Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Rookie Watch List in review

I did promise it and finally it's here, the rookie watch list in review! (please, calm yourselves). Time to look back at the many members of the rookie watch list which is located -- for those that haven't noticed -- to the right somewhere on the sidebar: First Rounders: - Trent Williams, OT, Washington Redskins; Offensive Tackles and guards are difficult to judge. Outside of their starts, there are very few individual stats kept for offensive linemen (they never get any love). Thus you have to take my word for it that from what I've seen so far, Williams is panning out ok, about as well as you'd expect for a rookie tackle. - Eric Berry, SS, Kansas City Chiefs; 11 games for Berry, starting all of them. 61 total tackles, 2 sacks, 4 passes defended, 2 interceptions and a forced fumble. Not bad at all. Critically, Berry is showing all of the attributes that will serve him well as an NFL safety over the course of his career. GM Scott Pioli will look back on this pick in future years with a smile. - Russell Okung, OT, Seattle Seahawks; Injuries have been a problem for Okung, leading him to play in only five games. What I've seen has been ok, but not exactly top ten material so far. Trouble is that the Seahawks line sucks in general. - Tyson Alualu, DT, Jacksonville Jaguars; I'm a little disappointed, but not so much in Tyson himself. All the footage I saw of him prior to making the watch list ultimately lead me to believe that Alualu would make an excellent DE in the Jaguars 4-3 scheme. So far he's been playing mostly tackle and not having such a great time of it. Still, 29 tackles and 3.5 sacks. - Ryan Matthews, RB, San Diego Chargers; Only 8 games for Matthews which is a disappointment. 87 carries, 382 yards, 4.4 yard avg. 2 TD's, and 3 fumbles is not what you'd expect of a first round pick. - Brandon Graham, DE, Philadelphia Eagles; To start the season, Graham beat out Juqua Parker for the spot opposite Trent Cole, which was always going to be a slightly optimistic move by Andy Reid given Parker's under appreciated talents. Thus far Graham has 11 games under his belt, with 5 starts, 12 total tackles and 3 sacks. It's not stellar, but the potential is obvious. - Mike Iupati, OG, San Francisco 49ers; Has started all 11 games so far this season and done ok. Against Arizona on Monday we got a great look at Iupati pulling and knocking people out of the way. Still has some things to learn and it doesn't help being on such a bad line, but give Iupati time. - Maurkice Pouncey, C, Pittsburgh Steelers; Another rookie with 11 starts and has basically just walked in as the starting center for Pittsburgh. He's shown solid fundamentals and an ability to take on many Nose Tackles one on one. Will get another great test when he comes face to face again with Haloti Ngata this week. - Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Atlanta Falcons; Only 6 games so far for Weatherspoon, but he has 32 combined tackles and a sack. Gradually building himself into the Falcons linebacking unit, but needs more starts before a proper assessment can be made. - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos; Has been plagued somewhat by nagging injuries, but still made 9 appearances including 2 starts. 22 receptions for 283 yards and 2 TD's, plus 3 fumbles is not great. Often seems to struggle to get open. Not looking good value for his draft position. - Bryan Bulaga, OT, Green Bay Packers; Eleven games with 7 starts for Bulaga, who has found a home at the right tackle slot for the Packers. Shows the same solid fundamentals that were on display at the combine and is basically looking like an absolute bargain considering his draft position. - Tim Tebow, QB, Denver Broncos; Hasn't seen a whole lot of game time behind Kyle Orton, but has at least got himself a passing TD and three rushing touchdowns from 12 attempts. At the minute he's filling a short yardage/goal line niche, but it's believed he may get the call next year when Orton hits free agency. - Dan Williams, DT, Arizona Cardinals; 10 games, 0 starts, 23 combined tackles and no sacks on probably the worst defense in the NFL right now. Maybe Williams should start and help try to turn things round? - Kyle Wilson, CB, New York Jets; 11 games, 5 starts, 20 combined tackles, and 4 pass defended. Other than that, not a lot from Wilson who has struggled in space. Plays much better when he's tucked inside on nickel packages and has a more limited threat envelope to deal with. Second Rounders: - Brian Price, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 