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 Post subject: charms15
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 7:58 pm 
TOP 10 OFFENSIVE ROOKIES


#
PLAYER
POS
NFL TEAM
RD
SCHOOL

1
Ronnie Brown
RB
Miami
1
Auburn

2
Kyle Orton
QB
Chicago
4
Purdue

3
Carnell Williams
RB
Tampa Bay
1
Auburn

4
Logan Mankins
OG
New England
1
Fresno State

5
Jammal Brown
OT
New Orleans
1
Oklahoma
6
Heath Miller
TE
Pittsburgh
1
Virginia

7
Rob Petitti
OT
Dallas
6
Pittsburgh

8
Alvin Pearman
RB
Jacksonville
4
Virginia

9
Dan Buenning
OG
Tampa Bay
4
Wisconsin

10
Alex Smith
TE
Tampa Bay
3
Stanford


Honorable mention: St. Louis OT Alex Barron; Dallas RB Marion Barber; Tennessee OT Michael Roos; Green Bay OG Will Whitticker; New England OT Nick Kaczur


TOP 10 DEFENSIVE ROOKIES


#
PLAYER
POS
NFL TEAM
RD
SCHOOL

1
Odell Thurman
LB
Cincinnati
2
Georgia

2
Dominique Foxworth
CB
Denver 3
Maryland

3
Derrick Johnson
LB
Kansas City
1
Texas

4
Shawne Merriman
LB
San Diego 1
Maryland

5
Demarcus Ware
DE Dallas
1
Troy
6
Darrent Williams
CB Denver 2
Oklahoma State

7
Kirk Morrison LB Oakland 3
San Diego State

8
Lofa Tatupu
LB
Seattle
2
Southern California
9
Kerry Rhodes FS New York Jets 4
Louisville

10
Chris Harris
FS Chicago 6
Louisiana-Monroe

Honorable mention: New Orleans FS Josh Bullocks; GreenBay FS Nick Collins; Houston SS C.C. Brown; Philadelphia DT Mike Patterson; San Diego DT Luis Castillo; Miami CB Travis Daniels


TOP 10 UNDRAFTED ROOKIE FREE AGENTS


#
PLAYER
POS
NFL TEAM
SCHOOL

1
Chris Kluwe P
Minnesota UCLA

2
Tyson Thompson RB
Dallas
San Jose State
3
Ben Graham P
New York Jets
None

4
Chris Carr
CB Oakland Boise State

5
Josh Cribbs
WR Cleveland
Kent State
6
Michael Koenan
P
Atlanta
Western Washington

7
James Butler
DB New York Giants
Georgia Tech
8
Samkon Gado
RB
Green Bay
Liberty

9
Otis Amey WR
San Francisco Sacremento State

10
Stephen Spach
TE
Philadelphia Fresno State

TOP PICKS BY ROUND


RD PLAYER
POS
NFL TEAM
SCHOOL

1
Logan Mankins OG
New England Fresno State

2
Odell Thurman
LB
Cincinnati
Georgia
3
Domonique Foxworth
CB
Denver
Maryland

4
Kyle Orton QB
Chicago Purdue
5
Drew Hogdon C
Houston
Arizona State
6
Rob Petitti
OT
Dallas Pittsburgh

7
Will Whitticker
OG
Green Bay
Michigan State

Team-by-team ratings:

Dallas… The Cowboys' 2005 rookie class had the highest grade of any team in the NFL following the draft and it has done little to disappoint to date. OLB Demarcus Ware, selected with the 11th pick overall, for example, has provided some explosive speed coming off the edge; a full-time starter since week one, Ware has 24 tackles including 4 sacks. Meanwhile, DEs Marcus Spears and Chris Canty, first and fourth round picks respectively, have provided some useful minutes on the 3-4 front, combining for 31 tackles and a couple of sacks. Same for unheralded 7th round DE Jay Ratliff, who had a sack in three appearances before going on IR. On the other side of the ball, 2004 rookie star RB Julius Jones battling injuries this fall, the Cowboys have gotten great mileage out of RBs Marion Barber, a 4th rounder, and undrafted rookie agent RB Tyson Thompson; indeed, both have won a GBN ‘Rookie of the Week’ awrd with Barber running for 253 yards to date, while Thompson has 180. Thompson has also averaged a healthy 25.3 yards per return as the Cowboys' primary KO returner. The best Dallas rookie, though, has been OT Rob Petitti, a 6th round pick this year who has more than held his own as the Cowboys’ starting RT from day one… Mid-season grade: A

