NFL1000: Rookie Review from Week 16

Doug Farrar@@BR_DougFarrar NFL Lead ScoutDecember 30, 2016

NFL1000: Rookie Review from Week 16

0 of 20

    Rob Foldy/Getty Images

    Dallas’ Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have monopolized the top of our Rookie Review through the second half of the season, and for good reason—they’re two of the biggest reasons the Cowboys have clinched home-field advantage for the first time since 2007. But in Week 16, a rookie from a team far enough out of the playoff race to have already fired its head coach is at the top of our rankings.

    Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey impressed during his time at Florida State—I was of the opinion he was the best overall player in this draft class, and his ability to play multiple positions with rare effectiveness reminded me of Charles Woodson in his prime. Not that Ramsey is at the same level as the future Hall of Famer just yet, but Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, we got a taste of what he could be.

    Ramsey led all cornerbacks who faced multiple targets with a 0.0 opposing quarterback ranking allowed, and he gave up just two catches on eight targets for 16 yards. He also picked off a pass. With his combination of size, quickness and aggressiveness, Ramsey has everything required of the NFL’s best cover cornerbacks. As he learns the intricacies of his trade, you’ll see more and more good things. Whoever replaces Gus Bradley down the road will have one of the game’s most important positions set, and that’s a big advantage.

    Of course, Prescott and Elliott aren’t too far down in our rookie scores, as the Cowboys quarterback ranks second and running back third. Prescott was especially strong against the Detroit Lions last week, throwing three touchdown passes in just 20 attempts and connecting on deep throws at a high level—he completed three of his four attempts over 20 yards in the air for 76 yards and two of his scores. Prescott has had his struggles this season, but right now he’s playing at a high level.

    This was also a strong week for rookie offensive linemen, as four of them (the Baltimore Ravens' Ronnie Stanley, Detroit’s Taylor Decker, the Miami Dolphins' Laremy Tunsil and Chicago Bears' Cody Whitehair) made it into the top 10. Collegiate linemen typically struggle when they get to the NFL, but this season has seen a turnaround of that trend.

    Perhaps coaches (well, some coaches) are adapting to the new realities of college blocking schemes?

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

       

    Advanced stats provided by Pro Football Focus.

Biggest Movers Heading into Week 17

1 of 20

    Brian Bahr/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 of those things 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 16 Rookie Review reveals a number of players who have taken major steps forward in their professional development. 

       

    1. Laremy Tunsil, OG, Miami Dolphins

    2016 Draft Position: 13 (first round, 13th pick)

    Rank Last Week: 72

    Rank This Week: 9

    What Happened: It's been a relatively quiet rookie campaign for Tunsil, which is of course odd given the debacle his draft day turned out to be. But he's played well in a new position in the pros, and he was especially strong against the Buffalo Bills last week, allowing no sacks or quarterback hits and just one hurry. Tunsil hasn't allowed a sack since Week 4, and he's been more than adequate in the run game.

        

    2. Kentrell Brice, FS, Green Bay Packers

    2016 Draft Position: UDFA

    Rank Last Week: NR

    Rank This Week: 15

    What Happened: The rookie from Louisiana Tech has been mostly a spot rotational player this season, but he got his highest snap count against the Minnesota Vikings (42) and made the most of them, showing a nice range in Green Bay's defense, which often requires safeties to move around a lot. Brice's ascent would allow Dom Capers to put Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in more hybrid situations without any drop-off at the traditional safety positions. 

        

    3. DeAndre Washington, RB, Oakland Raiders

    2016 Draft Position: 143 (fifth round, fourth pick)

    Rank Last Week: 21

    Rank This Week: 8

    What Happened: With Derek Carr out for however long Oakland's season lasts, it will be on the rest of the team to pick up the slack. Oakland's high-priced (and excellent) offensive line should be able to make more of the run game, and Washington is the kind of player who could help with that. The Texas Tech alum had the best game of his NFL career against the Indianapolis Colts, gaining 99 yards on the ground and scoring two touchdowns on just 12 carries. Washington will likely continue as a cog in the Raiders' running back rotation, but he has shown a knack for the explosive play.

        

    4. Sheldon Rankins, DT, New Orleans Saints

    2016 Draft Position: 12 (first round, 12th pick)

    Rank Last Week: 84

    Rank This Week: 24

    What Happened: Rankins was a monster player at Louisville, and the Saints took him high so he could help turn around a defense that has underperformed in recent years. He suffered a fractured fibula in August, but Rankins has been impressive since he returned to action in Week 9. He continued his good run last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a sack, a quarterback hurry and three stops. He will be a special player if he stays healthy—bank on it.

        

    5. Juston Burris, CB, New York Jets

    2016 Draft Position: 118 (fourth round, 20th pick)

    Rank Last Week: 138

    Rank This Week: 29

    What Happened: The Jets defense has been a graphic disappointment this season, given the talent on the field and the qualifications of the coaching staff, but Burris provided a bright spot in New York's 41-3 face-plant against the New England Patriots. Targeted six times, Burris allowed just two catches for 26 yards. With that secondary in flux, and Darrelle Revis looking like he's ready to hang 'em up, it's a good time for Burris to shine.

Top 50 Rookies Overall from Week 16

2 of 20

    Dak Prescott
    Dak PrescottTom Pennington/Getty Images

    Our Week 16 Top 50 rookie rankings are based on game-tape evaluation. We can now see how they shake out against preseason grades and expectations. Here's how things stand this week.

