The Jacksonville Jaguars had a number of rookie players either start or contribute during the 2012 season. Names like Mike Harris, Mike Brewster, Justin Blackmon, and Bryan Anger aren’t just thrown around. Those guys actually had an impact during the season. All of them, with the exception of Brewster, were draft picks from 2012. So, how did they do? Fortunately, Pro Football Focus is going through each division to rank the rookies.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Round 1 Pick 5
- PFF Take: “His second half was much improved over his first, and the Jaguars really tried to get him the ball as he was targeted at least 10 times in each of the last four games.”
- My Take: Blackmon’s second half of the season was substantially better than his first half. He won the rookie receiving title largely due to a big game against the Houston Texans in week 11. PFF hit it on the head that the Jags tried to get him the ball a lot. Some of those throws may have been better directed toward other players considering Blackmon dropped eight balls.
Andre Branch, DE, Round 2 Pick Pick 38
- PFF Take: “ The Jaguars’ yearly search for an edge rusher led them to Branch, but it was a difficult start to his career. He picked up only 14 pressures on his 259 rush attempts…”
- My Take: Branch was horrendous at worst and underwhelming at best during his rookie season. His inability to generate pressure led to the Jags picking up Jason Babin after the Philadelphia Eagles abandoned him. Branch was less than stimulating for a defensive line that desperately needs good talent.
Bryan Anger, P, Round 3 Pick 70
- PFF Take: “Anger had a nice start to his career, ranking as our eighth-best punter at +22.0 including a net average of 41.3 that ranked ninth.”
- My Take: The Jaguars will forever be questioned about the Anger selection, especially after the emergence of quarterback Russell Wilson five picks later. Anger’s stats will be even better when his coverage unit is finally revamped to reflect stronger special teams. He is a premium talent at a non-premium position.
Mike Harris, CB, Round 6 Pick 176
- PFF Take: “Harris saw 288 of his 538 snaps in the slot, where his 1.01 Yards Per Cover Snap ranked 14th out of the 40 qualifying slot cornerbacks.”
- My Take: Outside of Blackmon and Anger, Harris was easily the highlight of the Jaguars’ rookie class. He outplayed free agent acquisition Aaron Ross, long-tenured Rashean Mathis, and William Middleton to finish the year starting opposite Derek Cox. Harris could be a very good corner over the coming years and did well both in the slot and outside.
Jeris Pendleton, DT, Round 7 Pick 228
- PFF Take: “Pendleton played all 33 of his snaps in the last four games that saw him finish with a +1.1 grade against the run.”
- My Take: Unlike Harris, Pendleton was unable to move up behind Terrance Knighton, Tyson Alualu, and C.J. Mosley. He played decently, especially considering his draft position, but was nothing special.
Mike Brewster, G, UDFA
- PFF Take: “Brewster was forced into action due to injuries up front and he looked overmatched at times. He ranked dead last among the top 72 qualifying guards in PRP at 93.8, as he gave up 27 pressures on 339 pass block attempts.”
- My Take: Brewster was not a very good guard during 2012 but was better than a lot of the guys in front of him, including former second-round selection Eben Britton. Brewster is the microcosm of the Jags’ problems: talent deficiency It was apparent the team was putting an inferior product on the field, and an UDFA who could still improve but was the worst guard in the league beat out the people in front of him.
The Jags also had a number of other undrafted free agents play snaps, but most of them were inconsequential and may not be with the team following the disastrous 2-14 season.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims