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Thread: Kiper: NFL Rookie RankingsAfter Week 5, Sheldon Richardson leads a deep class of good

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    Kiper: NFL Rookie RankingsAfter Week 5, Sheldon Richardson leads a deep class of good

    Kiper: NFL Rookie RankingsAfter Week 5, Sheldon Richardson leads a deep class of good rookies

    I gave the Jets a good grade in my 2013 NFL draft grades, but I heard a lot of questions about their strategy. People asked about things such as why no quarterback was taken in Round 1, why there was no skill-position talent like WR Tavon Austin (who was drafted by the Rams), and why no new tight end was selected. My conclusion was, "I still think they deserve a pretty good grade for hitting a few big needs. Now, they need to be patient with QB Geno Smith."

    And the Jets did hit big needs. But it turns out they couldn't afford to be patient with Smith. The good news is, he continues to rise in my Rookie Rankings, and an efficient 16-of-20, three-touchdown performance on "Monday Night Football' shows another stage in his progression.

    But they still better be patient. A few reminders about how I approach on the rankings:
    The rankings reflect play over the whole season, not just the previous Sunday.
    Positional value matters, but overall performance and impact on the team matter more.
    I'm asking: Would this player be a starter on most teams? (I think that hurts QBs some).
    Total snap count matters. Great plays matter, but staying on the field is important.

    With those rules in place, let's jump into the rankings after Week 5. There are 21 players listed in all.
    1. Sheldon Richardson, DT, New York Jets
    So far, the Jets lead all NFL teams in run defense, allowing just 3.0 yards per carry, and Richardson is one of the main reasons why. He's been consistently disruptive, showing tremendous quickness and athleticism, eliminating the chance for blockers to move him and then getting to the second level. I also like his versatility -- we've even seen him line up as a fullback on offense down near the goal line. So far, the first interior lineman taken in the draft has lived up to the billing. He also has 2.5 sacks.

    5. Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets
    He has had ups and down and has turned the ball over too much, but that's what you expect from a rookie. However, he's shown poise, has never lost his confidence, is gaining respect from his teammates, and has come through in the clutch, rallying the Jets with two late fourth-quarter drives to pull out victories against Tampa Bay and Atlanta. The Atlanta victory, in particular, was a signature win because his late play was just the icing on top of a performance with great statistical efficiency. And let's remember: He's operating without a top-flight supporting cast, yet has been able to show nice progress. He's mixed a good deep ball with savvy as a scrambler.

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    too bad i'm not an insider cos i'd like to see the rest of that list. thanks for sharing. looking forward to these 2 getting even better this season.

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    I think this is a fair evaluation;however, Geno did not get a training camp or preseason games that would amount to a fair appraisal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rick34125 View Post
    too bad i'm not an insider cos i'd like to see the rest of that list. thanks for sharing. looking forward to these 2 getting even better this season.
    .
    1. Sheldon Richardson, DT, New York Jets
    So far, the Jets lead all NFL teams in run defense, allowing just 3.0 yards per carry, and Richardson is one of the main reasons why. He's been consistently disruptive, showing tremendous quickness and athleticism, eliminating the chance for blockers to move him and then getting to the second level. I also like his versatility -- we've even seen him line up as a fullback on offense down near the goal line. So far, the first interior lineman taken in the draft has lived up to the billing. He also has 2.5 sacks.

    Alonso

    2. Kiko Alonso, ILB, Buffalo
    Love his production, fiery approach and the number of impact plays he's been able to make. For instance, Alonso is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions (four) but is also leading the Bills in tackles with 44 (he also has a sack). He's one of the best pure athletes (if not the best) of any inside linebacker in the NFL right now. The key with Alonso is that because of his versatility, he never has to come off the field.

    Vaccaro

    3. Kenny Vaccaro, S, New Orleans
    I'm giving him some bonus points, because while he's made his share of mistakes and taken some poor angles, he is staying on the field and has helped the Saints orchestrate one of the great defensive turnarounds we've seen in recent years (assuming they can keep this up). Vaccaro isn't asked to do much against the run but is instead playing a lot of deep patrol. Still, he's second on the team in tackles and has recorded a sack and an interception. While he was beaten deep late in the game on Sunday against Chicago, his overall performance through the first five games has been strong.

    Ansah

    4. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit
    He leads the Lions' defense with 3.5 sacks and is quickly becoming a fear factor-type player because the offensive always has to account for him. That said, his best work hasn't even been done as a pass-rusher -- he's been good against the run, too. His pass rush is inconsistent, but he just needs to learn. He's only going to get better with more experience; despite his age (24), he hasn't played much football yet.

