Pro Football Focus’ ‘Snaps Lost’ series takes a detailed look at playing time void, created by players who have left their respective team either during the season last year, or during this past offseason, albeit trades, cuts, signing elsewhere or retirement.
TOTAL SNAPS LOST: 8449
OFFENSIVE SNAPS LOST: 5390
DEFENSIVE SNAPS LOST: 3059
Key Losses, offense: Ricky Wagner – T – 84.5 grade – 926 snaps, Dennis Pitta – TE – 46.9 grade – 810 snaps, Steve Smith – WR – 76.9 grade – 926 snaps
Ricky Wagner cashed in when the Lions awarded him with a hefty contract after a solid 2016 season in which he had the ninth-best pass block grade at his position with an 86.9. Dennis Pitta, who led the NFL in routes run by a tight end, was released after another potentially career-threatening hip injury this offseason. Steve Smith, who’s receiving grade of 80.4 was the highest of any Raven, finally hung up his cleats for good.
Replacement plan: James Hurst – T – 52.5 grade, Austin Howard – T – 66.9 grade, Benjamin Watson – TE – N/A, Jeremy Maclin – WR – 66.0 grade
The signing of Austin Howard brings competition to James Hurst for the right tackle spot. If Howard wins the job, the Ravens will be hoping he can return to the 2015 form which saw him earn an 82.6 overall grade before dropping to 66.9 in 2016. Pitta enjoyed a resurgent 2016 after Benjamin Watson went down for the year before the season even began. Now the situation is reversed, and Watson will be hoping to replicate his 2015 production in which he gained 1.54 yards per route run, on 518 snaps in route, second most at the position. With Ravens offensive players dropping like flies, Jeremy Maclin will need to provide a reliable option for Flacco in 2016, much like he did for his quarterback in 2015 when he earned a wide receiver rating of 115.6, 10th-best of all wide receivers that year.
Zachary Orr was unfortunately forced to retire early due to a neck issue, and despite attempting a comeback later this offseason he has decided to remain retired. Orr’s 10.6 run stop percentage in 2016 ranked seventh among inside linebackers. Tavon Young was a revelation as a rookie, grading as the 26th best cornerback in the NFL, and third best rookie corner. Losing Young for the season due to injury will hurt, but the Ravens have brought in depth through free agency as well as the draft. Timmy Jernigan was a force against the run for the Ravens in 2016, leading all 3-4 defensive ends with a 10.8 stop percentage. With apparent interior depth on the roster, Jernigan was traded to the Eagles for draft capital.
Kamalei Correa was at his best in college as a pass-rusher, generating 20 sacks, 23 hits and 38 hurries between 2014 and 2015 at Boise State. 41 of his 49 snaps for the Ravens in 2016 came at edge defender, but he is the current favorite to start at inside linebacker next to standout C.J. Mosely. The Brandon Carr signing was intended to bring experienced depth to a talented secondary, but due to the Tavon Young injury, Carr will likely take on the starting role opposite Jimmy Smith. Carr’s best years are behind him, as he has not had a season graded above 80.0 since 2011, and last season he allowed a passer rating of 101.9 into his coverage. With Jernigan traded, and Lawrence Guy a departure via free agency, the Ravens had a hole to fill on the defensive line. Urban, who led Ravens interior defenders in 2016 with a 6.9 pass rush productivity, is a top candidate to fill the void.
TOTAL SNAPS LOST: 4604
OFFENSIVE SNAPS LOST: 2577
DEFENSIVE SNAPS LOST: 2027
Key Losses, offense: Andrew Whitworth – T – 90.2 grade -1064 snaps, Kevin Zeitler– G – 86.5 grade – 1087 snaps, Rex Burkhead – RB – 79.8 grade – 239 snaps
Gone is long time Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth and his 91.3 pass block grade, best among all tackles in 2016. Gone is right guard Kevin Zeitler, who has graded above 81.0 in all five of his seasons with the team, and also led the team in snaps in 2016. The loss of these stalwarts will hurt as it leaves the Bengals with no offensive linemen on the roster currently with a grade over 73.0. While Rex Burkhead accumulated just 239 snaps in 2016, 221 of them came in the last six games, and in his only start he earned an overall game grade of 83.3.
Replacement plan: Cedric Ogbuehi – T – 44.2 grade, Andre Smith – G – 42.3 grade, Jake Fisher – T – 47.8 grade, Joe Mixon – RB – rookie.
The former first round picks slated to start in place of Whitworth and Zeitler in 2016 do not inspire much confidence despite their pedigree. Cedric Ogbuehi started most of last season at right tackle, and his pass-block efficiency of 91.3 ranked 71st out of 74 tackles in 2016. With Ogbuehi moving to left tackle, Jake Fisher will have the opportunity to start at right tackle in 2017. Fisher allowed just one pressure on 24 pass block snaps in 2015, but that increased to 13 pressures allowed on 137 pass block snaps in 2016 for a PBE of 92.3. Andre Smith returns to the Bengals after an injury shortened season with the Vikings, and they hope his form returns as well, as his overall grade has decreased every year since his 87.0 graded 2012 season. The ultra-talented Mixon led the FBS with a breakaway percentage of 57.3 in 2016, and while he will probably be splitting time in 2017, he is the future at running back for the Bengals.
Key Losses, defense: Karlos Dansby – LB – 73.5 grade – 782, Domata Peko – DI – 42.6 grade – 593 snaps, Margus Hunt – ED – 68.3 grade – 322 snaps.
The Bengals lost veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby, who returned to the Cardinals for the third time in his career. In 2016, Dansby led the team in combined stops, while earning a stop percentage of 9.8, fourth-best among 4-3 outside linebackers. Domata Peko tied for the most run stops of Bengals defensive tackles with 16, but was mostly irrelevant as a pass-rusher, finishing with a pass rush productivity of 1.9, ranking 66 out of 68 defensive tackles. Margus Hunt factored in a rotation and finished 2016 with a run defense grade of 78.2, second best of all Bengals defensive linemen.
Replacement plan: Kevin Minter – LB – 77.5 grade, Andrew Billings – DT – N/A, Jordan Willis – ED – rookie, Carl Lawson – ED – rookie, Chris Smith – ED – 52.5 grade.
Kevin Minter who earned a 80.3 coverage grade last season for the Cardinals as a 16-game starter, should pick up most of the linebacker snaps left void by the departure of Dansby. The Bengals depth in the front seven has been transformed into a much younger unit with an enormous amount of potential. 2017 rookies Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson both ranked in the top five of PFF’s edge defender draft rankings at the edge position. While Chris Smith, acquired via trade earlier this offseason, has produced a pass-rush productivity of 27.6 through two weeks of the preseason, No. 1 of all 4-3 defensive ends. Andrew Billings, who sat out all of 2016 with a knee injury, should be heavily involved in a rotation with Pat Sims on the interior. Billings ranked fifth in the FBS against the run in 2015.
Source: Pro Football Focus
Snaps Lost: AFC North