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The Rookies: Week 7

A look at the current rookie crop

The annual influx of each succeeding wave of rookies will always be one of the most appealing dimensions of fantasy football, they are the life blood of dynasty leagues, a mystery to unravel and code to crack for redraft purposes, identifying the right ones before they breakout can confer huge advantages and they keep the hobby unceasingly renewed, reinvigorated and ever fresh.

This expands and brings to the forefront a sub-section of the Ear to the Ground column that ran for the past decade (and replaces it). It also inverts the previous order, with some material formerly covered first under the Team Reports section found later in abbreviated form in the section now called Select Veteran Notes. It will still conclude with a scouting profile (including coverage of both rookies and veterans).

While dynasty is the general purview of this column, the Rookie of the Year awards for Offense and Defense are by definition focused on the current season. What may be a seeming contradiction is resolved by the fact that rookies that excel and gain traction early tend to be on good footing towards a fast tracked, accelerated development for dynasty purposes (and of course players like Jared Goff, Kenneth Dixon and Laquon Treadwell that are destined to have their value surge beyond 2015 will also be tracked closely and receive coverage). The initial rankings reflect the accumulation and weight of the respective prospect's scouting grades culminating in their first action as rookies, opportunity and expected role, as well as some historically-informed/driven heuristics and positional constraint observations highlighted below (on both offense and defense). As we get further into the season, actual production will increasingly be weighted more strongly, and rookie prospects will move up or down accordingly. In addition to tracking stats on a running basis, the Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year lists will be accompanied by ongoing updated individual commentary as development, progress and material changes in their respective opportunities and roles warrant it. This column will appear every other week during the 2016 season.

Rookie of the Year - Offense (past 25 years)

1991 - Leonard Russell, NE, RB
1992 - Carl Pickens, CIN, WR
1993 - Jerome Bettis, LA, RB
1994 - Marshall Faulk, IND, RB
1995 - Curtis Martin, NE, RB
1996 - Eddie George, HOU, RB
1997 - Warrick Dunn, TB, RB
1998 - Randy Moss, MIN, WR
1999 - Edgerrin James, IND, RB
2000 - Mike Anderson, DEN, RB
2001 - Anthony Thomas, CHI, RB
2002 - Clinton Portis, DEN, RB
2003 - Anquan Boldin, ARI, WR
2004 - Ben Roethlisberger, PIT, QB
2005 - Cadillac Williams, TB, RB
2006 - Vince Young, TEN, QB
2007 - Adrian Peterson, MIN, RB
2008 - Matt Ryan, ATL, QB
2009 - Percy Harvin, MIN, WR
2010 - Sam Bradford, STL, QB
2011 - Cam Newton, CAR, QB
2012 - Robert Griffin III, WAS, QB
2013 - Eddie Lacy, GB, RB
2014 - Odell Beckham, NYG, WR
2015 - Todd Gurley, STL, RB 

Positional Breakdown

QB - 6 (all in the last 10 years, signaling a trend of recently increased preparedness from the college level, trust, usage and/or desperation with quicker front office and coaching staff hiring and firing cycles, as well as the fact that there just are never enough good veteran QBs at any given time to cover all 32 teams - also, the same contemporary rule changes favoring offense in general and the passing game specifically, benefit not only vets, but the most talented, prepared, hard working and smartest rookies)
RB - 14 (11 in the first 15 years, just 3 in the 10 since)
WR - 5 (both rarer and more evenly distributed, in approximately half decade intervals)
TE - 0 (enough said)

As seen from above, RBs dominated the Rookie of the Year award on offense in the first 15 years of the last quarter century, and largely QBs in the last decade. The skill position class of '16 has three first round QB prospects (including the #1 and #2 overall picks) and also includes a late fourth round gem and potential future star, a RB class featuring one of the top prospects at his position in the past decade taken #4 overall but not a particularly exceptional group beyond him, a good looking WR class that makes up in depth what it lacks in elite star power and a middling TE group that could nonetheless offer as many as three or more solid starters in future seasons.

