NFL Week 14 Rookie Rankings: Surveying Rookie Class Post-Week 13

Dan Hope@Dan_HopeContributor IIIDecember 3, 2014

NFL Week 14 Rookie Rankings: Surveying Rookie Class Post-Week 13

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    Tre Mason is one of numerous St. Louis Rams to move up the Rookie Rankings this week after their team's blowout win over the Oakland Raiders.
    Tre Mason is one of numerous St. Louis Rams to move up the Rookie Rankings this week after their team's blowout win over the Oakland Raiders.Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Perhaps they’re hitting the “rookie wall,” as the end of the season is often referred to for first-year players who are accustomed to playing shorter seasons than they do as professionals, but there weren’t many outstanding performances in Week 13 from players near the top of the NFL Rookie Rankings.

    Each week here at Bleacher Report, the top rookies at each position and top 50 first-year players overall are ranked based upon their cumulative performance for the season. While some rookies moved up or down this week in regards to their most recent on-field production (or lack of), each ranking takes into consideration how each player has impacted his team—positively and/or negatively—from the beginning of the year through this past week.

    The best rookie showings in Week 13 came mostly from players who weren’t even in the rankings last week—and some of them still aren’t—possibly because those players, such as St. Louis Rams running back Tre Mason, haven’t seen as much total action this year and have fresher bodies as the season enters its final month.

    Nonetheless, there continues to be movement up and down the board. Some players remained consistently exemplary performers for their teams, while others were not at their best on Thanksgiving weekend.

Top 50 Overall

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    Tom Gannam/Associated Press

    The Cleveland Browns offensive line had a bad day as a whole on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, but rookie left guard Joel Bitonio still played a solid game and was the steadiest player on his team's front five in its road loss.

    Dallas Cowboys right guard Zack Martin, on the other hand, had one of his worst games of the season—Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox got the best of him on numerous occasions—in a poor overall performance for the Cowboys offensive line in a loss at home on Thanksgiving.

    Taking Martin's place in the top two this week is St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who recorded a sack for the third consecutive week in St. Louis' 52-0 rout of the Oakland Raiders. Donald, currently graded by Pro Football Focus (subscription required) as the best defensive tackle in the entire NFL, has emerged as the most deserving candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

    On the other end of that shellacking was the previously highest-ranked defensive rookie, Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who had more missed tackles (two) than recorded tackles (one) in the blowout loss, according to PFF.

    Top 50 Rankings
    1Joel BitonioLGBrowns2.31Same
    2Aaron DonaldDTRams1.134Up
    3Zack MartinRGCowboys1.162Down
    4C.J. MosleyILBRavens1.175Up
    5Khalil MackOLBRaiders1.53Down
    6Corey LinsleyCPackers5.217Up
    7Anthony BarrOLBVikings1.96Down
    8Mike EvansWRBuccaneers1.78Same
    9Odell Beckham Jr.WRGiants1.129Same
    10Ha Ha Clinton-DixFSPackers1.2111Up
    11Kelvin BenjaminWRPanthers1.2810Down
    12Ja'Wuan JamesLTDolphins1.1917Up
    13E.J. GainesCBRams6.1213Same
    14Cody ParkeyKEaglesN/A12Down
    15Preston BrownOLBBills3.915Same
    16Deone BucannonSSCardinals1.2718Up
    17Jeremy HillRBBengals2.2319Up
    18Jarvis LandryWRDolphins2.3121Up
    19Aaron LynchOLB49ers5.1023Up
    20Chris BorlandILB49ers3.1326Up
    21Avery WilliamsonILBTitans5.1120Down
    22Chandler CatanzaroKCardinalsN/A22Same
    23Jordan MatthewsWREagles2.1024Up
    24Sammy WatkinsWRBills1.414Down
    25Kyle FullerCBBears1.1416Down
    26Bradley RobyCBBroncos1.3127Up
    27Brandon LinderRGJaguars3.2932Up
    28Jack MewhortLGColts2.2730Up
    29Telvin SmithLBJaguars5.429Same
    30Christian KirkseyILBBrowns3.733Up
    31Russell BodineCBengals4.1125Down
    32Cairo SantosKChiefsN/A38Up
    33Teddy BridgewaterQBVikings1.3239Up
    34Justin EllisNTRaiders4.731Down
    35John BrownWRCardinals3.2735Same
    36Brandin CooksWRSaints1.2028Down
    37Bashaud BreelandCBRedskins4.237Same
    38Seantrel HendersonRTBills7.2242Up
    39Allen RobinsonWRJaguars2.2934Down
    40Derek CarrQBRaiders2.440Same
    41Blake BortlesQBJaguars1.3NRUp
    42Phillip GainesCBChiefs3.23NRUp
    43Bryan StorkCPatriots4.545Up
    44Jason VerrettCBChargers1.2536Down
    45Tre MasonRBRams3.11NRUp
    46Jerick McKinnonRBVikings3.3241Down
    47Allen HurnsWRJaguarsN/A44Down
    48Trent MurphyOLBRedskins2.1546Down
    49K'Waun WilliamsCBBrownsN/A50Up
    50Taylor LewanLTTitans1.1143Down

    Players dropping out from last week's top 50 are New York Giants left guard Weston Richburg (No. 47), Oakland Raiders left guard Gabe Jackson (No. 48) and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (No. 49).


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    USA TODAY Sports
    Quarterback Rankings
    1Teddy BridgewaterQBVikings1.321
    2Derek CarrQBRaiders2.42
    3Blake BortlesQBJaguars1.33
    4Zach MettenbergerQBTitans6.24
    5Johnny ManzielQBBrowns1.22NR

    Teddy Bridgewater has been what many would call a "game manager" so far for the Minnesota Vikings, but he's played well enough to go 4-4 as a starting quarterback so far. He didn't do anything spectacular Sunday—he only completed one pass beyond 20 yards, according to Pro Football Focus—but he was efficient in completing 15-of-21 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, in Minnesota's victory over the Carolina Panthers.

    Blake Bortles also led his team to victory this past weekend, earning his second win as a starting quarterback. He had one of his best NFL games to date, as he completed 21-of-35 passes for 194 yards and one touchdown while throwing no interceptions for the first time in 10 appearances this season.

    One week after leading a game-winning drive, Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders were embarrassed by the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Carr had his worst game of the year, as he averaged just 4.4 yards per passing attempt and threw two interceptions with no touchdowns. The second-round pick has had some promising moments after being put in a very tough spot with a very bad team, but he needs to play better in the final month of the year to convince the Raiders organization that he's the quarterback of the future.

    Zach Mettenberger played fairly well against the Houston Texans on Sunday, as he completed 13-of-19 passes for 184 yards with one touchdown and one interception, before he was knocked out of the game with a shoulder injury. Fortunately for Mettenberger, his "injury is not serious and (the Tennessee Titans) are hopeful he can play," according to the team's Twitter account.

    The Cleveland Browns gave Johnny Manziel his first chance to play significant action Sunday. Manziel replaced struggling veteran Brian Hoyer in the lineup late in the game, and he took advantage on his first drive by marching the offense down the field and scoring a 10-yard rushing touchdown.

    Despite bringing some much-needed life to the Browns offense late in the game, Manziel won't get a chance to start yet; Cleveland coach Mike Pettine announced Wednesday that Hoyer will remain in the lineup for Week 14.

Running Backs

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Running Back Rankings
    1Jeremy HillRBBengals2.231
    2Tre MasonRBRams3.115
    3Jerick McKinnonRBVikings3.322
    4Isaiah CrowellRBBrownsN/ANR
    5Branden OliverRBChargersN/A3


    Jeremy Hill continues to see the largest share of carries in the Cincinnati Bengals backfield. He ran the ball 13 times, while Giovani Bernard had just 10 rushing attempts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday; however, his production declined as he only gained 40 rushing yards. Still, Hill leads all rookies in rushing yards and attempts while ranking second in yards from scrimmage and rushing touchdowns.

    The rising star of the crop of rookie running backs in recent weeks has been Tre Mason. Having firmly establishing himself as the St. Louis Rams' lead runner, Mason had a big day against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. He scored three total touchdowns, including one on a run that went 89 yards, and led all rookies in Week 13 with 164 yards from scrimmage.

    Jerick McKinnon, who had ranked second among rookies in rushing yards before Mason surpassed him last week, was unable to play for the Minnesota Vikings in Week 13 due to a back injury.

    Isaiah Crowell continued to see the bulk of the Cleveland Browns' carries in Week 13. He carried the ball 17 times but only gained 29 yards, as there was never any significant room for him to run against the Buffalo Bills defense.

