Rookies Who Will Outperform the Average Vet
By Position, Projecting Which 62 Will Excel in 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
By Joe Landers
SPECIAL TO THEFOOTBALLEDUCATOR.COM
Part 3 of 3
Four defensive ends OVA each year. One comes from the first round, one from the second, and the last two are distributed between the first, second, third, fifth, and sixth – not exactly a tight pattern. The EPA data is only marginally more clear. The highest valued attribute is 3-cone at 71% (of 2011 starting DEs). The next 40? Short, and Broad at 71%, 70%, and 70%. 70%-72% isn’t a bad range, but it’s not terribly compelling. Combining the OVA and EPA data, here are the four defensive ends that are projected to perform over veteran average in the 2012 NFL season.
- CHI, Shea McClellin, Boise State, 1st
- SEA, Bruce Irvin, West Virginia, 1st
- JAX, Andre Branch, Clemson, 2nd
- OAK, Jack Crawford, Penn State, 5th
Five defensive tackles OVA annually. One comes from the first round, one from the third, one from the first or third, and two more between the fourth, fifth, and undrafted free agency. The top attribute is the 40-yard dash – 73% of 2011 starting DTs EPA’d in the 40.
- KC, Dontari Poe, Memphis, 1st
- PHI, Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State, 1st
- TEN, Mike Martin, Michigan, 3rd
- PIT, Alameda Ta’amu, Washington, 4th
- SEA, Jaye Howard, Florida, 4th
Seven Linebackers OVA each year. Three come from the first round, two from the second, one from the third, and one more in the fourth or sixth. 79% of 2011 starting LBs EPA’d in the 40, 78% in the Long, and 77% in the 3-cone. These are the seven most likely to OVA in the 2012 NFL season:
- CAR, Luke Kuechly, Boston College, 1st
- HOU, Whitney Mercilus, Illinois, 1st
- GB, Nick Perry, USC, 1st
- SEA, Bobby Wagner, Utah State, 2nd
- PHI, Mychal Kendricks, California, 2nd
- NYJ, Demario Davis, Arkansas State, 3rd
- OAK, Miles Burris, San Diego State, 4th
Eight corners OVA each year. Two from the first, one from the second, one from the first or second, one from the third, one from the fourth, one from the fifth, and one in undrafted free agency. The only available candidates (after Gilmore, Claiborne, and Janoris) for the 1st-2nd spot are Dre Kirkpatrick (EPA’d in exactly zero categories) and Casey Hayward (ran a 4.57 and missed big on the #1 CB attribute, the 40). 79% of 2011 NFL starting corners, EPA’d in the 40. With no good additional 1st-2nd options, the next most likely to OVA would be a 3rd rounder.
- BUF, Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina, 1st
- DAL, Morris Claiborne, LSU, 1st
- STL, Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama, 2nd
- DET, Dwight Bentley, Louisiana-Lafayette, 3rd
- MIN, Josh Robinson, Central Florida, 3rd
- TEN, Coty Sensabaugh, Clemson, 4th
- DET, Chris Greenwood, Albion, 5th
- TB, Leonard Johnson, Iowa State, udfa
Three strongs OVA annually. One from the first, one from the second, and one between the fourth and seventh. 77% of starting strongs in 2011 EPA’d in the 40.
- TB, Mark Barron, Alabama, 1st
- NE, Tavon Wilson, Illinois, 2nd
- MIN, Robert Blanton, Notre Dame, 5th
Two frees OVA annually. One between the first and second and one between the fourth and seventh. 78% of starting frees in 2011 EPA’d in the long shuttle.
- MIN, Harrison Smith, Notre Dame, 1st
- BAL, Christian Thompson, South Carolina State, 4th
One rookie punter OVAs each year. They come between the fourth and the seventh.
- CAR, Brad Nortmann, Wisconsin, 6th
One rookie kicker OVAs each year. They come between the sixth round and undrafted free agency.
- MIN, Blair Walsh, Georgia, 6th
The above predictions don’t imply that none of the rest of the 2012 rookie class will go on to have stellar careers. They very well may do so. Nor is the above list a comprehensive list of the best rookies going into the season. These are simply the 62 I’m forecasting to produce over veteran average by the end of their rookie season.
** All depth chart data is courtesy of OurLads.com, the premier source for NFL roster and depth chart information.