NFL's Potential Immediate Impact Rookies
Here's a look at which NFL rookie from each position is in the best spot to have immediate success and help his team in the most important way -- win games, according to the Sporting News.. "While Andrew Luck joins the Colts, who went 2-14 without Peyton Manning, Griffin joins a team that was able to beat Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning twice last season. The Redskins finished 5-11, including that sweep of the New York Giants, and five of their losses were by seven points or fewer. The Redskins already had two established receiving tight ends (Chris Cooley) and (Fred Davis), and before drafting Griffin No. 2 overall, they added two speedy wide receivers (Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan) to their arsenal. Mike Shanahan knows how to get the best of mobile passers."
"Over the past two seasons, the Browns have been able to patch together decent backfield production with players such as Peyton Hillis and Chris Ogbonnaya touching the ball. In contrast, Richardson is a much better, more explosive all-around back. Left tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack will be key in opening holes for Richardson, and the arm of fellow rookie Brandon Weeden should help the Browns' passing game earn a little more respect from defenses. The best running back in the draft is the best bet to be offensive rookie of the year."
"The five wide receivers drafted ahead of him--Justin Blackmon (Jacksonville), Michael Floyd (Arizona), Kendall Wright (Tennessee), A.J. Jenkins (San Francisco), Stephen Hill (New York Jets)--all step into quarterback situations that may hamper them. With the Bears, Jeffery will catch passes from a surefire gunslinger in Jay Cutler. Jeffery's production at South Carolina last year took a hit partly because of some QB turnover. Chicago just got a dominant No. 1 in Brandon Marshall, and have some speedy, quick options in Johnny Knox and Devin Hester. Concerns about Jeffery's speed and burst won't be an issue working against No. 2 and No. 3 corners in the red zone."
"For rookie quarterbacks such as Luck, tight ends are their security blankets. Fleener already is used to being Luck's go-to guy at Stanford. He should produce catches often from a very familiar teammate."
"Matt Kalil has the look of a long-term star left tackle for the Vikings, but an inexperienced quarterback in Christian Ponder may not show Kalil's true value in the short term. Reiff has a good chance to win the left tackle job for division-rival Detroit and help keep an accomplished quarterback, Matthew Stafford, stay upright in a high-volume passing game."
"The Steelers haven't had a dominant run-blocking guard for their interior since Alan Faneca. They have been hurting inside for a while, and DeCastro figures to start right away to help better establish a power running game between the tackles."
"New England will need to replace the double-digit sack production of departed free-agent end Mark Anderson, and it's unclear how much Andre Carter can still give come backing from a season-ending quadriceps injury. Jones is a natural pass rusher whom Bill Belichick will put in the right places to deliver in New England's versatile front seven. Don't be surprised if Jones leads all rookies in sacks."
"Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo will love having Cox blow through blockers to disrupt the running game. With the team's veteran linemen--Jason Babin, Trent Cole and Cullen Jenkins--rawing so much attention in their wide-nine scheme, the middle will be wide open for Cox to make plenty of plays."
"Carolina needed to get tougher in the middle of its defense, and Kuechly's combination of attitude, instincts and tackling ability fits the bill. He'll also help in a key area in NFC South competition, working to contain tight ends such as Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez and Kellen Winslow Jr. in coverage."
"San Diego got the best pure pass rusher in the draft and one equipped with the necessary athleticism to handle coverage responsibilities as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Ingram may not be as explosive upfield as a young Shawne Merriman, but he will able to contribute more downfield as a rookie."
"The Cowboys roped in free agent Brandon Carr to be a solid cover corner on one side, so Claiborne will have less pressure to immediately become a shutdown type. He can be more aggressive and gamble in going after the ball, and the resulting interceptions will be provide Dallas with much-needed game-changing plays in the secondary. He'll have the impact Cleveland's Joe Haden had as a rookie two years ago."
"The Bucs were hoping to get Claiborne, but they won't be disappointed with the draft's top safety. Barron will help clean up many things on the back end of their run defense. His inside coverage ability will lead to preventing big plays and making a few. Tampa Bay finished last in scoring defense and 30th in total defense last year. Barron will be a huge boon to improve those numbers."