5 games, 0 starts and a whopping 3 tackles so far. With Gerald McCoy as the hotshot tackle it's been difficult to find the time and place to get Price in. Needs a fair crack at the whip before I pass judgment. - Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, Kansas City Chiefs; 6 games, 3 starts, 15 catches, for 147 yards and a TD. Again, has seen limited playing time so it's difficult to judge but his speed and elusiveness have found a home in the slot and on special teams. - Koa Misi, LB, Miami Dolphins; 11 games, 8 starts, 24 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Has been a useful foil at times opposite Cameron Wake. Still a ways to go, but with Karlos Dansby around to help mentor him, the future looks bright for Misi. - Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots; 11 games, 8 starts, 25 catches for 310 yards and 6 TD's. Basically not a bad season from a second round pick. Has slotted in beautifully to the Pats offense and Bill Belichick has made a strong effort to get him and Aaron Hernandez (more on him later) involved in the offense. - Sergio Kindle, DE/LB, Baltimore Ravens; Horrific accident prior to the start of the season means we've seen nothing of Kindle so far. Expected to come back and play next year and will hopefully continue the aggressive and athletic performances he displayed in college. Wishing you well Sergio. - Daryl Washington, LB, Arizona Cardinals; 11 games, 7 starts, 52 tackles and a sack. Hasn't panned out quite as well as I thought. Doesn't help being on such a shockingly bad defense. - Taylor Mays, SS, San Francisco 49ers; 11 games, 6 starts, 33 tackles and 2 passes defended. Really hasn't lived up to expectations. Often struggles in coverage and not as active in the run game as you'd expect from a "big hitter". - Javier Arenas, CB, Kansas City Chiefs; 11 games, 2 starts, 33 tackles, a sack, 6 passes, defended, a forced fumble and some special teams return duties. Overall Arenas has been pretty impressive, but obviously needs more game time before we see the true potential fulfilled. I think Arenas is slipping under a lot of radars. - Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota Vikings; 10 games, 0 starts, 46 carries for 162 yards, 1 TD. 15 receptions, 144 yards. 2 Fumbles. It's a tough life playing under study to Adrian Peterson, but someone has to do it. Got his first big break last Sunday when Peterson went down injured and played reasonably well. Might start to bloom in the next few weeks if Peterson misses more time. - Montarios Hardesty, RB, Cleveland Browns; Was looking pretty good until he ended up on injured reserve. With Peyton Hillis carrying the load and bringing his "A" game this season, Hardesty will have to fill a back up role next year. Could be an awesome tandem to rival Thomas Jones/Jamaal Charles in Kansas. Third Rounders: - Jerome Murphy, CB, St. Louis Rams; 10 games, 0 starts, 27 tackles, 3 passes defended, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I haven't seen enough of Murphy to fully pass judgement, but so far I think he's been a good pick. Third round, reasonably productive given that he hasn't started. - Jon Asamoah, OG, Kansas City Chiefs; 11 games, 1 start, funny as hell to watch. Very aggressive, very determined. Has played his part in Kansas's quality run game. Another Pioli gem me thinks. - Chad Jones, FS, New York Giants; Hasn't played a snap due to injury. - Donald Butler, LB, San Diego Chargers; Same as above. - Jordan Shipley, WR, Cincinnati Bengals; 10 games, 2 starts, 40 catches for 518 yards, 2 TD's. Given the well publicised problems the Bengals have been having on offense, I'm surprised Shipley has been able to muster up what he has. Giving good service from the slot. - Colt McCoy, QB, Cleveland Browns; 5 games, 5 starts, put up 81/127 (63.8%) for 975 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INT's and 15 sacks. Also 20 rushes for 87 yards and a TD. Shame about his injury, but otherwise looking like a bit of a steal in the third round. - Rennie Curran, LB, Cincinnati Bengals; 4 games, 0 starts, 4 tackles. Haven't seen much of Curran, but I'm sure his name has appeared once or twice on special teams. Fourth Rounders: - Mardy Gilyard, WR, St. Louis Rams; 10 games, 2 starts, 6 catches for 63 yards and a fumble. Not the sneaky fourth round steal I thought he might be... so far. More game time will ultimately settle that question. - Everson Griffen, DE, Minnesota Vikings; 6 games, 0 starts, 8 tackles. Tough to shine when your underneath Jared Allen and Ray Edwards on the depth chart. Couple that with the Vikings suspect