NFL1000: Rookie Review from Week 12

Doug FarrarNFL Lead ScoutDecember 2, 2016

NFL1000: Rookie Review from Week 12

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    It's not easy to be a first-year cornerback in the NFL.

    Rookies at the position have to deal with receivers more gifted and developed than any they've faced, and offensive game plans that can be several chapters larger than anything they've ever studied. And quarterbacks practice the art of subtle deception. Most NFL cornerbacks take at least their first full professional season to develop into above-average starters.

    This makes the performances of our top two rookie corners this week particularly exceptional.

    The Cleveland Browns' Briean Boddy-Calhoun, an undrafted free agent from Minnesota, had a great game against the New York Giants, allowing four catches (one for a touchdown) on eight targets. The 5'9" Boddy-Calhoun showed great range when jumping routes and can play well both outside and in the slot. However, bigger receivers and those running quick comeback routes still give him fits.

    And the San Diego Chargers' Trevor Williams, another undrafted free agent, comes in second at the position (and 13th overall) with his performance against the Houston Texans. Williams, who didn't even play until Week 6 and had amassed just 49 snaps total before Sunday's game, allowed just two catches on four targets and was outstanding in coverage all day.

    More good news for San Diego's defense: Joey Bosa continued his torrid pace, mauling Houston's offensive line for a sack, two quarterback hits, five quarterback hurries, six tackles and four stops. 

    Second overall on this week's list is Atlanta Falcons inside linebacker Deion Jones, an NFL1000 favorite all year who may have had his best game to date against the Arizona Cardinals. Not only was Jones exceptional against the run, making two key stops on David Johnson carries, but he showed a knack for coverage, as well as the range to do whatever he wants on the field. As his awareness catches up to his athleticism, Jones is looking like a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.

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

         

    Advanced stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus. Cornerback stats charted by B/R scouting.

Biggest Movers Heading into Week 13

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    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 12 Rookie Review reveals a number of players who have taken major steps forward in their professional development. 

               

    1. Briean Boddy-Calhoun, CB, Cleveland Browns

    2016 Draft Position: Undrafted

    Rank Last Week: 21

    Rank This Week: 1

    What Happened: The word has been out on Boddy-Calhoun, who's played a lot of snaps because of a dearth of talent on Cleveland's defense.

    But he took a huge step forward against the Giants on Sunday. He did allow a touchdown to Dwayne Harris on a deep ball to the left side of the end zone and was beaten for an 18-yard completion to Roger Lewis on a quick comeback. But other than those two plays, he stuck to his targets like glue and refused to give ground. He looks like a hidden gem for a Browns team that will take all the good news it can get.

        

    2. Justin Simmons, FS, Denver Broncos

    2016 Draft Position: 98 (third round, 36th pick)

    Rank Last Week: NR

    Rank This Week: 8

    What Happened: Simmons has been on this list before because he's played well when asked. It's hard for any rookie to break into Denver's deep secondary, but Simmons got the second-most snaps of his career against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night and made the most of them. Targeted three times, he gave up just one pass for 10 yards, adding three tackles.

            

    3. Trevor Williams, CB, San Diego Chargers

    2016 Draft Position: Undrafted

    Rank Last Week: NR

    Rank This Week: 13

    What Happened: Injuries have so affected San Diego's secondary that Williams, who had barely played before Week 12's game against the Texans, was pressed into service. The Chargers got his best, as Williams allowed just two catches on four targets, according to our internal charting, following speed receiver Will Fuller on a number of deeper routes. The Penn State alum now has the opportunity to show he's more than a one-game wonder.

        

    4. Noah Spence, 4-3 DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    2016 Draft Position: 39 (second round, eighth pick)

    Rank Last Week: 46

    Rank This Week: 19

    What Happened: Spence got off to a slow start in his rookie campaign, with one sack and a handful of pressures in Tampa Bay's first five games. But he's come along in the second half of the season.

    He was a major factor in the Bucs' win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Spence grabbed 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries and three stops as he frustrated Seattle's undermanned and unprepared offensive line. Spence had his off-field issues in college, but he's validating the Bucs' faith in him with what he's doing on the field. 

            

    5. De'Vondre Campbell, 4-3 OLB, Atlanta Falcons

    2016 Draft Position: 115 (fourth round, 17th pick)

    Rank Last Week: NR

    Rank This Week: 15

    What Happened: While inside linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal are the marquee players among Atlanta's rookie class, don't sleep on De'Vondre Campbell, who has made his share of splash plays in Dan Quinn's defense. Against the Cardinals on Sunday, Campbell had four tackles and two stops. He also picked off a pass (his first NFL interception) and allowed four catches on nine targets for 63 yards and an opponent passer rating of 28.7.

    Things are looking up for Atlanta's defense. Campbell is a big reason why.

Top 50 Rookies Overall from Week 12

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Our Week 12 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 for the 2016 rookie class this week.