    After breaking out earlier in the year when all of San Diego's veteran backs were injured, Branden Oliver has dropped to third string on the Chargers' running-back depth chart behind Ryan Mathews and Donald Brown. He had just one carry for seven yards against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

Wide Receivers

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    Rob Foldy/Getty Images

    Wide Receiver Rankings
    1Mike EvansWRBuccaneers1.71
    2Odell Beckham Jr.WRGiants1.122
    3Kelvin BenjaminWRPanthers1.283
    4Jarvis LandryWRDolphins2.315
    5Jordan MatthewsWREagles2.106
    6Sammy WatkinsWRBills1.44
    7John BrownWRCardinals3.279
    8Brandin CooksWRSaints1.207
    9Allen RobinsonWRJaguars2.298
    10Allen HurnsWRJaguarsN/A10


    The depth of the rookie wide-receiver class revealed itself once again in Week 13. Two first-year pass-catchers went over 100 yards on Sunday, yet neither of them ranks among the top 10 rookie receivers for the season.

    Green Bay Packers second-round pick Davante Adams had a breakout game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, catching six passes for 121 yards. Indianapolis Colts third-round pick Donte Moncrief showed his big-play ability, as he had catch-and-run touchdowns of 79 and 48 yards among his total of three receptions for 134 yards against the Washington Redskins.

    Adams and Moncrief showed last week how talented they are, and both are on the doorstep of being a top-50 rookie for the year as a result. Still, neither of them ranks among the top 10 receivers in either receptions or receiving yards this season.

    Among those wideouts who have maintained consistent production over the course of the year, Odell Beckham Jr. continued to shine in Week 13. One week after becoming a viral sensation for his one-handed catch on Sunday Night Football, Beckham had another productive outing. He caught seven passes for 90 yards, while he also had a four-yard carry and five punt returns for 48 yards in the New York Giants' loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Mike Evans had an off day against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, as he caught just four passes for 49 yards on nine targets, but his overall body of work remains the most impressive among the rookie receiver class.

    Kelvin Benjamin, Jarvis Landry and Jordan Matthews all had solid outings for their teams in Week 13, although Benjamin's drop total continued to rise as another pass clanged off his hands. Meanwhile, Matthews' streak of leading the Philadelphia Eagles in receiving came to an end. Landry only averaged 8.5 yards per catch this week but led all rookies with eight receptions.

    Sammy Watkins sat atop the rookie receiver rankings just three weeks ago, but his production has fallen sharply in recent weeks; he has just 13 receptions for 105 yards in four games combined since the Buffalo Bills' Week 9 bye. He has drawn some tough coverage matchups, including one with Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden on Sunday. He is also battling a hip injury, according to Bills coach Doug Marrone, per's Mike Rodak.

Tight Ends

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Tight End Rankings
    1Jace AmaroTEJets2.171
    2Austin Seferian-JenkinsTEBuccaneers2.62
    3Richard RodgersTEPackers3.343
    4Eric EbronTELions1.104
    5Crockett GillmoreTERavens3.355


    The severe lack of production from the rookie tight-end class continued in Week 13, in part because its two most productive members, Jace Amaro (concussion) and Austin Seferian-Jenkins (back), both missed games with injuries.

    Two players who have been emerging recently as more serviceable weapons, and could push to move ahead of Seferian-Jenkins and/or Amaro in the coming weeks, are Green Bay Packers tight end Richard Rodgers and Detroit Lions first-round pick Eric Ebron.

    Rodgers scored for the second consecutive week, as he burned New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung for a 32-yard touchdown catch. Ebron had three catches for 23 yards, including one catch-and-run on which he hurdled Chicago Bears cornerback and fellow rookie Kyle Fuller.

    The only other rookie tight ends to catch passes in Week 13 were Harold Hoskins, who has just three receptions for 21 yards this year for the Miami Dolphins, and Cameron Brate, who was playing in his first game of the season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Seferian-Jenkins out of the lineup.

Offensive Tackles

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Offensive Tackle Rankings
    1Ja'Wuan JamesLTDolphins1.191
    2Seantrel HendersonRTBills7.222
    3Taylor LewanLTTitans1.113
    4Justin BrittRTSeahawks2.324
    5Jake MatthewsLTFalcons1.65


    Ja'Wuan James is getting better by the week since moving from right tackle, where he started out the year very successfully, to left tackle. After leaving the Miami Dolphins' Week 12 game early with a stinger, he was able to play a full contest against the New York Jets on Monday night, and he did so without allowing a single quarterback pressure, according to Pro Football Focus.