Miami… Hard to imagine the second player picked at the draft slipping under the radar, but that's pretty much what has happened to Dolphins' RB Ronnie Brown. After a bit of a slow start, Brown has quietly piled up over 700 yards from scrimmage so far this fall, including 611 yards on the ground, the 14th best total in the NFL, while he has added another 125 yards on 19 receptions. The improving Dolphins have also received solid contributions on the other side of the ball from LB Channing Crowder and CB Travis Daniels, third and fourth round picks respectively, who have started pretty much all season. Daniels, for example, has an interception and three other pass breakups to go along with 24 tackles, while Crowder has piled up 44 tackles. Second-round DE Matt Roth, though, has struggled to get playing time and has only 10 tackles in three games to date... Mid-season grade: A

Tampa Bay… The Buccaneers have put together a nice turnaround season, at least through the first half of the campaign, with more than just a little help from their rookie friends. Indeed, RB Carnell Williams, the 5th player selected at this year's draft, appeared to be a lock to run away with rookie of the year honors this year when he averaged 145 yards per game in the Buccaneers' opening three contests. Williams, though, has been slowed to a crawl since by foot and hamstring injuries, but still has rushed for 496 yards on the season. The Buccaneers also got some unexpected production from the 'other' Alex Smith, the former Stanford TE taken in the 3rd round who has actually outplayed his namesake taken first overall this year. For the record, Smith has 19 receptions to date, good for 177 yards and 2 TDs. And OG Dan Buenning, a 4th round pick this year, has been more than solid since starting on opening day. On the other hand, 3 tackles in 6 games contributed by LB Barrett Ruud, the Buccaneers' second round pick this year, has been the only rookie contribution on the defensive side of the ball... Mid-season grade: A

Denver… The Broncos, who it seems have been trying to upgrade at corner for years, hit the jackpot at the 2005 draft with the selection of CBs Darrent Williams in the second round and Domonique Foxworth in the 3rd. Foxworth, in fact, has been one of the top 2-3 defensive rookies all fall; Foxworth technically started only twice, but has made big plays all season including 2 interceptions, 10 other pass breakups and a forced fumble. Williams, meanwhile, started 5 games and posted 32 tackles including a sack and a forced fumble and broke up another 7 passes; for good measure, Williams also averaged a solid 24.8 yards as the Broncos primary KO returner and 6.4 yards on punt returns. Foxworth and Williams, though, are the only Broncos’ rookies to play much so far this fall... Mid-season grade: B+

Oakland… Today's trivia question is: Who is the leading tackler among this year's rookie class? And no, it's not not Derrick Johnson of Kansas City, the 15th player selected this year; nor is it aggressive second-round MLBs like Odell Thurman of the Bengals or Lofa Tatupu of the Seahawks. The answer is Oakland 3rd rounder Kirk Morrison who has piled up 59 total tackles to date. Morrison, though, has few impact plays with no sacks or interceptions, although he has recorded 3 tackles for loss and a pass breakup. The Raiders have also had to force feed rookie CBs Fabian Washington and Stanford Routt, their first and second round picks respectively, because of injuries to regulars such as Charles Woodson. Washington has started 4 games and recorded 21 tackles, along with 5 pass breakups, while Routt has played in 5 games, including one start, and has 12 tackles; neither has a pick to date however. The Raiders have also gotten an unexpected contribution from undrafted rookie free agent CB Chris Carr who has averaged a very respectable 25 yards per return bring back KOs and a less dramatic 5.8 yards per punt return. For good measure, Carr has also played some as a situational DB where he has a pass breakup. Of course, the Raiders’ real final draft grade has to include Randy Moss whom they acquired from Minnesota with the 7th pick. Moss has put up decent numbers including 542 yards on 26 receptions and 4 scores, however, those numbers tend to pale in comparison to some of the gaudy totals Moss used to put up with the Vikings. Mid-season grade: B+