        

    Top 50 Rankings
    RankPlayerPos.TeamPickNFL1000 ScoreLWMoving
    1Briean Boddy-CalhounCBCLEUDFA8221
    2Deion JonesILBATL5281NR
    3Joey Bosa3-4 DESD380NR
    4Taylor DeckerLTDET16804
    5Ezekiel ElliottRBDAL4791
    6Michael ThomasWRNO47769
    7Dak PrescottQBDAL1357615
    8Justin SimmonsFSDEN9875NR
    9Ronnie StanleyLTBAL6756
    10Jordan HowardRBCHI1507512
    11Keanu NealSSATL1775NR
    12Jack ConklinRTTEN87510
    13Trevor WilliamsCBSDUDFA74NR
    14Javon HargraveDTPIT8974NR
    15De'Vondre Campbell4-3 OLBATL11573NR
    16Devontae BookerRBDEN13673NR
    17Wil LutzKNOUDFA73NR
    18Kenneth DixonRBBAL1347330
    19Noah Spence4-3 DETB397246
    20Andy JanovichFBDEN17672NR
    21Tyreek HillWRKC16572NR
    22Jalen RichardRBOAKUDFA7236
    23Andrew AdamsFSNYGUDFA7147
    24Sheldon RankinsDTNO127150
    25Karl JosephSSOAK14712
    26Wendell SmallwoodRBPHI1537123
    27Malcolm MitchellWRNE1127122
    28Derrick HenryRBTEN4571NR
    29Joshua GarnettOGSF287049
    30Kevin ByardFSTEN647018
    31Clayton FejedelemSSCIN24570NR
    32Artie BurnsCBPIT25707
    33Derek WattFBSD19870NR
    34Miles KillebrewSSDET1117034
    35Eli AppleCBNYG1070NR
    36Sean DavisSSPIT587019
    37Spencer DrangoOGCLE1686933
    38Corey ColemanWRCLE1569NR
    39George FantLTSEAUDFA69NR
    40Vonn BellFSNO616916
    41Kenyan DrakeRBMIA7369NR
    42Kavon FrazierSSDAL21269NR
    43Riley DixonPDEN22869NR
    44Joe HaegRTIND15569NR
    45Ronald Blair3-4 DESF14268NR
    46Will FullerWRHOU2168NR
    47Isaac SeumaloOGPHI7968NR
    48Kevon SeymourCBBUF21868NR
    49T.J. GreenFSIND5768NR
    50Tyler BoydWRCIN556842

Quarterbacks

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    It would be easy to overstate Jared Goff's performance for the Los Angeles Rams because he threw three touchdowns. Goff showed a lot more than he did during his debut, but the flaws were still clear.

    He had a bad interception and a bad fumble while showing off inconsistent ball placement throughout the game. One of his touchdowns was a pick play after he took over on a short field thanks to Drew Brees' fumble for the New Orleans Saints. It was a much better display—the type the Rams needed to see compared to his debut, but Goff still struggled to match his peers. 

    Doug Pederson's cautious scheme for the Philadelphia Eagles continues to protect Carson Wentz. The rookie had a couple of impressive plays when he adjusted to pressure, but his consistency from snap to snap wasn't where it needs to be. His interception was a wild overthrow where his intended receiver wouldn't have had a chance at the ball if he was waiting for it on a stepladder.

    While there are still positives to take from Wentz's performances, his campaign as a whole hasn't lived up to the early-season hype. Even with the limited weapons, he should have been able to attack the Green Bay defense downfield with more consistency.

    If you're still wishing the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo would replace Dak Prescott, you will have found reasons to be frustrated on Thanksgiving. Prescott missed a couple of huge play opportunities by not seeing the field. Many more positive plays offset those misses, though. Prescott tends to be overly cautious as a passer, but he showed more of his running ability to help keep the offense moving against Washington.

           

    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)

    Dec: Decision-Making (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

           

    Rookie QB Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamAccArmPressDecPosOvrLWTrend
    1Dak PrescottDAL1520161510761
    2Carson WentzPHI1218131210654
    3Jared GoffLA1518101110642

           

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Cody Kessler—injury

        

    Notable Performances

    Dak Prescott

    Week 12 Stats: 17-of-24, 195 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

    Rookies are supposed to be more volatile than Prescott has been. He is showing the week-to-week consistency of a player who has been in the league for five or more years. Prescott is still displaying obvious flaws, but his skill set as a whole keeps the Cowboys offense on track for a potential Super Bowl bid.

        

    Carson Wentz

    Week 12 Stats: 24-of-36, 254 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

    With Pederson's offense and no previous evidence of what Wentz can do, there is a chicken-and-egg situation in Philadelphia. Is Wentz so cautious because Pederson wants him to be, or is Pederson so cautious because he's scared of what will happen with Wentz in an expansive offense? Wentz's penchant for missing receivers high suggests he will only be exposed more often in a more expansive attack.

               

    Jared Goff

    Week 12 Stats: 20-of-32, 214 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

    The three touchdowns were comforting for Rams fans. The first and third were promising because they came on downfield throws. At this point, it's hard to argue that Goff is much better than Case Keenum was, but he doesn't need to be great now. He just needs to show potential that he could be one day.

Running Backs

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Ezekiel Elliott leads the league in rushing by 156 yards over DeMarco Murray. He gets stronger and more powerful every week and might have the Rookie of the Year Award wrapped up already. Elliott also continues to be one of the better pass-blockers in the league, an uncommon trait for a first-year player. 

    Jordan Howard has given the Chicago Bears, who are in the middle of a disastrous season, hope for the future. He was impressive against the Tennessee Titans, running by defenders with excellent play speed and downhill nature. He has also become a solid receiver. Even with a terrible drop, he was good Sunday out of the backfield.

    Jalen Richard has developed a good niche in Oakland as a change-of-pace runner to pair with fellow Raider Latavius Murray. He also adds a much-needed dimension in the return game.

    Kenneth Dixon is showing flashes of being a future starter for the Baltimore Ravens as a versatile back who displayed a physical side against a divisional rival in the Cincinnati Bengals.

    While Denver's Devontae Booker didn't average over four yards per carry (3.3), he was productive against the Chiefs. He ran hard, held on to the football and helped keep the Broncos offense somewhat balanced. He has starter traits, and the Broncos will depend on him down the stretch with C.J. Anderson on injured reserve.

              

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

           

    Rookie RB Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamInOutRecBlkPosOvrLWTrend
    1Ezekiel ElliottDAL201916186791
    2Jordan HowardCHI181817166753
    3Devontae BookerDEN18171616673NR
    4Kenneth DixonBAL181617166736
    5Jalen RichardOAK181815156727
    6Wendell SmallwoodPHI181616156715
    7Derrick HenryTEN18161516671NR
    8Kenyan DrakeMIA1617151566910
    9Paul PerkinsNYG161416146669
    10Peyton BarberTB1614161466611
    11Jonathan WilliamsBUF151415156658

           

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Daniel Lasco—insufficient snaps
    • Tyler Ervin—inactive
    • DeAndre Washington—inactive

           

    Notable Performances

    Ezekiel Elliott

    Week 12 Stats: 20 carries, 97 yards, 2 TD; 2 receptions, 23 yards

    Elliott put together another dominant performance on Thanksgiving. He ran powerfully all day inside the tackles, continuing to run through defenders and make plays in the passing game. He was awesome.

           

    Jordan Howard

    Week 12 Stats: 18 carries, 84 yards; 3 receptions, 43 yards

    Howard ran hard all day against the Titans and does so as hard as anyone in the NFL. He broke arm tackles and was excellent inside. He had a bad drop that would have resulted in a touchdown, though.

              

    Devontae Booker

    Week 12 Stats: 24 carries, 79 yards

    Booker had a solid effort against a good Chiefs team Sunday night. He ran hard inside the tackles and did a good job holding on to the football. He helped keep the Chiefs honest and allowed the Broncos' passing game to hit some big plays.

Fullbacks

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    It was a low-key weekend for both rookie fullbacks from a stats perspective, but both guys helped their running backs gain yardage by clearing holes and locating defenders. However, Andy Janovich was placed on injured reserve this week, which thins the rookie fullback class to one starter moving forward, Derek Watt. 

        

    Grading Scale

    Blk: Blocking (Graded out of 50)

    Run: Running (Graded out of 25)

    Rec: Receiving (Graded out of 15)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

        

    Rookie FB Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamBlkRunRecPosOvrLWTrend
    1Andy JanovichDEN44159472NR
    2Derek WattSD43158470NR

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

        

    Notable Performances

    Andy Janovich

    Week 12 Stats: 1 reception, -1 yards

    He played fast and physical against one of the better teams in the league. While he didn't have any production, he was good locating defenders in space and adjusting on the fly.

Wide Receivers

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    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Minnesota Vikings receiver Laquon Treadwell got the first start of his career on Thanksgiving but failed to record a single stat. Treadwell did draw a pass interference call that helped the Vikings extend a drive.

    Tyreek Hill was electric for the Chiefs on Sunday night, but his biggest play came on a kick return, which could not be fully reflected in his grade this week.

    The New England Patriots' Malcolm Mitchell finds himself in a prestigious position at this point in his career: inside Tom Brady's circle of trust. This was on display early in the game as Brady looked for him on a third-down conversion on a hitch route and late in the first half on a vertical route in the red zone. Mitchell caught two touchdowns in a victory over the New York Jets. 

        

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

        

    Rookie WR Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvrLWTrend
    1Michael ThomasNO212114119761
    2Tyreek HillKC181815129728
    3Malcolm MitchellNE182011139712
    4Corey ColemanCLE181812129697
    5Will Fuller VHOU171911129689
    6Tyler BoydCIN181712129685
    7Braxton MillerHOU151712139666
    8Robby AndersonNYJ17171112966NR
    9Tajae SharpeTEN161711129654
    10Jalin MarshallNYJ17161112965NR
    11Leonte CarrooMIA16161111963NR
    12Rashard HigginsCLE1515111296212
    13Alex EricksonCIN1515111196111
    14Cody CoreCIN14141112960NR
    15Chester RogersIND14141112960NR
    16Laquon TreadwellMIN13121013957NR
    17Sterling ShepardNYG141210119563
    18Aaron BurbridgeSF11121011953NR

           

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Josh Doctson—injury
    • Mike Thomas—insufficient snaps
    • Trevor Davis—insufficient snaps
    • Ricardo Louis—insufficient snaps
    • Johnny Holton—insufficient snaps
    • Chris Moore—insufficient snaps
    • Jakeem Grant—insufficient snaps
    • Demarcus Robinson—insufficient snaps

        

    Notable Performances

    Michael Thomas

    Week 12 Stats: 9 receptions, 108 yards, 2 TD

    Once again, Thomas shined for the Saints as he scored twice and was the Saints' leading receiver. What's also interesting is that Thomas out-snapped every other Saints receiver, including Brandin Cooks, who never saw a target throughout the game. Thomas scored on a corner route in the end zone where he high-pointed the ball. It's safe to say that Thomas is at least 1B to Cooks' 1A.

        

    Laquon Treadwell

    Week 12 Stats: 0 receptions, 0 yards

    Treadwell started the game for the Vikings but was targeted only once. Treadwell ran a sloppy route and the pass hit him in the chest and was eventually intercepted. There was a defensive holding call on the play that negated the interception, but Treadwell failed to see another target on Thanksgiving.

        

    Malcolm Mitchell

    Week 12 Stats: 5 receptions, 42 yards, 2 TD

    Mitchell has become a weapon for Brady, catching two touchdowns in the Patriots' win over the Jets. Brady displayed his trust in the rookie on a third-down play early in the game when he threw to him on a hitch route against tight coverage.

