Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2016 Halfway Point Rookie Evaluations - First Round


G.D. ROCK STARS


4. COWBOYS: Ezekiel Elliot

This young man is flat out killing it.  Anyone paying attention had to know that he had a shot for a big year, running behind that best O-Line in the league.  A little luck to keep him healthy and that home run speed, and bank, you have the league's leading rusher....from THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, Zeke.

13. DOLPHINS: Laremy Tunsil

Well, Laremy has not been able to crack the starting lineup....at tackle.

However, putting this beast beside Branden Albert on the left side has been a ridiculous combination, and I believe it is the biggest difference between an mediocre offense and a their vicious rushing attack led by the emergence of Jay Ajayi.

I will be surprised if Tunsil doesn't migrate to the outside at some point, but he might be All-Pro level at guard.

YUP, THEY WERE WORTH IT

2. EAGLES: Carson Wentz

Carson has cooled off after a start that had the football world tittering with excitement, but there is no question who the leader of the Eagles offense is.  This young man has their trust, and the talent.  He is learning some rookie lessons, but he is the man in Philly and justified their move up to get him.

He projects to flirt with 4000 years passing and should have comfortably more TD's than INT's.  Oh, and the Eagles have a winning record.  The Eagles need to get him some more weapons.  They need to get some players who can make more explosive plays to make life easier on Wentz.

That said, outside of 2 mediocre game against the Giants and Vikings, he has completed over 70% of his passes with 8 TDs against 1 INT.


3. CHARGERS: Joey Bosa

Most of the talk about Bosa has been around his holdout and how the Chargers mismaged it.

If you haven't seen this young man play, you really need to.  he is a perfect fit at end in a 3 man front.  He is good enough off the edge to be legit, but he's at his best stunting inside against interior linemen.  He is agile, strong, and surprisingly fast.  Toss in a motor that runs like he was a walk-on, and you have a guy who should be a difference maker for the Bolts.

5. JAGUARS: Jalen Ramsey

Jalen Ramsey is a bad bad man.

He rook over the #1 corner spot the day he walked into the Jags facilities and he has not looked back.  He does need to control his emotions at times, but a little fire is not the worst thing in the world.

I was tempted to put him one level higher, but he hasn't caused turnovers like is expected by a #1 corner to this point.  Regardless, the Jags should be very happy with him as a cornerstone for their defense.

6. RAVENS: Ronnie Stanley

Stanley has been in and out of the lineup as he has fought off a couple injuries, but he has been a starter-level tackle for the Ravens.  That is a premium position, and one that is decidedly tough to fill.  If he proves to be a long-term solution, he will be worth every penny that it costs to sign a top 10 pick.

9. BEARS: Leonard Floyd

Floyd was a surprising first round pick to some when the Bears picked him up last year.

He has made them look pretty smart to this point.  He is starting at Outside linebacker and is looking more and more like a long-term solution.  They projected him as a developing pass rusher, but he already has 5 sacks, with 4.5 of those coming in the last month.  If he continues accelerating at that rate, he may flirt with double digits as a rookie.

8. TITANS: Jack Conklin

Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin as bookend tackles and the Titans suddenly have a rushing attack again.  That is not a coincidence.

11 Starts at right tackle, and a career resurgence for DeMarco Murray...yup, this boy can play a bit.

11. BUCCANEERS: Vernon Hargreaves

Do you remember all that I said about Jalen Ramsey.....well ditto.

Hargreaves is a is extremely quick and took over the #1 corner spot for the Bucs, which gives them an above after set of cover men.  That is a big difference to make in a pass happy league.

14. RAIDERS: Karl Joseph

Boy, those Raiders are surprising this year.

Joseph is a big part of that at Strong safety.  He has played in 10 games and has 53 tackles.  I am not sure how much higher his ceiling is, as he is on the smaller side, and is recovering from an ACL his senior year.

He is a big hitter, which is popular in the Black Hole who can cover a ton of ground and starting as a rookie is a good start for a 1st round pick.

16. LIONS: Taylor Decker

The Lions are living a blessed life this year.  They have won 6 games, but their largest margin of victory is 7 points.

Their offense has been dependent on Matt Stafford.  They can't run the ball effectively, so keeping Stafford on his feet is paramount to any success they are going to have.  Now obviously they are going to need to improve in the running game, but that's likely going to mean an upgrade in the backfield as they are fairly well set at tackle and Larry Warford has the potential to be a road grader at guard.

Decker is not a stud, but he is guarding Stafford's blind side, and Stafford is still alive.  That's something.

16. LIONS: Taylor Decker

The Lions are living a blessed life this year.  They have won 6 games, but their largest margin of victory is 7 points.

Their offense has been dependent on Matt Stafford.  They can't run the ball effectively, so keeping Stafford on his feet is paramount to any success they are going to have.  Now obviously they are going to need to improve in the running game, but that's likely going to mean an upgrade in the backfield as they are fairly well set at tackle and Larry Warford has the potential to be a road grader at guard.

Decker is not a stud, but he is guarding Stafford's blind side, and Stafford is still alive.  That's something.

17. FALCONS: Keanu Neal

Keanu Neal has 46 tackles and is starting as a Rookie.  It's starting to astound how many of these kids are starting as rookies, isn't it?

Neal is a difference maker at safety.  He brings an abrupt violence that the Falcons have not had.  He can't do it by himself, but he's a good piece.