Rookie of the Year - Offense (2016)

Player, Team, Position, Age ('16), Pedigree, College, Height/Weight

1) Ezekiel Elliot, DAL, RB, 21, 1.4, Ohio State (6'0", 225)
(28-157-0 rushing, 2-17-0 receiving AND 137-703-5 rushing, 11-98-0 receiving TOTAL)

Elliot could finish #1 at his position (neck and neck with David Johnson depending on scoring format) and through the first six games of the season is pacing for what would be an NFL rookie rushing yardage record with 1,875, as well as 13 TDs, vindicating his rare for a RB, super blue chip top five overall pedigree, and fulfilling the hype as the best RB prospect to come down the pike since Todd Gurley and Adrian Peterson. If he sustains his torrid, incendiary pace, it would break the record set by Eric Dickerson of (1,808 yards & 18 TDs rushing, 404 yards & 2 TDs receiving). O.J. Anderson was the only other rookie RB to break 1,600 (1,605 & 8 TDs), including Edgerrin James (1,553 & 13 TDs, 586 & 4 TDs receiving), Clinton Portis (1,508 & 15 TDs), Barry Sanders (1,470 & 14 TDs in 15 games and 13 starts), Earl Campbell (1,450 & 13 TDs, also in 15 games but with 14 starts) and Peterson (1,341 & 12 TDs in 14 games and just nine starts).  

2) Dak Prescott, DAL, QB, 23, 4.37, Mississippi State (6'2", 225)
(18/27-247-3 and 1 INT, 1-6-0 rushing AND 125/182-1,486-7 and 1 INTs, 20-67-3 rushing TOTAL)

Prescott is improbably putting up top 10 passing numbers, including some historically impressive metrics in the process. He broke Tom Brady's record of most passes to start a career without an INT of 132 (after finally throwing his first career INT against the Packers week 6, the new mark is 176), and on the bonus plan he has dangerous wheels and has also added 3 rushing TDs. After an ominous opening game loss (the Cowboys were 1-11 in 2015 without Romo starting at QB), the team is on a roll and upbeat after five consecutive wins. The battle for supremacy of the NFC East could come down to bookend tilts against the Eagles fellow star rookie Wentz, the first and last regular season games after the week 7 bye, likely foreshadowing many future battle royales over the next decade between these twin NFC East ascendant signal callers and emerging rookie franchise QBs. Prescott and Elliot make a formidable, explosive, dangerous duo. They both benefit equally from the league's top OL. 

3) Carson Wentz, PHI, QB, 24, 1.2, North Dakota State (6'5", 235)
(11/22-179-0 and 0 INT, 2-2-0 rushing AND 102/157-1,186-7 and 1 INTs, 13-37-0 rushing TOTAL)

Wentz also went over 100 passes without an INT to start his career. After racing to a 3-0 start, he has come back to Earth a bit with back to back losses. Thus far, though, Wentz is succeeding beyond what most Eagle fan's could have hoped for. He has a very complete game and the all around skill set to be a future elite NFL signal caller, with prototypical size, arm strength, accuracy, touch, leadership, maturity, work ethic and professionalism.

4) Michael Thomas, NO, WR, 23, 2.16, Ohio State (6'3", 215)
(5-78-1 AND 26-307-3 receiving TOTAL)

Thomas has been a borderline WR2 and top 25 overall WR, pacing for 83-982-9, and the best could still be yet to come. QB Drew Brees helms a prolific passing attack that can support three or more receiving weapons. Thomas has already passed WR Willie Snead in the pecking order and is behind only top 10 WR Brandin Cooks production-wise. Keyshawn Johnson's nephew appears to have an extremely bright future at the next level, ably filling the intermediate, over the middle, red zone threat role as a Marques Colston doppleganger.

5) Hunter Henry, SD, TE, 22, 2.4, Arkansas (6'5" 250)
(6-83-1 AND 19-310-3 receiving TOTAL)

After a modest start, Henry has consistently fallen within a range of at least 61-83 receiving yards the past month, with a TD in three consecutive games. He could take over as starter for Antonio Gates as soon as 2017, or at least carve out a substantial role. Not a seam bursting speed merchant, freakish physical specimen or athletic prodigy, he "just" has a very solid, well rounded overall game, is a polished route runner, seems to have a knack for finding the soft spots in zone coverage and consistently gets open. The 2015 Mackey Award winner for the top FBS TE couldn't have asked for a better mentor in Gates or QB in Philip Rivers.