Tight Ends

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    The Chargers' Hunter Henry continued his strong rookie campaign, catching his fifth touchdown pass of the season.

    On the other sideline, Stephen Anderson saw an increased workload from last week and is becoming more involved in the Texans offense.

    Seth DeValve saw an increased number of snaps as well for the Browns and was part of their two-minute drill late in the game as they tried to get back into the contest.

    Austin Hooper caught two balls on Sunday for Atlanta, but his snaps have decreased in the past few weeks in favor of receivers Justin Hardy and Taylor Gabriel. 

        

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

        

    Rookie TE Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvrLWTrend
    1Hunter HenrySD12191118666NR
    2Seth DeValveCLE131712156633
    3Stephen AndersonHOU12151117661NR
    4Jerell AdamsNYG12151215660NR
    5Alex EllisJAX11141117659NR
    6Austin HooperATL11131114655NR

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Temarrick Hemingway—inactive
    • Nick Vannett—insufficient snaps
    • David Morgan—insufficient snaps

        

    Notable Performances

    Hunter Henry

    Week 12 Stats: 2 receptions, 20 yards, 1 TD

    Henry is an integral part of this Chargers offense at this point, catching his fifth touchdown of the year.

        

    Austin Hooper

    Week 12 Stats: 2 receptions, 8 yards

    Hooper is Atlanta's second tight end, but his snaps have decreased in the past few weeks.

Offensive Tackles

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Taylor Decker of the Detroit Lions notched his 11th straight start and was outstanding versus Minnesota. Decker has improved weekly and has a bright future.

    Ronnie Stanley of the Baltimore Ravens started his fourth consecutive game since returning from injury and played well against NFC North rival Cincinnati. Seattle's George Fant registered his fifth straight start. He continues to show weekly improvement.

    Jack Conklin notched his 12th start, and as we've highlighted in previous weeks, he continues to be a mauler in the run game and showed improvement in pass protection against Chicago. Philadelphia's Halapoulivaati Vaitai was inactive with an injury. Indianapolis' Joe Haeg had previously started at right guard but bumped out to right tackle for the Colts against Pittsburgh. Haeg continues to have big-time struggles in pass protection. There seem to be moments when it looks as if the game is moving just a step faster than Haeg can process. 

     

    Grading Scale

    OT: Left or Right Tackle Designation

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week 

     

    Rookie OT Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamOTPassRunPowerAglPosOvrLWTrend
    1Taylor DeckerDETLT202016168801
    2Ronnie StanleyBALLT201914148752
    3Jack Conklin TENRT182015157753
    4George Fant SEALT161613168696
    5Joe Haeg INDRT171913137697

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Halapoulivaati Vaitai—injury 

     

    Notable Performers

    Taylor Decker

    Decker had another strong week as the league's top rookie offensive tackle. In 61 snaps, he didn't surrender a single quarterback hit or sack, which helped earn him a pass grade of 20/25.

Offensive Guards

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    Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

    It was a brutal week in rookie guard play, as three of the week's lowest-graded guards were rookies and only one first-year player had at least a 70 grade. The group remains healthy in size, but this was one of the worst weeks we have seen in rookie guard play this year. 

     

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie OG Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvrLWTrend
    1Joshua GarnettSF161717137706
    2Spencer DrangoCLE161517147693
    3Isaac SeumaloPHI14171614768NR
    4Joe ThuneyNE151414177674
    5Jason SpriggsGB161213177655
    6Germain IfediSEA121516117612
    7Graham GlasgowDET111414147607

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Rees Odhiambo—insufficient snaps

     

    Notable Performances

    Joshua Garnett

    Garnett is starting to put together some respectable tape after his early struggles. He held up against Ndamukong Suh this week. His power in the run game is evident, but he needs to get more consistent with his footwork to take the next step.

     

    Jason Spriggs

    Spriggs had the nightmare of matching up across from Fletcher Cox this week, and although he didn't fair too well overall, he showed flashes of good footwork as a pass protector. Spriggs is a much better fit at tackle than guard, though, as his lack of lower-body strength is a liability in the run game.

     

    Graham Glasgow

    Glasgow was so bad on Thanksgiving that he was benched in the first quarter after several ugly reps. He got another chance in the second half due to Laken Tomlinson's struggles. If this revolving door continues, the Lions may give a chance to someone else.

Centers

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    With an injury among our rookie center duo, we graded just one rookie this week. And it was not a good grade at that. Hopefully, the two first-year centers can return to the promising play they have demonstrated in the past. 

     

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie C Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvrLWTrend
    1Cody Whitehair CHI151415156651

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Ryan Kelly—injury

     

    Notable Performances

    Cody Whitehair

    Whitehair had some issues snapping the ball this week, perhaps due to the Bears' having yet another new quarterback in Matt Barkley under center. I wouldn't be too worried about it, but it's something to keep an eye on going forward.

3-4 Defensive Ends

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    Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

    Since Joey Bosa started playing for the San Diego Chargers, he's been the best rookie 3-4 defensive end in 2016, if not the best 3-4 defensive end league-wide. It's no surprise that he tops this list, but the players who come after him represent a reshuffling of names we've heard all season. 

    Ronald Blair is getting his first real taste of rotational play with the San Francisco 49ers, while Chris Jones is getting hot for the Kansas City Chiefs as of late, looking like the young Muhammad Wilkerson we projected him to develop into. Emmanuel Ogbah and Jonathan Bullard, two Day 2 selections, have seen plenty of reps in recent weeks but aren't playing consistently enough to keep up with Bosa and Jones. 