    The Buffalo Bills offensive line had one of its strongest games of the season Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, and right tackle Seantrel Henderson was one reason why. He's had his share of struggles and up-and-down play all year, but he was impressive in Week 13, as he didn't allow a single quarterback pressure for the first time all season, per PFF.

    Taylor Lewan was unable to play in Week 13 due to an ankle injury. Justin Britt continued to be a subpar right tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, as he allowed four quarterback pressures and incurred a clipping penalty.

    After struggling in the first half of the season, Jake Matthews' play as the Atlanta Falcons left tackle has stabilized in recent weeks. He still has the worst rank on Pro Football Focus of any offensive tackle in the league this year, but Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals was the first where he did not receive a negative grade.

Offensive Guards

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Offensive Guard Rankings
    1Joel BitonioLGBrowns2.31
    2Zack MartinRGCowboys1.162
    3Brandon LinderRGJaguars3.294
    4Jack MewhortLGColts2.273
    5Weston RichburgLGGiants2.115


    Despite their ups and downs, as neither was at his best in Week 13, Joel Bitonio and Zach Martin are still ranked among the NFL's top five guards this year by Pro Football Focus.

    Brandon Linder and Jack Mewhort have given their interior offensive lines solid play all year, and each continued to do so in Week 13.

    Weston Richburg got his starting job back in Week 13 after being benched in favor of Adam Snyder in Week 12, but the struggling New York Giants rookie didn't do much Sunday to show that he deserves to keep that spot in the lineup. He allowed two quarterback pressures, according to PFF, and was overmatched as a run-blocker in New York's loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Oakland Raiders left guard Gabe Jackson returned to action in Week 13 after missing three games with a knee injury, but he was left out of the starting lineup. He ended up playing 55 snaps after Khalif Barnes moved to right tackle in place of injured starter Menelik Watson, but he will need to be able to re-establish himself as a starter and play well enough to move back into the overall top 50.


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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images
    Center Rankings
    1Corey LinsleyCPackers5.211
    2Russell BodineCBengals4.112
    3Bryan StorkCPatriots4.53
    4Luke BowankoCJaguars6.294
    5Jonotthan HarrisonCColtsN/A5

    The Green Bay Packers currently have the NFL's longest winning streak (four games), and rookie center Corey Linsley has quietly played a key role in their success. Aside from giving up a red-zone sack to Dont'a Hightower, he continued to play well Sunday during the Packers' statement win against the New England Patriots.

    Among centers who have played at least 50 percent of their teams' snaps, Linsley is currently rated as the NFL's second best by Pro Football Focus.

    Play from the other rookie centers has been more unpredictable.

    Cincinnati Bengals starter Russell Bodine gave up two quarterback pressures and had a false start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. New England Patriots center Bryan Stork allowed two rushes that ended up as hits on quarterback Tom Brady, per PFF. Jacksonville Jaguars sixth-round pick Luke Bowanko has been steadier than the other rookie centers, but he gave up a sack among two quarterback pressures Sunday.

    Jonotthan Harrison has struggled for the most part since taking over the Indianapolis Colts' starting job, and that continued on Sunday as he botched a snap and allowed two quarterback pressures, but he has more positive games in his body of work than the other rookies presently manning the middle of NFL offensive lines.

Defensive Ends

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images
    Defensive End Rankings
    1Timmy JerniganDERavens2.162
    2Zach KerrDE/NTColtsN/A1
    3Dominique EasleyDEPatriots1.293
    4Mike PennelDEPackersN/A4
    5Ed StinsonDECardinals5.205

    Since returning in Week 7 from a knee injury, Timmy Jernigan of the Baltimore Ravens has been the only rookie classified as a defensive end to bring any degree of consistent production. He comes off the bench but has shown the ability to be both a solid run-stopper and, by virtue of his two sacks in his past three games, bring heat as an interior pass-rusher.

    Zach Kerr has been a solid contributor off the bench for the Indianapolis Colts most of the year, but he's seemingly been shuffled out of the rotation, as he was inactive as a healthy scratch for each of his team's past two games.

    Dominique Easley has had some impressive moments this season, but he hasn't been steadily productive; in just 11 snaps Sunday, he made a minimal impact.