    Top 50 Rankings
    RankPlayerPos.TeamPickNFL1000 ScoreLWMoving
    1Jalen RamseyCBJAX5796
    2Dak PrescottQBDAL1357912
    3Ezekiel ElliottRBDAL4782
    4Ronnie StanleyLTBAL6768
    5Jordan HowardRBCHI150764
    6Deion JonesILBATL527415
    7Taylor DeckerLTDET167411
    8DeAndre WashingtonRBOAK1437421
    9Laremy TunsilOGMIA137372
    10Cody WhitehairCCHI567329
    11Joey Bosa3-4 DESD37320
    12Jalen RichardRBOAKUDFA7332
    13Jack ConklinRTTEN8735
    14Wil LutzKNOUDFA7317
    15Kentrell BriceFSGBUDFA72NR
    16Keanu NealSSATL17721
    17Ryan KellyCIND18729
    18Rashard RobinsonCBSF13372136
    19Joe HaegOGIND1557234
    20Sean DavisSSPIT587216
    21Roberto AguayoKTB597227
    22Kenneth DixonRBBAL1347137
    23DeForest Buckner3-4 DESF77125
    24Sheldon RankinsDTNO127184
    25Robert KelleyRBWASUDFA7141
    26Justin SimmonsFSDEN987138
    27Alex CollinsRBSEA1717180
    28Le'Raven ClarkRTIND827124
    29Juston BurrisCBNYJ11871138
    30Paul PerkinsRBNYG1497126
    31Drew KaserPSD179717
    32Michael ThomasWRNO477028
    33Javon HargraveDTPIT897077
    34LeShaun SimsCBTEN157703
    35Brandon ShellRTNYJ1587071
    36Dwayne WashingtonRBDET2367021
    37Spencer DrangoOGCLE16869103
    38Emmanuel Ogbah3-4 DECLE326952
    39Derrick HenryRBTEN456918
    40Harlan MillerFSARI20569NR
    41Eli AppleCBNYG106913
    42Kenyan DrakeRBMIA736946
    43Kevin ByardFSTEN646979
    44Riley DixonPDEN2286966
    45Malcolm MitchellWRNE1126891
    46Maliek CollinsDTDAL676875
    47Jatavis BrownILBSD1756810
    48Dean Lowry3-4 DEGB1376850
    49Sterling ShepardWRNYG406836
    50Derek WattFBSD19868NR

Quarterbacks

3 of 20

    Carson Wentz
    Carson WentzRich Schultz/Getty Images

    The Cowboys needed that performance from Dak Prescott. He looked playoff-ready against the Lions on Monday night. He showed off downfield precision while throwing into coverage that had been lacking in recent weeks. That, combined with his ability to audible into the right play, allowed the Cowboys to secure a three-touchdown victory.

    Prescott's best play of the game came when he hit Dez Bryant on the back side of his progression with a perfect back-shoulder throw in the end zone. Bryant had his first multitouchdown game since Week 11, a direct result of Prescott's willingness to attack tight coverage.

    The Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz threw his first touchdown of greater than five yards to a wide receiver since Week 3 against the New York Giants. Wentz connected with an open receiver deep downfield after play action. He had a clean pocket and made a good read to hit his receiver in stride.

    It was one of the few impressive plays from Wentz's day. He made a number of aggressive movements to escape pressure but too often missed his receivers with bad ball placement. He also made a number of poor decisions that were fortunate to go unpunished. 

    The Los Angeles Rams' Jared Goff followed up his disastrous performance against the Seattle Seahawks with another problematic display against the San Francisco 49ers. Goff's inability to throw the ball even close to his receivers is the only reason he isn't throwing more interceptions. That's the positive side of his wild inaccuracy. The negative side is that it completely shuts down the passing game and has rendered the offense toothless.

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamAccArmPressDecPosOvrLWTrend
    1Dak PrescottDAL1920151510791
    2Carson WentzPHI1317131110643
    3Cody KesslerCLE141811111064NR
    4Jared GoffLA1017111010582

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

        

    Notable Performances

    Dak Prescott

    Week 16 stats: 15-of-20, 212 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT

    It was a performance that Cowboys fans were desperate to see. Prescott had one of his best games of the season against the Lions. While the Lions have a limited pass defense, Prescott still showed off elements that had been absent in recent weeks. Most notably, he threw with precision into tight coverage downfield, making Bryant relevant once again.

        

    Carson Wentz

    Week 16 stats: 13-of-24, 152 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

    Wentz was fortunate not to finish Thursday Night Football with three interceptions. He had one ill-advised throw that was late after he had extended the play in the pocket. He followed that up with another that should have been caught by a defender. Wentz's ball placement and velocity were subpar throughout the game.

        

    Jared Goff

    Week 16 stats: 11-of-24, 90 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT

    Goff's accuracy continues to be disastrous. His first interception in this game was the result of a poorly placed ball up the seam, but much more problematic than that was his inability to throw even catchable passes, which curtailed the output of the whole offense.

Running Backs

4 of 20

    Ezekiel Elliott
    Ezekiel ElliottRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Ezekiel Elliot added to his great rookie year with a fantastic Monday night game. He continues to be one of the most physical rookie running backs we have ever seen while also bringing the home run-hitting speed. He broke a big touchdown run, displaying the top-end speed that makes him so special. The Cowboys will look to ride Elliott on a deep playoff run.

    Jordan Howard was good against the Washington Redskins on Saturday. He is the best inside running rookie after Elliott and lowered his shoulders and broke tackles all game long. His ability to play fast downhill has been one of the bright spots for the Bears this season.