     

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie 3-4 DE Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Joey Bosa SD14182417780NR
    2Ronald BlairSF12171814768NR
    3Chris JonesKC111521137671
    4Emmanuel Ogbah CLE121520127664
    5Jonathan Bullard CHI11161714765NR
    6Carl Nassib CLE121419137653
    7Adolphus WashingtonBUF111318147635

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

     

    Notable Performances

    Joey Bosa

    Week 12 Stats: 7 tackles, 0.5 sacks

    Bosa was back after the Chargers' bye week and looked as good as ever. I'm so impressed with his ability to bend the arc as a pass-rusher—a trait many didn't think he had before the draft.

     

    Ronald Blair

    Week 12 Stats: 2 tackles, 1 sack

    In the last two weeks, Blair, who started the year as a nickel nose tackle, has made five of his 10 tackles for the season. With Arik Armstead out of the lineup, Blair has been in the rotation more as a true 3-4 defensive end, and he's catching on quickly.

4-3 Defensive Ends

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Against Seattle's poorly constructed and injury-plagued offensive line in Week 12, Noah Spence had a clear directive: Make the most of an opportunity against a weaker opponent. And in Tampa Bay's 14-5 win over the Seahawks, Spence did just that. In the first quarter, he lined up in a wide alignment and simply abused left tackle George Fant around the edge for a sack of Russell Wilson with his speed and angular awareness. At the start of the second quarter, Spence again careened around the edge for a sackthis time forcing a fumble that Wilson recovered. Easy pickings for Spence, who finished his day with 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries and three stops, but it does embody an overall improvement in Spence that we've seen in the last month. 

    Banished from Ohio State to Western Kentucky after failing a number of drug tests, Spence appears to have turned things around off the field, and it's showing up between the lines as well. 

    Yannick Ngakoue, who's been impressive most of his rookie season in an under-the-radar fashion, continued to gain momentum against the Bills with his sixth sack of the season and four quarterback hurries, bringing his 2016 total to 23. The third-rounder from Maryland shows impressive speed around the edge and a great second gear when he's closing to the pocket. 

     

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie 4-3 DE Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunSnapTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Noah SpenceTB211316148722
    2Yannick NgakoueJAX221015118661
    3Anthony ZettelDET18121413865NR
    4Romeo OkwaraNYG17131314865NR

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

     

    Notable Performances

    Yannick Ngakoue

    Week 12 Stats: 2 tackles, 1 sack

    Ngakoue now has six sacks on the year. That's an impressive total for a rookie, and with five games remaining, perhaps this young pass-rusher will reach double digits.

     

    Noah Spence

    Week 12 Stats: 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks

    Though he's still not a full-time starter, Spence is the Buccaneers' premier pass-rusher in 2016. With his performance against Seattle in an upset victory, Spence is a half-sack (5.5) behind the lead for his rookie class, and he has more sacks on the season than any Buccaneer other than All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (6.0).

Defensive Tackles

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    George Gojkovich/Getty Images

    Javon Hargrave and Sheldon Rankins stole the show this week among rookie defensive tackles. Hargrave went up against a backup center and dominated him. He recorded a diving sack on Scott Tolzien and had a handful of plays where he displayed outstanding run defense on the interior.

    Rankins recorded the first strip sack of his career on fellow rookie Jared Goff. Rankins bullied the Rams offensive line versus the run and flashed the athleticism that made him coveted early in the first round. 

     

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie DT Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Javon HargravePIT191620127747
    2Sheldon RankinsNO181718117715
    3Maliek CollinsDAL1714161276611
    4Darius LathamOAK1615161276610
    5Michael PierceBAL161119127651
    6Kenny ClarkGB161416127653
    7D.J. ReaderHOU151416117636
    8Vincent ValentineNE151416117632
    9Destiny VaeaoPHI1514161176316
    10Jihad WardOAK1613151176215
    11A'Shawn RobinsonDET1514131075914
    12Austin JohnsonTEN1411151075713
    13Hassan RidgewayIND141312107568
    14Sheldon DayJAX141213107569

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Vernon Butler—inactive
    • Adam Gotsis—insufficient snaps

     

    Notable Performances

    Javon Hargrave

    Week 12 Stats: 5 tackles, 1 sack

    Hargrave bullied the Colts offensive line to notch his second sack of the season and a handful of run stops. He is quietly becoming a force on the Steelers defensive front.

     

    Sheldon Rankins

    Week 12 Stats: 1 tackle, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

    Rankins recorded the first strip sack of his career against the Rams. He was effective rushing the passer and stout in run defense against Los Angeles. It was only his fourth game of the season, but his impact on the Saints defensive line was easy to see.

3-4 Outside Linebackers

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Injuries to Leonard Floyd (concussion) and Kyler Fackrell (hamstring) and the reduced roles of Kevin Dodd and Joe Schobert made for another quiet week among rookie 3-4 outside linebackers. Only three players saw enough snaps to be included in our grading, and none of the three stood out. Matt Judon earned the top grade after batting down two passes against Andy Dalton and the Bengals. 

