Last week I tried to put Jameis Winston's performance in perspective as we examined his credentials for Offensive Rookie of the Year. I believe Winston has put up the performance and earned the necessary kudos across the league to warrant the award, especially with Todd Gurley unlikely to put up one final epic performance this week due to injury. This week, let's take a look at the Defensive Rookie of the Year, for which we also have a Seminole candidate.
DROY is an interesting race, as the observational graders and the traditional stats watchers (as well as the eye testers) have differing opinions on who should be in the discussion. The following table shows the ProFootballFocus grades for three DROY candidates. They clearly see only two prime candidates from this set: Jets DE Leonard Williams and our very own Ronald Darby of the Bills. KC's Marcus Peters grades out very low for them on a play to play basis. On the other hand, looking at their ranks in defensive stats across all players at their positions, Darby and Peters have looked quite impressive, while Williams has not really stood out.
|Player||PFF Grade||Top Stat Rank (Good)||Top Stat Rank (Bad)|
|Leonard Williams||88.3||3||5||#3 in QB Hits, assists; #5 in missed tackles|
|Ronald Darby||87.1||3||3||#3 in tackles; #3 thrown at|
|Marcus Peters||73.1||1||2||#1 in Interceptions, PD; #2 in Yards given up|
For this reason, you don't hear Williams mentioned as much in the DROY discussions as you do Darby and Peters, who've put up some gaudy numbers. For this discussion, it's a good thing because we can directly compare Darby and Peters since they play the same position. The following table compares the two corners in several salient stats. The contrast is fairly stark.
|Player||Int||PD||% complete||TD against||QB rating against|
Peters, despite not grading as well by PFF, has the distinct edge in the stats we usually assess corners against. Leading the league in both interceptions and passes defensed is huge. When you couple that with the contrasting team narratives of the Bills fading (and Rex Ryan's defense being pointed at as a culprit) while the Chiefs have gone on a stunning nine game winning streak (with a top defense paving the way), I think Marcus Peters has the advantage on this award. But excellent season by Ronald Darby even if he doesn't bring home the hardware.
Welcome back, Dekoda Watson! The linebacker that just won't die has be re-signed by the New England Patriots for Week 17 and potentially the playoffs.
Rodney Smith has been promoted up from the practice squad as the Cowboys needed another target for Kellen Moore to miss.
Eddie Goldman's promising rookie season has come to an end with the big man being placed on injured reserve by the Bears.
Tony Carter gets to start 2016 on the unemployment line, having been cut from the Saints, the third team to do so this year.
Depth Chart Movement
Antonio Cromartie's a busier guy, as the old man has started to return kicks for the oft-injured Jets as well as playing corner.
Nick O'Leary has slid up the Bills depth chart with starter Charles Clay being placed on injured reserve. Nick should see more than the two targets he's received so far.
Top News from the Past Week
Congratulations to Anquan Boldin, who made his thousandth catch of his career.
Chris Thompson came up big in his game, scoring a TD that helped put Washington over the Eagles, simultaneously vaulting his team into the playoffs and ending the reign of terror of Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly. It's rumored that Kelly may end up in Tennessee, a job I'm sure made more attractive given the presence on the roster of ex-Nole Josue Matias.
Storylines to Watch
It's Week 17, which means for many teams, it's time to give the younger players more time on the field to see what they've got. But there are still a few teams fighting for the playoffs. In particular:
- Letroy Guion (Packers) and Xavier Rhodes (Vikings) face off against each other for the NFC North title Sunday night.
- Antonio Cromartie and the Jets want to win to secure their wild card spot.
- Lawrence Timmons, Vince Williams, and the Steelers hope that Cro and the Jets fail while they win to vault into the wild card themselves.
- Graham Gano and the Panthers still haven't secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs yet and need a win or a Cardinals loss.
- The Patriots are in a similar situation, meaning Bryan Stork, Tre' Jackson, and Dekoda Watson need a win or a Broncos loss (the Bengals can't pass the Patriots due to tie breakers).