    Smith

    5. Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets
    He has had ups and down and has turned the ball over too much, but that's what you expect from a rookie. However, he's shown poise, has never lost his confidence, is gaining respect from his teammates, and has come through in the clutch, rallying the Jets with two late fourth-quarter drives to pull out victories against Tampa Bay and Atlanta. The Atlanta victory, in particular, was a signature win because his late play was just the icing on top of a performance with great statistical efficiency. And let's remember: He's operating without a top-flight supporting cast, yet has been able to show nice progress. He's mixed a good deep ball with savvy as a scrambler.

    Bernard

    6. Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati
    He's been a key element in their big wins against Green Bay and New England, displaying the all-purpose talents that make him so valuable. When the Bengals drafted him, we knew a big reason why was because they wanted a back they could throw to. Bernard is currently leading the Bengals with a 4.6-yard average per carry, but he's also hauled in 14 receptions for a 9.2-yard average.

    Mingo

    7. Barkevious Mingo, OLB, Cleveland
    He didn't record a sack against Buffalo in his most recent game, but Mingo turned in a solid performance, and he is improving after missing much of the preseason. He recorded a sack in each of the three previous games, showcasing cat-like quickness and a sustained intensity level. Mingo is still more athlete than polished pass-rusher, but he could have a big second half of the season, because once he learns to counter more off his initial quickness, he's going to be really difficult to block.

    Warford

    8. Larry Warford, OG, Detroit
    Although I didn't grade him out as high this past week against Green Bay as in the four previous games, Warford has done a very solid job overall for the Lions. He doesn't give up any inside pressure in the passing game, and he can get a push in the run game, with the power to move defenders. He'll get better, and he's off to a great start.

    Lotulelei

    9. Star Lotulelei, DT, Carolina
    He drops some just because he hasn't been on the field as much as some others, but he also got to sit a lot during a blowout win against the Giants, and Carolina has already had a bye. During the 150 snaps he's seen so far, Lotulelei has proven to be the block-occupying run-stopper he was drafted to be. Carolina is allowing just 3.6 yards per carry, a clear improvement from last season, and Lotulelei is a big reason why.

    Mathieu

    10. Tyrann Mathieu, S, Arizona
    He has a knack for impacting a game in a very positive way. His instincts are top-notch. Against Carolina on Sunday, he recorded five tackles (all solo) and also made his presence felt behind the line of scrimmage. He had a sack, a tackle for loss, and a pair of QB hits. He's stayed on the field regardless of down and distance, is second on the team in tackles, and can play either deep or close to the line. So far, the Honey Badger looks like a third-round steal.

    Hopkins

    11. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston
    Two weeks ago he was the top rookie here, but he's cooled off some the past two weeks, with just four total catches for 50 total yards. He'll need to find a way to create more space against good defenses, which is what he saw against Seattle and San Francisco. He has 22 catches and 293 yards so far, and has the skill level to become a Pro Bowl player.

    Reid

    12. Eric Reid, S, San Francisco
    He dropped an easy interception against Houston but played very well overall. He's fourth on the team in tackles, has a pair of INTs, and is another young safety who doesn't come off the field. The 49ers moved up to draft him out of LSU, and they clearly had big plans for him when they did.

    Ogletree

    13. Alec Ogletree, OLB, St. Louis
    I'd like to see more game-changing plays from a player with his talent and explosiveness, but you can't deny the fact that he's been around the ball. He's tied with James Laurinaitis for the team lead with 36 tackles (32 of Ogletree's have been solo tackles). The key for Ogletree is pursuit and fundamentals. He can overpursue and fail to get into good position for tackles, which is why he's missed more than a handful. But he'll get better.

    Thompkins

    14. Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, New England
    He's had a few drops along the way, but the undrafted free-agent find out of Cincinnati is second on the team with 18 catches for a 15.2-yard average, and he leads the team with three TD receptions. I'm actually giving Thompkins a little more credit than his numbers might imply, based on his targets. Tom Brady has thrown to him 44 times, and the tape shows that Thompkins can create space to get those targets. He just needs to haul in a few more of them.

    Williams

    15. Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas
    After a messy start to the season, he's been really coming on of late, and he could be a star of the not-too-distant future if he becomes a little more consistent. Over the past two games, he has 11 catches for 222 yards. Tony Romo is warming up to the rookie now that Williams has a better idea of where he's supposed to be on the field.

