Early Rookie Review


by Dave Syvertsen, Ourlads’ Draft Analyst

1 – LA Rams

 1st pick: Jared Goff – QB/California

Goff appears to be destined for the redshirt rookie season and in no way should he be looked down upon for it. Watching him in preseason, it was clear he just isn’t comfortable with the NFL-version of playing the position.  Little things like taking snaps from under center and calling plays in a huddle have made his learning curve very steep.  No harm in letting him ease in to being THE guy.  See you in 2017.

Top Other Rookie: Tyler Higbee – TE/Western Kentucky (Round 4)

No team has gotten less out of their rookie class through 4 weeks than the Rams. Not a big deal apparently, as the team currently sits atop the NFC West and in the middle of a 3 game winning streak that includes wins over Seattle and Arizona.  Higbee had a strong preseason and is seeing more than a handful of snaps each week.  His blocking is further along than most assumed it would be and we already know he has the ability to be a difference maker as a receiver.

2 – PHI Eagles

1st Pick: Carson Wentz – QB/North Dakota State

Another king’s ransom was given up for Wentz and through 3 weeks, Philly has every reason to believe they struck gold. Wentz has looked as good as anyone could have hoped, throwing 5 TDs, 0 INTs and posting a 103.8 rating.  He looks the part mentally and physically, that’s for certain,

Top Other Rookie: Jalen Mills – S/LSU (Round 7)

Through 3 games, Mills ties for the team lead with 14 tackles. Usually that isn’t a good sign for a guy who primarily plays CB as it usually means he has allowed too many receptions, but Mills has been a more than solid package defender.  His skill set is being nicely used as a hybrid S/CB.  He has been covering well and showing the quick instincts and reactions that he played with in the SEC.

3 – SD Chargers

 1st Pick: Joey Bosa – DE/Ohio State

Major disappointment and I think both sides are equally wrong and gun to my head, I’d say the Chargers got what they deserved. After a lengthy holdout, Bosa strained his hamstring and has yet to take the field in a game situation.  The team sits 1-3 with a bottom third defense yet again.  Bosa’s presence should be welcomed any week now, as he almost played in week 4.

Top Other Rookie: Jatavis Brown – LB/Akron (Round 5)

Tied for the team lead in tackles, Brown is now starting next to Perryman in their 3-4 front and it doesn’t look like he’s gonna let go. Brown is not the old school inside linebacker, standing 5-11 and weighing 225 but his speed and ability to slip under blockers has been obvious from the beginning.  Chargers look like they got a good one here.

4 – DAL Cowboys

 1st Pick: Ezekiel Elliot – RB/Ohio State

Elliot gave the Cowboys’ brass a scare with a strained hamstring during preseason, but it ended up being minor and he hasn’t missed any time. I wouldn’t say Elliot looks like a superstar just yet, but he’s an effective move-the-chains back, running behind the league’s top offensive line.  The pressure on him to perform may increase as the league gets more and more tape on fellow rookie Dak Prescott.  For now Elliot has done his job, rushing for 4.4 yards per carry but has already fumbled twice.  Something to keep an eye on.

Top Other Rookie: Dak Prescott – QB/Mississippi State (Round 4)

While the responsibility put on his shoulders has been nothing heavy, Prescott has quarterbacked this team to a 3-1 record without any turnovers and a 98.5 QB rating. Prescott has been very calculated and efficient with his play, understanding his role and avoiding the major mistakes that we see many rookie QBs do every year.  Smooth and steady with no complaints just yet.

5 – JAX Jaguars

 1st Pick: Jalen Ramsey – CB/Florida State

Ramsey might be the most impressive 2016 Rookie to this point. As often is the case with cornerbacks, it’s hard to find the stats that can back up your opinion.  Ramsey has been quick to make an impact, however.  His length and speed have made QBs think twice about throwing deep on him, and his sure tackling has made him a factor against the outside run as well.  Jacksonville has been using him inside and outside, showing a versatile skill set.  Ramsey appears to be on his way towards being a shutdown CB very early in his career.