     

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie 3-4 OLB Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunCvgTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Matt JudonBAL191210168653
    2 Shaq LawsonBUF19129168642
    3Chris Landrum SD1810916861NR

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Leonard Floyd—injury
    • Kyler Fackrell—injury
    • Joe Schobert—insufficient snaps
    • Dadi Nicolas—insufficient snaps
    • Aaron Wallace—insufficient snaps
    • Curt Maggitt—inactive
    • Kevin Dodd—inactive

     

    Notable Performances

    Matt Judon

    Week 12 Stats: 1 tackle, 2 passes defended

    Judon had just one tackle without a sack against the Bengals, but he did take part in the Ravens' block party of Andy Dalton. The rookie got his hands up to knock down two different Dalton passes late in the game. As all rushers are taught, if you can't beat your block and get to the quarterback, it's best to put your arms up and attempt to disrupt the passing lanes. Judon did just that late in Baltimore's win.

4-3 Outside Linebackers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The rookies are alive! The worst rookie performance of the week came from Jordan Jenkins of the Jets, though he did not post a performance that was any worse than what we have seen from him this season. Jenkins is a solid rotational player and was exactly that this week.

    The best came from De'Vondre Campbell of the Falcons, who has taken that crown almost every week this season. 

    Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack appears to be figuring things out. Slowly but surely, he has developed into a somewhat reliable player who can, if nothing else, track the ball down and finish tackles. In coverage, he looked competent this week, which is to be expected of a player who was revered for his athleticism and coverage ability coming out of UCLA. Similarly, Jets linebacker Darron Lee had another respectable week. Lee had some poor outings earlier in the year, but he seems to be leveling out as a solid rookie linebacker.

    The surprise this week was Cory Littleton, who played in place of the injured Josh Forrest. The Rams, for whatever reason, used Littleton more this week than they had ever used Forrest, even though Littleton has been behind Forrest on the depth chart all season. Despite the wackiness of his playing time, Littleton looked fine when on the field, especially as a run defender out on the edge. He did a good job setting the edge in his first real NFL action.

     

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie 4-3 OLB Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRunRushTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1De'Vondre CampbellATL2119720673NR
    2Darron LeeNYJ1618818666NR
    3Myles JackJAX17159186651
    4Cory LittletonLA1517718663NR
    5Jordan JenkinsNYJ1616715660NR

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Jaylon Smith—injury

     

    Notable Performances

    De'Vondre Campbell

    Week 12 Stats: 4 tackles, 3 passes defended, 1 interception

    Campbell continues to establish himself as the best rookie of this group. Not only did he play the run fairly well versus the Cardinals, but he was also a stud in pass defense. He is coming along well.

     

    Darron Lee

    Week 12 Stats: 11 tackles, 1 pass defended

    Lee was all around the field this weekend. He did give up a few plays, but he balanced out his performance by making some plays of his own.

     

    Myles Jack

    Week 12 Stats: 5 tackles, 0.5 sack

    Jack needs to keep stringing games like this together. He didn't do anything for the first half of the season, but he has been developing as of late.

     

    Cory Littleton

    Week 12 Stats: 3 tackles

    In his first extended NFL action, Littleton did a fine job of filling in for Josh Forrest by containing the edge in run defense.

     

    Jordan Jenkins

    Week 12 Stats: 4 tackles

    Jenkins swarmed to tackles but didn't do much by himself. While he was not a liability, he did not make a major positive impact, either.

Inside Linebackers

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    Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

    Cory James of the Raiders continues to make minor splash plays from time to time, but he needs to build on his consistency. While James has been better than expected, he is still a wild card from play to play, though more often than not, he does not have a positive impact. Sunday's performance was a small glimmer of hope for him, but he has a long way to go. 

     

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie ILB Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunRushTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Deion JonesATL2331912681NR
    2Nick Kwiatkoski CHI1521710659NR
    3Cory JamesOAK1520710658NR
    4 Su'a CravensWAS16177106561

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

     

    Notable Performances

    Deion Jones

    Week 12 Stats: 3 tackles (2 assists), 1 missed tackle, 2 stops

    The stat sheet doesn't illustrate the excellence of Jones' performance against the Cardinals. He was a whirling dervish, making key run stops and looking great in coverage. He had another outstanding week in a stellar season.

     

    Nick Kwiatkoski

    Week 12 Stats: 3 tackles (2 assists)

    Kwiatkoski has been asked to do a lot given the injuries and suspensions affecting the Bears linebacker corps. He's an aware player with some physical limitations (he gets blown off blocks too easily), but he's a high-effort guy.

     

    Su'a Cravens

    Week 12 Stats: 1 tackle, 2 QB hurries

    Cravens has been great most of his rookie year, but Dallas' multifaceted run game perplexed him and the rest of Washington's inside linebackers. It might behoove defensive coordinator Joe Barry to move Cravens around more to take advantage of his versatility while avoiding his relative lack of power through gaps.

     

    Cory James

    Week 12 Stats: 4 tackles

    The Raiders have massive issues at linebacker, but at the very least, James has been better than what preceded him. He needs to improve on this week's performance and continue to get better as a run defender.

Cornerbacks

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    Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    Our top-ranked rookie last week is not only this week's top-ranked rookie, but he is the top-ranked corner for NFL1000. Briean Boddy-Calhoun allowed four catches on eight targets for a measly 33 yards. He had his fair share of shutdown coverages where he virtually ran the receiver's route for him, not to mention two pass breakups and two run stops. The Browns have a gem in the undrafted free agent. 

    The up-and-down season of Artie Burns had its highs Sunday. Burns gave up three of five targets but limited the receivers he guarded to 19 yards. He also had a nice run stop. He got beat a couple of times for first downs, but Burns continues to trend the right way, and that will be important for Pittsburgh down the stretch.

    A rookie usually comes out of nowhere every week when we do this, and this week's example is San Diego’s Trevor Williams. The undrafted free agent has been forced onto the field by injury, but on Sunday he looked like a longtime starter.

