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Top 35 rookies according to Mel Kiper

#1Hidden_Is_BackPosted 10/24/2013 3:41:55 PM
1. Sheldon Richardson, DT, New York Jets
He's been a solid, steady performer week after week for the Jets. It's interesting to note that Richardson is the top rookie defensive lineman in the NFL right now and former Jets first-rounder Muhammad Wilkerson is right there among the the top overall defensive lineman in the NFL at this point. Richardson is particularly dominant against the run, with great vision and a sense of where the ball is headed. Rex Ryan has to be thrilled with the line he has right now, and second-year man Damon Harrison has also been outstanding.


2. Kiko Alonso , ILB, Buffalo Production, athleticism, instincts and passion for the game are what get your attention. The former Oregon Duck is currently leading the Bills defense with 70 tackles, while also recording a sack and coming away with four interceptions. He's all over the field right now, and you can tie Alonso's presence to an overall improvement for the defense, given his versatility and that he never comes off the field. He struggled against the Bengals two weeks ago but has looked good since.

3. Kenny Vaccaro , S, New Orleans He's played nothing close to mistake-free football, but he doesn't come off the field for a defense that is giving up 102 fewer yards per game than they did last year. Vaccaro's best area has been in coverage, and he simply needs to be more consistent both in his routes and his tackling. But he's made a difference. He's also made some big plays, including the game-saver against Atlanta.

4. Star Lotulelei , DT, Carolina His combination of power and quickness makes life miserable for opposing guards and centers. The way he disrupts a blocking scheme allows MLB Luke Kuechly to flow to the football and lead the Panthers defense in tackles. What you end up with is a player who is already one of the best run-game disruptors in the NFL, both through his own ability to create stops and because he occupies blocks so well.

5. Alec Ogletree , LB, St. Louis His speed and athleticism fits today's pass-happy NFL perfectly. The former Georgia Bulldog has been a key entity on defense for the Rams, making his presence felt in a variety of ways. Ogletree is second on the team with 51 tackles, just four behind MLB James Laurinaitis . He's also broken up four passes and come away with an interception that he returned for a touchdown. He overruns plays and can miss reads, but he'll get better.

6. Geno Smith , QB, New York Jets He's battled through some rough games and shown tremendous resiliency, leading the Jets to four wins in the early going, which is more wins than 18 teams in the NFL. I thought going into the 2013 campaign that the Jets would win only 4-5 games the entire season. Smith bounced back from a poor performance against the Steelers to lead the Jets to an upset victory over Tom Brady and the Pats this past Sunday. What impressed me with Smith was his ability to convert critical third down opportunities, while again showing that he can beat a defense with his arm and his legs. Is he a starter on most teams? Probably not. But I liked the pick, and I like what he's made of his situation.

7. Keenan Allen , WR, San Diego Maybe he's a little high based on aggregate performance, but this shows some respect for the trend line. After a slow start (not uncommon for a rookie wide receiver) he's now tied for the team lead in targets among WRs with 37, and has 23 of his 26 receptions over the last four games. Allen is a first-round talent that lasted until the third because he couldn't get healthy during the draft process. The Chargers are reaping the benefits.
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In bizarro world, the horses ride people and they had to put down MasterChief today. - TIDQ
#2Hidden_Is_Back(Topic Creator)Posted 10/24/2013 3:42:12 PM
8. Tyrann Mathieu , S, Arizona When we'd have meetings in preparation for the draft, Jon Gruden would argue that Mathieu was worth a first-round pick because of his natural football instincts and his ability as a playmaker. Gruden was right. Mathieu looks like a steal at this point, has played over 400 snaps, can play slot, safety, come on blitzes and, so far, do pretty much everything well. He's a football player.

9. Eric Reid , S, San Francisco He's only fifth on the team in tackles, but he's been a big-play performer as a rookie starter in the 49ers deep patrol. Reid has broken up five passes, picked off three passes -- he had two last year at LSU -- and also recovered a fumble. If he can limit missed tackles, he's a contender for defensive rookie of the year.

10. Jordan Reed , TE, Washington Flying up the board. He moves into the top 10 after a spectacular performance this past Sunday against the Bears. He's currently second on the team with 26 receptions, two of which have gone for TDs. The super-talented pass-catching TE has become a key go-to guy for RG III. He dropped to the third round after some so-so combine numbers -- particularly an average 40 time for a guy pegged as an athletic tight end -- but he's showing he can play.

11. Giovani Bernard , RB, Cincinnati He hasn't been able to break off a big run and has seen his average yards per carry drop in recent weeks, but his role in the offense is more defined, and his versatility is obvious. With Bernard, you have to talk about the role in the passing game. He's already hauled in 25 receptions and is on pace for about 1,400 total yards, and it's still early.