Chicago… The NFL's best feel-good story of the first half of the season has been the Bears’ improbable rise to the top of the heap in the NFL North. And while the Bears have done it mostly with a rugged old-time Chicago defense and the running of RB Thomas Jones, the Bears' rookie class has also gotten in on the act. QB Kyle Orton, for example, the 4th round pick who was thrust into the starter's role when Rex Grossman went down in tarining camp, has done just about everything that the Bears have asked. Orton hasn't put up big numbers - he's completed 54% of his pass attempts for less than 150 yards a game and thrown 7 TD tosses - but has made few mistakes and hasn't beaten himself. The Bears, though, did take a hit when 2nd round WR Mark Bradley was lost for the year just when he was starting to make an impact; through 7 games, Bradley had 18 catches for 230 yards. Meanwhile, RB Cedric Benson, whom the Bears took with the fourth pick overall this year, had all the look of a draft bust early on this fall, but has come on of late. Benson, who staged an ill-advised training camp holdout, was barely averaging over 2 yards a carry through the first 6 weeks of the schedule, but turned it up several nothches in the last two weeks including a 14 carry, 79 yard outing in the Bears' win over New Orleans last weekend. In fact, the Bears' most productive rookie other than Orton may be unheralded FS Chris Harris, a 6th round pick from unfashionable Louisiana-Monroe, who has started 7 games, in the process racking up 29 tackles, including a sack, as well as posting an interception and three other pass breakups... Mid-season grade: B+


San Diego… It took a few weeks, however, the Chargers appear to got what they wanted out of OLB Shawne Merriman and DT Luis Castillo, the team's two first-round picks at the 2005 drart. For example, Merriman, the 12th player selected overall, has started to provide some disruptive speed off the edge as he posted 4 sacks, forced two fumbles, and knocked down three other pass attempts through the first half of the season. Meanwhile, Castillo, the 28th player taken this year, has been solid starting 7 games at one DE spot from which he racked up 18 tackles and chipped in 1.5 sacks of his own. And just for good measure, undrafted free agent rookie DE Marques Harris also had a sack in a couple of appearances. The Chargers have also gotten what they expected out of diminutive 4th round RB Darren Sproles who has averaged 26 yards on KO returns and 7.6 yards on punt returns, while also catching 5 passes out of the backfield... Mid-season grade: B+

New England: It would be tempting to blame the Patriots' current struggles on the fact that they have been starting two rookies on the left side of the offensive line most of the season. However, despite the fact that OG Logan Mankins, the Patriots' #1 pick this past April, has started from day one at LG, while OT Nick Kaczur, a 3rd rounder, has started the past 5 games in place of an injured Matt Light at LT, the Patriots' offense has for the most part been just fine; indeed, the root of the Patriots' problem are a defense that ranks 31st in the NFL and is allowing over 27 points per game. Back on the offensive front, Mankins has been more than solid all season and ranks among the top rookies at any position, while Kaczur has had his ups and downs; in one of those up moments, though, Kaczur pitched a 'shutout' when matched up against the Colts' Dwight Freeney, holding the NFL's top pass-rusher to no sacks and zero tackles last weekend. Meanwhile, the Patriots used both second-round CB Ellis Hobbs and 4th round SS James Sanders to try and help plug a depleted secondary - Butler even started one game - but the leaks are still there. Hobbs, though, has had more success returning KOs where he has averaged a respectable 24 yards per return... Mid-season grade: B+

Seattle: The Seahawks weren't expect much in the way of immediate contributions from their 2005 draft. Indeed, C Chris Spencer, taken with the 26th pick overall, along with QB David Greene, a 3rd round selection, and 4th round OG Ray Willis, have yet to play this fall as they sit and learn their craft. MLB Lofa Tatupu, the Seahawks' second-round pick, though, has been one of the top defensive rookies in the league since the beginning of the season. Tatupu leads the Seahawks in tackles with 52 and has two sacks and an interception. Meanwhile, LB Leroy Hill, the Seahawks’ other 3rd round pick, has chipped in another 3 sacks and 18 tackles as a situational LB... Mid-season grade: B+


