- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Rivers McCown of Football Outsiders looks at the big risers and fallers in terms of under-25-year old talent.
He breaks down the contribution teams got from guys who fit the bill, factoring in quarterback talent, track record for developing young guys and adding weight to prime players involved in the passing game.
The AFC South has a team among the risers and the fallers.
Here’s what McCown said on each.
Riser -- Houston Texans
When a team overcomes a significant number of injuries and still goes 10-6, it's a pretty good sign that they've accumulated good young depth. While Arian Foster graduated from the list, the Texans just shrugged and replaced him with Ben Tate, who finished 10th in the NFL in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement) despite not seeing significant playing time after Foster's hamstring healed up. When Matt Schaub went down, T.J. Yates, notwithstanding his performance against Baltimore in the divisional round, looked like a credible NFL quarterback for the majority of his snaps. Mario Williams done for the year? No problem: The Texans' top two picks from the 2011 draft, J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed, combined for 11.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits as they successfully papered over the loss of Williams. If that wasn't enough, they also have Brian Cushing -- probably one of the five best inside linebackers in the NFL."
Faller -- Jacksonville Jaguars
"Blaine Gabbert may yet become a good NFL quarterback, but he showed absolutely no sign that he would in his rookie year. This wasn't a "learning experience," where he got off to a poor start and played better down the stretch: Gabbert was truly lost and numb to pocket pressure from start to finish. He had a DYAR of minus-825 this season, the worst of any quarterback. In fact, you need to go all the way back to Alex Smith's rookie season in 2005 to find a worse DYAR for a quarterback. Mike Thomas is a useful second receiver stuck on a bad passing offense. Will Rackley, Eben Britton and Eugene Monroe are all cornerstones of a line that can run block with the best of them, but they all struggle in pass protection. Tyson Alualu is a credible defensive tackle, but not really the kind of superstar you're hoping to find with the 10th overall pick. Other than those six, the Jaguars are essentially barren when it comes to young talent. General manager Gene Smith will have to reward new owner Shahid Khan's patience quickly in this upcoming draft, because he doesn't have much to fall back on at this point."
Rivers McCown of Football Outsiders looks at the big risers and fallers in terms of under-25-year old talent.He breaks down the contribution teams got from guys who fit the bill, factoring in quarterback talent, track record for developing young guys and adding weight to prime players involved in the passing game.