Around the NFL

Odell Beckham, Justin Hunter lead Week 6 snap report

Around The NFL has been churning out snap reports each week to highlight surprising trends in playing time.

Below is a list of players catching our eye for telling snap counts. Some suggest breakouts over the next few weeks, while others bode poorly for established starters.

1. Rob Gronkowski/Tim Wright, Patriots: The struggling Pats returned to their tight-end centric roots last week. Gronkowski played 23 more snaps than he had in any game all season while Wright took on a bigger role in the passing game. The Week 5 takeaways are that Gronkowski is finally rounding into pre-injury form and the Patriots want to continue to increase Wright's role.

"Nobody works harder than Tim," coach Bill Belichick said this week, via "He spends extra time in the classroom, on the field, works really hard. He does as much as he can do. Is he there yet? No, but I'd say he's gaining on it steadily."

2. Justin Hunter, Titans: Word trickled in late last week that the Titans were considering a changing of the guard with Hunter displacing Nate Washington as the No. 2 receiver. That's exactly what happened against the Browns, as Hunter led the team with 66 of 68 snaps compared to 48 for Washington. The move paid off, as Hunter and Kendall Wright combined for 146 yards andthreetouchdowns.

3. Odell Beckham, Giants: The No. 12 overall draft pick was eased back in last week, sitting behind Preston Parker in the first half. Once the Giants fell behind the Falcons, though, Beckham played a major role as the No. 3 receiver in a game-changing second half during his first NFL game. He displayed world-class athleticism, getting free twice on deep routes and high-pointing a touchdown reception with easy leaping ability. Beckham played 35 of 68 snaps (51.5 percent) in his debut. Expect that figure to rise going forward.

4. Dee Ford, Chiefs: After drawing lofty comparisons to Von Miller and Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas, the Chiefs' first-round pass rusher has played double-digit snaps just once in five games. In last week's game, we found out why the coaching staff understands Ford remains a "work in progress." He got caught running away from an obvious tackle opportunity when he read boot-action on a Frank Gore scamper.

5. Antone Smith, Falcons: Smith ran a 4.33 at Florida State's pro day back in 2010. He has averaged an unheard of 17.2 yards per touch on offense in his five years with the Falcons. More impressively, he is the only player since the 1970 merger with six offensive touchdowns of at least 35 yards in his first 25 career touches.

Primarily a special teamer, Smith's 11 Week 5 snaps are the second-most of his career. Coach Mike Smith finally conceded this week that Smith has earned more touches. Although Smith isn't built for a featured role, the Falcons can't afford to keep his obvious big-play ability shackled to the bench.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps the Colts' win over the Texans and previews every other Week 6 game. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL Now.

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