    Mike Pennel played just five snaps for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, according to PFF, while Ed Stinson did not play at all while continuing to recover from a toe injury. Each remains in this week's top five, however, simply because there hasn't been much quality play to speak of from any other rookie defensive ends.

Defensive Tackles

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Defensive Tackle Rankings
    1Aaron DonaldDTRams1.131
    2Justin EllisNTRaiders4.82
    3Will SuttonDTBears3.185
    4Ego FergusonDTBears2.194
    5Shamar StephenDTVikings7.5NR


    The aforementioned Aaron Donald has been dominating his competition on a weekly basis. The explosive interior penetrator played a key role in the St. Louis Rams' humiliation of the Oakland Raiders, especially as a pass-rusher. He not only recorded a sack but also batted a pass and had five total quarterback pressures, per Pro Football Focus.

    On the other side in that matchup, Justin Ellis had a characteristically decent but quiet game as the Raiders nose tackle. He didn't get on the stat sheet with any tackles, but all told, he did a good job of clogging the middle of the line of scrimmage.

    Will Sutton started in place of injured defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff on Thursday against the Detroit Lions. The Chicago Bears third-round pick took advantage of the opportunity by recording two tackles, deflecting a pass and adding two quarterback hurries.

    Shamar Stephen also got a chance to start in Week 13 against the Carolina Panthers, with regular Minnesota Vikings starter Sharrif Floyd battling a knee injury, and he took advantage by recording six tackles and hurrying the opposing quarterback (Cam Newton) once.


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    USA TODAY Sports
    Linebacker Rankings
    1C.J. MosleyILBRavens1.172
    2Khalil MackOLBRaiders1.51
    3Anthony BarrOLBVikings1.93
    4Preston BrownOLBBills3.94
    5Aaron LynchOLB49ers5.106
    6Chris BorlandILB49ers3.137
    7Avery WilliamsonILBTitans5.115
    8Telvin SmithILBJaguars5.48
    9Christian KirkseyILBBrowns3.79
    10Trent MurphyOLBRedskins2.1510

    Among the three linebackers in serious contention for Defensive Rookie of the Year, C.J. Mosley was the best in Week 13. He recorded six total tackles, a pass defensed and a quarterback hit against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

    Anthony Barr has not been as impressive in the past few weeks as he was early in the season. The Minnesota Vikings linebacker recorded four tackles against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, but he had to leave the game early with a knee injury.

    The good news for Barr is that he has no structural damage in his knee, according to Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune. That said, he needs to be on the field and playing well in December in order to stay in the Rookie of the Year race.

    Preston Brown continued to be a strong presence against the run on Sunday for the Buffalo Bills, as he recorded 11 total tackles, including two for loss. However, he ended up in some vulnerable positions in coverage and allowed four catches for 70 yards as a result, according to Pro Football Focus.

    On a per-snap basis, the most impressive rookie linebacker performance of the week might have been that by San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who recorded five total tackles and one sack among four quarterback pressures, according to PFF, in just 17 snaps.

    Lynch's teammate, Chris Borland, continues to rack up tackles at inside linebacker, as he totaled 16 against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. He had three missed tackles, per PFF, and also had some issues in pass coverage, but his overall play as a run-stopper and blitzer continued to impress.

    Avery Williamson, Telvin Smith, Christian Kirksey and Trent Murphy have all established themselves as solid, starting-caliber players, having impactful performances some weeks but typically fulfilling their roles effectively without being a liability during others.

    Like the wide-receiver group, the rookie class of linebackers features an abundance of talent, so much so that some deserving candidates still could not crack the top 10 after big outings in Week 13.

    Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome had 1.5 sacks among four total quarterback pressures against Washington on Sunday, but he also had two missed tackles and gave up two receptions of 30 or more yards in coverage, according to PFF, which was enough to keep him from displacing Murphy in the top 10 this week.

    New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard also made a push to be ranked this week after recording three tackles for loss, including two sacks, against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. He's played significantly less snaps than all of the rookie linebackers who are in the top 10, but he could work his way up the board if he continues to play as well as he did in Week 13.


