Perspective Of An Average Steelers Fan: Updating The Rookies (Part Three)

The preseason rookie tale of the tape compared statistics of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ top three draft picks plus Joshua Dobbs and their contemporaries selected by other teams in the 2018 NFL draft. A rookie update was provided after week 8 of the regular season.

Here is a comparison to their counterparts with Week 13 of the regular season completed:


Passing stats through week 13 of the regular season (stats via Pro Football Reference):

Name G GS Snaps Snap % Cmp Att Cmp % YDs TDs INTs Sack Y/C Y/G Rating
Josh Dobbs 4 0 11 1.30 2 3 66.7 19 0 0 0 9.5 4.8 84.0
Mason Rudolph 0 0 0 0.00 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Baker Mayfield 10 9 659 78.08 224 354 63.3 2639 18 10 22 11.8 263.9 91.1
Sam Darnold (I) 9 9 568 75.03 159 289 55.0 1934 11 14 21 12.2 214.9 68.3
Josh Allen (I) 8 7 452 57.07 101 191 52.9 1223 5 7 23 12.1 152.9 66.3
Josh Rosen (I) 10 9 550 80.29 148 273 54.2 1670 10 11 26 11.3 167.0 68.2
Lamar Jackson 12 3 235 28.59 46 77 59.7 540 2 3 7 11.7 45.0 73.5

Synopsis of each listed quarterback through Week 13 of the 2018 season:

Mason Rudolph (3rd/76 overall) has not appeared in a game so far. The Steelers placed Rudolph on the inactive roster for their first 12 games. Dobbs has been active on gameday with just 11 snaps in 4 games. He picked up a critical first down versus the Baltimore Ravens when Ben Roethlisberger had to briefly leave the game.

Baker Mayfield (1st/1 overall) He has now a regular starter for the Cleveland Browns. Mayfield threw 3 interceptions in the first half in his last game but then came back and passed for 351 yards and a touchdown in the 2nd half. Cleveland fans may have finally found their franchise quarterback.

Sam Darnold (1st/3 overall) He started the first 9 New York Jets games before suffering a foot injury. He had a hot start but cooled off completing less than 50% of his passes in the last 3 games he played. Darnold says he is 100% healthy now. Let’s see if he plays in any of the last four games.

Josh Allen (1st/7 overall) He played in the Buffalo Bills first six games starting five of them. Allen sprained his right elbow and missed four games. Josh is back playing and appears fully recovered. In addition to passing he has run the ball 57 times for 389 yards & 4 TD’s.

Josh Rosen (1st/10 overall) He became the Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback after his debut in week 3. Rosen was just 11 for 26 for 149 yards in their win over the Green Bay Packers.  Not impressive so far this season, but will likely finish the year as the starting quarterback.

Lamar Jackson (1st/32 overall) Jackson has appeared in all 12 Baltimore Ravens games. He started their last 3 games in relief of the injured Joe Flacco.  In his 3 games as a starter he completed 39 of 65 passes for 453 yards, 1 TD & 2 interceptions. In those some games he has ran the ball 54 times for 265 yards and 2 TD’s. He also has 5 fumbles in those 3 games.

Quarterback Summary

With Mason Rudolph inactive, he cannot be compared to the other rookie quarterbacks. Four of the five first round picks have become regular starters. However, injuries have caused Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen to miss time. Lamar Jackson getting a chance to start some games. It will be interesting if John Harbaugh sticks with him in the playoff stretch or if Flacco is ready to resume playing. Baker Mayfield has emerged as the most dependable among this group.


Rookie receiving stats through week 13 of the regular season (stats via Pro Football Reference):

Name G Snaps Snap% RECs Yds Y/C Y/G Catch % TDs
James Washington 10 384 45.23 8 77 9.6 7.7 32.0 1
DJ Moore 12 463 60.76 42 609 14.5 50.8 75.0 2
Calvin Ridley (I) 12 482 60.48 50 647 12.9 53.9 70.4 8
Courtland Sutton 12 565 72.34 28 558 19.9 46.5 47.5 3
Dante Pettis (I) 9 317 39.33 16 314 19.6 34.9 57.1 4
Christian Kirk 12 489 78.49 43 590 13.7 49.2 61.4 3
Anthony Miller (I) 11 481 59.31 30 399 13.3 36.3 60.0 6
DJ Chark (I) 10 279 34.74 14 174 12.4 17.4 46.7 0
Michael Gallup 12 503 64.57 23 380 16.5 31.7 46.9 1

Synopsis of each listed wide receiver through Week 13 of the 2018 season:

James Washington (2nd/60 overall) Washington was inactive in the Steelers last game. He has just 8 receptions in 10 games played and an extremely low catch percentage. He only played 23% of offensive snaps in his last game against the Denver Broncos before being benched after misjudging what should have been a TD pass. However, the injury to Justin Hunter will see him getting a helmet again. Hopefully, he can get on track in the last quarter of the season.

DJ Moore (1st/24 overall) Moore caught 23-of-29 targets for 312 yards and a TD for the Carolina Panthers in Weeks 10-13 according to Pro Football Focus. He is catching 75% of the balls thrown his way which is impressive.

Calvin Ridley (1st/26 overall) Ridley’s eight touchdown receptions rank 8th in the NFL. Although not a regular starter, he’s played in over 60% of the Atlanta Falcons offensive snaps. Matt Ryan will continue to target this talented rookie.

