Picked ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, James quieted critics with immediate success in Indianapolis. The Miami product led the league in rushing in his rookie year with 1,553 yards, and scored 13 touchdowns, earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections as well.
2 of 10Peter Read Miller/SI
A product of both the University of Utah and the Marine Corps, Anderson picked up where Terrell Davis left off in Denver, rushing for 1,487 yards and 15 touchdowns in his rookie campaign.
3 of 10David Bergman/SI
A second round draft pick out of Michigan, Thomas gave the Bears a powerful up-the-middle runner. In his rookie season, Thomas ran for 1,183 yards and seven touchdowns as Chicago rolled to a 13-3 record.
4 of 10Robert Beck/SI
With more injuries in their backfield, the Broncos drafted Portis with the 51st overall pick in the 2002 draft. The rookie out of Miami racked up 1,508 yards and scored 17 touchdowns (two receiving), while starting 12 games for Denver.
5 of 10Robert Beck/SI
After his stock took a hit from a slow 40 time, Boldin had one of the best seasons ever for a rookie wide receiver. He started all 16 games for the Cardinals in 2003, catching 101 passes for 1,377 yards and eight touchdowns, earning him his first Pro Bowl selection.
6 of 10Al Tielemans/SI
Third on the depth chart heading into his rookie season, Roethlisberger was forced into starting following injuries to Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch. Big Ben went on to win the final 13 regular season games and a playoff game, threw for 2,621 yards and 17 touchdowns, and set the record for most wins by a rookie quarterback.
7 of 10Bob Rosato/SI
The fifth pick in the 2005 draft, Williams set an NFL record as the first rookie running back to rush for 100 yards in his first three games. He battled injuries throughout the year, but led all rookies in rushing yards (1,178), and finished second (behind Brandon Jacobs) in rushing touchdowns, with six.
8 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
After winning the Davey O'Brien award and leading Texas to a national championship, Vince Young was drafted third overall by the Titans. He started 13 games in 2006, throwing for 2,199 yards and 12 touchdowns, while also setting the record for rushing yards by a rookie quarterback with 552.
9 of 10John Biever/SI
Before his rookie campaign, Peterson said his goals were to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, rush for 1,800 yards, and break the league's rookie rushing record. He didn't come close yardage-wise, rushing for 1,341, but he did win the award, in addition to the Pro Bowl MVP honors.
10 of 10Bill Frakes/SI
The first rookie quarterback to start a season for the Falcons since Steve Bartkowski in 1975, Ryan began his career in style with a 62-yard touchdown on his first NFL pass. From there, he led the underdog Falcons to an 11-5 record and an improbable playoff berth, while throwing for 3,440 and 16 touchdowns.
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