6) Jordan Howard, CHI, RB, 22, 5.11, Indiana (6'1" 220)
(7-22-0 rushing AND 73-352-1 rushing, 14-128-1 receiving TOTAL)

Howard got off to a slow start behind 2015 rookie revelation Jeremy Langford, but was thrust into greater prominence in the past month after an injury to the incumbent RB starter (long time Bears great Matt Forte signed with the Jets in free agency), and delivered in a big way in the first two weeks of October, with back to back 100 yard games, though he was largely bottled up by the Jaguars and Packers Thursday night in the past two games. What the successor of Tevin Coleman at Indiana lacks compared to his former teammate's breakaway speed, he makes up for with vision, instincts, short area quickness, power, ruggedness, resilience and impressive contact balance. Howard can be a load for DBs once he gets into the second and third levels with a full head of steam.

7) Will Fuller, HOU, WR, 22, 1.21, Notre Dame (6'0", 180)
(1-4-0 AND 20-327-2 receiving, 1 punt return TD TOTAL)

Earlier in the season Fuller became just the fourth rookie WR in the past decade and a half to have a receiving and punt return TD in the same game (joining Tavon Austin, T.Y. Hilton and Dez Bryant). As alluded to in the first installment of The Rookies, Fuller didn't exactly come from nowhere - he is tied for the Notre Dame season receiving TD record with 15 in 2014 (including two of the top five seasons, with another 14 in 2015) and is second in career TDs with 30, behind only Michael Floyd's 37. If there is some uncertainty surrounding his short to mid-term projection, it is a reflection of erratic and inconsistent first year Texans QB Brock Osweiler.  

8) Sterling Shepard, NYG, WR, 22, 2.9, Oklahoma (5'10", 195)
(4-25-0 AND 26-302-2 receiving TOTAL)

Shepard has been as good as advertised in the early going. His highly advanced, pro-ready skill set have seemingly made his transition to the pros as effortless and seamless as his mature beyond his years, technically refined route running. Like Tyler Boyd (see below) with potential future Hall of Fame WR A.J. Green, Shepard benefits by playing across from one of the league's best and top five WR Odell Beckham.  

9) Corey Coleman, CLE, WR, 22, 1.15, Baylor (5'11", 185)
(OUT AND 7-173-2 receiving TOTAL)

Coleman followed up an explosive, breakout game week 2 by breaking his hand. He hasn't played since, has already been ruled out for this week, hasn't resumed practicing yet and looks to still be a few weeks away. Once he returns, Coleman has the kind of explosive athleticism, elite talent and dangerous open field running skills once he has the ball in his hands to eventually emerge as an elite WR.       

10) Tyler Boyd, CIN, WR, 22, 2.24, Pittsburgh (6'1", 195)
(4-79-0 AND 19-242-0 receiving TOTAL)

Boyd has tailed off after a promising start and if he doesn't pick up the pace soon could be supplanted on the list by one of the below prospects in the next installment of the Rookies. What he does have going for him is A) a strong QB in Andy Dalton and B) he will never see double teams playing opposite of super star WR A.J. Green.   

Standing on the Verge

Jared Goff, LA
DeAndre Washington, OAK
Austin Hooper, ATL

Quarterback
Paxton Lynch, DEN
Christian Hackenberg, NYJ
Cody Kessler, CLE
Connor Cook, OAK
Cardale Jones, BUF
Nate Sudfeld, WAS

Running Back
Derrick Henry, TEN
Wendell Smallwood, PHI
Kenneth Dixon, BAL
Kenyan Drake, MIA
C.J. Prosise, SEA
Tyler Ervin, HOU
Devontae Booker, DEN
Paul Perkins, NYG
Jonathan Williams, BUF
Alex Collins, SEA

Wide Receiver
Josh Doctson, WAS
Laquon Treadwell, MIN
Braxton Miller, CLE
Leonte Carroo, MIA
Tajae Sharpe, TEN
Chris Moore, BAL
Malcolm Mitchell, NE
Ricardo Louis, CLE
Pharoh Cooper, LA
Demarcus Robinson, KC
Jordan Payton, CLE
Tyreek Hill, KC
Rashard Higgins, CLE
Mike Thomas, LA
Nelson Spruce, LA

Tight End
Tyler Higbee, LA
Nick Vannett, SEA
Seth DeValve, CLE
Temarrick Hemingway, LA
Jerell Adams, NYG
David Morgan, MIN

IR

Jacoby Brisset, NE

Defensive Rookie of the Year (past 25 years)

