The 1st round picks have wrapped up the 3rd quarter of the season and have four games left to play. This week I graded Ezekial "Ziggy" Ansah the highest for his two sacks on Thanksgiving, contributing in a big way to the Lions' dominating defensive performance. Overall week 13 was a poor week for the class, though, possibly suggesting these guys are starting to run out of gas as they get acclimated to life in the NFL. Below are the updated rankings.
1. Sheldon Richardson, DE for the Jets, originally drafted 13th: He'll end the year #1 in these rankings pretty much regardless of what he does at this point. His lead is huge. This week he had 5 tackles including one for a loss and was great against the run. He did get penalized once, though.
2. Star Lotulelei, DT of Panthers, originally drafted 14th: With yet another dominant performance in the trenches, he's up two spots to #2. He had 3 tackles and a complete game as the Panthers shut down the Bucs. He can rush the passer, handle double teams, annihilate the opponent's run game. His long term ceiling might be the highest of this class.
3. Eric Reid, S of 49ers, originally drafted 18th: He's down a spot after having a poor day in coverage overall over the top. He did have 5 tackles and a defended pass, though, and he remains in my opinion the most physical player of the draft class.
4. Kenny Vaccaro, S of Saints, originally drafted 15th: The Saints were a disaster against the Seahawks, but oddly Vaccaro was spectacular in that game. He was definitely one of the few on his team that showed up. He was very good in coverage and very physical against the run. He had 10 tackles, one for a loss, and delivered a crushing blow to Marshawn Lynch that forced a fumble.
5. Alec Ogletree, LB of Rams, originally drafted 30th: Active as always, he had 10 tackles including one for a loss. His tackle numbers for the season are incredibly high. He does drop two spots because he was a disaster in coverage.
6. Desmond Trufant, CB of Falcons, originally drafted 22nd: A quiet day where he had 1 tackle and a defended pass, which drops him a spot. He continues to have a terrific season despite the Falcons being a ship wreck, though.
7. Ziggy Ansah, DE/LB of the Lions, originally drafted 5th: The Lions' defense looked really scary against Matt Flynn and the Packers, and it was led by Ansah's two sacks. He is red hot at the moment and had his second straight game with multiple sacks. He's up 4 spots.
8. Travis Frederick, C of Cowboys, originally drafted 31st: He's down a spot but had a fine week, notwithstanding one penalty called on him.
9. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR of Vikings, originally drafted 29th: He had one catch for 4 yards and was a non factor in the passing game. He needs to improve that area. His explosiveness is undeniable, though, as evidenced by him taking a reverse 33 yards for a score.
10. DeAndre Hopkins, WR of Texans, originally drafted 27th: He had 2 catches for 77 yards this week, including a big time 66 yard bomb. He's still a work in progress but it was big for his confidence to come up with a play like that as he still struggles to get rhythm with Case Keenum.
11. Tyler Eifert, TE of Bengals, originally drafted 21st: He only had 1 catch for 9 yards but is improving as a blocker. He's down two spots.
12. Barkevious Mingo, LB of Browns, originally drafted 6th: He's up two spots and he continues to fluctuate up and down every single week. He was very active this week with 5 tackles and a tipped ball. This was one of his best games against the run, which has been his real weakness all season.
13. Matt Elam, S of Ravens, originally drafted 32nd: He had a quiet game this week with just 3 tackles, effectively doing his job without making any splashes.
14. Tavon Austin, WR of Rams, originally drafted 8th: He had a 10 yards run and 4 catches for 25 yards. He has struggled to give the Rams playmaking consistency this year. He's a home run threat when he's on and a dud when he's cold. He drops two spots.
15. Xavier Rhodes, CB of the Vikings, originally drafted 25th: He had 6 tackles, including one for a loss and a defended pass. As much as he has improved from the beginning of the season I would not be surprised to see him end up in the top 10. He stays at 15 this week but his play overall has really improved. He is playing at a high level.