Top Other Rookie: Yannick Ngakoue – OLB/Maryland (Round 3)

The Jaguars essentially brought in two brand new, young outside pass rushers to their 2016 squad. Dexter Fowler, last year’s 1st rounder, returned from a preseason injury that kept him out all of 2015 and Ngakoue have given this defense something they have sorely needed.  Two outside threats that demand double team attention has made the Gus Bradley scheme show glimpses of what it could be.  Ngakoue leads the team with 3 sacks and may already be the team’s top edge threat.

6 – BAL Ravens

 1st Pick: Ronnie Stanley – OT/Notre Dame

Stanley, as expected, won the starting left tackle job in training camp and played an admirable first three games. Most impressive was his performance against the complex blitzes Rex Ryan threw at the rookie week one.  The Bills’ defense was able to disrupt Joe Flacco, but further examination was that Stanley more than held his own.  His foot injury kept him out week 4 against Oakland and the instability on Flacco’s blind side was apparent.  His presence is needed by that team already.

Top Other Pick: Michael Pierce – DT/Samford (Undrafted)

Every year we see UDFA’s make immediate impacts in the league. Pierce has forced himself not only on to the 53 man roster, but into the defensive line rotation.  His college sack numbers weren’t anything that made you look twice, but the 6-0, 329 pounder has been wrecking havoc with his quick first step and low center of gravity on pass rushing downs.  Pierce has unique tools that can be used in specific situations, and he has done exactly that so far.  Five tackles, one sack and a few pass hurries have put him in to more playing time each week.

7 – SF 49ers

 1st Pick – DeForest Buckner – DE/Oregon

Buckner wasted no time making his presence known along the sneakily solid Niners’ defensive line. Through 4 games he leads the team in snaps played and already has 21 tackles, including 8 in week 3 against Seattle.  He looked like his college-self in that game, posing as a matchup problem for every kind of blocker the Seahawks sent his way.  He has been putting plenty of pressure on opposing passers but has been knocked around a bit on running plays right at him.  In time, probably sooner rather than later, Buckner is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Top Other Rookie: Rashard Robinson – CB/LSU (4th round)

We knew heading into the draft that whoever drafted Robinson was potentially going to get one of the top values of the class. His off field troubles, mainly school-related, were well documented and really hindered his playing experience at LSU.  His talent was, and is, undeniable.  He has gotten off to a great start and appears to already be the top CB on an underrated defense.

8 – TEN Titans

 1st Pick – Jack Conklin – OT/Michigan State

The Titans traded up for the pro-ready, former walk-on and had every intention of putting him into their starting lineup right away whether they admitted it or not. He has graded out as well as any rookie offensive lineman to this point.  He has struggled more as a run blocker when he has to cut off quicker defenders on his inside shoulder, something that teams will look to exploit as his game tapes are watched and studied.  As a pass protector, he’s kept Marcus Mariota clean for the most part, a top priority for this franchise.

Top Other Pick: Tajae Sharpe – WR/Massachusetts (Round 5)

Sharpe took over Titans’ training camp early on and never slowed down, earning a starting spot week one. Four weeks in, Sharpe leads the Tennessee WRs with 16 receptions.  He hasn’t made any big plays just yet, averaging under 11 yards per catch, but he has proven to be a quality route runner who will get himself open more often than not.  He has shown a veteran-level knack for finding windows and should build a production-filled relationship with Mariota in an offense that aims to be built on a short passing game and ground attack.

9 – CHI Bears

 1st Pick: Leonard Floyd – LB/Georgia

Floyd made coaches drool because of tools and a skill set that never seem to fully mesh in college. Yet after a less than spectacular career at Georgia, he was traded up for by Chicago and put into their starting lineup.  A sack and 6 tackles in week one gave plenty of reason for optimism, but he has since been a negative to the Bears’ 26th ranked run defense.  His lack of ability to take on blocks has made him a target for opposing play callers.  Even worse, Floyd has had a few nagging injuries to his lower body that some projected, as he doesn’t have the ideal strength or frame for his position.