1991 - Mike Croel, DEN, LB
1992 - Dale Carter, KC, CB
1993 - Dana Stubblefield, SF, DT
1994 - Tim Bowens, MIA, DT
1995 - Hugh Douglas, NYJ, DE
1996 - Simeon Rice, ARI, DE
1997 - Peter Boulware, BAL, LB
1998 - Charles Woodson, OAK, CB
1999 - Jevon Kearse, TEN, DE
2000 - Brian Urlacher, CHI, LB
2001 - Kendrell Bell, PIT, LB
2002 - Julius Peppers, CAR, DE
2003 - Terrell Suggs, BAL, LB
2004 - Jonathan Vilma, NYJ, LB
2005 - Shawne Merriman, SD, LB
2006 - DeMeco Ryans, HOU, LB
2007 - Patrick Willis, SF, LB
2008 - Jerod Mayo, NE, LB
2009 - Brian Cushing, HOU, LB
2010 - Ndamukong Suh, DET, DT
2011 - Von Miller, DEN, LB
2012 - Luke Kuechly, CAR, LB
2013 - Sheldon Richardson, NYJ, DE
2014 - Aaron Donald, STL, DT
2015 - Marcus Peters, KC, CB

Positional Breakdown

  • DT - 4 (Two in the past half decade plus, after about a decade and a half interval)
  • DE - 5 (Richardson the first one in over a decade)
  • LB - 13 (11 in the decade and a half plus since 2000)
  • CB - 3 (Peters first in over a decade and a half since Charles Woodson in 1998)
  • S - 0 (Over a quarter century since Mark Carrier in 1990)

Once again, as seen from above, LB has dominated the Defensive Rookie of the Year award (unsurprising, it is a cliché that it is the most instinctive and RB-like position on defense), especially in the last nearly decade and a half. DL has been more rare (heavily dependent on physical maturation and technical development), though there were six in the first decade plus, plus two in a row before 2015, with a mini-comeback for the position. The secondary has been rarer still (it is generally harder to make the number of splash plays or be as active in sheer volume from the boundary or back end of the defense, compared to the more centrally situated LB), with Marcus Peters the first DB to win in more than a decade and a half since Charles Woodson. The defensive class of '16 features a potentially strong LB position group (which will be bolstered further if Cowboys second rounder Jaylon Smith can return from a serious knee injury including nerve damage by 2017), DE took a blow as usual with many top prospects converted to LB, such as Leonard Floyd, Shaq Lawson, teammate Kevin Dodd and Emanuel Ogbah. DT lost top 3-technique pass rusher Sheldon Rankins due to a broken leg, CB is strong in numbers and Jaylen Ramsey might be one of the top defensive players in the class at any position, and safety looks weak overall for several years in a row, though mid-first round picks Karl Joseph and Keanu Neal are gifted athletes and could be very productive once they inexorably are elevated to starting gigs.   

Defensive Rookie of the Year (2016)

Player, Team, Position, Age ('16), Pedigree, College, Height/Weight

1) Jatavis Brown, SD, LB, 22, 5.36, Akron (5'11", 220)
(13 solo tackles, 1 assist, 1 sack, 1 FF AND 35 solo tackles, 7 assists, 3 sacks, 2 FF TOTAL)

Brown began the season as an obscure late fifth rounder from Akron, but after injury thrust him into the spotlight and a starting role (ILB Manti Te’o on IR with a rupured Achilles tendon) he has stormed to the top of the list. Being an undersized 5'11", 220 lbs. no doubt contributed to being shunned during the 2016 Scouting Combine selection process and further insuring his relative anonymity. Brown has great football character, smarts and intangibles, as well as exemplary work ethic and professionalism, which could destine him for future stardom barring injury, if he can withstand the rigors of ILB at the NFL level given his lack of prototypical measureables for his position. 

2) Deion Jones, ATL, LB, 22, 2.21, LSU (6'1", 230)
(1 solo tackles, 5 assists AND 25 solo tackles, 11 assists, 1 INT, 1 TD TOTAL)

Jones was playing at a top 10 overall LB level before being ruled out two weeks ago with an ankle injury. He has elite speed but is somewhat undersized for his position (though not as much as Brown). At the rate the Falcons are scoring, opposing offenses could be playing from behind a lot, which is right in the wheelhouse of Jones, as he has the coverage skills of a safety (already had a pick six week three against Drew Brees and the Saints). Before the injury, he had 20 solo tackles and 5 assists COMBINED in the first three games.   