    DeAndre Washington demolished the Colts in Oakland, making guys miss and breaking off big inside runs. This was the best game of his short career, as he found the end zone multiple times on nice inside runs. He has the talent to be a lead back in the future.

    Jalen Richard was also excellent in exposing a below-average Indianapolis defensive unit. The Raiders destroyed the Colts on the ground with the two rookies. 

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamInOutRecBlkPosOvrLWTrend
    1Ezekiel ElliottDAL211816176781
    2Jordan HowardCHI191816176762
    3DeAndre WashingtonOAK191716166745
    4Jalen RichardOAK181717156737
    5Kenneth DixonBAL181715156718
    6Robert KelleyWAS181615166719
    7Alex CollinsSEA1815161667114
    8Paul PerkinsNYG181716146716
    9Dwayne WashingtonDET171516166704
    10Derrick HenryTEN161516166693
    11Kenyan DrakeMIA1618141566910
    12Devontae BookerDEN1615151566715

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Wendell Smallwood—injury
    • C.J. Prosise—injury

        

    Notable Performances

    Ezekiel Elliott

    Week 16 stats: 12 carries, 80 yards, 2 TD; 1 reception, 12 yards

    Elliott destroyed the Lions in limited action before being pulled in the second half in a blowout win. He showed the vision, ability to find holes and top-end speed to be a home run hitter. It was another great game for the star runner.

        

    Jordan Howard

    Week 16 stats: 18 carries, 119 yards; 1 reception, 9 yards

    Howard continues to be the second-best rookie back in 2016. He ran right through Washington defenders and broke soft arm tackles all game long. He picked up steam as the game went on and had another 100-yard outing.

        

    DeAndre Washington

    Week 16 stats: 12 carries, 99 yards, 2 TD; 1 reception, 18 yards

    Washington had the best game of his career. He made guys miss and found holes all game long. He was the fastest player on the field, and defenders struggled to catch him on just about every carry.

Fullbacks

5 of 20

    Derek Watt
    Derek WattWesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Derek Watt and the Chargers run game struggled all game against a bad Cleveland Browns team. San Diego clearly misses Melvin Gordon, but Watt was not as consistent as he was earlier in the season. 

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamBlkRunRecPosOvrLWTrend
    1Derek WattSD42148468NR

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Andy Janovich—injury

        

    Notable Performances

    Derek Watt

    Week 16 stats: 1 reception, 16 yards

    This was not one of his better games. He was inconsistent at locating linebackers as a lead blocker, and his play speed was not up to par.

Wide Receivers

6 of 20

    Michael Thomas
    Michael ThomasJonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Kansas City's Tyreek Hill was an interesting player to grade this week at the wide receiver position. His most explosive plays came when he lined up as a running back, and his long touchdown run on a well-executed counter trey play was a thing of beauty. But as a receiver, Hill was purely average this week.

    He was targeted five times and had a drop on a bubble screen—a catch he failed to make over the middle. He ended the night with no receptions. He is an electrifying player and was crucial to the Chiefs' victory, but for this exercise his grade reflects his performance as a receiver.

    Malcolm Mitchell had a somewhat quiet afternoon for the Patriots, with three catches for only 29 yards, but he made a nice sliding catch and was an effective blocker throughout the day.

    Michael Thomas continues to lead the rookie class in the NFC, as he put up another solid performance against Tampa Bay. Thomas' maturity in his route-running has allowed him to become a favorite of Drew Brees. But what's more impressive is that Thomas is starting to make more plays after the catch, as he took a quick slant 46 yards after breaking two tackles. He has Brees' trust, and because of that he is going to keep earning chances in the New Orleans offense. 

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvrLWTrend
    1Michael ThomasNO181814119701
    2Malcolm MitchellNE171811139687
    3Sterling ShepardNYG171714119682
    4Will Fuller VHOU171712129674
    5Cody CoreCIN1717111296610
    6Tajae SharpeTEN1716111296512
    7Corey ColemanCLE1615111296311
    8Tyler BoydCIN161411129626
    9Charone PeakeNYJ1615111196215
    10Tyreek HillKC1514111196014
    11Alex EricksonCIN14141112960NR
    12Robby AndersonNYJ141411119593
    13Chester RogersIND141411119598
    14Rashard HigginsCLE1414111195917
    15Kalif RaymondDEN14141111959NR
    16Pharoh CooperLA121210109535

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Braxton Miller—injury
    • Laquon Treadwell—injury
    • Johnny Holton—insufficient snaps
    • Demarcus Robinson—insufficient snaps
    • Chris Moore—insufficient snaps
    • Ricardo Louis—insufficient snaps
    • Jakeem Grant—insufficient snaps
    • Leonte Carroo—insufficient snaps
    • Mike Thomas (LA)—insufficient snaps

        

    Notable Performances

    Tyreek Hill

    Week 16 stats: 0 receptions (5 targets); 6 carries, 95 yards, TD

    Hill's best work this week came when he lined up as a running back, including a 70-yard run for a touchdown. As a receiver, he was limited with five targets and no receptions.

        

    Malcolm Mitchell

    Week 16 stats: 3 receptions, 29 yards

    Mitchell was quietly effective for the Patriots and showed good hands on a reception early in the game. Later in the first quarter, he made a fine catch when he slipped on his break but still secured the ball while falling to the turf.

        

    Cody Core

    Week 16 stats: 8 receptions, 39 yards

    The Cincinnati Bengals' Core saw 14 targets on Christmas Eve, catching eight of them for 39 yards.

        

    Michael Thomas

    Week 16 Stats: 6 receptions, 98 yards

    Thomas' biggest play came on a quick slant that he took 46 yards after breaking two tackles.