Cincinnati… No longer the sadsack Bungles, Cincinnati has been one of the best stories of the first half of the 2005 campaign. And while veterans like QB Carson Palmer and WR Chad Johnson get most of the credit, the Bengals' rookie class has had its own impact. Indeed, MLB Odell Thurman, a second round pick selected 48th overall this year, has been the top defensive rookie in the league to date. Thurman, who flies to the ball and hits a ton when he gets there, has a team-high 48 tackles through the first half of the season and has also contributed a raft of big plays including 4 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and a sack. Its been a tougher go, though, for OLB/DE David Pollack, the 17th player selected this past April who has been hampered by a strained knee which has limited him to just 13 tackles and one sack. Meanwhile, rangy 3rd round WR Chris Henry has provided a nice big-play option behind veteran WRs Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, where he has averaged over 15 yards per catch on 16 total receptions including two for scores. Another rookie WR Tab Perry, a 6th round pick, has done a solid job returning KOs with a 24.3 average per return... Mid-season grade: B+


Jacksonville… The Jaguars pulled off the surprise of the 2005 draft when they rolled the dice and selected former Arkansas QB-turned-WR Matt Jones with the 21st pick overall. So far, though, its been more miss than hit for Jacksonville as Jones has struggled to pick up the nuances of the position and has only 19 receptions for a paltry 8.8 yards per catch. The Jaguars have also tried to exploit the athletic Jones as a runner and passer, but with limited success. The Jaguars, though, do have the 2005 rookie class' most versatile performer in jack-of-all-trades RB Alvin Pearman, a 4th round pick who has over 100 yards rushing and 18 pass receptions, mostly as a situational back, plus he's averaged a respectable 23.7 yards returning KOs and 8.4 yards on punt returns. Meanwhile, OT Khalif Barnes, the Jaguars' second-round selection, was solid enough when he started four games as an injury replacement. On the other hand, Jacksonville got only 1 tackle in 9 combined games from CB Scott Starks, DB Gerald Sensabaugh and LB Pat Thomas, a trio of 3rd, 5th and 6th round picks respectively... Mid-season grade: B+

Kansas City… The Chiefs are one of several teams around the NFL which has happily settled for quality over quantity out of their 2005 rookie class. Indeed, LB Derrick Johnson, whom the Chiefs snatched up when he was still available when they were on the clock with the 15th pick overall, is the only Kansas City positional rookie to play this fall. Johnson, though, has quietly established himself as one of the key cogs in the improving Chiefs' defense. Johnson, in fact, leads the team with 56 tackles as he has made plays from sideline-to-sideline. For good measure, Johnson has a sack, forced two fumbles and broke up a pass. Meanwhile, P Dustin Colquitt, a 3rd rounder who was the Chiefs only one other first-day pick this past April, has been solid enough this fall, averaging 41.1 yards per punt and placing 14 kicks – close to 40% of all his punts - inside opponents' 20-yard line… Mid-season grade: B

Pittsburgh: The Steelers draft-room folks continue to bring new meaning to the concept that “they also serve who stand and wait!’ A year after resisting the urge to move up in the draft, but still ending up QB Ben Roethlisberger who went on to run away with rookie of the years honors in 2004, the Steelers were able to grab talented TE Heath Miller with the 30th pick overall at the 2005 draft when the former Virginia junior dropped to the bottom of the opening round because he was unable to workout prior to the draft while recovering from a sports hernia injury. And Miller has quietly emerged as a fine go-to red zone receiver this fall with 6 TD receptions among his 21 total catches. However, the Steelers haven't gotten much else out of their 2005 rookie class to date, although second-round CB Bryant McFadden has shown some big-play potential; McFadden has only played in three games because of knee and calf injuries, but has an interception, forced fumble and 2 pass breakups in that limited playing time... Mid-season grade: B


Tennessee… No question, the rebuilding Titans have the youngest roster in the NFL this fall. Indeed, Tennessee has had as many as a league-high 18 first-year rookies on the roster this fall and start a league-high 4 draft picks, although with somewhat mixed results. CB Pacman Jones, for example, the controversial 6th player selected at last April's draft, has sizzled returning kicks; Jones is among the league leaders with a 28.2 KO return average and had an 82-yard punt return called back by a contested penalty in the week 8 loss to Oakland. Jones has also been adequate in coverage, breaking up 6 passes, but has not been very physical and his tackling has left much to be desired. In fact, a case can be made that Jones has been outplayed to date, at lest in coverage, by unheralded 7th round CB Reynaldo Hill who has worked his way into the starting lineup alongside Jones after picking off passes, one of which he returned 51 yards for a score, in each of the past two weeks. The Titans WR corps has also taken on a very youthful look with injuries to incumbent starters Drew Bennett and Tyrone Calico. In their place, WRs Brandon Jones and Courtney Roby, a pair of 3rd round picks, and 4th rounder Roydell Williams have combined on 41 receptions, including three for TDs. Jones, who has 21 catches, and Roby who had a big day in the losing cause agaisnt Oakland, are particularly promising. And for good measure, TE Bo Scaife, a 6th round pick, has chipped in 17 catches, although he's only averaging a little over 6 yards per catch. Meanwhile, OT Michael Roos, a second round pick this year, has been steady enough as the Titans' starter at RT since training camp... Mid-season grade: B