Top Other Pick: Cody Whitehair – C/Kansas State (Round 2)

A collegiate left tackle, drafted to play backup guard, is currently the starting center and may be one of the best 5 centers in football already. Whitehair was highly regarded and considered NFL ready last spring, but even his supporters should consider themselves surprised.  Whitehair has been working out some technique-based kinks that have led to penalties, but considering the position-moves he has made, those can be somewhat overlooked.  Whitehair has been not only a good, but a dominant run blocker.  He is going to be a mainstay there.

10 – NY Giants

1st Pick: Eli Apple – CB/Ohio State

The tools-rich cover corner was highly regarded as the CB of this class with the highest ceiling outside of Jalen Ramsey. What surprised some, however, was his immediate comfort with covering NFL receivers with proper footwork and use of his hands.  Apple was very “grabby” in college, but has proven that his ability and skill sets are coming together.  He has brought a very physical side of the game to the NYG cornerbacks as well.  A hamstring injury may force him to miss some time, which is unfortunate for both Apple and the Giants, as I expect his role to increase in the coming weeks.

Top Other Pick: Sterling Shepard – WR/Oklahoma (Round 2)

Like Tajae Sharpe of Tennessee, Shepard has been in many deadlines since the start of training camp. His immediate grasp of the offensive scheme and pro-caliber route running has made him a target that Eli Manning often targets.  He leads the team with 2 TD receptions and trails only Odell Beckham in yards.  He is proving to be an effective 3rd down weapon with explosive change of direction and sneaky speed up the seam.  Shepard has the look of a receiver that can hurt you in countless ways.

11 – TB Buccaneers

 1st Pick: Vernon Hargreaves – CB/Florida

Whether he is inside or outside, Hargreaves is always on the field for Bucs’ defense. The unit as a whole is off to a rough start, but Hargreaves has given plenty of reason for optimism.  He is very active against both the run and pass, showing the toughness and quick reactions we saw during his career at Florida.  He has struggled a bit with bigger receivers and needs to prove he isn’t only guessing on third down situations, a spot he has been exploited a few times.

Top Other Pick: Davonte Lambert – DT/Auburn (Undrafted)

The rest of the Bucs’ rookie class has been quiet so far, but as time goes on we will see more playing time for them. Lambert has been an unknown for most to this point, but he has forced himself on the field more than 2nd rounder Noah Spence.  He has a quick burst off the snap and caused disruption up the middle in weeks three and four.  With Gerald McCoy appearing to look like he is going to spend time on the sideline with a calf injury, Lambert is going to get his shot.

12 – NO Saints

 1st Pick: Sheldon Rankins – DT/Louisville

Unfortunately for both parties, Rankins suffered a broken fibula in mid-August and his return is unknown. It appears he is still a ways away and even though his spot on IR is not permanent, he likely won’t see the field until the second half of the season.  Too bad, because they could really use an inside force within their defensive line.

Top Other Pick: Ken Crawley – CB/Colorado (Undrafted)

The already-susceptible Saints’ secondary has been as beat up as any DB group in the league. It has opened the door for the undrafted Crawley who has had up and down performances this season but has shown the skill set to cover bigger, more physical receivers effectively.  He may have very well earned a long term spot on this defense already.  He can play.

13 – MIA Dolphins

 1st Pick: Laremy Tunsil – OT/Ole Miss

Tunsil took the nosedive of the draft in round one right i to the anxious laps of the Dolphins. Even though they appeared set at left tackle with the high-priced Branden Albert, Tunsil was brought in and put in the starting lineup at left guard.  His performance has been very up and down with struggles against the sheer power of NFL defensive tackles.  He hasn’t been able to anchor very well, but his talent still shows up as a blocker on the move.  He made a start at left tackle, his more natural position, in week four and had a plus-performance.  He’ll shift back inside when Albert returns from injury.

Top Other Pick: Xavien Howard – CB/Baylor

Little bit of a default selection here, as Miami hasn’t gotten much else from their rookie class just yet. Howard has been a starter since week one and is proving he can support the run and tackle in space.  His coverage ability has been in question, often being targeted by opposing QBs.  He’s been making a couple of plays but could do a better job of sticking to his man underneath.  All in all, he is going through the growing pains but still showing he belongs in what is almost an impossible position to play.

