Skip to main content

Neal, Jones Make Next Gen Stats All-Rookie Team

The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders and Freddie Falcon made the trip to Houston and never missed a beat as they cheered on the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

Keanu Neal and Deion Jones were widely considered two of the best rookies in 2016.'s Next Gen Stats, which capture "real-time location data, speed and acceleration for every player, every play on every square inch of the field," provide some insight into why the two were so successful.

Per the Next Gen Stats, Neal made the biggest defensive impact – the difference between the yards conceded per play when a player is on the field and the yards conceded per play when that player is off the field – of any rookie last season.

"When Neal was on the field, the Falcons allowed an average of 5.7 yards per play; conversely, when Neal was off the field, Atlanta allowed 6.9 yards per play (1.2-yard differential when Neal was in/out of the game)," per

By tracking on-field movements, the NFL can analyze how each player covers ground. And no first-year linebacker displayed more range than Jones.

"Falcons inside linebacker Deion Jones traveled an average of 17.0 yards for every tackle he made in the 2016 season (NFL linebacker average is 16.2 yards per tackle)," according to "No rookie with 50 or more tackles in 2016 covered a greater distance than Jones did, on average. The next-closest rookie ILB behind Jones was Darron Lee of the Jets (16.7 yards traveled per tackle)."

Neal and Jones' success earned them spots on the Next Gen Stats All-Rookie Team. Only the Falcons, Colts, Cowboys, Chargers and Bears had more than one player make the cut.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content