St. Louis:… The Rams, who generally prefer to concentrate on the skill positions at the draft, appear to have done a nice job restocking the offensive line at the 2006 draft. First-round pick OT Alex Barron has had his ups and downs starting much of the season at RT, but on balance has solidified what had been a problem position for years in St. Louis. Meanwhile, OG Claude Terrell, taken in the 4th, looked all the part of the future at that position for the Rams in a couple of starts this fall. FB Madison Hedgecock, a 7th round pick, has also helped the run-game blocking although he has only one carry himself. DBs Ronald Bartell, a CB taken in the second round, and 4th round SS Jerome Carter, also contributed some minutes, Bartell breaking up 3 passes and Carter posting 8 tackles. P Reggie Hodges, a 6th rounder from Ball State, though, failed as the Rams punter averaging just 38 yards per kick before being released… Mid-season grade: B

New Orleans… The Saints' 2005 draft likely will never be much for quantity, however, there has been some quality with two picks emergung as solid starters. OT Jammal Brown, whom the Saints traded up several spots to grab with the 13th pick overall, has been steady at RT from the start of the season. Meanwhile, FS Josh Bullocks did not play the first two weeks of the season, but has since established himself as the starting FS where he has added some much needed speed; in the 6 games he did play Bullocks, a second round pick this year, has 28 tackles, an inteception which he returned 51 yards and three other pass breakups. A couple of cameo appearances by 3rd round LB Albert Fincher, however, have been the only other sightings of a Saints' rookie... Mid-season grade: B

New York Jets: The Jets' special teams have gotten a boost from this year's rookie class, but there hasn't been much of an impact for the rest of the team. PK Mike Nugent, a second rounder who was the Jets' first pick last year, for example, has been solid enough hitting on 7 of 11 FG attempts. Undrafted free agent P Ben Graham, a 32-year-old from Australia, has been even better averaging over 44 yards per punt. And CB Justin Miller, the Jets' other second rounder this year, has averaged a lusty 27.9 yards per KO return. Miller, though, has struggled to find a spot in the regular defense and has but 5 tackles to date. In fact, the only positional player to have an impact with the Jets this year is DB Kerry Rhodes, a 4th rounder who is second on the team with 49 tackles; Rhodes has also chipped in an interception, two other pass breakups and a forced fumble... Mid-season grade: B

Atlanta… The Falcons' 2005 rookie class has been more about depth to date than impact starters. Atlanta had hoped that WR Roddy White, arguably the fastest player in last April's draft who was selected 27th overall, might give Michael Vick and the Atlanta offense another weapon, however, he started slowly, catching just 5 passes through the first 7 weeks. White, though, came through in a major way last week when he had 3 catches for 50 yards and added another 16 yards on a reverse filling in for Michael Jenkins in a win over Miami. The 2005 draft also has provided some solid depth for the defense with DT Jonathan Babineaux, the Falcons’ second round pick, DE Chauncey Davis, a 4th rounder, 5th round LB Michael Boley and 7th round DT Darrell Shropshire have combined for 6 starts, 37 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and a pass defense. The Falcons have also received a most unexpected contribution from undrafted free agent rookie P Michael Koenan from unheralded Western Washington who has averaged a solid 42.6 yards per punt this year; for good measure, the strong-legged Koenan has also kicked a 58-yard FG... Mid-season grade: B