    He gave up catches on two of four targets for 13 yards, but that doesn’t tell half of the story. He was only beaten one time in coverage. Williams was shadowing fellow rookie Will Fuller and showed the speed to run stride for stride with him all afternoon. On one deep post route, he beat Fuller to the spot, only to drop the interception. It will be something to monitor if Williams can continue to play at that level, especially since the Chargers don’t have any other options.

    New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple may have found his groove against the Cleveland Browns, as he pieced together arguably his strongest performance yet. In a mixture of press, off-man and slot coverage, Apple participated in 38 passing plays, allowing just two of five targets. Most impressive, he was in shut-down or good positioning in four of those targets. The bad moment was the blown-coverage touchdown he allowed.

    Sticking in the NFC East, Washington Redskins slot corner Kendall Fuller had another rough week. He allowed five of six targets to be completed in just 21 slot snaps. His positioning was better than it was the previous week, but surrendering four first downs is unacceptable. Especially when lined up next to Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, Fuller stood out in a negative way again in Week 12.

     

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie CB Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamCvgReactSlotTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Briean Boddy-CalhounCLE24261679822
    2Trevor WilliamsSD2223155974NR
    3Artie BurnsPIT20191669701
    4Eli AppleNYG19191859704
    5Kevon SeymourBUF18191669687
    6Tavon YoungBAL181915396410
    7Vernon HargreavesTB15171669633
    8Jalen RamseyJAX151415695911
    9Jalen MillsPHI141614495713
    10Rashard RobinsonSF13141569575
    11James BradberryCAR141414595612
    12Daryl WorleyCAR13141469569
    13Kendall FullerWAS12131249506
    14LeShaun SimsTEN1111135949NR

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Mackensie Alexander—inactive

     

    Notable Performances

    Jalen Ramsey

    Week 12 Stats: 3 targets, 2 receptions allowed for 74 yards

    Ramsey wasn't involved much against the Bills. He had two run stops, including a tackle for loss, but will be remembered for giving up a 62-yard bomb to Sammy Watkins, which he was actually in good position for.

     

    Tavon Young

    Week 12 Stats: 10 targets, 5 receptions allowed for 47 yards

    In coverage, Young was superb. He allowed five of ten targets to be completed for 47 yards; he also recorded two pass breakups and was only beaten twice in coverage all day. Three of those catches did go for first downs, though. Worst of all, he missed three tackles on the afternoon.

Free Safeties

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Broncos safety Justin Simmons had one of the best performances of his rookie season to date. He was particularly active in the fourth quarter and stood out in coverage. He did a good job of breaking down quickly on any underneath checkdowns when in deep zone coverages, but his most impressive reps came against Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. 

    Simmons faced Kelce in man coverage a couple of times. On the first occasions, a 3rd-and-medium for the Chiefs, Simmons stuck tight to Kelce on a crossing route. The ball was thrown inaccurately and fell incomplete, but Simmons was in position to at least make the tackle and save the first down, if not contest the catch. Later on, he ran well down the sideline with Kelce on a deep shot. The ball was overthrown, but Simmons had strong positioning again on Kelce and would have likely contested a better throw.

    Simmons was unfortunate not to get an interception. Late in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs took a shot in the end zone. Simmons worked from the middle of the field to the sideline, reading the flight of the ball perfectly and undercutting the route. He was in perfect position to make the interception, but the cornerback on the outside reached back and broke up the pass before it reached Simmons.

    Vonn Bell had another up-and-down performance in line with how he has played so far this season. In the second quarter, he flashed well on a checkdown to the tight end in the flat. Bell read the play quickly, took a good angle and landed a hit as the ball arrived. His hit forced the ball to come out, and the pass was ruled incomplete.

    However, Bell also had his poor moments for the Saints. He was on top of Rams right end Lance Kendricks in the end zone but took too many steps outside on a head fake, allowing Kendricks to break back inside across his face. Bell couldn't recover, and Kendricks caught the touchdown pass.

     

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie FS Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Justin SimmonsDEN2223616875NR
    2Andrew AdamsNYG22205168714
    3Kevin ByardTEN21205168703
    4Vonn BellNO20215158692
    5T.J. GreenIND20205158685

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Kentrell Brice—insufficient snaps
    • Cody Davis—insufficient snaps

     

    Notable Performances

    Justin Simmons

    Week 12 Stats: 3 tackles, 1 pass defended

    Simmons had a strong day in coverage. He stayed tight on Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce on a number of occasions through various routes. He was also quick to break on any checkdowns underneath while in zone coverage, making two tackles in the fourth quarter that prevented first downs.

     

    Kevin Byard

    Week 12 Stats: 6 tackles, 1 pass defended

    Kevin Byard continues to suffer from rookie inconsistencies. He struggled in coverage a couple of times against Bears tight ends, giving up separation and catches that led to first downs. He did, however, have one nice rep in the slot, running down the seam well with the receiver and sticking tight enough to disrupt the pass as it arrived. He made some nice plays against the run, including one play in the second quarter where he secured the edge and forced the running back to stop his feet and cut back inside toward Byard's help, who cleaned up and made the tackle for no gain.

Strong Safeties

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Keanu Neal had a tough assignment at times this week. The Falcons asked him to cover Cardinals running back David Johnson in the slot on occasion. Johnson is an accomplished receiver and proved to be a tough matchup for Neal. Johnson beat Neal on a slant inside near the goal line in the first quarter. Neal couldn't prevent the catch but did manage to make the tackle to save the touchdown. 