16. Lane Johnson, T of the Eagles, originally drafted 4th: He's up a spot as he played pretty well again this week. He did give up a sack, but his pass protection nightmares are a thing of the past with Michael Vick on the bench.
17. Justin Pugh, G/T of the Giants, originally drafted 19th: He's up three spots and continues his ascension from the bottom of the class earlier in the seaon. The Giants are very thin at running back but his physicality in the trenches is still allowing them to have a run game.
18. Sharrif Floyd, DT of Vikings, originally drafted 23rd: Probably his best game of the season and it shoots him up 4 spots. He had 2 tackles but was absolutely dominant against the run. He also had a sack, showing that he can do it all.
19. Dion Jordan, DE of Dolphins, originally drafted 3rd: He had another quiet game with just 3 tackles. Overall a pretty disappointing season for him and he really needs to show something these last few weeks to set the tone for next year.
20. Kyle Long, G of Bears, originally drafted 20th: He is crashing out of the rankings and down another four spots. He looked so good in preseason it's hard to believe he is this low, but he's starting to fall apart a bit. His run blocking was poor this week but his most notable play was the catch of a tipped ball where he would then fumble and cost his team a turnover. Bizarre sequence.
21. Jarvis Jones, LB of the Steelers, originally drafted 17th: He had 2 tackles and was in on a sack. He continues to have a very slow and quiet season.
22. D. J. Fluker, T of Chargers, originally drafted 11th: He had an injury late last week and it makes me wonder if that affected his performance. He was horrible, simply put. He was graded as giving up 7 pressures in this game. 7! I think that's the most I've seen from a lineman this year. The Chargers' offense scored just 10 points and he had a lot to do with it, and he also had two penalties to boot. Clearly he wasn't fit to play, and he shouldn't have. What a disaster that game was for him.
23. Chance Warmack, G of the Titans, originally drafted 10th: He's up a spot for playing really well for a change. One of his better games of the season, in what has been mediocre overall.
24. Datone Jones, DE of Packers, originally drafted 26th: He only played 12 snaps and made no impact whatsoever. This was one of the worst picks of the 1st round in my opinion. Other guys got hurt, but he's been playing and is still a bottom feeder.
25. Dee Milliner, CB of Jets, CB of Jets, originally drafted 8th: He's up 2 and moving himself out of the cellar at least. He wasn't great in coverage again this week but at least had 7 tackles and a couple of defended passes.
26. E. J. Manuel, QB of Bills, originally drafted 16th: He was 18 of 32 for 210 yards, a touchdown pass, a touchdown run and a fumble. The overtime loss to the Falcons was a painful one but he played ok. Disappointing result but he's shown some promise when he's healthy.
27. Eric Fisher, T of Chiefs, originally drafted 1st: After a week on the sidelines he came back as an extra blocker and mostly played well. We'll see how he finished out the season but this was at least a step in the right direction. His season has been an utter catastrophe overall.
28. D. J. Hayden, CB of the Raiders, originally drafted 12th: The IR designation drops him 3 more spots and he'll likely end the season 30th overall.
29. Sylvester Williams, DT of Broncos, originally drafted: It's kind of sad that he hasn't leapfrogged Hayden yet, a guy that's out for the year, but he continues to do nothing on the field. He had 1 tackle and didn't impress the few snaps he saw. The Broncos has little interest in using him.
30. Bjoern Werner, DE/LB of Colts, originally drafted 24th: He continued to be very subpar in pass rushing, his supposed strength, but he had 3 tackles which is way more involvement than usual. He'll be battling with Williams for that 28th spot to end the season.
31. Luke Joeckel, T of the Jaguars, originally drafted 2nd: Out for the year with an injury.
32. Jonathan Cooper, T of Cardinals, originally drafted 7th: Due to a season long injury, he will occupy this spot all season.
Ziggy Ansah +4 spots
Sharrif Floyd +4
Justin Pugh +3
Kyle Long -4 spots
D. J. Fluker -4
D. J. Hayden -3