Tight Ends

7 of 20

    Alex Ellis
    Alex EllisTom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    The AFC rookie tight ends were quiet over the holiday weekend. Both the Chargers' Hunter Henry and Houston Texans' Stephen Anderson failed to see targets. The Jaguars' Alex Ellis had two catches for 10 yards but was solid on the day as a blocker. The Browns' Seth DeValve had a nice catch on a red-zone seam route where he was able to hang on while absorbing a shot from the free safety, but the hit knocked him from the game.

    The only notable rookie tight end to play this week in the NFC was the Giants' Jerell Adams. He is seeing a lot of snaps for New York, but he isn't a reliable option yet in the passing game. 

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamRouteHandsYACBlkPosOvrLWTrend
    1Alex EllisJAX121511196636
    2Seth DeValveCLE121611166615
    3Hunter HenrySD111411186601
    4Stephen AndersonHOU121411156584

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Austin Hooper—injury
    • Nick Vannett—insufficient snaps
    • Temarrick Hemingway—insufficient snaps

        

    Notable Performances

    Jerell Adams

    Week 16 stats: 1 reception, 9 yards

    Adams is on the field a lot for the Giants, but he isn't a reliable target as of yet.

Offensive Tackles

8 of 20

    Ronnie Stanley (79)
    Ronnie Stanley (79)Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

    Taylor Decker of the Lions notched his 15th straight start, this one against the red-hot Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Decker flashed moments of physical dominance, but as Detroit fell behind and was forced to pass, Decker began to get the best from the Cowboys' edge-rushers, and it resulted in a few pressures and a sack.

    The Ravens' Ronnie Stanley started his eight consecutive game since returning from injury and was stout against an AFC North rival. Stanley showed competitive toughness being matched against James Harrison most of the game. When Baltimore and the Pittsburgh Steelers faced off earlier in the season, it was Stanley's first game back, and Harrison got the best of the rookie. 

    The Titans' Jack Conklin notched his 15th start as a pro against Jacksonville. He struggled just a bit in pass protection against the explosive and rangy Jaguars edge-rushers. As usual, Conklin proved to be solid in the running game.

    The Seahawks' George Fant started against Arizona for his ninth straight. He continues to show weekly improvement but was outmatched against the Cardinals pass rush. We say it weekly now, but Fant has a lot of work to do to build his pass-protection skill set.

    Le'Raven Clark of Indianapolis got his second career start. He continues to show flashes of what he can be, just as he did while at Texas Tech, but he must improve on his consistency if he wants to be viewed as a legitimate starter.

    Brandon Shell of the Jets started his second consecutive game, this one coming against New England. Shell possesses good length and has good range in pass protection, which makes him an intriguing young player to keep an eye on.

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

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamOTPassRunPowerAglPosOvrLWTrend
    1Ronnie StanleyBALLT191915158762
    2Taylor DeckerDETLT171816158743
    3Jack ConklinTENRT172015147731
    4Le'Raven ClarkINDRT161815157714
    5Brandon ShellNYJRT181713157707
    6George FantSEALT141513148646

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Halapoulivaati Vaitaiinjury

Offensive Guards

9 of 20

    Laremy Tunsil
    Laremy TunsilJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Week 16 featured two of the best rookie guard performances we have seen all year, along with two of the worst. That said, guard remains one of the deepest rookie positions week in and week out, so there is plenty to dive into. 

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvrLWTrend
    1Laremy TunsilMIA161816167734
    2Joe HaegIND161715177721
    3Spencer DrangoCLE151716147695
    4Joe ThuneyNE131513167643
    5Joshua GarnettSF121516137632
    6Germain IfediSEA131415127616

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

        

    Notable Performances

    Laremy Tunsil

    Tunsil continues to be a solid performer for Miami and gets great positioning to allow Jay Ajayi to get to the second level. He has a nice balance of agility and power coming from the left tackle position in college, so his grading floor remains higher than most rookie guards.

        

    Joe Thuney

    Thuney's struggles of late with the Patriots are a little concerning after he had such a promising start. A lot of these issues stem from a lack of functional strength, which is not an easy issue to fix.

        

    Joshua Garnett

    Garnett is a great example of why you can't play on your heels. Strength is not an issue for the 49ers' Garnett. However, he continues to be beaten in the phone booth in pass protection because he is so tentative in his pass sets and reels back on his heels.

Centers

10 of 20

    Cody Whitehair (65)
    Cody Whitehair (65)Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    While the Lions' Graham Glasgow has struggled in his initial snaps at center, it's nice to have a third center in the mix lately. While he hasn't held a candle to our other rookie centers, especially in pass protection, new blood is never a bad thing. 

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunPowerAglPosOvrLWTrend
    1Cody WhitehairCHI161915176732
    2Ryan KellyIND151817166721
    3Graham GlasgowDET111716146643

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

        

    Notable Performances

    Cody Whitehair

    Jordan Howard and the Bears runs game have blossomed the last few weeks, and Whitehair is a huge reason why.

        

    Ryan Kelly

    The Colts' Kelly is getting more thrown on his plate as the year goes on and he continues to hold up.

        

    Graham Glasgow

    Glasgow has been a nightmare in pass protection the last couple of weeks. He was taken to town by an average Dallas front. His feet are heavy right now, so he needs to clean up his footwork and remove wasted steps in order to take the next step in his development.

3-4 Defensive Ends

11 of 20

    DeForest Buckner
    DeForest BucknerThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    It’s been a very good year for our top two 3-4 ends, though neither player’s team will come close to the postseason.