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    USA TODAY Sports

    Cornerback Rankings
    1E.J. GainesCBRams6.121
    2Kyle FullerCBBears1.142
    3Bradley RobyCBBroncos1.313
    4Bashaud BreelandCBRedskins4.25
    5Phillip GainesCBChiefs3.23NR
    6Jason VerrettCBChargers1.254
    7K'Waun WilliamsCBBrownsN/A6


    The Oakland Raiders wide receivers don't qualify as tough competition in the NFL, but nonetheless, E.J. Gaines continued to establish himself in Week 13 as the top rookie cornerback. The St. Louis Rams sixth-round steal had two passes defensed, including an interception, and recorded six total tackles while allowing just four receptions for 35 yards on seven targets, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Kyle Fuller was touted as a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate early in the year, but the Chicago Bears cornerback has battled both injuries and poor play in recent weeks.

    On Thanksgiving, Fuller proved to be completely overmatched as he went up against Detroit Lions superstar Calvin Johnson and was picked on consistently. Targeted 16 times, per PFF, Fuller yielded 11 receptions for 141 yards, including two touchdown catches by Megatron.

    Bradley Roby got a chance to start as an outside cornerback for the Denver Broncos in Week 13 with regular starter Aqib Talib sidelined by a hamstring injury. Like Gaines, Roby also had an unimposing matchup last week in the Kansas City Chiefs wide receivers. Still, he deserves credit for allowing just one reception for 11 yards, according to PFF, while also recovering a fumble.

    Against a talented Indianapolis Colts passing offense, Bashaud Breeland allowed just two receptions for 18 yards on three targets. The Washington Redskins cornerback, who has improved over the course of the season, also recorded four tackles and a quarterback hit.

    Another rookie cornerback who has played well as his playing time has increased is Phillip Gaines of the Kansas City Chiefs. He recorded a pass defensed and allowed just three receptions for 40 yards on six targets against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. For the season, he is allowing just 0.82 yards per coverage snap, according to PFF.


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    USA TODAY Sports

    Safety Rankings
    1Ha Ha Clinton-DixFSPackers1.211
    2Deone BucannonSSCardinals1.272
    3Calvin PryorFSJets1.183
    4Dezmen SouthwardFSFalcons3.44
    5Terrence BrooksFSRavens3.155


    Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has constantly proved to be a steady, all-around player this season for the Green Bay Packers at free safety. He played well Sunday against the New England Patriots, as he recorded six total tackles, dove with Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski to break up a potential touchdown pass and, in total, allowed just one just reception for 14 yards on four targets, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Like Clinton-Dix, Deone Bucannon has been a consistent role player whose impact for his team has grown over the course of the season. The Arizona Cardinals strong safety didn't have a spectacular game in Week 13, as he allowed four receptions for 31 yards in coverage, but he had five total tackles and provided overall dependable play in his hybrid role as a safety/nickel linebacker.

    The only other safety to play the majority of his team's snaps in Week 13 was Brock Vereen, who took over at free safety for the Chicago Bears when Chris Conte exited with an eye injury. Vereen had seven tackles in Chicago's Thanksgiving Day game against the Detroit Lions, but he failed to provide adequate coverage help throughout the contest.

    Calvin Pryor, a starter for seven of the New York Jets' first nine games but a backup since, had three tackles off the bench against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday night. He also allowed two receptions for 12 yards in just 15 coverage snaps, according to PFF.

    Neither Dezmen Southward nor Terrence Brooks saw any playing time on defense Sunday.


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    Tim Sharp/Associated Press
    Specialist Rankings
    1Cody ParkeyKEaglesN/A1
    2Chandler CatanzaroKCardinalsN/A2
    3Cairo SantosKChiefsN/A3
    4Pat O'DonnellPBears6.154

    Week 13 was a good week for the four rookies who are kicking or punting specialists in the NFL this year.

    Cody Parkey made all four of his field-goal attempts for the Philadelphia Eagles in their win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday. He had no excuse not to, as none of the four kicks was longer than 31 yards, but they nonetheless brought him to 27 makes on 29 attempts for the season as a whole.

    Chandler Catanzaro made his only field-goal attempt against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday from 44 yards out, improving his season mark to 19-of-21. Cairo Santos hit a 39-yard attempt to extend his streak of consecutive made field goals to 14 in a row.

    Pat O'Donnell is the one rookie specialist who has often been subject to criticism this year, but he had his best game of 2014 so far against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. He averaged 48 yards on a total of six punts, three of which were downed inside the 20-yard line.

    Dan Hope is an NFL/NFL Draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.


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