Shockey immediately proved to be a dangerous weapon for the Giantsâ offense. The University of Miami product had 74 catches for 894 yards and two touchdowns in 14 starts. The Giants took advantage of Shockeyâs versatility, lining him up all over the field and creating headaches for opposing defenses all season long.
2 of 10Bob Rosato/SI
Urlacher hit the NFL like a freight train, extending the Bearsâ proud tradition of excellence at middle linebacker. Urlacher had a team-high 165 tackles, eight sacks and seven tackles for a loss and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.
3 of 10Peter Read Miller/SI
Itâs not unusual for shutdown cornerbacks to have big first seasons, because quarterbacks donât avoid throwing in a rookieâs direction. With his incredible athleticism, Woodson became an immediate factor at cornerback and had five interceptions his rookie season. Teams did start to avoid him by the latter part of the year, and he was an outstanding tackler for a cover corner at that point in his career.
4 of 10Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Rogers entered the NFL after winning the Heisman Trophy at South Carolina and became an unstoppable force with the Saints. The burly Rogers led the NFL with 1,674 rushing yards and ran for 13 touchdowns. Rogersâ career was hurt by off-field problems, but as a rookie he was one of the best.
5 of 10Al Tielemans/SI
Rookie quarterbacks usually struggle, but Big Ben was magical from the start. He went 13-0 as a starter, by far the best start for a first-year signal-caller. Roethlisberger threw 17 touchdowns, completed 62.7 percent of his passes and had a 98.6 passer rating.
6 of 10Jonathan Daniel/SI
After rewriting the NCAA record book at Oklahoma State, Sanders took the NFL by storm in Detroit. The Lions made the short running back the No. 1 overall pick, and he didnât disappoint. Sanders ran for 1,470 yards and 14 touchdowns in his first season.
7 of 10Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Coming out of Florida, Kearse was considered as a bit of a âtweener, since he was undersized for a defensive end. But âthe Freakâ had a rare combination of speed and power and was impossible for offenses to match up with. Kearse racked up 14ï¿½ sacks as a rookie and helped the Titans reach Super Bowl XXXIV.
8 of 10John Iacono/SI
No one had ever seen a linebacker with the speed and athleticism of Taylor, who was dubbed âSupermanâ by his teammates. Taylor, who had 133 tackles and 9ï¿½ sacks, transformed the Giantsâ defense into one of the most feared units in the NFL.
9 of 10Mike Powell/Getty Images
He didnât look fast, but if there was a hole, Dickerson would get through it. Dickerson was an immediate smash, setting rookie records for most rushing attempts (390), most rushing yards gained (1,808) and most rushing TDs (18).
10 of 10Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Teams passed on Moss in the draft because of his off-field problems, and the talented wide receiver made them pay by lighting up the NFL his rookie season. Moss caught 69 passes for 1,313 yards and 17 touchdowns to help the Vikings go 15-1.
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