Green Bay… The Packers have gotten some consolation from their dismal 1-7 season - Green Bay would have the #1 pick at the 2006 draft based on standings at the mid-way point of the campaign - in that they have been able to play a lot of young players. And that's not counting the fact that QB Aaron Rodgers, their top pick in 2005, has yet to play this fall, while second round WR Terrance Murphy was forced onto IR with a neck injury after catching 5 passes through the first four games of the season. In fact, a pair of Packer rookies - FS Nick Collins and OG Will Whitticker - have started from day one and both have played well. Indeed, Collins, the Packers' other second round pick, has been a stabilizing influence in the secondary where he has 29 tackles and 2 pass breakups. Meanwhile, the unheralded Whitticker, taken among the final 10 picks in the 7th round, has not embarrassed himself along the offensive front, although he is obviously still very raw. The Packers have also been able to get 4th rounders Marviel Underwood, another safety, and LB Brady Poppinga, along with 5th round CB Mike Hawkins and 6th round DE Mike Montgomery some game action on defense. The quartet has played in a combined 20 games, contributing 19 tackles including a sack by Poppoinga. How bad has it gotten for the Packers, though, is best exemplified by the fact that because of injuries undrafted rookie free agent RB Samkon Gado, from Liberty, is currently listed as the #1 RB; for the record, Gado is averaging 2.7 yards per carry... Mid-season grade: B

New York Giants… With only four picks at this year’s draft thanks to the 2004 draft day deal with San Diego to acquire QB Eli Manning, the Giants weren’t expecting much help from their 2005 draft, but have to be quietly pleased with the contributions they have received to date. RB Brandon Jacobs, the 'other' former Auburn RB taken in this year's 4th round, for example, already has something of a cult following in New York as the 265-pounder has provided the Giants with a cruching short-yardage presence. Meanwhile, 2nd round CB Corey Webster and 3rd round DE DE Justin Tuck have both played extensively with Tuck posting 13 tackles and a blocked punt, while Webster has 12 tackles, a pass breakup and a forced fumble, despite being slowed by a leg injury. The Giants have also got some useful special teams' contributions from undrafted free agents James Butler, a FS who also has 4 tackles and a pass breakup in the regular defensive sets, and LB Chase Blackburn... Mid-season grade: B

Houston… The Texans have played as many rookies as any team in the league so far this season, although with somewhat mixed results. DT Travis Johnson, the 16th player selected this year, for example, has been a regular in the Houston defensive line rotation, but has just 15 tackles and 1 sack to date. Meanwhile, 3rd round RB Vernand Morency had only 10 carries - for 39 yards - through the first half of the campaigh, while 4th round WR Jerome Mathis had but 3 receptions, although one was for a TD. The speedy Mathis, though, is second in the entire NFL with a plus 30-yard average on KO returns which included an 89-yarder for another TD. In fact, the Texans' best rookies to date this year may have been 5th round C Drew Hogdon and 6th round DB C.C. Brown. Hogdon worked his way into the starting lineup and started 3 games, but may miss some time with a foot injury, while Brown is 5th on the team with 41 tackles... Preliminary grade: B-

Cleveland … The Browns got some useful contributions from their 2005 rookie crop in the first half of the seaon, but are probably expecting bigger things the rest of the way. WR Braylon Edwards, the 3rd player selected at this year's draft, for example, showed some defense-stretching potential when he averaged over 15 yards per catch on 15 total receptions, however, he was limited to 3 starts because of a nasty infection in his elbow. Meanwhile, the question is not if, but when QB Charlie Frye, the Browns' third-round pick, supplants inconsistent veteran Trent Dilfer at QB. The Browns also got some useful minutes from FS Brodney Pool, their second round pick, who has chipped in 16 tackles, including a sack, as well as an interception and 3 other pass breakups as a situational DB. The Browns are also excited by the potential of undrafted free agent WR Josh Cribbs, the former Kent State QB who has averaged almost 25 yards per try returning kickoffs... Mid-season grade grade: B-

Philadelphia: In the wake of the Terrell Owens situation in Philadelphia, no rookie may be under more pressure to produce in the second half of the season than Eagles' second-round WR Reggie Brown who will be asked to pick up much of the slack from Owens' absence the rest of the year. Brown, though, struggled at times early in the season, catching just 14 passes through the first half of the season, but a good chunk of that came last weekend when he had a breakout game of sorts when he hauled in 5 passes for 96 yards, including a 56-yard TD in the loss to Washington. Meanwhile, DT Mike Patterson, the Eagles' #1 selection taken 31st overall, has been the same whirling dervish he was in college at USC, posting 18 tackles and 2 sacks as a regular in the defensive line rotation. OLB Trent Cole, a 5th round pick, has also contributed some useful minutes, however, the Eagles, with 13 picks heading into the draft - with trades they actually made 11 selections - were probably hoping for much more from their 2005 rookie class. In particular, the Eagles thought they might have a couple of steals in OLB Matt McCoy and RB Ryan Moats, their second and third round picks respectively, but neither has played other than a couple of KO returns by Moats... Mid-season grade: C+

