rd-and-long but did well to keep the play in front of him and made the tackle to save the first down.

A few series later, Green had the same problem, giving up a catch to a tight end, but he made a tackle shortly after to protect the first down and get his defense off the field. He also managed to break up a pass, again giving up separation. This time, he managed to close quickly on the tight end and break up the pass as it arrived to save the first down again.

Keanu Neal continued to impress in his rookie campaign. He had a few struggles early on, though. In the first quarter, he got pinned inside on an end around and couldn’t get off the block. In the second quarter, Neal was fooled by a play-action bootleg. But despite biting on the run fake, he was aware of where the Rams would look to attack off the bootleg. He recovered and got back in position.

In the third quarter, he was also caught on a tight end block and struggled to get off it as the running back ran past him.

But outside of those few plays, Neal performed well. He made his presence felt around the line of scrimmage in the run game, filling in where needed and cleaning up after runs spilled to him.

Neal was in his element in the fourth quarter, playing underneath zone coverage and quickly breaking down to underneath checkdowns. The Rams attempted to dink and dunk down the field, but every time Jared Goff looked to dump it off to an underneath spot or flat route, Neal was consistently the first to react and break on it, making the tackle almost instantly and limiting yards after the catch.

Steelers rookie Sean Davis had an up-and-down week. He flashed early in the first quarter, registering two sacks within the first few series. Both came on similar plays, with Davis lining up on the line of scrimmage outside of the right tackle. The running back worked out to Davis to pick up the blitz, but on both occasions, Davis skipped past him by working inside. The only difference between the plays was that a teammate got there first on one of them, meaning Davis split that sack.

But as the game progressed, Davis struggled. In the second quarter, he was poorly matched up against Bills receiver Sammy Watkins in the slot. Watkins would be expected to win that matchup the vast majority of the time, but Davis allowed him to cross his face far too easily in the end zone, giving up an easy touchdown.

Later, Davis was on top of a route to Bills tight end Charles Clay down the sideline. He came down to help his teammate secure the tackle but went for a big hit instead of wrapping up. He missed and took out his teammate, leaving Clay free to run into the end zone.

Grading Scale

Cvg: Coverage (Graded out of 25)Rec: Recovery (Graded out of 25)Slot: Slot/LB (Graded out of 20)Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 20)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie SS Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvrLWTrend1Keanu NealATL1919161567532Deon BushCHI16171415668NR3Sean DavisPIT151715146671

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Karl JosephinactiveWill Parksinsufficient snapsMiles Killebrewinsufficient snaps

Notable Performances

Keanu Neal

Week 14 stats: 8 tackles, 1 pass breakup

Neal had another solid week, albeit against weak opposition in the Rams. While he got caught on a few blocks early on, Neal found his groove and made a number of tackles in the run game. He did a good job of mopping up after the rest of the defense stuffed the run and forced a cutback to the rookie safety.

He also made a number of tackles in the fourth quarter as the Rams looked to use a short passing game to work their way down the field. He was consistently the first to react to underneath routes while in zone coverage and broke on them quickly to ensure minimal yards after the catch.

Sean Davis

Week 14 stats: 6 tackles, 2 sacks

Davis showed potential as a blitzerbut struggled in coverage and with his tackling this week. As a blitzer, he beat Bills running backs in protection with inside moves twice in the first quarter, leading to two sacks. He also came free on a blitz late in the game.While Davis couldn’t prevent the throw, he landed a big hit on bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, which forced his attempt to fall well short of its intended target.

Davis, however, was beaten in coverage by Sammy Watkins in the end zone, allowing him to cross his face too easily en route to a touchdown. He also missed a couple of tackles, one taking out a teammate and leading to Clay running free into the end zone for another touchdown.

Kickers

Mark the tape and stop the presses. Both rookie kickers had strong weeks for the first time all season. Wil Lutz and Roberto Aguayo both put up grades of 71, as both were perfect.

For Lutz, this is a continuation of the strong showing he has had since Week 1, as he continues to display a strong leg with developing consistency.

For Aguayo, this reverses a trend of two weeks with one miss in each. He has now made nine of his last eleven field goals and appears to be finding tighter mechanics but still has a long way to go.

With just three weeks left in the regular season, Lutz is likely to wind up as the top rookie kicker of 2016, as he has shown a stronger leg and better accuracy than the more heralded Aguayo. The lesson, in this case, is not that kicker evaluations shouldn’t be trusted but rather that there is a surplus of kicking talent.

That means teams do not have to go through the draft to find quality specialists. The draft capital is better used in other places, and Lutz has been allowed to develop in relative obscurity rather than the bright spotlight that has been on Aguayo.

Kicker Grading Scale

Pwr: Kick Power (Graded out of 40)Acc: Kick Accuracy (Graded out of 40)Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 10)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100LW: Rank Last WeekRookie Kicker Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamPwrAccTklPosOvrLWTrend1Wil LutzNO3233337112Roberto AguayoTB313433712

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Notable Performances

Wil Lutz

Week 14 stats: 3-3 FG

Lutz continues to show improvement and should be close to locking up the job for next year, barring any major problems over the last few weeks.

Roberto Aguayo

Week 14 stats: 3-3 FG, 1-1 XP

It was a bounce-back week for Aguayo, but consistency has always been the issue. He can’t simply do this for one or two weeks in a row. He must prove he is capable of stringing together several accurate performances without any misses.

Punters

The JetsLachlan Edwards takes home the top rookie award for Week 14, though it was more due to a lack of competition than anything. Edwards showed good hang time but struggled in terms of distance. He was also average in ball placement. He possesses a capable leg that shows flashes of good power, but until he can get more consistent with his contact point, he’ll continue to be in this range.

Riley Dixon continues to show a rapidly developing directional game in Denver, with above-average marks in that area this week. Unfortunately, he was significantly below average in his power stats, knocking him down from his typical spot atop the rookie rankings. This appears to be a rare down week for Dixon, as he has quietly shown that he can be a capable NFL punter with a strong directional game.

San Diego’s Drew Kaser took another step back in what has been a disappointing rookie season. His struggles change from game to game, with this week’s issue being poor distance and hang time, though he did show slightly improved directional ability. If I sound like a broken record, it’s because Kaser has so much natural ability but has been unable to tap into it. With only three weeks to go until the offseason, time is running out for him to provide a springboard into 2017.

Punter Grading Scale

Dist: Kick Distance (Graded out of 20)Hang: Kick Hang Time (Graded out of 20)Acc: Kick Accuracy (Graded out of 45)Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 5)Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100Rookie Punter Rankings Week 14RankPlayerTeamDistHangAccTklPosOvrLWTrend1Lachlan EdwardsNYJ121529336232Riley DixonDEN91036336113Drew KaserSD7103333562

Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

Notable Performances

Lachlan Edwards

Edwards had good hang time but was pedestrian in distance and directional ability. The leg strength is there, but he needs several years of seasoning to see if he can tap into it.

Riley Dixon

Dixon’s directional ability plays well even when the rest of his game is not working, which is a good sign. The arrow is pointing up even with a below-average performance for him.

Drew Kaser

Kaser is so talented but just can’t avoid one or two critical mistakes per game. This week was no different, with a 30-yard punt from his own 5-yard line being the culprit.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2681771-nfl1000-rookie-review-from-week-14

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