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2008 NFL Rookie Year End Report

January is here again, and like last year, we present you with the PHSports Rookie Year End Report. This also signals our shift to the 2009 NFL draft. Look for our Mock Drafts that will be coming soon.


Top 10 Offensive Rookies:

Matt Ryan (courtesy of emqb)


1. Matt Ryan, QB – Atlanta Falcons
2. Joe Flacco, QB – Baltimore Ravens
3. (tie) Matt Forte, RB – Chicago Bears
3. (tie) Chris Johnson, RB – Tennessee Titans
3. (tie) Steve Slaton, RB – Houston Texans
6. Ryan Clady, OT – Denver Broncos
7. Jake Long, OT – Miami Dolphins
8. Eddie Royal, WR – Denver Broncos
9. Kevin Smith, RB – Detroit Lions
10. Jonathan Stewart, RB – Carolina Panthers


Top 10 Defensive Rookies:


Jerod Mayo (courtesy of daylife)


1. Jerod Mayo, LB – New England Patriots
2. Chris Horton, S – Washington Redskins
3. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB – Arizona Cardinals
4. Curtis Lofton, LB – Atlanta Falcons
5. Brandon Carr, CB – Kansas City Chiefs
6. Brandon Flowers, CB – Kansas City Chiefs
7. Antoine Cason, CB – San Diego Chargers
8. Cliff Avril, DE – Detroit Lions
9. Aqib Talib, CB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10. Jason Jones, DT – Tennessee Titans


Top 3 Rookie Squads (By Team):

1) Atlanta Falcons: QB Matt Ryan, OT Sam Baker, LB Curtis Lofton, CB Chevis Jackson, WR Harry Douglas
2) Denver Broncos: OT Ryan Clady, WR Eddie Royal, RB Ryan Torain, FB Spencer Larson, S Josh Barrett, RB Peyton Hillis, LB Wesley Woodard, P Brett Kern
3) Kansas City Chiefs: DT Glenn Dorsey, OT Branden Albert, CB Brandon Flowers, RB Jamaal Charles, CB Brandon Carr, CB Maurice Leggett


2008 PHSports NFL All-Rookie Team:

QB: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons – Offensive Rookie of the Year Matt Ryan finished the season with 3440 yards 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also had a 61.1 completion percentage and an 87.7 passer rating. All great numbers for a rookie QB. But, most impressive was his ability to lead a team, decimated by debacles surrounding Bobby Petrino and Michael Vick, to the playoffs. Joe Flacco also deserves mention as he did similar things with the Ravens. (Backup: Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens)

RB: Matt Forte, Chicago Bears & Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans & Steve Slaton, Houston Texans – Many, including Chris Johnson, feel that Johnson was the top RB in this year’s draft. Actually Johnson thought he was the top player in the draft. I put Matt Forte and Steve Slaton right up there with him as the top RB. All three rushed for similar yardage (1200+). Slaton had 9 TDs, while Forte and Johnson had 8. All had good receiving numbers. Forte had 63 catches for 4 TDs, Slaton had 50 for 1 TD and Johnson had 43 for 1 TD. All three were solid contributors to their teams in positions where the teams needed help. (Backups: Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions; Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers)

WR: Eddie Royal, Denver Broncos & DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles – Eddie Royal came out of nowhere on the first Monday Night Football game of the season, nabbing 9 passes for 146 yards and a TD. He continued to be productive all season as Brandon Marshall’s running mate, finishing with 91 catches 980 yards and 5 TDs, leading all rookies in those receiving categories. DeSean Jackson caught 62 passes for 912 yards for 2 scores. Both receivers were also cogs in the return game, with Jackson adding a TD on a punt return. (Backups: Donnie Avery, St. Louis Rams; Davone Bess, Miami Dolphins)

TE: John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks – It was a tight race for the top rookie TE. Receiving numbers were comparable with Carlson nabbing 55 passes for 617 yards and 4 TDs. However, the caveat that must be taken into consideration was that Carlson had to shoulder more of a load with all the injuries at WR in Seattle. (Backup: Dustin Keller, New York Jets)

C: Jamey Richard, Indianapolis Colts – There wasn’t much playing time given to rookie centers this year, however Jamey Richard is definitely deserved of this spot. In the seven games that he filled in for Jeff Saturday, the Colts didn’t skip a beat, going 5-2.