14 – OAK Raiders

 1st Pick: Karl Joseph – S/West Virginia

It’s been just the first quarter of his rookie season, but Joseph has already been on a roller coaster ride. He wasn’t expected to be ready for the start of the season after a knee injury last fall, but fought his way through the depth chart during training camp.  Right before week one he was demoted to second string.  However he now has a hold of the first string spot and it appears he is getting more comfortable with his role.  He is going to be a tackle machine this year, there is little doubt about that.  But he needs to improve his zone coverage if Oakland wants to improve on its current 32nd pass defense ranking.

Top Other Pick: Cory James – LB/Colorado State (Round 6)

Close call here between James and RB DeAndre Washington. The reason I went James is the fact that since taking over the starting MIKE role week three, he’s led the team with 22 tackles.  If he stays healthy, there is little doubt in my mind he will lead the Raiders in tackles by season’s end.  James has worked his way through traffic well and should help balance out their front seven, which is very strong on the outside.  An overlooked part of his game is his ability to impact the passing game, showing easy hips and quick feet to cover plenty of ground.

15 – CLE Browns

 1st Pick: Corey Coleman – WR/Baylor

In typical Browns’ fashion, Coleman broke out then, no pun intended, broke his hand in practice. He is averaging 24.7 yards per catch and brought in a couple touchdowns week two against Baltimore.  Coleman’s route running and comprehension of the offense has been just fine despite many thinking he would struggle there coming from the Baylor offense.  When he gets back on the field, the duo of he and Terrelle Pryor can legitimately give Cleveland a strong base of a playmaking, dangerous offense.

Top Other Pick: Emmanuel Ogbah – DE/Oklahoma State (Round 2)

Heading in to the 2016 offseason the Browns’ defensive personnel, in particular their front seven, was clearly among the worst in the league. They put a lot of resources into it this offseason and one of the brightest spots so far has been Ogbah.  He has started every week at OLB and even though he is still looking for his first sack, he’s proven to be a force against the run and is developing his pass rush moves each week.

16 – DET Lions

1st Pick: Taylor Decker – OT/Ohio State

Decker is the only every-week-starter rookie left tackle starter in the league. He got off to a hot start but was quickly brought down to earth week three in Green Bay.  His approach and aggression have been top notch, showing dominant stretches of play.  His issues to this point have been technique-based, particularly his lower half not bending enough.  All in all, it looks like Detroit has its long term solution to protect Matthew Stafford’s blind side.

Top Other Pick: Dwayne Washington – RB/Washington (Round 7)

A week one touchdown quickly put Washington on the map. The big bodied, hard runner is a nice balance to the smaller, quicker backs Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick.  Abdullah is out for the foreseeable future and Riddick is best suited for a complementary role.  Washington has been given more carries by default and shows the kind of inside, move-the-chains approach this offense needs.

17 – ATL Falcons

 1st Pick: Keanu Neal – S/Florida

After missing the first two games with a knee injury, Neal debuted with the Falcons on Monday Night football in New Orleans. He excelled, showing a diverse skill set that Atlanta used in a variety of ways.  He has brought a different level of physicality to the unit with his aggressive downhill explosion and hard hitting.  Neal appears to be the guy to stop opposing backs and tight ends in the passing game.

Top Other Pick: Deion Jones – LB/LSU (Round 2)

Nobody is surprised that Jones won a starting job right away and currently leads the team in tackles. Jones has the blend of speed, quickness, instincts, and short area power that make him a force to be reckoned with.  He is going to very soon be the leader of that defense and should help this unit as a whole turn things around once and for all.

18 – IND Colts

 1st Pick: Ryan Kelly – C/Alabama

The Colts won’t admit it, but they went into the draft looking for an immediate OL starter, preferably one at tackle. With Decker going a couple picks before they were on the clock, they opted for interior help, which they equally needed, but they would be lying if they said they weren’t a tad disappointed.  Kelly has been solid but it is hard for a center to make such a big impact.  More than that, his past two games have not been plus-grades.  He really struggled against the Jacksonville front.