3) Yannick Ngakoue, JAX, DE, 21, 3.6, Maryland (6'2" 255)
(1 solo tackles, 1 sack AND 9 solo tackles, 2 assists, 4 sacks, 3 FFs, 1 INT TOTAL)

Ngakoue has a sack in four consecutive games and had a FF in three straight games prior to last week. In an IDP class with a dearth of big plays, Brown and Ngakoue have been lighting up the box score in just about every statistical category, and has been one of the most productive DEs in the league OVERALL in his first five games of the 2016 season. The DE position is notoriously difficult to excel at for rookies, so his breakout has been especially impressive and stood out even more. With 2015 top three overall pick, up and coming DE Dante Fowler (himself among the top 30 DEs statistically), the Jaguars appear to have finally solved a chronic pass rush void Achilles heel.

4) Keanu Neal, ATL, S, 21, 1.17, Florida (6'1", 210)
(5 solo tackles, 6 assists, 1 FF AND 20 solo tackles, 12 assists, 2 FFs TOTAL)

Much like fellow mid-first round safety prospect Karl Joseph (though for different reasons, in Neal's case a minor pre-season knee surgery procedure, Joseph due to rehabbing a 2015 torn ACL), Neal got out of the blocks to his 2016 rookie campaign slowly, but is making up ground and for the lost time quickly. Also like Jospeh, Neal is an intimidating, blow up hitter (though lacking his rookie counterpart's highly developed aerial skills). Should be in position to make a lot of plays deployed as a quasi-LB, and has the talent to thrive and fluorish in this role/scheme. At Florida, coaches and teammates alike raved about his charismatic leadership and exceptional football IQ.  

5) Karl Joseph, OAK, S, 1.14, West Virginia (5'10", 205)
(7 solo tackles, 2 assists AND 11 solo tackles, 7 assists TOTAL)

Joseph got off to a slow start (partly by design of the Raiders, he suffered a torn ACL last season at West Virginia and was eased into the starting role after a few games), but has been an ultra-productive tackler since being inserted into the lineup. In addition to exceptional coverage ability and ball skills for a safety (at the time he went down last year he was among the national leaders in INTs), his ruthless and intimidating striking ability in run support has been compared variously to Brian Dawkins, Bob Sanders, Troy Polamalu and Earl Thomas. Joseph has rare pedigree for a safety and oozes unmistakable star potential.

6) Joey Bosa, SD, DE, 21, 1.3, Ohio State (6'5", 280)
(1 solo tackle AND 5 solo tackles, 1 assists, 2 sacks TOTAL)

Bosa made his long, anxiously awaited debut with a two sack game two weeks ago. The Chargers if not for a string of late game unlucky breaks could easily be 6-0 instead of 2-4. It is hard to not wonder how many of those games an in shape and in camp on time Bosa might have had the opportunity to make a difference in, with the heart breaking losses falling by razor thin margins in the fourth quarter. To be fair, the team was snake bit and ravaged by injury in the first month of the so far accursed season. Bosa has the complete, well rounded game to in time become one of the league's better two way defenders at his position.  

7) DeForest Buckner, SF, DE, 22, 1.7, Oregon (6'7" 290)
(5 solo tackles, 4 assists, 2 sacks AND 11 solo tackles, 19 assists, 2 sacks TOTAL)

Buckner had a career high in tackles along with his first two sacks last week. Like Calais Campbell, he is an agile man mountain with nifty feet and shocking athleticism for given towering size. Playing 3-4 DE generally tends to not be conducive to racking up massive IDP stats, but Campbell embodies a testament to the possibility. Retired serial All-Pro Justin Smith also had some highly productive years in a similar role for the 49ers, and they also share elite, super blue chip pedigree for the DE position.

8) Darron Lee, NYJ, LB, 22, 1.20, Ohio State (6'1", 240)
(1 solo tackle, 1 assist AND 22 solo tackles, 8 assists, .5 sack TOTAL)

Lee is out this week with what was described as a severe ankle injury, and could be absent even longer. He seems destined to be a top 20 LB eventually, but is undersized, relatively new to the LB position (just two years in college after playing QB and safety as a prep) and switching to the inside on top of getting acclimated to the far greater speed at the next level. Lee has a lot of similarities to the increasingly popular S/LB hybrids around the league, such as Deone Bucannon, Mark Barron and fellow rookie Su'a Cravens. Once he settles in and becomes more familar with the different inside out run support vectors, he will benefit from one of the best DLs in the NFL - as do LA MLB and former Georgia safety prospect Alec Ogletree and WLB and former Alabama All-American S Barron.

