Brace for impact: NFL rookies with an early chance to shine in 2009
The NFL Draft has been over for almost 72 hours, which is more than enough time to discern who'll be the impact rookies of the 2009 season. What? You expected us to wait all the way until training camps opened and actual football started being played? Get real.
What a familiar choice we have at the game's most impactful position: Sanchez or the Lions'
Every year the crop of rookie receivers looks like instant offense, and every year the majority of them fade into the woodwork and disappear (see 2008's
But while I think Cleveland second-round pick
The no-brainer picks would be Detroit's
C'mon, how can we not go with the smack-talking second-rounder who entered the league over the weekend vowing to make every NFL team that passed on him regret it? The question now is whether he'll be able to fit his pads over that chip on his shoulder.
We know that Britton, for now, will compete to start either at right guard or right tackle for the Jaguars, and that first-round tackles such as St. Louis's
It was puzzling when Buffalo didn't draft to fill the vacancy created at offensive tackle by the
After Cleveland went to all the trouble to trade down three times in the first round -- from No. 5 to No. 21 -- and finally select Mack, he darn well better show up as a rookie this season. Mack is an intelligent and physical player who should be a cornerstone of the Cleveland offensive line for years to come. He worked out some at guard at the Senior Bowl, but he'll likely get every opportunity to replace
The high-motor Kruger will fit somewhere into Baltimore's defensive front rotation and instantly provide some of the situational pass-rush impact he's known for. He plays with a relentless intensity and he's the kind of find-the-ball type of defender the Ravens always seem to uncover in the draft.
In the long run, Kruger may emerge as the obvious replacement for veteran
No apologies for going with the chalk pick here. At No. 9, Raji went higher than any nose tackle in 23 years (
When you think of impact at outside linebacker, you think of pass rush, and that's exactly what the Chargers were after when they surprisingly selected the Northern Illinois defensive end 16th overall. English played a 4-3 end in college, but he's a nice fit for what San Diego looks for in a 3-4 linebacker.
He won't start with
San Diego might have taken English with an eye on losing Merriman in two years, but it also envisions all three outside linebackers playing at the same time in some packages, with Merriman and English rushing from the edges and Phillips being moved around inside.
First-year impact obviously has plenty to do with opportunity, and no inside linebacker has a better chance to be in the starting lineup on kickoff weekend than the ex-Buckeye. The Rams took Laurinaitis 35th overall with an eye on replacing
I'm going with a bit of a hunch here, but Chicago rookie cornerbacks have been pretty strong this decade (
The junior from Vanderbilt doesn't lack for confidence, telling one paper, "I think the Bears are getting one of the best players in the draft -- they're getting a steal.'' We agree. The knock on Moore is that he's a tad under 5-9, but he plays much taller. He has superb athletic skills, seems to find the ball with regularity, and can make up for his lack of height with strong vertical leaping ability.
In grabbing Delmas with the first pick of the second round, Detroit landed an aggressive, hard-hitting safety in the mold of
Delmas is quick enough to cover a team's third receiver and he fits the recent NFL trend of safeties who are really just cornerbacks that don't mind having to tackle someone. Delmas should be a starter from day one in Detroit.
Taken in the second round, White might just turn out to be the ultimate specialist coming out of the 2009 draft, rather than just your run-of-the-mill return man or kicker/punter variety. Miami says it will give White the opportunity to prove himself at quarterback in the long term, but you can bet the Fish will use the former West Virginia QB as a passer, runner and maybe receiver in their vaunted Wildcat formation for the time being, with maybe some punt or kickoff return duties thrown in for good measure. In Miami this season, White is the new Brown.