Arizona… This was to have been the breakout year for the Cardinals, but its just been one more breakdown season. And its been that kind of year for the Cardinals' rookie class too. CB Antrel Rolle, the 8th player selected overall at the 2005 draft, appeared on the way to a fine rookie campaign when he recorded 18 tackles in the first three weeks, including 11 against Seattle, but was lost for the year with a knee injury. Meanwhile, OG Elton Brown, a 5th round pick, was solid enough after earning a starting role coming out of training camp. but will also miss several weeks with a knee injury of his own. On the other hand, RB J.J. Arrington, the Cardinals' second-round pick, has been a major disappoinment as he averaged just over 3 yards per carry through the first half of the season, although he did catch 13 passes. Other Cardinals' rookies to play this fall include CB Eric Green, a 3rd round pick, 4th round OLB Darryl Blackstock, 7th round WR Leron McCoy, and undrafted free agent TE Adam Bergen, however, none has made more than a marginal contribution to date... Mid-season grade: C+

Minnesota… No team has been more disappointing through the first half of the season than the 3-5 Vikings and no rookie class has been more disappointing than Minnesota's which had been expected to help transform the team into legitimate Super Bowl contenders. WR Troy Williamson, selected 7th overall, for example, wasn't going to replace Randy Moss all by himself, however, while Williamson has averaged a defense stretching 15.3 yards per catch this fall, he only has 18 total receptions to date working in a very thin receiver corps. Meanwhile, the Vikings other opening round pick, DE Erasmus James, taken 18th overall, has just 5 tackles after being limited to 3 games because of an injury. OG Marcus Johnson, selected in the second round, has been in and out of the starting line-up - he's out now - as he struggled with consistency. RB Ciatrick Faison (5 carries for 10 yards) and DT C.J. Mosely (3 tackles in 2 games), taken in the 4th and 6th rounds, respectively, also both have seen limited playing time. In fact, the Vikings' best rookie to date this year has been undrafted rookie free agent P Chris Kluwe, who ranks among the top punters in the league with a 47.1 average per punt... Mid-season grade: C

Detroit… Detroit entered the season thinking that this could be the year that a series of good drafts would pay off allowing the Lions to finally escape the depths of mediocrity. Injuries and inconsistency, though, appear to have doomed the Lions to another disappointing year. And that disappointment extends to the Lions' 2005 rookie class. WR Mike Williams, the 10th player picked this fall, has received plenty of playing time with fellow recent first-round WRs Roy Williams (2004) and Charles Rogers (2003) out because of injury and suspension, respectively, however, the rangy former USC star has only 19 catches to date for just over 200 yards. Meanwhile, another former Trojan, DE Shaun Cody selected in the second round, has been solid enough in the Lions' DL rotation; Cody has a couple of starts and has contributed 15 tackles, including 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. That's been pretty much it for the Lions' rookie class, however, other than a mop-up appearance by 5th round QB Dan Orlovsky who completed 2 of 6 passes... Mid-season grade: C

San Francisco… Given that historically QBs taken very early in the draft have either been very good or very bad, the new 49ers’ front office has to be holding their breath that QB Alex Smith, whom they selected first overall this past April, is one of the former and not the latter. Smith is currently out with a minor knee injury, however, when he has played he has looked far more like the college senior that he probably really should be this fall rather than the next Montana or Young. Playing in four games this season, Smith has completed just 46% of pass attemps, has thrown 5 picks versus no TDs and has a anemic QB rating of just 17.5. RB Frank Gore, the team's 3rd round pick, though, has given the offense a shot in the arm, averaging 5.4 yards per carry as Kevin Barlow's backup. TE Billy Bajema, an afterthought as the 249th player taken this year, has also seen plenty of plating time with incumbent starter Eric Johnson out for the year with an injury; Bajema, though, has only 3 receptions. The 49ers have also received a surprising contribution from 6th round CB Derick Johnson who has 13 tackles and a pass breakup as a situational DB. Same story for undrafted free agents, Otis Amey, a WR who returned a punt 75 yards for a TD, and DB Ben Emanuel who has 4 tackles and a pass breakup. Meanwhile, OG David Baas, OTs Adam Snyder and Pat Estes, selected in the 2nd, 3rd and 7th rounds respectively, are primary backups along the offensive front... Mid-season grade: C