    Next up

    Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona -- Averaging 6.7 yards per carry, and is a factor in the passing game.
    Travis Frederick, C, Dallas -- Has been strong after some early struggles. And he's healthy.
    D.J. Fluker, RT, San Diego -- Has held up well as a pass-blocker, though his rep is as powerful run-blocker.
    Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo -- Had chemistry with EJ Manuel. Will he get targets now that Manuel is injured?
    John Jenkins, DT, New Orleans -- Overshadowed but effective on the revamped defense.
    Kawann Short, DT, Carolina -- Needs more playing time, because he gets to the QB when he's on the field.

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    Just out of curiosity how is dion jordan doing? I dont see him on this list nor heard his name much.. Has anyone watched Miami play?

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    It's so refreshing to have Jets rookies once again mentioned in this conversation. It's been way too long since they've had a rookie make a splash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronxville Jets Fan View Post
    It's so refreshing to have Jets rookies once again mentioned in this conversation. It's been way too long since they've had a rookie make a splash.
    Have to say that I wanted the Jets to take flyer on The honey badger, I know the guys a little into the whacky tabbaci
    But with his instincts & our Dline pressure he would have been a good match with Rex I think.

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    After week 3 PFF had Snacks ranked higher than Lotulelei. Now THAT'S crazy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jetster View Post
    Have to say that I wanted the Jets to take flyer on The honey badger, I know the guys a little into the whacky tabbaci
    But with his instincts & our Dline pressure he would have been a good match with Rex I think.
    We were not in the positiion to take risks on people who have made bonehead decisions in the past.

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    Where is once in a lifetime Guard prospect Chance Warmack?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 24 View Post
    We were not in the positiion to take risks on people who have made bonehead decisions in the past.
    I wouldn't have taken him as high, but if he had dropped into the 4th I would have thought it was a good pick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bgivs21 View Post
    Just out of curiosity how is dion jordan doing? I dont see him on this list nor heard his name much.. Has anyone watched Miami play?
    I'm curious as well. I really want him to fail miserably!

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    I want to know what dumbass is sending emails to Kiper about why the Jets didn't take Austin, when he was taken before they had a chance to, and wound up taking the consensus #1 QB in this year's draft anyway in the 2nd round, but was questioned why they didn't take a QB in the first round?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ View Post
    I'm curious as well. I really want him to fail miserably!
    In his limited amount of snaps he's looked pretty good. For some reason he's not of the field a lot. He might be struggling with the play book or isn't an every down player right now cause of his size. I'm not entirely sure why.

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    Say what you want about Kiper but that top 15 list is pretty spot on. Of course no one will agree with it fully but the analysis is good.

    I'm wondering how it will play out at the end of the year when the Jets have 5 rookies starting?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood Nosebleed View Post
    In his limited amount of snaps he's looked pretty good. For some reason he's not of the field a lot. He might be struggling with the play book or isn't an every down player right now cause of his size. I'm not entirely sure why.
    Probably. I don't think he's an every down player right now. People will run right at him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood Nosebleed View Post
    In his limited amount of snaps he's looked pretty good. For some reason he's not of the field a lot. He might be struggling with the play book or isn't an every down player right now cause of his size. I'm not entirely sure why.
    Actually he hasn't looked good, he's doing nothing of any consequence. Kind of invisible when he gets on the field.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Nut View Post
    Actually he hasn't looked good, he's doing nothing of any consequence
    I admit I haven't been watching him but from what I've read he's being applying pressure just not getting the sacks. Not saying he's worth the pick but from isn't looking like a bust. At least not yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollywood Nosebleed View Post
    I admit I haven't been watching him but from what I've read he's being applying pressure just not getting the sacks. Not saying he's worth the pick but from isn't looking like a bust. At least not yet.
    I've watched just about every game they've played, he's doing nothing. He fell into a sack and has a handful of tackles in 5 games.

    I'm thinking they expect a whole lot more than they've gotten out of him so far after all they went through and gave up to get him. There's too many defensive players that are really playing well that were picked a lot lower

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Nut View Post
    I've watched just about every game they've played, he's doing nothing. He fell into a sack and has a handful of tackles in 5 games.

    I'm thinking they expect a whole lot more than they've gotten out of him so far after all they went through and gave up to get him
    Yeah if you trade up for someone they better produce early and often. It makes me feel better that he's not killing it. Out of the top 4 OLB prospects I liked him the best. Even though I wasn't completely sold on him.

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