defense this year, in particular the pass rush, and that's not a recipe for success right there. - Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots; 11 games, 6 starts, 36 catches for 462 yards and 3 TD's. Like Gronkowski, he's fitted in nicely to the Patriots revamped offense this year. For a fourth rounder he represents really good value. Another sneaky TE find by Belichick. - Geno Atkins, DT, Cincinnati Bengals; 11 games, 0 starts, 8 tackles and a sack. Not quite living up to the great start he had in pre-season, but then doesn't hit the field all that much. C'mon, Geno! - Eric Norwood, LB, Carolina Panthers; 10 games, 0 starts, 9 tackles. Erm, not a lot else to say really. Playing for the Panthers is kind of a shot in the foot. - Roddrick Muckelroy, LB, Cincinnati Bengals; 9 games, 0 starts, 5 tackles and a FF. Mainly making his living on special teams, seems to have a knack of getting down the field on kick off coverage to make the tackle. Fifth Rounders: - Kam Chancellor, FS, Seattle Seahawks; 11 games, 0 starts, 13 tackles, a sack, 1 pass defended and a forced fumble. Chugging along slowly, but showing early signs of what might be a prosperous future. Just a shame he plays for the Seahawks. - Kendrick Lewis, FS, Kansas City Chiefs; 8 games, 7 starts, 24 tackles, 4 passes defended, 1 interception. What makes the Chiefs defensive showing this year more remarkable is the pairing of rookies Kendrick Lewis and Eric Berry. So far, so good, and they will surely only get better with time. - Perrish Cox, CB, Denver Broncos; 10 games, 7 starts, 37 tackles, 10 passes defended, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble. Has fought and clawed his way into the starting line up, where he continues to make a solid contribution. If the Bronco's could just find a pass rush, Cox might have even better numbers. Sixth Rounders: - Anthony Dixon, RB, San Francisco 49ers; 11 games, 0 starts, 24 carries for 72 yards and 2 TD's. "The Golden Mule" might get more work now that Frank Gore is on injured reserve and Brian Westbrooks elderly ass can't be expected to carry the full load. If the 49ers stick to the power football blueprint laid down on Monday Night against the Cardinals then Dixon could be a big beneficiary. - Dezmon Briscoe, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 0 games played. Has been quietly waiting for his chance on the Buccaneers practice squad and has only just been activated to the roster this week. Expect good things from what I think might be one of the best sixth rounders this year (in terms of future projections of course). Now don't let me down Dezmon! - Charles Scott, FB, New York Giants; Currently on the practice squad, hasn't made a ripple yet. I put Scott on the list because of his physical running style. If you want to see what I mean, watch Peyton Hillis of the Browns. Seventh Rounders: - Dekoda Watson, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 11 games, 1 start, 19 tackles and a pass defended. Has seen some special teams use as well I think. With time, Watson will hopefully develop well along with a group of other young players under a sound coach in Raheem Morris. - Syd'Quan Thompson, CB, Denver Broncos; 8 games, 0 starts, 9 tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 interception. Plays his fair share of special teams on return duty. Developing as another strong corner prospect with the Broncos. Hopefully he'll drain Champ Bailey's brain of all the useful information he can. - Sean Canfield, QB, New Orleans Saints; Might be quite some time before we see Canfield hit the field proper. - Jeff Owens, DT, Philadelphia Eagles; 0 games, sitting on the Eagles practice squad. Undrafted: - Micah Johnson, LB, Free agent; Played 1 game for the Dolphins, did nothing, and is now a free agent. - Danario Alexander, WR, St. Louis Rams; Started the year injured, recovered, then got injured again. Now back again. 3 games, 0 starts, 9 catches for 173 yards and a TD. I'm optimistic about Alexander's future. He only went undrafted due to concerns over his knee injury. If he can stay fit then he is a great deep threat for Sam Bradford to throw to. So, finally it's done. I'm looking back at that list now and thinking that I remember this lot having done more than I'm seeing on paper. I guess time will tell us more, as always. Tomorrow I will probably come up with my pick for Thursday Night's game (Texans @ Eagles) and maybe if I have the time I will peer into the world of hindsight and see who should have made the list. Till then though, Have a great day everyone.

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