    San Diego’s Joey Bosa continued a strong campaign that has him as the consensus Defensive Rookie of the Year with two sacks, three hurries and four stops against the Browns. Bosa has 10 sacks, 11 hits and 33 hurries on the season, and he’s been just as good against the run as he is against the pass.

    Both Bosa and San Francisco’s DeForest Bucker have alternated between end and tackle in hybrid fronts, and there are times when Buckner has been even more dominant. He consistently commands double-teams and looks to be a star especially as an interior pass-rusher.

    He didn’t have a ton of stats against Los Angeles’ iffy offensive line, but he showed up over and over on tape. Bucker’s season finale comes against the offensive line in Seattle, whose guards should be easy pickings against a man of his talent.

    Though he didn't grade highly this past week, watch out for Kansas City's Chris Jones, another player who can blow up protections from multiple gaps. He could be a real factor for the Chiefs in the postseason.

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Joey BosaSD141720157731
    2DeForest BucknerSF111722147712
    3Emmanuel OgbahCLE131321157694
    4Dean LowryGB111620147683
    5Jonathan BullardCHI111619147678
    6Ronald BlairSF101620147676
    7Carl NassibCLE1313191576710
    8Chris JonesKC131619117665
    9Adolphus WashingtonBUF111317127609

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

        

    Notable Performances

    Joey Bosa

    Week 16 stats: 5 tackles, 2 sacks

    Bosa continued his stellar rookie year and may have locked up Defensive Rookie of the Year with a two-sack performance against the Browns.

        

    Emmanuel Ogbah

    Week 16 stats: 4 tackles

    The Browns' Ogbah had a good day defending the run and tackling. His range and awareness, as well as his length, make him an ideal run defender.

        

    DeForest Buckner

    Week 16 stats: 2 tackles, 1 sack

    Buckner had just two tackles in a win, the 49ers' first since Week 1, but he registered a sack. San Francisco has been thin on the defensive line lately, playing Buckner more as a defensive tackle, and he has adapted to the role well.

4-3 Defensive Ends

12 of 20

    Noah Spence
    Noah SpenceJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Week 16 featured two outstanding edge-rushers in Noah Spence of Tampa Bay and Yannick Ngakoue of Jacksonville. You have to like how both of their rookie years have played out. Both got better as the season wore on and look to be key pieces moving forward. 

           

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunSnapTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Noah SpenceTB191214148671
    2Yannick NgakoueJAX191314128663

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

        

    Notable Performances

    Yannick Ngakoue

    Week 16 stats: 1 sack, 1 tackle

    This is the typical stat line for Ngakoue. This week's sack came on a stunt back to the inside, and he executed it perfectly, crushing the QB.

Defensive Tackles

13 of 20

    Sheldon Rankins
    Sheldon RankinsWesley Hitt/Getty Images

    The Saints' Sheldon Rankins, Steelers' Javon Hargrave, Cowboys' Maliek Collins and Packers' Kenny Clark all had excellent games en route to wins for their respective teams. Collins had an impressive sack on Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, chasing him out of the pocket on a three-man rush. Rankins, Hargrave and Clark were all stalwarts against the run.

    The Raiders' Jihad Ward continued his rough rookie season against the Colts. He got steamrolled on more than a few occasions and was slow to react to the snap of the ball and the movements of the offensive line. 

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamSnapRushRunTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Sheldon RankinsNO161718137716
    2Javon HargravePIT171519127705
    3Maliek CollinsDAL161716127683
    4Kenny ClarkGB161518117678
    5Sheldon DayJAX1817141076610
    6Darius LathamOAK1615171176611
    7Vincent ValentineNE1614171176512
    8Jarran ReedSEA161417117654
    9Destiny VaeaoPHI1413151075915
    10Vernon ButlerCAR141314107587
    11David OnyemataNO1413141075813
    12Austin JohnsonTEN1412141075714
    13Hassan RidgewayIND161211107562
    14Michael PierceBAL131214107561
    15A'Shawn RobinsonDET1212111075217
    16Jihad WardOAK121011974916

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

        

    Notable Performances

    Sheldon Rankins

    Week 16 stats: 4 tackles, 1 sack

    Rankins continued to help shore up the Saints run defense against Tampa Bay. He had an impressive stop on the goal line and a few good pass rushes off the edge.

        

    Javon Hargrave

    Week 16 stats: 4 tackles

    Hargrave dominated his matchups with the Ravens interior offensive line. His athleticism and tenacity made it hard for Baltimore to run the ball in the A-gaps. He's made a great transition to nose tackle after playing a lot of 3-technique at South Carolina State.

3-4 Outside Linebackers

14 of 20

    Aaron Wallace
    Aaron WallaceStacy Revere/Getty Images

    The class of 3-4 outside linebackers has hit the rookie wall hard. The Bears' Leonard Floyd, Ravens' Matt Judon and Bills' Shaq Lawson—the three standouts at the position—had another quiet week collectively, while the rest of the group lacked a true standout.

    The top rookie at the position in Week 16 was the Titans' Aaron Wallace, who had a few strong moments while setting the edge and collapsing the pocket against the Jaguars. Floyd, who suffered a scary concussion earlier in the season, left the Bears' loss to the Redskins with another head injury.