- Bjoern Werner and the Colts need to beat the Texans and have half a dozen other things happen for a hope at the playoffs.
|Name||Team||Position||Week 17 Status||Week 17 Stats||Season Stats|
|Devonta Freeman||Atlanta Falcons||Running Back||Starter, Limited practice (knee)||24 carries, 81 yards (long: 10), 2 catches, 18 yards (long: 14), 1 TD, 4 targets, 1 fumble lost||240 carries, 980 yards (long: 39), 11 TDs, 71 catches, 560 yards (long: 44), 2 TD, 93 targets, 2 fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 tackle (1 solo)|
|Terrence Brooks||Baltimore Ravens||Free Safety||Backup (2nd)||8 tackles (7 solo), 1 PD, 1 QB hit|
|Timmy Jernigan||Baltimore Ravens||Defensive End||Starter||6 tackles (3 solo)||31 tackles (15 solo, 4 sacks, 2 TFL), 5 QB hits|
|EJ Manuel||Buffalo Bills||Quarterback||Backup (2nd)||52/84, 561 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs, 17 carries, 64 yards (long: 16), 1 TD, 2 fumbles|
|Garrison Sanborn||Buffalo Bills||Long Snapper||Starter||2 tackle (2 solo)|
|Karlos Williams||Buffalo Bills||Running Back||Backup (2nd), limited practice (hand)||6 carries, 24 yards (long: 6), 1 TD, 3 catches, 3 yards (long: 3), 3 targets||87 carries, 493 yards (long: 41), 6 TDs, 2 fumbles, 8 catches, 111 yards (long: 26), 2 TD, 11 targets|
|Nick O'Leary||Buffalo Bills||Tight End||Backup (2nd)||1 catch, 37 yards (long: 37), 2 targets|
|Nigel Bradham||Buffalo Bills||Linebacker||Starter, Did not practice (ankle)||Inactive||59 tackles (42 solo, 1 sack, 3 TFL), 3 PD, 2 QB hits|
|Ronald Darby||Buffalo Bills||Cornerback||Starter. Limited practice (groin)||68 tackles (61 solo, 3 TFL), 21 PD, 2 INT (long: 27)|
|Graham Gano||Carolina Panthers||Place kicker||Starter||1/1 FG (long: 49), 5/5 XP||29/35 FG (long: 52), 51/54 XP, 3 tackles (3 solo)|
|Kelvin Benjamin||Carolina Panthers||Wide Receiver||IR|
|Christian Jones||Chicago Bears||Linebacker||Starter||5 tackles (4 solo, 1 sack, 1 TFL), 1 QB hit||81 tackles (58 solo, 3 TFL), 4 PD, 3 QB hit, 1 fumble recovery|
|Eddie Goldman||Chicago Bears||Defensive Tackle||IR||22 tackles (16 solo, 4.5 sack, 3 TFL), 2 QB hit|
|James Wilder Jr.||Cincinnati Bengals||Running Back||Practice Squad|
|Cameron Erving||Cleveland Browns||Offensive Guard||Starter||1 fumble recovery|
|Rodney Smith||Dallas Cowboys||Wide Receiver||Backup (4th)||Inactive|
|Letroy Guion||Green Bay Packers||Defensive Tackle||Starter, limited practice (foot)||3 tackles (1 solo)||18 tackles (12 solo, 3 TFL)|
|Bjoern Werner||Indianapolis Colts||Linebacker||Backup (2nd)||13 tackles (7 solo, 3 TFL), 1 fumble recovery|
|Rashad Greene||Jacksonville Jaguars||Wide Receiver/punt returner||Backup (3rd) RB, Starter punt returner||1 catch, 5 yards, 2 targets, 4 punt returns, 50 yards (long: 20)||16 catches, 88 yards (long: 18), 2 TD, 29 targets, 1 fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 14 punt returns, 251 yards, 1 TD (long: 63)|
|Telvin Smith||Jacksonville Jaguars||Linebacker||Starter, Did not practice (shoulder)||Inactive||128 tackles (99 solo, 2.5 sacks, 11 TFL), 7 PD, 1 INT (long: 26), 1 TD, 1 QB hit|
|Xavier Rhodes||Minnesota Vikings||Cornerback||Starter||3 tackles (3 solo), 1 PD, 1 INT, 0 yards||55 tackles (52 solo, 1 TFL), 10 PD|
|Bryan Stork||New England Patriots||Center||Starter|
|Tre' Jackson||New England Patriots||Offensive Guard||Backup (2nd)|
|Dekoda Watson||New England Patriots (re-signed by New England Week 17, released by New England Week 4, signed by New England Week 2)||Linebacker||Backup (3rd)||1 tackle (1 solo)||1 tackle (1 solo)|
|P.J. Williams||New Orleans Saints||Cornerback||IR|
|Bobby Hart||New York Giants||Offensive Tackle||Backup (2nd)|