Top Other Pick: TJ Green – S/Clemson (Round 2)

After winning a starting job in training camp and preseason, Green suffered a knee sprain in week one. He is back on the field now and it appears it is only a matter of time before he gets back on the field for the majority of weekly snaps.  His versatile skill set is something they lack especially considering their injury issues at cornerback.

19 – BUF Bills

 1st Pick – Shaq Lawson – DE/Clemson

After Buffalo spent the 19th overall pick on Lawson, it was decided he would need surgery on his ailing shoulder to better his long term future.  The result has been that he is on the PUP list to this point but signs are pointing towards him being back at midseason.

Top Other Pick: Adolphus Washington – DT/Ohio State (Round 3)

In my report of Washington the first time I watched him back in 2014, I said this guy was an NFL ready inside lineman. He has proven to be just that, earning the starting job in place of the suspended Marcell Dareus.  It looks like Washington will simply shift over and play next to Dareus, staying in that starting lineup.  Washington’s versatility and man-strength are perfect fits for what Rex Ryan wants in the trenches.  He’s been doing the dirty work but I bet, in time, we see a pass rush presence with him.

20 – NY Jets

 1st Pick: Darron Lee – LB/Ohio State

Four games in, Lee is the Jets’ top tackler and is seeing more and more playing time each week. His speed was the main attribute this team drafted, and that speed has been showing up on tape.  He can fly around the field and get near the action on most plays.  Whether or not he can improve his stoutness against blockers remains to be seen, as his lack of bulk and power has also shown up each week.  Lee’s speed also hasn’t helped much in coverage, getting dominated by Jimmy Graham and Travis Kelce in back to back weeks.

Top Other Rookie: Juston Burris – CB/NC State (Round 4)

Burris hasn’t done much for the Jets’ secondary but in his limited action I have liked seeing a guy with these kinds of tools move the way he has. Burris is physical and long, but has shown the lower body movement that makes you think there is something there.  It looks like they are going to shake things up in the secondary soon and Darrelle Revis may miss some time.  This could be the opportunity Burris needs.

21 – HOU Texans

 1st Pick: Will Fuller – WR/Notre Dame

The first place Texans haven’t exactly took off offensively yet, but it has nothing to do with Fuller. He currently leads the team in receptions and yards.  His big play ability has been an asset used from day one.  He is averaging 17 yards per catch and is proving to be an effective underneath route runner as well.  In addition, he returned a punt for a touchdown in week four. The future is bright for him.

Top Other Pick: DJ Reader – DT/Clemson (Round 5)

Reader hasn’t been on the field a ton for Houston, but he is a part of the rotation on the 5th ranked defense in the league.  He gets about 9-10 snaps per game and his stoutness at the point of attack has been felt.  He can really hang in there against double teams and will show natural flow to the ball.  Reader is a fine athlete with good short area pop.  He will continue to see playing time each week.

22 – WAS Redskins

 1st Pick: Josh Doctson – WR/TCU

Doctson has had a hard time staying healthy over the past 12 months. A broken arm ended his senior season at TCU early and ever since spring, his Achilles has been acting up.  It’s gotten to a point now where he can no longer practice.  In very limited action, he’s caught 2 passes for 66 yards.  There is a high ceiling here.

Top Other Pick: Su’a Cravens – LB/USC (Round 2)

Cravens is proving to be everything this defensive staff was looking for. His speed and quickness puts him position to make plays each time he is on the field.  The Redskins’ defense has had issues with tackling consistency, but not Cravens.  As he learns the position inside, Cravens is proving to be an asset against the pass, hauling in a game-sealing interception against the Giants in week three.  The staff is raving about his approach and they think he will be a special player in time.

23 – MIN Vikings

 1st Pick: Laquon Treadwell – WR/Ole Miss

Through four weeks, Treadwell has made no impact on the Vikings’ offense. He hasn’t had the ball thrown his way once, as he’s been bouncing back and forth between the active and inactive roster.  The Vikings’plan has been to bring him along slowly and at the second of trouble, to throw him in the mix.  With Minnesota sitting at 4-0, trouble isn’t near.