           

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamRushRunCvgTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Aaron WallaceTEN19139188676
    2Chris LandrumSD18139178654
    3Matt JudonBAL19119168633
    4Leonard FloydCHI18119168625
    5Shaq LawsonBUF19109158612
    6Kyler FackrellGB1711916861NR
    7Dadi NicolasKC1810916861NR

           

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Curt Maggitt—injury
    • Joe Schobert—insufficient snaps
    • Kevin Dodd—insufficient snaps

4-3 Outside Linebackers

15 of 20

    Darron Lee
    Darron LeeLarry French/Getty Images

    The 2016 rookie linebacker class is finishing strong. Jets linebacker Darron Lee continues to play well. His teammate Jordan Jenkins is still one of the most consistent players in the NFL, and Myles Jack of the Jaguars has gotten comfortable with NFL speed. Rams linebacker Cory Littleton has not been on par with his peers, but as a backup who went undrafted, that is to be expected. 

    Lee's recent performances have been the most encouraging. He's finally showing consistency as a run defender and a tackler and has proved not to be a liability in coverage. As the 20th overall selection, Lee came with high expectations for the season. He is giving Jets fans hope as the 2016 campaign winds down.

           

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRunRushTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Darron LeeNYJ16188196672
    2Jordan JenkinsNYJ16179176653
    3Myles JackJAX18177166644
    4Cory LittletonLA15167166605

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • De'Vondre Campbell—injury
    • Jaylon Smith—injury
    • Josh Forrest—injury

        

    Notable Performances

    Darron Lee

    Week 16 stats: 7 tackles

    Lee looks more and more like the star he was at Ohio State. He's been playing fast recently, and it's paying off.

        

    Myles Jack

    Week 16 stats: 0 tackles

    Jack had another week of simply not messing up. He did a good job of bottling up run plays and holding down his assignment in coverage.

        

    Jordan Jenkins

    Week 16 stats: 4 tackles

    Every team needs a Jordan Jenkins. He shows up every week, executes his assignments and makes occasional plays. He's all you can ask for out of a non-superstar.

        

    Cory Littleton

    Week 16 stats: 0 tackles

    Littleton hasn't shown he can be the answer for the Rams at linebacker. That said, his athletic profile is interesting, and he is still useful on special teams.

Inside Linebackers

16 of 20

    Deion Jones
    Deion JonesScott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Deion Jones just keeps playing well. It seems like every week he finds ways to make plays, and, more importantly, he’s doing it when Atlanta needs it most. Against the Carolina Panthers, Jones had 13 total tackles, bringing him to 100 total tackles on the season.

    Jones continually makes plays in coverage and provides plenty of pop upon contact due to the speed at which he plays. He’ll be fun to watch in January as the Falcons face top-tier competition in the playoffs.

    Jatavis Brown was back for the Chargers as the full-time starter at inside ‘backer, and, against a poor Browns team, it would’ve been nice to see Brown dominate like he did in games earlier this season. 

    He wasn’t a liability, but good players take advantage against poor competition, and Brown failed to do so against a Cleveland team that hadn’t won a game all season. Brown has done enough to earn the starting role moving into 2017, but the Chargers will surely hope to see more consistent play from him in his sophomore season.

    Lastly, Antonio Morrison is going to make the Colts front office spend a few nights during the offseason talking about what exactly to do with the inside linebacker position. D’Qwell Jackson is the incumbent starter, but, in his absence, Edwin Jackson and Morrison have made an impressive pair. The Raiders offensive line dominated the Colts front on Sunday, and the play of Morrison and Jackson was the only reason it didn’t get even uglier. The Colts may consider moving on from Jackson in favor of the younger and cheaper Morrison.

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamPassRunRushTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Deion JonesATL202710116742
    2Jatavis BrownSD172411106681
    3Antonio MorrisonIND162510106673
    4Elandon RobertsNE17259106675
    5Nick VigilCIN182210106664
    6Blake MartinezGB17239106657
    7Nick KwiatkoskiCHI14239106626

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Su'a Cravens—injury
    • Tyler Matakevich—insufficient snaps
    • Joshua Perry—insufficient snaps
    • Cory James—insufficient snaps
    • Josh Forrest—insufficient snaps

        

    Notable Performances

    Elandon Roberts

    Week 16 stats: 11 total tackles, 1 forced fumble

    Roberts' tackle numbers jump off the page, but many of those were cleanup tackles against a poor Jets team that was playing from behind all afternoon. As such, the Patriots were in a fairly relaxed defense, and Roberts' hustle created many of those tackles.

        

    Blake Martinez

    Week 16 stats: 2 total tackles

    Martinez only played backup snaps in the Packers' win against Minnesota, and his grade is a reflection of those limited snaps. Over an entire game, he might grade better, or he might also grade worse. What's important is that the Packers have found a way to rotate their inside linebackers throughout injury while continuing to develop Martinez. He'll be a starter next year after a generally positive rookie campaign.

        

    Nick Kwiatkoski

    Week 16 stats: 7 total tackles

    Jerrell Freeman was back from suspension and Kwiatkoski played his first full game next to the unquestioned leader of the Bears defense. Unfortunately, the Redskins have one of the most difficult offenses in the league to defend, and Kwiatkoski often lacked the strength or speed to move sideline to sideline against the Redskins rushing attack.

Cornerbacks

17 of 20

    Rashard Robinson
    Rashard RobinsonSean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    In what was a strong week overall for the rookie cornerbacks, there’s starting to be more consistency at the top of our grades. The Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey, Titans' LeShaun Sims and Giants' Eli Apple have shown several times they have star potential and traits. They were again top achievers this week, along with San Francisco’s Rashard Robinson.

    Robinson benefited from playing the Los Angeles Rams, who have a predictable scheme and one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. But that wasn’t why Robinson graded well; Robinson’s physicality in press and fluidity covering outside-breaking and underneath routes is why. He limited Jared Goff to just one completion on four targets and sealed the 49ers’ victory with an interception. 