Courtland Sutton (2nd/40 overall) Sutton catches less than have the balls thrown to him but stretches the field. He has caught 28 of 59 targets. His average 19.9 yards per reception currently leads the league. He has started the past four games since the Broncos trade of Demaryius Thomas.

Dante Pettis (2nd/44 overall) Pettis injured his knee on a punt return in week 4 resulting in three missed games. He is back playing and started the last 3 San Francisco 49er’s games. In their last game against the Seattle Seahawks, Pettis had 5 catches for 129 yards & 2 TD’s.

Christian Kirk (2nd/47 overall) Unfortunately, Kirk’s rookie season is over. He injured his foot and the Cardinals placed him on injury reserve. He finishes with 43 receptions and 3 TD’s in 12 games played. He also returned 21 punts averaging 7.8 yards a return. The Cardinals expect a full recovery for the 2019 season.

Anthony Miller (2nd/51 overall) Miller hurt his shoulder in his third game. He missed the Chicago Bears 4th game going into their bye week but has played in every game since. Miller is only targeted 4 to 5 times a game but has scored 6 TD’s on his 30 receptions. That’s a TD every fifth catch!

DJ Chark (2nd/61 overall) Chark only has 30 targets in 10 games played for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He injured his quadriceps and has missed the last two games. It is uncertain if he will play against the Tennessee Titans Thursday night.

Michael Gallup (3rd/81 overall) The Dallas Cowboys have played Gallup a larger percentage of snaps and more targets in the last few games. His 18 targets in the last three games is more than he got in the first 6 games of the season. He has a solid 16.5 yards per catch average which is currently tenth in the league. He had a season high 5 receptions for 76 yards in the win over the Saints Thursday night.

Wide Receiver Summary

James Washington does not compare favorably to the other rookie wide receivers. All the other listed rookies have been contributing to their teams. All fit well into their offensive schemes. Of course, 6 were drafted ahead of him but he has not been productive at all yet. Washington has the least receptions, receiving yardage, yards per catch & per game. His completion percentage is also the lowest among his contemporaries. He also does not play special teams regularly. Let’s see if he can make a statement in the last 4 games of the regular season.


Rookie safety stats through week 13 of the regular season (stats via Pro Football Reference):

Name G Snaps Snap% INTs PDs FF FR Sacks Tackles TFL/QBH
Terrell Edmunds 12 722 90.25 1 4 0 1 1.0 55 1/3
Minkah Fitzpatrick 12 668 82.47 1 7 0 0 0 60 1/0
Derwin James 12 761 99.09 3 12 0 0 3.5 81 4/6
Jessie Bates III 12 864 98.63 3 5 0 0 0 87 0/0
Justin Reid 12 636 79.70 3 9 1 1 0 60 1/1
Ronnie Harrison 12 266 34.41 0 2 0 0 1.0 27 3/1

Synopsis of each listed safety through Week 13 of the 2018 season:

Terrell Edmunds (1st/28 overall) Edmunds has started 11 of 12 games played. He has been up and down in coverage. He has made some impact plays but is not dominant. He did record his first sack in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. He has played just over half the Steelers special team snaps the 6th most on the team.

Minkah Fitzpatrick (1st/11 overall) Fitzpatrick has shown versatility by playing safety and cornerback. He is credited with seven passes defended with an interception. He has played more than 25 % of the Miami Dolphins special team snaps.

Derwin James (1st/17 overall) James continues to do it all. He’s made 81 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 12 pass breakups (4th in NFL) and 3 interceptions. He was the Charger that snagged Ben’s floater out of the air. Right now, he is a strong candidate to be defensive rookie of the year. The Los Angeles Chargers are pleased as he has been a big contributor to their defense.

Jessie Bates III (2nd/54 overall) Bates has 3 interceptions including a pick-6. His 864 defensive snaps easily top the other rookies. Bates bolsters the Cincinnati Bengals secondary starting all 12 games played this season.

Justin Reid (3rd/68 overall) Reid has Houston Texans fans smiling. He has three interceptions and credits with nine passes defensed. His 128 interception return yards leads the NFL. In addition to his 636 defensive snaps he has another 190 on special teams.

Ronnie Harrison (3rd/93 overall) Harrison was one of the Jacksonville Jaguars detained by London police for not paying a bar bill. Not good publicity for a rookie. Harrison has started 6 of 12 games but often rotated out. He played a season high 76 snaps in their 6-0 win over the Indianapolis Colts after only playing 10 defensive snaps in the 3 prior games. He has played about half the special team plays.

Safety Summary

Terrell Edmunds comes out in the middle of a strong safety pack. Fitzpatrick and Derwin James who were selected well ahead of him are playing lights out. Jessie Bates who the Bengals picked in the 2nd round is very solid as is Justin Reid. Would love to see an analysis with tape of these players side by side to see how Edmunds stacks up. The difficulty in direct comparisons is that teams may use their players differently which impacts expectations.

Your Music Selection

In the 2018 Memorial Day Weekend: Steelers Friday Night Five Questions, I committed to play songs that Steelers Depot respondents suggested might be the new Steelers anthem if Renegade by Styx was ever replaced. Here is entry 34 of 45 from Jeremy Miler & Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt: Come on Feel the Noise by Quiet Riot.

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