WELL,THEY FOUND THE FIELD

7. 49ERS: DeForest Buckner

Buckner is a unique human being.  6'7", 300 pounds, and lean.  That is just an odd sentence.

He has stepped right in as a starting End for the Niners 3 man front, having played in 9 or 10 games.  The stats in his position are not likely to be overwhelming, but you need a special kind of athlete to play a 3-man front.

That front has been one of the few, relative, bright spots for a struggling Niners team, and Buckner is a big part of that.

10. GIANTS: Eli Apple

Despite reports that Eli Apple was not the player that the Giants were looking for, he been good enough to start the last few games for them.  Apple has the physical attributes which are in vogue right now.  He is big, and he is fast.

He has some learning to do, as he can get caught with a false move occasionally, will lean on his physicality.  That can lead to more Pass Interference calls than you would like from a front-line corner, but there is potential.

1. RAMS: Jared Goff

Goff finally got off the bench.  He looked comfortable on the field, but the production wasn't there.

That said, he had his team in the lead late in the game before the Dolphins rallied, and that's not the worst start in the world.  Now, he has to develop timing with the rest of the skill positions.  The next step is for the Rams to upgrade their pass catchers.  Outside of Tavon Austin, they don't have receivers who are going to scare people and Tavon's not big enough to be a security blanket-type of receiver.

That said, Goff is their best shot, and it's past time for them to get him out there.

12. SAINTS: Sheldon Rankins

Well, Rankins has played a little, but he isn't in the 2-deep.

At this point, he is no more than a rotational player on a mediocre defense.

15. BROWNS: Corey Coleman

Well, it took him awhile to get there, but he is starting as a rookie.  That's huge for a rookie, but he plays for the Browns.  So, who did he overtake?

Well, Andrew Hawkins was a starter in slot for the Bengals last year, but Coleman pushing back to the slot is not a huge thing, tho not nothing.

What is something to be excited about is the big play threat that Coleman has provided.  He has 2 receptions for more than 40 yards.  In an offense which is not full of overly explosive plays, hitting those plays is extremely valuable.  His average per catch is nearly 16 yards per, and every piece that the Browns can add, is one more step towards decency.


18. COLTS: Ryan Kelly

Another starter, but he's a center for a bad offensive line.

He's a good piece, but a terrible pick.  Really, a center?  For this team?  They should have moved up for a tackle if they wanted to go O-Line.

20. JETS: Darron Lee

Well, he's not listed as a starter, but he has seen significant time for the Gang Green.

He's projecting for around 50 tackles in his rookie season, if he is healthy the rest of the way.  What is most interesting is that they brought him in.  Middle Linebacker didn't look like it was their most significant need.


21. TEXANS: Will Fuller

Will Fuller is a weapon.  Flat out, there are few humans who can run like he does, and he has the starting spot to reflect that.

He has only caught 26 balls, but this is not an offense that has run a lot of plays.  They would be well served to leverage Osweiler's arm and Fuller's speed to get down the field.  I don't know if I would say he was worth a first round pick, but he is starting, so that's probably an odd statement.  Just a feeling.

25. STEELERS: Artie Burns

Burns has been fighting for time in a fairly loaded secondary, but is gradually seeing more time and has made a decent accounting with 2 interceptions over the last 3 weeks.

27. PACKERS: Kenny Clark

Clark has played in every game, and is in the 2-deep for the Packers.

The Packer's defense is not one that people rave about, but they are in the top 6 in rushing yards allowed per game.

Clark is not a stud, but he is the kind of move they have needed to make.

28. 49ERS: Joshua Garnett

Garnett felt like a reach in the first round,but he has fought his way into the starting lineup.

I think they could have got him later, but he looks like he is going to be a player.

31. SEAHAWKS: Germain Ifedi

Germain has been starting since week 4 and the Seahawks are rolling.  Germain is another cog for them, but it's tough to argue with Pete Carroll and the front office.

30. PANTHERS: Vernon Butler

Butler is in the middle of the rotation for the Panthers, but time is sparse behind Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei.  The Panthers are serious about their defense, but this was not where they should have spent their pick

ARE THEY EVEN IN THE LEAGUE?

19. BILLS: Shaq Lawson

Shaw Lawson has 5 tackles.  He lost a lot of time to the shoulder injury he experienced his senior year of college.

They have high hopes, but to this point, he hasn't given them production.  I am tempted to move him higher, but this is the first round, and they all have potential.  I can't bump  him because he does too.

22. REDSKINS: Josh Doctson

Doctson has caught 2 balls on 7 targets.

Hopefully, he will get over this Achilles injury and have a real chance.

23. VIKINGS: Laquon Treadwell

The Vikings need a big-time wide receiver, especially with AP being out.  They were hoping that Treadwell would be that guy.

Treadwell has caught a single ball.

On the bright side, that was recent.  Here's hoping, because there is an opportunity for him to help his team.

24. BENGALS: William Jackson III

Jackson hasn't played yet.

He is eligible to come off of IR, but the Bengals have to decided between him and Cedric Peerman.

We'll see what they decide.

26. BRONCOS: Paxton Lynch

Lynch blew his shot to take over the starter's job, twice.

There's not much more to say.

29. CARDINALS: Robert Nkemdiche

Nkemdiche has been unable to stay healthy.  He is probably the biggest disappointment out of the first round players.

He should be a perfect fit in the Caridnals defensive scheme, but he has to get on the field first.

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