12. Desmond Trufant , CB, Atlanta He got off to just an OK start but has improved over the last four weeks, and is now playing like the best corner the Falcons have -- and Asante Samuel is a part of that secondary. Trufant's great strength is that he doesn't have a distinct weakness. He covers well, limits yards after the catch and maintains his versatility.

13. Eddie Lacy , RB, Green Bay I'm giving a bump based on recent performance and trajectory, and because he missed time after a cheap shot. Lacy has been good when he's played, but missed basically three full games after taking that shot to the head against Washington. A full 301 of his 352 rushing yards for the season have come over the last three games. And more importantly, he looks capable of truly diversifying the Packers offense, which says a lot.

14. Travis Frederick , C, Dallas He got abused early in a matchup with Dontari Poe of the Chiefs, but he's bounced back and has combined with veteran free-agent signee Brian Waters to solidify the interior of the Cowboys offensive line, which had been a major weak link in previous seasons. I didn't love the value of the draft slot, but Frederick is making the pick look good so far.

15. DeAndre Hopkins , WR, Houston I'm giving Hopkins the benefit of the doubt because the QB play has suffered in recent weeks and his totals have as well. I had him ranked higher early, with 18 of his 28 receptions coming during the first three games of the season. Good hands and explosiveness after the catch will keep him valuable.
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In bizarro world, the horses ride people and they had to put down MasterChief today. - TIDQ
#3Hidden_Is_Back(Topic Creator)Posted 10/24/2013 3:43:06 PM
Next up
15. Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas: On pace to join the top 10, Tony Romo appears to trust him.
16. Larry Warford, OG, Detroit: Play has dipped lately, but still a solid starter out of Round 3.
17. D.J. Fluker, OT, San Diego: It's clear he belongs on the right side. But he'll be a good one there.
18. David Bakhtiari, OT, Green Bay: A slow start has given way to steady play. And on a vital blindside.
19. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit: Steady against the run, he's still searching as a pass-rusher.
20. Barkevious Mingo, OLB, Cleveland: Still more flash than consistent production.
21. Kawann Short, DT, Carolina: Will see more time at the rate he produces.
22. Joe Vellano, DT, New England: Pressed into action, he's been good. Chris Jones has been as well.
23. Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati: Just needs more targets. Even when covered, he can bring it in.
24. Marcus Cooper, CB, Kansas City: Undrafted out of Rutgers, he's making waves so far.
25. Kyle Long, OG, Chicago: Steady as a run-blocker, he needs to pass-protect better.
26. Kayvon Webster, CB, Denver: The third-rounder has stepped up for Denver.
27. Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, New England: Uneven play, but the potential is obvious. Needs time.
28. EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo: He's a legacy pick, but put up some good early results.
29. J.J. Wilcox, S, Dallas: Strong play in recent weeks. I thought he might make it as a rookie starter and he has.
30. Jordan Mills, OT, Chicago: Has struggled after a good start, but holds down a starting spot.
31. Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo: Uneven QB play has hampered his production.
32. Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona: Can run it and catch it, not a distant reach from Bernard's production.
33. Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis: The yardage is light, but starting to pile up the catches and targets.
34. Eric Fisher, OT, Kansas City: Maligned because of draft slot expectations, he's starting to play better.
35. Mike Glennon, QB, Tampa Bay: Up and down, but could crack the top 20 soon.
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In bizarro world, the horses ride people and they had to put down MasterChief today. - TIDQ
#4VonMillerPosted 10/24/2013 3:44:12 PM
Kayvon da GOAT
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#5IWantANewKlugPosted 10/24/2013 3:44:31 PM
Mel Kiper continues to be terrible.
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#6RabbitDowneyJrPosted 10/24/2013 3:45:06 PM
why are there two #15's
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RABBIT
Destroyer of Nerds
#7GuyCarlPetersonPosted 10/24/2013 3:45:15 PM
Where is Eli?
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#8zithazPosted 10/24/2013 3:45:38 PM
Star CTHULUlelei, top four rookie.
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#9IWantANewKlugPosted 10/24/2013 3:47:13 PM
Hidden_Is_Back posted...
28. EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo: He's a legacy pick, but put up some good early results.


Lmfao

Let me translate: "I don't really watch EJ Manuel but the Bills aren't winless so I can probably get away with saying this."
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Trigga, I AM Christmas!!!
#10IGotIt4CheapPosted 10/24/2013 3:50:43 PM
Decent list, but i'm surprised Johnathan Cyprien wasn't included. He's been a very bright spot in a otherwise dark season for Jacksonville.
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