Rookies

July 24, 2005

While three running backs were taken among the top five picks in April's draft, and all three--Ronnie Brown (Dolphins), Cedric Benson (Bears) and Cadillac Williams (Bucs)--should get heavy workloads, a total of nine ball carriers stack the top 14 on our fantasy rookie list. But don't overlook the six receivers who were chosen in Round 1 of the draft. Here are 30 rookies worth considering when filling out your roster.

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    POS. COLLEGE NFL TEAM
1. Cadillac Williams
Featured back shows signs of being better receiver than was thought
RB Auburn Bucs
2. J.J. Arrington RB Cal Cardinals
3. Cedric Benson RB Texas Bears
4. Ronnie Brown
Excellent receiver will get his carries, but will Ricky Williams cut into playing time?
RB Auburn Dolphins
5. Mike Williams WR Southern Cal Lions
6. Mark Clayton WR Oklahoma Ravens
7. Frank Gore RB Miami 49ers
8. Braylon Edwards WR Michigan Browns
9. Marion Barber III
Expected to replace Richie Anderson as third-down back
RB Minnesota Cowboys
10. Troy Williamson WR S. Carolina Vikings
11. Darren Sproles RB Kansas State Chargers
12. Roscoe Parrish
Backup to oft-injured Michael Bennett could crack lineup
WR Miami Bills
13. Ciatrick Fason RB Florida Vikings
14. Brandon Jacobs RB S. Illinois Giants
15. Matt Jones WR Arkansas Jaguars
16. Roddy White WR UAB Falcons
17. Maurice Clarett RB Ohio State Broncos
18. Alex Smith
The future of the franchise; already penciled in to start
QB Utah 49ers
19. Brandon Jones WR Oklahoma Titans
20. Reggie Brown WR Georgia Eagles
21. Heath Miller TE Virginia Steelers
22. Alex Smith TE Stanford Bucs
23. Mike Nugent
Second-round draft pick hit seven of eight field-goal tries from 50 yards and beyond over last two seasons
K Ohio State Jets
24. Eric Shelton RB Louisville Panthers
25. Vernand Morency RB Oklahoma St. Texans
26. Ryan Moats RB Louisiana Tech Eagles
27. Mark Bradley WR Oklahoma Bears
28. Adrian McPherson QB Florida State Saints
29. Jason Campbell QB Auburn Redskins
30. David Greene
Third-stringer for now; will be groomed as Matt Hasselbeck's successor
QB Georgia Seahawks

SPOTLIGHT

J.J. Arrington

The slippery halfback from Cal attracted little Heisman buzz despite a 2,000-yard senior season, and he was similarly overlooked on draft day when he fell to the second round. Yet Arrington could generate some serious heat in the desert for a potentially explosive offense that features young wide receiver standouts Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, plus quarterback Kurt Warner, a two-time league MVP who is looking to rediscover his old magic. Expected to split time with holdover Marcel Shipp, a swift yet injury-prone veteran, Arrington wowed coaches and players in minicamps with his pass-catching skills and running instincts. If things break right for Arrington, he could emerge as coach Denny Green's most productive runner since the late '90s, when he had Robert Smith in Minnesota.

COLOR PHOTOJASON WISE/SPORTPICS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)