Amon-Ra St. Brown underestimated young players on rebuilding clubs who deserve to keep their jobs in 2022


There is crazy parity in the NFL this season, but at the start of Week 17 we have about eight clubs either mathematically eliminated from the playoffs or very close.

Fans of these teams have rightly turned their attention to next season, with free will and the draft being the means by which new talent can be injected into the roster. However, it is essential in order to rebuild clubs to identify the quality players already on the roster who must be retained during said rebuilding.

In this article, I have highlighted the relatively young and under the radar players of those clubs who are expected to keep their jobs to start the 2022 campaign. To be considered, the player must have been selected in the 3rd round or later. and be 26 years of age or under.

Age: 23
Draft status: Round 5 (2021)

Keith Taylor has been an intermittent starter outside Matt Rhule’s defense since October, and the former Washington Huskies star held on with five assists and just one touchdown allowed on 30 targets in his coverage area. .

At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, he’s a return-type perimeter cornerback that plays with deceptive movement in his bottom half to stay with splitters and of course has a large pass disturbance radius. Reliable outside cornerbacks don’t grow on trees, and Taylor’s unique size will set him apart from other players in Carolina’s roster.

Age: 22 years old
Draft status: 6th round (2021)

Thomas Graham Jr. was eventually called up from the Chicago practice squad in Week 15, and he swung to the Vikings with three breakage passes. He added another in the Bears’ Week 16 win over the Seahawks. The main zone cornerback plays bigger than his height and has 32 assists and eight picks in his three seasons in Oregon.

He’s a 2022 opening day starter for the Bears, whether it’s on the outside or in the slot. It has a nickel cornerback size, but experience and productivity are playing near the limit. Nice all-rounder for the Bears to have in their high school.

Age: 23
Draft status: 6th round (2021)

Khalil Herbert replaced injured David Montgomery earlier in the season and scored 344 yards on 78 carries (4.41 yards per), including two outings averaging more than 5.0 yards per attempt. And he forced 15 missed tackles in that four-game hearing. It is a large number.

Quality running backs are relatively easy to find in all rounds of the draft, and Herbert is one of the last examples. He has to do (a bigger) part of the Bears rushing offense to move forward.

Age: 22 years old
Draft status: Round 4 (2021)

Amon-Ra St. Brown has settled into a serious role as possession slot receiver over the past month in Detroit. As of Week 13, only Cooper Kupp (40) has more receptions than the Lions rookie (35), but the former USC star is averaging just 9.7 yards per grab.

However, in the NFL today, the passing game being an extension of the running game is becoming more and more popular, so an average yards per take of less than 10 is not extremely uncommon or an indication of a bad catcher’s game. That’s what St. Brown is: a smaller, more reliable extension of the racing game.

Age: 25
Draft status: Round 3 (2019)

Lay-up here. Amani Oruwariye has six interceptions in his second season, selecting assists from Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray, Andy Dalton and Justin Fields. Sure, there was luck in a few of them, but that’s the case with most high-volume intercept seasons.

The former Penn State has allowed just two touchdowns to date in 536 pass cover shots. Has it been an almost flawless locking wedge? No. But he’s a massive build at 6-1 and 205 pounds, and his ball production speaks for itself.

Age: 24 years old
Draft status: Round 3 (2020)

Jonathan Greenard is a high quality, legitimate rusher, not just a good youngster. He logged 26 presses out of 192 precipitation snaps at the start of Week 17, good for a respectable 13.5% pressure creation rate. Sure, a bit low volume, but anything near 15% means you’re doing a lot of things right as a rusher.

At 6-3 and 263 pounds with a high engine, bursting speed-to-power conversion and an advanced arsenal of quick passing moves, Greenard has not only had a breakout season but appears to be a defenseman with his best football. behind him.

Age: 25
Project status: UDFA (2018)

Tavierre Thomas was not included here simply by choosing Justin Herbert last Sunday. The former undrafted free agent from Ferris State has quietly enjoyed a solid season in Houston.

He has four breakouts and two interceptions for a total of 75 tackles and has yet to clear a touchdown in his coverage area. We all know slot corners are newbies in the NFL today, and Thomas was a good player for the Texans in his second season with the team after starting his professional career with the Browns. .

Age: 21 years old
Draft status: Round 5 (2021)

Brevin Jordan made his NFL debut in Week 8 and flashed as often as a member of the Miami Hurricanes. In that first professional game, Jordan had a touchdown and 41 yards on three receptions. Last week in the upheaval against the Chargers, Jordan tied a career-high with four catches and set a career-high with 56 receiving yards.

Jordan is so young and possesses the short zone speed and YAC abilities to be a tight productive move for a long time.

Age: 25
Project status: UFDA (2019)

Andrew Wingard was so much fun on film in Wyoming, where he racked up 25 tackles for loss and 10 interceptions in four seasons as full-time safety for the Cowboys.

And he became a stable third-tier defenseman in the NFL as his role increased in the defense of the Jaguars. He almost played 1,000 snaps with 88 tackles, one pick and one pass break. He’s probably missing more tackles than coaches would like, but he’s also showing up in critical off-run situations and hasn’t allowed a touchdown on 22 targets in his coverage area. At worst, he should be a useful third lifeguard in Jacksonville in the future.

Age: 24 years old
Draft status: UDFA (2020)

This selection is furthest outside the left field. Jarren Williams played his varsity ball in Albany and began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent signing in the 2020 Cardinals. After a week in Arizona he was released and has been with the Giants since.

Due to injuries at the post, Williams started in Week 13 and has more than just held up. He has a broken pass and 17 tackles. Plus, he allowed just seven catches for 56 yards when the spread he was covering was targeted. Can the Giants upgrade from Williams? Sure. But he’s a good baseline to a valuable position for a rebuilding club.

Age: 24 years old
Draft status: Round 5 (2020)

Before breaking his ankle in his final season at Virginia, Bryce Hall was pretty much every analyst’s favorite corner prospect in the Draft. As a junior in 2018, he led the nation with 21 assists. And well above 6-0 he looked set to be a stuck outside cornerback in the NFL.

But his injury sank his stock until the fifth round. Five touchdowns in his target area aren’t exactly stellar, but Hall is back to his disruptive ways with 14 assists. He also contributed against the run with 66 tackles.

Seattle Seahawks

Age: 25
Draft status: Round 5 (2018)

DJ Reed was so fiery at Kansas State – 16 assists and three picks in 2016 and four steals with nine assists defended the following year. At 5-9 and 188 pounds, Reed has a prototype nickel cornerback size, and his instincts and rebound allow him to defy almost any pass in his direction.

In the past two years in Seattle, Reed has totaled 14 assists with two picks, and he’s eclipsed the 60 tackle mark in both seasons. Reed is a good one.

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