    Later on, Neal faced Johnson in the slot again. The Cardinals ran a play designed to create some traffic for Neal to work around. He failed to work through the traffic and gave up the catch to Johnson again, who picked up a first down in the process.

    Neal did, however, have a couple of good plays too. He broke quickly on a spot route from a Cardinals tight end, making a tackle instantly to stop any potential yards after the catch. In the fourth quarter, he worked over to tight end Jermaine Gresham in the end zone, landing a hit that forced the ball out and breaking up the pass.

    We saw our first real glimpse of Bengals rookie Clayton Fejedelem this week. He stood out on one particular series in the third quarter, making a number of strong tackles. First, he filled in on the back side of a run, waiting patiently for the running back to cut back toward him. The back spotted him and attempted to bounce the run outside, but Fejedelem grabbed on and made the tackle for a loss.

    A few plays later, he lined up deep but read an underneath crossing route on 3rd-and-short. He broke on it quickly, making up the ground and securing the tackle to prevent the first down.

     

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie SS Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1 Keanu NealATL19191516675NR
    2Karl JosephOAK171715166711
    3Clayton Fejedelem CIN17161516670NR
    4Miles Killebrew DET161715166705
    5Sean DavisPIT181714156703
    6 Kavon FrazierDAL17171316669NR
    7Deon BushCHI161714156684

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Will Parks—insufficient snaps

     

    Notable Performances

    Keanu Neal

    Week 12 Stats: 6 tackles

    Neal had a tougher assignment than he was used to this week. He struggled when matched up against Cardinals running back David Johnson in the slot, but he's far from the only player to struggle in that matchup this season. He had some strong plays to balance out the negative, especially when he was allowed to sit in underneath zones and break on checkdowns.

     

    Miles Killebrew

    Week 12 Stats: 5 tackles

    Killebrew didn't have a lot of snaps, but he made two impact plays that might lead to more action for him next week. In the third quarter, he disrupted a tight end route going up the seam before peeling off that route to work to a checkdown in the flat. He made up ground quickly and made a strong tackle to save the first down and get his defense off the field. Later on, he matched up against a running back on an arrow route out of the backfield. He read the route perfectly, breaking on the throw and making a tackle short of the first-down marker again.

Special Teams

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    Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

    Kickers

    Wil Lutz had no trouble this week, attempting seven extra points and making every one of them. His form continues to show more consistency, and with his leg strength, he appears to be a reliable option for the Saints for the foreseeable future. I still have some questions regarding his technique, as he can take some funky angles to the ball occasionally, but he is much cleaner and relaxed on his attempts than earlier in the season. 

    After three perfect weeks, Roberto Aguayo missed a 48-yard attempt wide right this week, ending his run. Aguayo had built some confidence on shorter kicks during that time, so this was the first real challenge for him in a month. While it was disappointing to see him miss, he does appear to have corrected the timing issue that was affecting his kicks earlier this year, and this may be a one-week event before he gets back on track.

       

    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 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

     

    Rookie Kicker Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamPwrAccTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1 Wil LutzNO313453732
    2Roberto Aguayo TB322153611

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

     

    Notable Performances

    Wil Lutz

    Week 12 Stats: 7-of-7 XP

    Easy kicks, easy makes this week for Lutz. He is showing much more consistency than expected at this point in his career, and with his leg strength, he could be a solid NFL kicker for a long time.

     

    Roberto Aguayo

    Week 12 Stats: 2-of-2 XP, 0-of-1 FG

    Aguayo missed a 48-yarder wide right, but not with the same mechanical flaw that had affected him earlier this year. It was a disappointing result, but the process seems to be moving in the right direction.

     

    Punters

    Riley Dixon seems to be settling in as a capable NFL punter with a slightly above-average directional game. He may continue to add some power as he ages, but as it stands right now, he is likely close to his ceiling with this performance. He may flash some weeks, but the Broncos appear to have an adequate replacement for Britton Colquitt. Dixon does not have the long-term upside of Drew Kaser, but he appears to have found some consistency and is settling in nicely.

    Kaser had another strong week from a distance and hang-time perspective, though he continues to struggle with ball placement. It is still encouraging to see him striking the ball more confidently after some significant issues in the first half of the year. Kaser has not realized his full potential, as he has the ability to place the ball wherever he chooses to when he is at his best. While this performance is another step in the right direction, there is another level for Kaser to elevate his game going forward.

    Lachlan Edwards continues to turn in uneven performances from week to week, an issue that has plagued him since his college days. This week, he posted strong hang time and average directional placement but showed poor distance. Edwards has a big leg and can occasionally flash a good performance, but he turns in more below-average games than good ones. He may still tap his potential, but given how raw he is, it may take several years to get there, at which point he will no longer be on his affordable rookie deal.

        

    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 100

     

    Rookie Punter Rankings Week 12
    RankPlayerTeamDistHangAccTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Riley DixonDEN1415343369NR
    2Drew Kaser SD1814273365NR
    3 Lachlan EdwardsNYJ1216303364NR

     

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

     

    Notable Performances

    Riley Dixon

    Dixon put forth a competent performance, showing average power but the improved directional game that he has shown in recent weeks. If this is the punter the Broncos are getting for the next few years, they've done well for themselves, even after letting Colquitt go.

     

    Drew Kaser

    This was another building-block game for Kaser, who continues to demonstrate his big leg, although distance control and accuracy remain problematic.

     

    Lachlan Edwards

    More inconsistency from Edwards and week-to-week variations are likely the norm for him until he proves otherwise.