Week Five Rookie Report Card

Posted by Brad On October – 12 – 2011
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Brian Rolle impressed with 9 tackles in his debut against the Bills

We take stock of how some of the 2011 NFL rookies are performing on a weekly basis.  We will highlight a few standouts each week with grades on their individual performances.  Here’s a look at the week five report card:

Brian Rolle, LB, Philadelphia Eagles Pick 193

Brian Rolle wasn’t going to be counted on to produce for a team that many thought would roll into Super Bowl contention.  The undersized, WILL LB was drafted with pick 193 in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft from The Ohio State University.  The linebacking situation inPhiladelphiais a mess, and that’s putting it mildly.  Rolle was pushed into the starting lineup for a spark and that’s exactly what he gave them.  The defense, as a unit, was atrocious but Rolle stood out.  He came off the field in the nickel…although that is where he probably would excel…but ended the game with nine tackles and one tackle for loss.  Despite lacking size, Rolle was a factor in stopping the run due to his quickness and instincts.  Once he learns to settle into position in pass coverage he will be more than formidable in pass drops.

Grade – B+

Chris Hairston, T, Buffalo Bills Pick 122

Demetrius Bell has been more than solid at left tackle for the Bills.  Injury would force him to miss thePhiladelphiagame on Sunday.  Chris Hairston, a swing tackle taken in the fourth round would see his first NFL starting action and hold his own.  Hairston is a more natural fit on the right side but as the third tackle will be called on to play either spot in case of injury.  The Bills line didn’t lose a beat with Hairston injected into the starting lineup.  Hairston is strong at the point of attack and uses his hands and anchor strength to keep pass rushers at bay. Philadelphiahasn’t been successful at much on defense this season but they have been able to get to the QB.  In this game, they were held to one sack which wasn’t caused by the rookie fourth rounder. Buffalohas to feel good about the rookie tackle out of Clemson after this strong performance.

Grade – A-

Von Miller, LB, Denver Broncos Pick 2

Much was expected from the pass rush specialist and he hasn’t failed to deliver.  While the Broncos continue to struggle, Miller continues to offer a ray of hope for the future for John Fox’s squad.  Miller added another sack this week against the Chargers, making five for the season.  Miller should easily end with double digit sacks on the season and could vie for a Pro Bowl selection in year one.

Grade – B+

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals Pick 4

A.J. Green continues to show flashes of future star potential with each game.  AgainstJacksonville, he added five catches for ninety yards and a TD.  A.J. Green and Andy Dalton continue to lead the charge for the surprise Bengals.  Many considered the Bengals contenders for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes before the season started but they have managed to put some heat on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the early goings of 2011.  Green is a big target that can stretch the field in a way that most other receivers can’t and he showed that inJacksonville.  He looks to be on his way to gaining 1,000 yards and could post double digit TD’s at the rate he is going.

Grade – A

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars Pick 10

Sunday’s tilt with the Cincinnati Bengals was Gabbert’s best game of his young NFL career.  Sure, it came in a loss but he is showing the maturation of a young QB.  For the first time all season he appeared poised in going through his reads and threw the ball with much better accuracy.  He finished the game with 221 yards, a TD, and no INT’s.  More importantly he completed around 54% of his passes.  His accuracy has been suspect in the early action but he looked more comfortable against the Bengals and followed his progressions.

Grade – B

From UDFA to team leading receiver for Doug Baldwin

Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks UDFA

No one expected Doug Baldwin to be the go-to receiver inSeattlewith Sidney Rice and Mike Williams but he is emerging as just that.  His eight catch, 136 yard, and a TD performance against the Giants played an integral role inSeattle’s win.  His play in week one came as a surprise but he won’t be sneaking up on opponents any longer.  The UDFA is impressing with each week and this week emerged on the national radar.

Grade – A

Aldon Smith, OLB, San Francisco 49ers Pick 7

Aldon Smith is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with off the edge.  Last week he posted 1.5 sacks against the Eagles and this week he dominated Donald Penn on his way to two sacks.  After a quiet opening three games he has exploded onto the scene with two monster performances.  Smith was viewed as a raw prospect with a huge ceiling but it looks like we could be seeing his ceiling sooner rather than later.

Grade – B+

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