|Antonio Cromartie||New York Jets||Defensive Back, kick returner||Starter||1 kick return, 24 yards||29 tackles (26 solo, 2 TFL), 12 PD, 1 fumble recovery, 1 kick return, 19 yards|
|Mario Edwards Jr.||Oakland Raiders||Defensive End||IR||42 tackles (34 solo, 2.5 sacks, 4 TFL), 1 PD, 3 QB hit, 2 forced fumbles, 1 PD|
|Menelik Watson||Oakland Raiders||Offensive Tackle||IR|
|Rodney Hudson||Oakland Raiders||Offensive Guard||Starter||1 tackle (1 solo)|
|Sebastian Janikowski||Oakland Raiders||Place kicker||Starter||1/1 FG (long: 29), 2/2 XP||20/25 FG (long: 56), 36/37 XP, 1 tackle (1 solo)|
|Lawrence Timmons||Pittsburgh Steelers||Linebacker||Starter||10 tackles (7 solo, 1.5 sacks), 1 QB hit||110 tackles (70 solo, 3.5 sacks, 3 TFL), 6 PD, 1 INT, 6 QB hits|
|Vince Williams||Pittsburgh Steelers||Linebacker||Backup (2nd)||3 tackles (3 solo)||43 tackles (31 solo, 0.5 sacks), 1 PD, 2 QB hit, 2 fumble recoveries|
|Patrick Robinson||San Diego Chargers||Defensive Back||Backup (2nd), limited practice (calf)||2 tackles (2 solo), 1 PD||47 tackles (41 solo, 2 TFL), 7 PD, 2 QB hit, 1 INT (long: 27 yards), 1 forced fumble|
|Anquan Boldin||San Francisco 49ers||Wide Receiver||Starter||5 catches, 71 yards (long: 33), 1 TD||64 catches, 718 yards (long: 51), 3 TD, 102 targets, 1 fumble lost, 1 tackle (1 solo)|
|Tank Carradine||San Francisco 49ers||Defensive End||Backup (2nd)||3 tackles (1 solo)||19 tackle (13 solo, 1 sack, 1 TFL), 1 QB hit, 1 forced fumble|
|Nick Moody||Seattle Seahawks (signed Week 2)||Linebacker||IR|
|Lamarcus Joyner||St. Louis Rams||Cornerback||Backup (2nd)||7 tackles (6 solo, 1 TFL)||65 tackles (48 solo, 2 sack, 2 TFL), 2 QB hits, 6 PD, 1 fumble recovery|
|Jameis Winston||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Quarterback||Starter||29/47, 325 yards, 2 INT, 3 carries, 14 yards (long: 6), 1 TD||283/488, 3717 yards, 22 TD, 13 INT, 51 carries, 199 yards (long: 21), 5 TD, 6 fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries|
|Josue Matias||Tennessee Titans||Offensive Guard||Practice Squad|
|Chris Thompson||Washington Redskins||Running Back/Returner||Backup (3rd) RB, Backup (2nd) KR, Full practice (Shoulder)||7 carries, 19 yards (long: 8)||28 carries, 197 yards (long: 42), 35 catches, 240 yards (long: 23), 2 TD, 46 targets, 2 fumbles, 3 return, 63 yards (long: 36)|
|Dustin Hopkins||Washington Redskins (signed Week 2)||Place kicker||Starter||2/2 FG (long: 33), 4/4 XP||23/26 FG (long: 54), 35/36 XP, 2 tackles (2 solo)|
|Brodrick Bunkley||x-Free Agent||Defensive Tackle|
|Darnell Dockett||x-Free Agent||Defensive Tackle|
|Everette Brown||x-Free Agent||Defensive End|
|Jacobbi McDaniel||x-Free Agent||Defensive Tackle|
|Jarred Haggins||x-Free Agent||Wide Receiver|
|Kevin Haplea||x-Free Agent||Tight End|
|Mike Harris||x-Free Agent||Defensive Back|
|Mister Alexander||x-Free Agent||Linebacker|
|Terrance Parks||x-Free Agent||Defensive Back|
|Antone Smith||x-Free Agent (cut by Chicago Bears week 16)||Running Back||1 carry, 11 yards|
|Andre Fluellen||x-Free Agent (cut by Detroit Lions Week 14, signed by Detroit Week 4, cut by Bills Week 4, also cut by Bills Week 1, re-signed by Bills Week 1)||Defensive Tackle||4 tackles (4 solo, 2 TFL)|
|Preston Parker||x-Free Agent (released by New York Giants Week 3)||Wide Receiver/Returner||5 catches, 40 yards (long: 15), 12 targets|
|Christian Ponder||x-Free Agent (signed by Denver Broncos Week 12, released Week 14)||Quarterback|
|Tony Carter||x-Free Agents (cut by New Orleans Week 17, signed Week 15, cut by Indianapolis Colts in Week 10, signed by Indianapolis Colts in Week 8)||Cornerback|