Indianapolis… With Indianapolis threatening to runaway from the rest of the league - the Colts are 8-0 at the season's mid-point while every other team has at least two losses - there hasn't been much room in the lineup for rookies. And it certainly didn't help that CB Marlin Jackson, the Colts' 1st round pick, missed the early part of the schedule with a shoulder injury, while 3rd round DE 'Sweet Pea' Burns hasn't played at all because of a knee injury and that 5th round DE Jonathan Welsh also missed extensive time with a knee injury. When healthy, CB Jackson has played as a situational DB, contributing 20 tackles and a pass breakup. However, that's been pretty much it for the Colts' rookie class, although DE Welsh is getting some reps as a pass-rush specialist... Mid-season grade: C-

Washington… With just three draft picks on their opening day roster, including QB Jason Campbell, the 25th player selected overall who was not expected to see any game action this fall playing behind Mark Brunell and Patrick Ramsey, not much was expected from Washington's 2005 rookie crop. And it certainly didn't help that CB Carlos Rogers, selected 9th overall, missed the first part of the season with an ankle injury. Rogers, though, has played the past five games, starting three and has contributed 20 tackles and forced a couple of fumbles, but has yet to be credited with a play on the ball in the air. Meanwhile, undrafted rookie free agent PK Nick Novak did a nice job replacing an injured John Hall, hitting on 5 of 7 FG attempts, but was released when Hall returned to action. Another undrafted rookie free agent, DT Aki Jones, had a tackle in his only game... Mid-season grade: C-

Carolina… Don't look now, but the Panthers may be the best team in the NFC as the league hits the halfway point of the season. If Carolina does go deep into the playoffs this year, though, they'll likey do it without much help from their 2005 rookie class. Indeed, DB Thomas Davis, the 14th pick overall this past April, is the only Panthers' rookie to have played much at all this season and even Davis, who was moved from safety to LB then back to safety early in the season, has seen his productivity drop as the season progressed. Overall this fall, Thomas has posted 15 tackles including a sack and a forced fumble as he played in 7 games, starting two early in the campaign. Meanwhile, 5th round LB Adam Seward is the only other Panthers' rookie to have played, but has only 3 tackles in three games... Mid-season grade: D

Baltimore: Its not been a banner year to date for the struggling 2-6 Ravens, who entered the season with visions of challeging for a Super Bowl slot; to complicate matters, its also not been a banner year for the Ravens' rookie class which has been vitually invisible. The Ravens had hoped, for example, that super-quick former Oklahoma WR Mark Clayton would combine with newly-signed veteran WR Derrick Mason to finally give the Ravens a competent set of go-to receivers. However, while Mason has been solid, Clayton had just 12 receptions for less than 100 yards in 4 starts before being sidelined with an ankle injury. Meanwhile, FB Justin Green, a 5th round pick who had three receptions for 17 yards, was the only other 2005 pick to have played, while undrafted free agent DB B.J. Ward had a tackle in three games. Indeed, a case can be made that Ravens' 'best' rookie this fall has been undrafted free agent LS Matt Katula. Ouch!... Mid-season grade: D

Buffalo… Based on the early returns, the 2005 draft is unlikely to go down as one of the great moments in team history. The Bills, of course, didn't have a #1 pick this year after trading it away in 2004 to acquire QB J.P. Losman. Losman, though, was benched after a sluggish start this fall. It also didn't help that WR Roscoe Parrich, whom the Bills took with their 2nd round pick, missed the first 7 games of the year with a wrist injury. The Bills' coaches, though, are looking forward to getting the ball in Parrish's hands after he caught a 17-yard pass and averaged over 10 yards on punt returns in the one game he did play. Meanwhile, CB Eric King, a 5th round pick, is the only other Bills' rookie to get much playing time at all so far this fall; King has 5 tackles and a sack... Mid-season grade: D

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:21 pm 
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Good to see Koenen getting some love.

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