NFL Player Personnel: Assessing 2012 Rookie Performance

Rookies Who Will Outperform the Average Vet At Season’s End Saturday, January 26, 2013


This is an update to the piece published May 19th on the Football Educator at 62 rookies were projected to outperform the average veteran. Below is the breakdown of how many were expected to OVA, by position.


# 9 5 2 1 3 2 2 6 4 5 7 8 3 2 1 1


Three filters were applied to the incoming prospects to project how they would perform once the season began. Those filters were:

  1. Sudden Impact
  2. Production Analysis By Round
  3. Relevance of the Combine – EPA Analysis

By position, here’s the count of how many specific rookies I projected to come in Over Veteran Average:

WR 3 out of 9 DE 1 out of 4
OT 2 out of 5 DT 3 out of 5
OG 0 out of 2 LB 5 out of 7
C 0 out of 1 CB 5 out of 8
TE 1 out of 3 SS 2 out of 3
QB 2 out of 2 FS 1 out of 2
FB 1 out of 2 P 1 out of 1
RB 3 out of 6 K 1 out of 1

In all, 278 rookies contributed on the field in the NFL this year. Out of those 278, I projected 61. Out of those 61, I got 31 right (51%). 11 out of 30 (37%) on offense, 17 out of 29 on defense (59%), and 2 out of 2 (100%) on special teams.

It should not go without saying that the rookie talent that came out of the draft and undrafted free agency in 2012 was tremendous. I’ve been tracking 15 positions since 2006. (OT, OG, and C only since 2009.) At eight positions, this ranked as the best year since 2006. At two more (RB and WR), it ranked as the 2nd best since 2006.

No other year since 2006 has produced such a solid all-around rookie class. It’s clear to see how special this QB class has been, but history will likely show that this year was great at a number of positions. Aside from TE (can’t get much worse than this year) and C (also can’t get much worse), don’t expect another best-in-class year from the 2013 rookie class.


Below are the rookies, by position, projected to come in OVA, what string they finished the season at, how many snaps they took, where those snaps ranked on the team at their position, and other position-specific stats compared to the rest of the team.

Wide Receivers (3 out of 9)

The model successfully projected how well Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, and Alshon Jeffery would do. It missed on Danny Coale (IR), Devon Wylie, and Deonte Thompson (early special teams contributor, faded Weeks 8 – 16. The model didn’t account for the success experienced by T.Y. Hilton, Chris Givens, Justin Blackmon, or Josh Gordon.

ARI, Michael Floyd, Notre Dame, 1st Round (OVA)

–      2nd string, 11th rated rookie WR, 569 snaps (#3 ARI), 79 targets (#3 ARI)

TEN, Kendall Wright, Baylor, 1st (OVA)

–      2nd string, 6th rated rookie WR, 578 snaps (#3 TEN), 95 targets (#1 TEN)

CHI, Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina, 2nd (OVA)

–      2nd string, 12th rated rookie WR, 445 snaps (#2 CHI), 48 targets (#2 CHI)

DET, Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma, 2nd

–      Injured Reserve, 15th rated rookie, 284 snaps (#4 DET), 30 targets (#4 DET)

HOU, Devier Posey, Ohio State, 3rd

–      3rd string, 23rd rated rookie, 165 snaps (#5 HOU), 13 targets (#4 HOU)

BUF, T.J. Graham, N.C. State, 3rd

–      2nd string, 17th rated rookie, 716 snaps (#2 BUF), 58 targets (#3 BUF)

KC, Devon Wylie, Fresno State, 4th

–      3rd string, 24th rated rookie, 80 snaps (#7 KC), 12 targets (#6 KC)

DAL, Danny Coale, Virginia Tech, 5th

–      Injured Reserve, no targets, no snaps

BAL, Deonte Thompson, Florida, udfa

–      3rd string, 21st rated rookie, 89 snaps (#6 BAL), 6 targets (#5 BAL)

Vet Avg 2012: 32.66 # Vets Contributing: 159 Rooks OVA: 12 (Avg: 9) Who: Hilton, Givens, Blackmon, Gordon, Martin, Wright, Streater, Benjamin, Sanu, Randle, Floyd, Jeffery


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