    Sims continues to impress and look like a building block for the Titans moving forward. Sims gave up two of five targets, and one of them was a busted coverage. Sims' future with the Titans is exciting.

    The Jets' Juston Burris had a strong week in coverage against a solid group of receivers from New England. The Patriots challenged Burris six times, and he gave up only two catches. He looked good breaking on passes and if not for a touchdown given up or a penalty, his grade would've been higher.

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamCvgReactSlotTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Jalen RamseyJAX25231669792
    2Rashard RobinsonSF201918697215
    3Juston BurrisNYJ212016597116
    4LeShaun SimsTEN21201559701
    5Eli AppleNYG19171869693
    6Tavon YoungBAL18191659678
    7Artie BurnsPIT18161569645
    8James BradberryCAR16171669649
    9Brian PooleATL161618596419 
    10Daryl WorleyCAR15161569616
    11Blake CountessLA1514175960NR
    12Javien ElliottTB151415595813
    13Kendall FullerWAS1415155958NR
    14Briean Boddy-CalhounCLE151414595710
    15Vernon HargreavesTB14131469567
    16Xavien HowardMIA14131459554
    17Ken CrawleyNO1413135954NR
    18Jalen MillsPHI131211595011
    19Brandon WilliamsARI121113595017

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Cre'von LeBlanc—injury
    • Anthony Brown—injury
    • Deiondre' Hall—insufficient snaps

        

    Notable Performances

    Brandon Williams

    Consistently one of the worst cornerbacks on a weekly basis, Brandon Williams has shown little for the Cardinals. That continued this past week, as he was roasted for nine receptions on 15 targets. Had Russell Wilson been more accurate, it likely would've been even uglier. Williams had little collegiate experience at the position, and it has predictably been a tough transition for him.

        

    James Bradberry

    It's been a tough season for the Panthers' Bradberry, who has mostly been asked to play well off the line of scrimmage due to his struggles playing with his back to the quarterback. Week 16 was one of his better ones in terms of an improved process, though, as he was in good position on three of the four completions allowed. If his mind can match his outstanding physical traits, he can become a good starter in due time.

Free Safeties

18 of 20

    Justin Simmons
    Justin SimmonsEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    With T.J. Ward inactive, the Denver Broncos had more snaps available for rookie safety Justin Simmons. Simmons and fellow rookie safety Will Parks split time in Ward's absence, with Simmons shining brightest of the two.

    Simmons' biggest play came on a four-verticals concept from the Chiefs. He was playing in the middle of the field as the single-deep safety and read quarterback Alex Smith's eyes to take him to his target. Smith threw to his right to the slot receiver running up the seam. Simmons jumped the route and got the interception, following it up with a good return. 

    He had ups and downs against Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in man coverage. The Broncos showed faith in him, matching him up against Kelce in man coverage on a number of occasions. In the second quarter, the Chiefs faced 3rd-and-2, a situation that Kelce becomes a go-to target. Simmons lined up across him in the slot and got a strong jam at the line of scrimmage, which resulted in Kelce losing his footing and falling over, taking him out of the play and forcing Smith to look elsewhere.

    Later on, Simmons had another solid jam on Kelce, but Smith threw his way anyway. Simmons got his hand at the catch point to contest the catch as the ball fell incomplete. He wasn't perfect, however. Simmons bit on an outside fake by Kelce in the third quarter, getting completely turned around as Kelce made a catch on a slant to pick up a first down. He was also the deep safety on Kelce's 80-yard touchdown but failed to stay on top of the run, instead getting pinned inside by a blocker as Kelce ran past him.

    Colts safety T.J. Green had a rough outing against the Raiders. It started poorly early in the first quarter, when Green sat in an underneath zone as part of the Colts' Tampa-2 coverage on 3rd-and-long. The Raiders checked the ball down underneath, and Green was the first to break down to the ball-carrier. Green hesitated and was caught flat-footed as he was run past with a quick jump cut, surrendering the first down in the process.

    Later on, Green was at fault for a touchdown pass. He went to jam Raiders tight end Clive Walford at the line of scrimmage but missed and allowed Walford to break out into the flat near the goal line. He gave up the catch but had a chance to make the tackle in the flat for a minimal gain. But as Green went to make the tackle, he lowered his head, losing his target in the process as Walford eluded the tackle and walked in for the touchdown.

        

    Grading Scale

    Cvg: Coverage (Graded out of 30)

    Rec: Recovery (Graded out of 30)

    Slot: Slot/LB (Graded out of 10)

    Tkl: Tackling (Graded out of 20)

    Pos: Positional Value (Graded out of 10)

    Ovr: Top Possible Score of 100

    LW: Rank Last Week

        

    Rookie FS Rankings Week 16
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Kentrell BriceGB2221516872NR
    2Justin SimmonsDEN21226148713
    3Harlan MillerARI2122414869NR
    4Kevin ByardTEN20196168694
    5Vonn BellNO19205158675
    6Andrew AdamsNYG19194148641
    7T.J. GreenIND19184138622

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

        

    Notable Performances

    Justin Simmons

    Week 16 stats: 5 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PBU

    Simmons had some good plays against Kelce in coverage. He twice jammed Kelce at the line of scrimmage, once making him fall over and taking him out of the play on 3rd-and-2. The second disrupted the timing of the route, but the ball was thrown anyway. Simmons did enough to contest the catch point to ensure the ball fell incomplete.

