So while we didn’t make the playoffs this year there were some bright sparks this season and some great contributions from the rookies. The standouts in the order they were drafted:
- Ethan Pocic (2nd Round) – OL
- Shaquill Griffin (3rd Round) – CB
- Nazair Jones (3rd Round) – DT
- Chris Carson (7th Round) – RB
While Carson looked to be the standout player from the beginning, making explosive and powerful plays from the get go he was thrown back by an injury in week 4 and the Seahawks run game crumbled down to Russell Wilson. A healthy Carson may have been the one big piece missing on Offence, because the alternatives Rawls and Lacy simply did not produce.
Similarly, Pocic came in more and more towards the end of the season and seemed like a really solid addition to the OL. While not being a real standout he seemed calm and collected, especially next to Ifedi who managed to draw at least one flag in every single game. I see him taking a big step next season and factoring in more.
Nazair Jones also made impact plays from the beginning batting down balls and almost scoring a TD. He made us forget Rubin and once he gets over his injury he will be the young new core of the DLine with Reed.
Seahawks Rookie of the Year: Griffin
The top standout player out of this rookie group, however, was Griffin. He quickly won the starting spot from a shaky Lane and never gave it back. While Shead never really came back this season, that wasn’t an issue, because Griffin never seemed unsure, even recording a sack and and an interception late in the season. Even when Sherman was injured it always felt like opposing QBs preferred to target whoever was on the other side to Griffin.
Looking at his stats confirms his great season. the following table compares him to the top three rated rookie cbs according to PFF:
|Name/ Team||INT||Pass Def||Tackles (solo)||Tackles (assist)||Sacks||Tackles for Loss||Forced Fum||Fum recovered|
there are four categories which I see as paramout in importance for a CB: Pass Defenced, Interceptions and Tackles (Solo/Assisted). While he had a slow start when it came to interceptions he leads this group of rookies with white in passes defenced. In addition to this he is a solid third when it comes to tackles and is the only other apart from King to record a sack, in fact only a fraction of CBs in the league got a sack at all.
Some further stats:
tackling efficiency grade (per PFF)
- in the passing game joint 11th with the likes of A.J. Bouye and Malcom Butler.
- in the run game 39th, which is better than both of the above as well as the likes of Xavier Rhodes and Tyrann Mathieu.
- combined he comes in at 15th, between Josh Norman and Stephon Gillmore, second only to Marshon Lattimore among rookies. The only categories across the board where Lattimore beat him in were assisted stops (3 to Griffin’s 2) and missed tackles (0 to Griffin’s 2). Griffin also out-snapped him by over 100 snaps.
coverage (per PFF)
- 17th most targeted CB (playing opposite Sherman for most of the season)
- allowing less receptions than Xavier Rhodes, Jalen Ramsey, Malcom Butler or Tyrann Mathieu. All of whom were targeted less often.
- in yards allowed he was also better than Xavier Rhodes, Jalen Ramsey and Malcom Butler
- 12th in yards after catch!! with only AJ Bouye and Patrick Peterson as players who allowed less on more snaps.
- only allowed 2 TDs against…
If you look at his stats he is being hugely undervalued in the NFL. And if he doesn’t play so conservatively next year he will have a big one.
but that’s exactly one of the things i really like about griffin: he isn’t a hotshot rookie. he might have allowed a couple more catches than he could have defenced, but instead he wrapped up the receivers and made sure that they weren’t going anywhere once they got the ball. this meant that he did not allow as many big plays to be made on him. not bad for someone who had to learn a completely new coverage and become a starter in his rookie season.
Where he does need to improve is his transitional quickness as receivers adjust their route, but i think that he will take a big step here when the game slows down for him in his second season. I also think it would be gold for him if he practices with sherman in the off-season.
mentions throughout the season by PFF:
week 15: “Cornerback Shaquill Griffin has broken up six third down passes this year, which is tied for the second-most among all defensive players and the most among rookies.”
week 10: “When cornerback Shaquill Griffin lines up in press coverage, he has allowed a 45.7 percent catch rate. That is second-best for all rookie cornerbacks when lined up in press.”
week 5: mentioned as “on the bubble” in pff’s rookie rankings