G: Mike Pollak, Indianapolis Colts & Carl Nicks, New Orleans Saints – Both rookie guards started the last 13 games of the season for their teams. Mike Pollak brought a run blocking presence to the Colts that they haven’t had at guard in a few years. He will be a mainstay on that line for years. Carl Nicks was forced into starting when Jamar Nesbit went down. He did such a great job that when Nesbit returned, Nicks held the starting spot. (Backup: Jeremy Zuttah, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

T: Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos & Jake Long, Miami Dolphins – Both Clady and Long started all 16 games for their teams. Clady was especially dominant all season, and should have garnered Pro Bowl attention. He gave up on a ½ sack all season and was only flagged 3 times. Long lived up to his status as the #1 overall pick, helping a 1-15 team improve by solidifying the offensive front and protecting his QB who received some MVP votes. (Backups: Jeff Otah, Carolina Panthers; Duane Brown, Houston Texans)

DT: Sedrick Ellis, New Orleans Saints & Jason Jones, Tennessee Titans – This wasn’t the best year for DTs, but there were a couple that stood out. Sedrick Ellis was thrust into the starting role from day one, holding his own and finishing with 30 tackles and 4 sacks. Jones, on the other hand, didn’t play much early, but his impact later in the season could not be overlooked. He finished with 5 sacks (with 3.5 coming in a dominant game against Pittsburgh). Jones is also versatile enough to move over to DE. (Backups: Glenn Dorsey, Kansas City Chiefs; Marcus Harrison, Chicago Bears)

DE: Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions & Trevor Scott, Oakland Raiders – Like DT, the pickings at DE were somewhat slim this year. Many big names failed to step up. Avril didn’t start until the last month of the season, but proved his worth on the hapless Lions team by registering 4 of his 5 sacks in the last 6 games. Trevor Scott was a pass rushing specialist for the Raiders. While he never started, he put together 5 sacks in his limited play and should be a bigger part of the defense next season. (Backups: Chris Long, St. Louis Rams; Kendall Langford, Miami Dolphins)

LB: Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots & Curtis Lofton, Atlanta Falcons & Keith Rivers, Cincinnati Bengals – Defensive Rookie of the Year Jarod Mayo leads a deep set of rookie LBs that contributed to their teams this season. He finished the season with 128 tackles and solidified himself as a starter in the middle of the Patriots 3-4 defense for a long time. Curtis Lofton might have won the DROY honors if it wasn’t for Mayo’s great year. Lofton was a key part of a defense (94 tackles) that reversed the fortune of the Falcons and got them to the playoffs. Keith Rivers didn’t play the entire year as he had a season-ending injury, however, he started off strong enough to garner a spot on this team. His impact went beyond the numbers as well, as he showed great coverage skills in his short time. (Backups: Wesley Woodard, Denver Broncos; Xavier Adibi, Houston Texans)

CB: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Arizona Cardinals & Brandon Carr, Kansas City Chiefs – While the Arizona Cardinals had teams passing all over them, DRC held his own while being thrown into the fire as a rookie. DRC picked 4 passes on the season, including a 99 yarder for a TD. He also batted down 23 passes, which is the reason I rate him as highly as I did. It won’t be long before he’s a shutdown corner in this league. Carr, a 5th rounder, stepped up from Day 1 for the Chiefs. He amassed 73 tackles and played as the Chiefs’ top corner all season. (Backups: Brandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs; Antoine Cason, San Diego Chargers; Aqib Talib, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Dwight Lowery, New York Jets)

S: Chris Horton, Washington Redskins & Kenny Phillips, New York Giants – Horton started the year off as the early favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Much of his ball-hawking hype came off a 3 turnover (2 INT, 1 Fumble Recover) game against New Orleans in Week 2. However, his play the rest of the season still landed him on this squad, as he was all over the field as a safety making tackles (76) and coming up big in run support. Kenny Phillips didn’t start many games for the Giants, but was a key contributor to the defending Super Bowl Champs’ defensive backfield. He registered 67 tackles and an interception. In a full-time role next season, he could end up doing a lot more damage to offenses. (Backup: Charles Godfrey, Carolina Panthers)

Special Teams: K Dan Carpenter, Miami Dolphins & P Brett Kern, Denver Broncos & KR/PR Clifton Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Carpenter looked pretty good in his rookie season, going 21 for 25 on field goals, including a 50 yarder. Brett Kern had a nice year in the Mile High air, by booting 46 punts for a 46.7 yard average. Clifton Smith, undrafted out of Fresno State, caused teams to start kicking away from him. He returned both a kickoff and a punt for TDs this season.

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