    Against the run, Simmons had a few troubles. He stayed on top of Tyreek Hill's long touchdown, but as he worked down to make the tackle, he allowed Hill to cut back inside of him too easily. On Kelce's 80-yard touchdown, Simmons got caught on a blocker as Kelce ran past him for the touchdown.

        

    T.J. Green

    Week 16 stats: 5 tackles

    Green regressed with his tackling this week. He missed a number of tackles, often resulting in a first down or even a touchdown for the Raiders. He missed a tackle on Walford on the 4-yard line after dropping his head while attempting to make the play. That allowed Walford to walk in for an easy touchdown.

    Later in the third quarter, Green worked from deep to fill in on a run play but missed a tackle in the hole and allowed the running back to pick up the first down. On the next series, Green had a similar play, filling in on a run but again missing the tackle.

Strong Safeties

19 of 20

    Keanu Neal
    Keanu NealStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Steelers safety Sean Davis was noticeably active against the Ravens this week. Early on, he worked off a block by an offensive lineman to make a tackle on a run near the goal line, saving a potential touchdown in the process. On the next series, Davis dropped into zone coverage but quickly worked down to a checkdown underneath on third down, making the tackle quickly to save the first down and get his defense off the field.

    In the second quarter, the Steelers used Davis as a blitzer. He came unblocked off the edge, forcing Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to quickly step up in the pocket to avoid him and then roll out to his right. While Davis couldn't get a sack or prevent the throw, he did get pressure quickly and forced Flacco out of the pocket. 

    Davis had some struggles too. He was the single deep safety on Steve Smith's touchdown in the third quarter. He appeared to be cheating to the far side and couldn't get back to Smith's seam route from the slot in time to prevent the catch. The Ravens went for a two-point conversion, and Davis lined up in the slot against Smith, who ran a quick stick route. Davis was slow to react, with Smith already celebrating the conversion before Davis had broke on the route.

    Will Parks shared snaps with fellow rookie Justin Simmons in the absence of T.J. Ward for the Broncos. Simmons clearly outperformed Parks, who struggled with a tough assignment. Parks was asked to cover Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in man coverage and gave up four catches on all four times he was targeted.

    In the first quarter, Parks lost on a slant route, giving up the catch before making the tackle. In the second quarter, the Chiefs ran a play on 3rd-and-5 designed to beat man coverage. Parks was caught in traffic as Kelce ran free over the middle for a first down.

    Things didn't improve in the second half, as Kelce ran past Parks on an underneath crosser, making another catch. A few series later, Parks attempted to jam Kelce at the line of scrimmage on 3rd-and-short but was quickly beaten by Kelce, who made yet another first-down catch to move the chains.

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamCvgRecSlotTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Keanu NealATL181914156721
    2Sean DavisPIT181914156722
    3Deon BushCHI151714156673
    4Will ParksDEN141514156644

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • Karl Joseph—inactive

        

    Notable Performances

    Sean Davis

    Week 16 stats: 7 tackles, 2 PBU

    Davis flashed a few good plays in his performance against the Ravens. He had two pass breakups in the fourth quarter. The first came in the end zone after he allowed a tight end to cross his face on a corner route. Davis stuck with it and his tackle knocked the ball loose during the process of completing the catch, forcing it incomplete and saving a touchdown.

    A few plays later, he broke quickly to a checkdown, getting his hand in at the catch point to contest the catch and break up the pass. He was, however, at fault for a two-point conversion, lining up in the slot against Smith. Smith ran a stick route and had made the catch before Davis had even reacted.

        

    Will Parks

    Week 16 stats: 5 tackles

    Parks was given a tough task of covering Kelce in man coverage. Unsurprisingly, he struggled to stay with one of the top tight ends in the NFL. The Chiefs moved Kelce around, often isolating him on one side of the field against Parks, who couldn't prevent him from making plays. He was beaten on a slant in the first quarter; got caught in traffic on a 3rd-and-5 play in the second quarter; gave up separation on an underneath crossing route in the third quarter; and couldn't catch up with Kelce on 3rd-and-short a few plays later.

Special Teams

20 of 20

    Wil Lutz
    Wil LutzSean Gardner/Getty Images

    Kickers

    Roberto Aguayo's remarkable transformation continues. Of course, when you were as bad as the Buccaneers rookie was in the first part of the season, anything halfway decent is a silver lining. But Aguayo is at least starting to make Bucs general manager Jason Licht not look completely nuts for moving up to select him.

    The Florida State alum has improved his field-goal percentage every month this season—from 33.3 percent in September, to 66.7 in October, to 85.7 in November, to 88.9 in December. Some rookies would never get over the kind of disastrous start Aguayo had, but he's done a nice job of recovering. 

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamPwrAccTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Wil LutzNO323533731
    2Roberto AguayoTB323433722

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

        

    Punters

    The Chargers have had a disappointing season, to say the least, but at least they have their punter situation sorted out. Drew Kaser looks like a real keeper, and he's shown improvement throughout the season. Denver's Riley Dixon is helped by the altitude at his home stadium, but he's also been a solid asset.

        

    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 16
    RankPlayerTeamDistHangAccTklPosOvrLWTrend
    1Drew KaserSD17133533711
    2Riley DixonDEN15143433692
    3Lachlan EdwardsNYJ15143333683

        

    Notable Omissions/Not Graded This Week

    • None

        

    Notable Performances

    Drew Kaser

    Week 16 stats: 5 punts, 251 yards (50.2 avg.)

    Kaser was NFL1000's top punter for Week 15, and he had another strong showing against the Browns.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.


X