Top Other Pick: Jayron Kearse – S/Clemson (Round 7)

The Vikings have used their rookie class less than any team in the NFL. Kearse has only one special teams tackle and gets his name here essentially by default.  With that said, special teams coverage should never be overlooked and his impact there could be a strong asset.

24 – CIN Bengals

 1st Pick: William Jackson III – CB/Houston

Early in training camp, Jackson suffered a torn pectoral muscle, delaying his debut in a Bengals’ game uniform until at least November.

Top Other Pick: Tyler Boyd – WR/Pittsburgh

The Bengals’ depth chart at WR behind AJ Green was in question for the first time in years this preseason. Tyler Boyd was in the discussion for the #2 spot, but has since been thrown into mix of the 3-4 spot.  To this point, he has 10 catches for 130 yards and appears settled in right behind Brandon LaFell on the depth chart.  He’ll see more and more opportunity as the season progresses.

25 – PIT Steelers

 1st Pick: Artie Burns – CB/Miami

The Steelers are giving more snaps to Burns with each week that passes and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him as a starter by December. His tools are up there with the best the team has had in the Tomlin era and each test that is presented to him, Burns passes.  He’s been beat a few times on short, quick routes but he remains competitive and will be a guy that very few can get behind downfield.  He has broken up four passes already.

Top Other Pick: Javon Hargrave – DT/South Carolina State (Round 3)

If there is one thing the Steelers consistently know how to find, it’s a nose tackle. Hargrave beat out Daniel McCullers and has maintained a rate of increased playing time each week.  Hargrave is crafty, tough, and quick at the point of attack and has even shown to be a disruptive pass rusher.  Pittsburgh looks like they got a stud here that will do the vital, but sometimes overlooked components to the position.

26 – DEN Broncos

1st Pick: Paxton Lynch – QB/Memphis

Team President John Elway made a bold move in an effort to replace the legend Peyton Manning. The trade up for Lynch surprised many and even though he’s only seen part of one game so far, he looks like a guy that will be a very productive player in this league.  Ideally Lynch can redshirt this season but as we saw in Week four against Tampa Bay, Lynch can be the guy if need be.  He looked very smooth as the offense-manager in limited action.

Top Other Rookie: Devontae Booker – RB/Utah (Round 4)

After a lost fumble in his first career carry, Booker has settled in as the team’s main running back to spell starter CJ Anderson. He is averaging four yards per carry and has hauled in a couple of passes for 22 yards.  Booker looks more confident each week and has even shown some very good blocking against blitzing linebackers.  He hasn’t made any game breaking plays yet, but it’s coming.

27 – GB Packers

 1st Pick: Kenny Clark – DT/UCLA

After a rough first game, Clark has been getting more and more comfortable in his versatile role for the Packers. His quickness off the snap gave the Lions trouble in week three and his ability to anchor against double teams showed up week two against the Vikings.  Green Bay loves to rotate their defensive linemen as much as any team in the league, and Clark is proving to be the guy who can fit into multiple roles.

Top Other Pick: Blake Martinez – LB/Stanford (Round 4)

The Packers opted to move Clay Matthews back to his more natural position at outside linebacker. That left an inside job open for the taking and without an established presence there, Martinez took hold of a starting role after a strong preseason.  He is a reliable presence that can stuff the inside run, make tough tackles in space, and get up the seam in coverage.  He’s done everything right so far.

28 – KC Chiefs

 1st Pick: Chris Jones – DT/Mississippi State (Round 2)

While Jones isn’t a starter, he’s been a part of the rotation each week with a steady improvement. He was very disruptive against Pittsburgh in week four, winning battles off the snap with power and quickness.  Jones may be the best athlete among their linemen and his role as a pass rusher should increase in the coming weeks.

Top Other Pick: Parker Ehinger – OG/Cincinnati (Round 4)

Ehinger won the starting job right away and thrived in weeks one and two. A concussion sidelined him in weeks three and four, but he appears back and ready to go for week five.  The KC running game was at its peak when he was in the starting lineup.  His movement off the snap and ability to stick to his man was an asset to the offense.  His presence was missed while he was out.

