H/T to ESPN's Paul Kuharsky for pointing this out, though I want to look at things a little deeper
The Jaguars two rookie tackles, Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, have been the source of much discussion since they were drafted in April. Pro Football Focus has developed a way to normalize performances of offensive linemen, and when looking at Monroe and Britton, it provides some interesting data.
Amongst other things, Britton's performance against Buffalo was better than any single game by Joe Thomas. In addition, we all know Monroe was beaten badly by Dwight Freeney in Week 1, but I don't think we realized just how bad.
1.These guys aren't scouts, nor do they pretend to be. Grades are assigned based on production only, so a lucky break counts just as much as a perfect block.
2. These stats haven't been updated to include the San Francisco game, so who knows where the numbers will go when they are.
3. As far as the grading goes, any game where a player is graded 2.0 or higher would be a good game, 1.9 to -1.9 would be considered an average to mediocre game, and anything lower than -2.0 would be a bad game.
First, we will take a look at the Eugene Monroe. The eight overall pick in the draft came in with a lot of hype and was expected to be great from the get go. However, according to PFF Monroe is the 54th ranked tackle in the NFL. In comparision, Michael Oher ranks 14th and Jason Smith ranks 36th according to PFF.
However, we also have to remember that Eugene Monroe has started at LT every game, while Oher and Smith have predominantly seen their time as RTs. That means Monroe has had to see most team's best pass rush threat, and therefore a stiffer challenge. Well I'll just let PFF's chart tell it for me
That large red bar to start off the chart, that was Eugene Monroe against Dwight Freeney, and as far as I can tell, was perhaps the worst performance by any tackle in any game this season. For comparison, here are Michael Oher's and Jason Smith's charts.
While Eugene Monroe hasn't been setting the world on fire, the wood-shed beating that Freeney gave him skewed his results so far that it would be better if it was just dropped all together. Throwing out that game would bump Monroe all the way up to 27th in the offensive tackle rankings, a very respectable position for a rookie.
If there is anything else to take away from this chart, it is that Monroe is progressing well and is starting to become a legitimate player on the offensive line.
Perhaps the most striking thing with Monroe is that, while he was drafted for his pass blocking prowess, he has developed into a solid run blocker. He has yet to have a negatively graded run blocking performance, and has had several positive grades this season.
Also, another stat of note, after giving up 3 sacks and 12 QB pressures in his first two games, Monroe has given up one sack and two pressures the rest of the season.
The popular perception among Jaguars fans was that Eben Britton had been generally outplaying his first round counterpart. However, the folks at PFF would disagree with that. Britton is the 59th ranked tackle in the NFL according to PFF. Britton's chart is
Britton has not played very well overall at the right tackle spot, obviously. Britton has had two good games and the rest have been stinkers to varying degrees.
The primary reason for that is because of his pass blocking struggles. With the exception of the game against Buffalo, Britton has not had a single game where has been graded out as positive in pass protection.
In fact, the Buffalo game was the only game where he graded out positively run blocking as well.
That all being said, his game against Buffalo is a nice surprise and will hopefully serve as a turning point in his young career.
What can be taken away from all of this? We have two young lineman who are learning their craft on the job. They seem to be progressing well even if they aren't All Pros yet. Though I will be interested to see their grades for the San Francisco game.