9) Vonn Bell, NO, S, 22, 2.30, Ohio State (5'11", 210)
(2 solo tackles, 1 assists, AND 20 solo tackles, 5 assists, 1 FF TOTAL)

One of the most highly recruited safety prospects in the nation as a prep, Bell excelled at Ohio State, but occasionally was dinged by scouts towards the end of his run there for lacking physicality and appearing contact shy/averse on film. There were some questions regarding how much of a role he would have right off the bat, with starting safeties Kenny Vacccaro (former mid-first rounder) and pricey, talented but brittle former Bill Jairus Byrd, but he is already in the mix and very actively involved. For IDP purposes, the Saints have had a heinous defense for several years, which likely projects to being on the field a lot, in what FBG IDP Guru John Norton has aptly and often characterized as a "target rich environment" for tackles.

10) Su'a Cravens, WAS, LB, 21, 2.22, USC (6'1", 225)
(DNP AND 9 solo tackles, 5 assists, 1 INT TOTAL)

Cravens will play this week after missing time with injury. The second rounder has a lot of parallels with first round rookie LB Lee, extending to being undersized for a LB, and offering a possible explanation for their relatively slow starts. Once Cravens gets comfortable (both in the NFL and at his position), he is an extraordinarily talented and versatile defender. While not as fast, he has similar size to Tampa Bay Hall of Fame WLB Derrick Brooks, yet has the ability to break on the ball and make plays in coverage like a CB. Supremely instinctive playmaker with a RARE skill set. Future star potential if he can stay healthy, BIG upside. 

Standing on the Verge

Leonard Floyd, CHI
Shaq Lawson, BUF

Defensive Tackle
Kenny Clark, GB
Vernon Butler, CAR
Chris Jones, KC
Austin Johnson, TEN
Jihad Ward, OAK
A'Shawn Robinson, DET
Jarran Reed, SEA
Maliek Collins, DAL
Javon Hargrave, PIT
Sheldon Day, JAX

Defensive End
Noah Spence, TB
Robert Nkemdiche, ARI
Adam Gotsis, DEN
Carl Nassib, CLE
Jonathan Bullard, CHI
Shilique Calhoun, OAK
Adolphus Washington, BUF
Hassan Ridgeway, IND

Linebacker
Myles Jack, JAX
Kevin Dodd, TEN
Emanuel Ogbah, CLE
Kamalei Correa, BAL
Jordan Jenkins, NYJ
Nick Vigil, CIN
Kyler Fackrell, GB
Joe Schobert, CLE
Joshua Perry, SD
B.J. Goodson, NYG
De'Vondre Campbell, ATL
Antonio Morrison, IND
Blake Martinez, GB
Kentrell Brothers, MIN
Josh Forrest, LA

Cornerback
Jalen Ramsey, JAX
Eli Apple, NYG
Vernon Hargreaves, TB
William Jackson III, CIN
Artie Burns, PIT
Xavien Howard, MIA
Mackensie Alexander, MIN
Cyrus Jones, NE
James Bradberry, CAR
Kendall Fuller, WAS

Safety
T.J. Green, IND
Sean Davis, PIT
Kevin Byard, TEN
Darian Thompson, NYG
Miles Killebrew, DET
Deon Bush, CHI
K.J. Dillon, HOU

IR

Jaylon Smith, DAL
Reggie Ragland, BUF
Sheldon Rankins, NO
Bronson Kaufusi, BAL
Andrew Billings, CIN
Will Redmond, SF
Charles Tapper, DAL

Select Veteran Notes will return week 9

Scouting Profile

(from the 2016 Pre-Season WR Value Plays article)

Michael Crabtree - Like the Raiders in general, former top 10 overall WR Crabtree is enjoying a renaissance, signing a four year, $34 million extension ($16.5 million guaranteed) late in the 2015 season. The savvy and experienced veteran intermediate threat makes a perfect complement to the younger, more explosive downfield threat Amari Cooper. Oakland is building a dangerous passing attack, with third year franchise QB Derek Carr and also including record setting second year TE Clive Walford from TE U (otherwise known as Miami). For various reasons Crabtree never attained NFL stardom some expected based on a historically prolific collegiate career as a Texas Tech underclassman, but he has top 15-20 WR ability and scoring potential in the right circumstances.

Thanks for reading The Rookies, all questions and comments invited - magaw@footballguys.com

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