29 – NE Patriots

 1st Pick: Cyrus Jones – CB/Alabama (Round 2)

One of the main reasons Jones was drafted in the 2nd round was his return ability.  He was an All-America returner at Alabama but his performance in the NFL so far has been less than impressive.  His fumble week three could land him on the bench real soon.  His impact as a cornerback has been non-existent.

Top Other Rookie: Joe Thuney – OT/NC State (Round 3)

The four-year starting OT for NC State has made a very smooth transition to guard. He’s been the starter since week one and is more than holding his own.  The Patriots are among the league’s leaders in rushing, very much thanks to the left side of their line.  Thuney shows consistent technique and remains a step faster than his opponent from start to finish.  If he can add a power element to his game over the years, he’ll be a top guard in the NFL.

30 – ARZ Cardinals

 1st Pick: Robert Nkemdiche – DT/Ole Miss

After a couple of strong showings in preseason, Nkemdiche has yet to make an impression on game day. He has a nagging ankle injury and with the Cardinals defensive front playing well, the coaching staff won’t rush him into action.

Top Other Pick: Brandon Williams – CB/Texas A&M (Round 3)

The glaring weakness on this team right now is the depth at cornerback, as the coaching staff is still trying to figure out who to put on the field. Williams got two starts after an impressive preseason.  He hasn’t played well, to be blunt, and was put on the inactive list in week four.  We should see him a bit more later in the season but he gets on the list by default more than anything.

31 – CAR Panthers

 1st Pick: Vernon Butler – DT/Louisiana Tech

The deep, veteran-heavy defensive tackle group wasn’t enough to keep the uber-talented Butler off the field for three weeks. He was making an immediate impact against the run and pass, showing the ability to move his big frame through traffic as well as handle double teams with ease.  The coaching staff was excited about him until a high ankle sprain suffered in week three put him on the sideline for the foreseeable future.  They missed him week four in Atlanta.

Top Other Pick: James Bradberry – CB/Samford (Round 2)

Bradberry has started every game so far and looks as good as any rookie CB in the league. He played admirably week one against Demaryius Thomas and Stefon Diggs in week two, respectively.  With four pass break ups and one interception so far, he is proving that the jump from Samford to the NFL hasn’t been too much for the tools-rich youngster.  We are waiting to see how long he will be out after suffering an injury week four in Atlanta.

32 – SEA Seahawks

 1st Pick: Germain Ifedi – OT/Texas A&M

Ifedi won the starting right guard job in preseason but an ankle injury suffered just days before kickoff weekend sidelined him until this past Sunday against the Jets.  In his first game, he showed flashes of sheer dominance against one of the top defensives lines in football.  Ifedi showed overwhelming power at times.  His footwork remains to be a work in practice but it shouldn’t be a big issue as long as they keep him inside this year.

Top Other Pick: Jarran Reed – DT/Alabama

Another rookie that won a starting job with strong preseason play, Reed is proving to be the same disruptive force he was at Alabama last year. He can stay on the field for all three downs and gravitate towards the action in a scheme that is full of guys who love to chase after the ball.  Reed also broke up two passes so far.  He missed week four at New York with an injured hip, but it doesn’t appear overly serious.

All Rookie Team through week four

(OL is not listed by specific position)

QB – Carson Wentz – PHI

RB – Ezekiel Elliot – DAL

WR – Will Fuller – HOU

WR – Sterling Shepard – NYG

TE – Hunter Henry – SD

OL – Joe Thuney – NE

OL – Jack Conklin – TEN

OL – Ronnie Stanley – BAL

OL – Taylor Decker – DET

OL – Laremy Tunsil – MIA

DE/OLB – Yannick Ngakoue – JAX

DT – Jarran Reed – SEA

DT – Javon Hargrave – PIT

DE/OLB – DeForest Buckner – SF

LB – Jatavis Brown – SD

LB – Deion Jones – ATL

LB – Su’a Cravens – WAS

CB – Jalen Ramsey – JAX

CB – James Bradberry – CAR

S – Keanu Neal – ATL

S – Justin Simmons – DEN

KR/PR – Tyreek Hill – KC


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