With players like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III (deservedly) stealing all the headlines for the NFL rookie class of 2012, it's easy for other players to be undeservedly ignored.
In the case of Minnesota Vikings rookie Matt Kalil, it's almost better that you don't hear about him very often. You don't hear the names of offensive lineman during a TV broadcast unless that player allowed a sack or committed a penalty. We've barely heard a peep about Kalil all year because he has been having such a great rookie season. (He has had his name mentioned from time to time, but mostly for a different kind of blocking.)
The fourth overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft will never garner as much attention as the three players picked before him. Luck, RGIII, and Trent Richardson are skill players that are enjoying successful rookie campaigns. But that doesn't make Kalil any less valuable. Thanks to Pro Football Focus, Kalil's value is now more quantifiable.
Pro Football Focus has a simple formula that rates the basic effectiveness of offensive linemen: Pass Blocking Efficiency (PBE). Basically it gives a success rate of how often a lineman avoided allowing the defense to pressure during plays in which they were pass blocking. They released their top 20 on Wednesday, and Kalil cracked the top 10 at #8. Here's what PFF had to say about Kalil's inclusion in the list:
One of the things that stands out there is that rookie left tackle Matt Kalil finds himself up in 8th spot. That's an impressive achievement for any player, let alone a rookie. It should be noted that he is coming off his worst game of the year after giving up six hurries to the Bears.
So even after his "worst" game--which wasn't noticeably bad compared to how a lot of his teammates played in Chicago--Kalil is still the 8th best overall and 2nd highest rated in the NFC.
Kalil is being noticed in another important area--Pro Bowl voting. He is currently the leading vote-getter at tackle in the NFC. The rookie out of USC may never get the high-wattage publicity of his draft mates, but a free trip to Hawaii at the end of the season isn't bad either.