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DraftKidWonder
07-05-2008, 04:22 PM
Top Ten Impact Rookies

By: Angelo Carriero


In the NFL, how you draft determines the success of your franchise. Teams that continue to draft poor (Detroit Lions) tend to stay unsuccessful. Teams that succeed in the draft (New England Patriots) tend to stay on top. Every year there are players that make a huge impact on a team, whether it is on or off the field. Sometimes teams draft a player that can come in and sell tickets immediately (2006: Reggie Bush, RB, New Orleans Saints) over a position of dire need (2006: A.J. Hawk, OLB, Green Bay Packers). In this article, Iím going to break down the top ten rookies to make an impact on their team, some on the field (Glenn Dorsey) and some off the field (Matt Ryan). Hereís a look at my top ten impact rookies, along with fifteen other notable players.

Honorable Mention: 25. Steve Slaton, RB, Houston Texans | 24. Jeff Otah, LT, Carolina Panthers | 23. Jerrod Mayo, LB, New England Patriots | 22. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Arizona Cardinals | 21. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers | 20. Chris Williams, LT, Chicago Bears | 19. Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit Lions | 18. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans | 17. Kenny Phillips, FS, New York Giants | 16. Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys | 15. Ryan Clady, LT, Denver Broncos | 14. Devin Thomas, WR, Washington Redskins | 13. Brendan Albert, OT/OG, Kansas City Chiefs | 12. Sam Baker, LT, Atlanta Falcons | 11. Leodis McKelvin, CB, Buffalo Bills


10. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers: Jonathan Stewart is the definition of a complete running back. He has the speed to out run defenders, the power to bowl over linebackerís, and the elusiveness to shake defensive lineman. He was drafted 13th overall and for good reason. The Panthers have lacked a true franchise back since the days of Stephen Davis. DeAngelo Williams was their first round pick in 2006, but has yet to play. Williams would be a perfect compliment back to Stewart, seeing as how quick and elusive Williams is. The Panthers are not getting any younger and solid production out of Stewart might be just what the doctor ordered for them to make the playoffs.

9. Sedrick Ellis, DT, New Orleans Saints: New Orleans is coming off a down year in which they failed to reach the playoffs. Injuries played a key part of their unsuccessful 2007 campaign, but another was not being able to stop the run. Enter Sedrick Ellis, a 6í0, 315 lb. tank in the middle of their run defense. With the addition of Ellis, teams wonít be able to run inside because of his amazing ability to shed blockers and if they try to run outside, Will Smith and Charles Grant are waiting. With the addition of Ellis in the draft, there might not be a way to run against this Saints team.

8. Derrick Harvey, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jacksonville Jaguars leapt 18 teams in order to select this defensive end out of Florida, but it could be well worth it. His pass rushing ability combined with his 6í3, 270 lb. frame, teams might not know who to put on him. He can over power a tight end, but out run a tackle. He has the quickest first step of anybody in the draft and has ability to be a three down defensive end. He will start in Jacksonville and if he does his part, he may get the Jaguars past Indianapolis for first in the AFC South.

7. Keith Rivers, OLB, Cincinnati Bengals: This was the perfect pick for the Bengals to make at the 9th overall slot in last monthís draft, but not just because of his immense talent. Keith Rivers is the type of player that the Bengals need to set a tone for this franchise because he has no character concerns whatsoever. Not only will he start right away and possibly get over 100 tackles at the weak side linebacker, he wonít get in trouble with the law. This may be the first step into rebuilding the Bengals roster and image and back on the winning track.

6. Jake Long, LT, Miami Dolphins: Though he is only 6th on my list, it isnít a slight to him. Jake Long is a mammoth of a tackle who can handle any defensive end in the run game at any time. Itís just that the Dolphins are in no position to win. Though they probably wonít win more than three games, there will be a lot of pressure on him and unfair expectations. He will give up more than two sacks in a four year span with the Dolphins; unlike he did at Michigan as a four year starter. If he plays well and doesnít give up a lot of sacks, I believe that is a more than a successful season for a rookie left tackle. All in all, his impact on and off the field for the Dolphins as the #1 overall pick will be key to his overall success.

5. Chris Long, DE, St. Louis: A year ago, the Rams were just outside of the playoffs and had a realistic chance of making them. Last month they had the #2 overall pick. What changed during that time? Injuries. Orlando Pace went down in the first week of the season. Marc Bulger went down with broken ribs. Virtually the rest of the team went down after that, including defensive end Leonard Little. As the Rams are contemplating between a 4-3 and a 3-4, they chose the perfect player in Chris Long to fill a need both defenses would have. Chris Long has a non-stop motor, very good strength, and an equal set of pass rushing and run stuffing moves. Not to mention he is Howie Longís son. Chris was working with the first team defense on the first day of mini-camp, evident that the future is now for him. Long may not be THE answer, but he is certainly part of the solution and could push the Rams into playoff contentionÖ if they can stay healthy.

4. Glenn Dorsey, DT, Kansas City Chiefs: The Kansas City Chiefs organization has longed for the day that an impact defensive tackle would come to Kansas City. Ryan Sims was supposed to be the answer. He wasnít. So was Jamie Silva. Who? Exactly, but the Chiefs may have finally gotten the player to plug the whole in the middle of their defensive line since the turn of the century in Glenn Dorsey. There was not a better player available in the 2008 draft class than this 6í2, 300 lb. defensive tackle from LSU. He has everything they need for a three technique: size, speed, athleticism, and heart. Dorsey may not be the Chiefs selling point in 2008 and itís likely they wonít win more than 5 games, evident from the rebuilding mode they are in. The fact is, though, if he can provide a spark on defense and if he can stay healthy, Kansas City will be singing a new tune this year and in the future.

3. Vernon Gholston, OLB, New York Jets: Workout warrior, speed demon, most overall athletic defender in the draft, special, the next Shawn Merriman. These are words I have heard to describe Vernon Gholston. He gives the outside linebacker position an immediate upgrade and strikes fear into opposing QBís. But why so high on the list might you ask? Because of one thing. The Playoffs. The Jets have worked hard this offseason, filling almost every need conceivable. They have acquired big names such as Kris Jenkins, Allen Faneca, and Calvin Pace to their roster to push their way into the playoffs. In my mind, Gholston is the answer. He is now their franchise player and immediate starter and should overall, along with the free agent class they have brought in, put them in the playoffs. The Jets offense will surprise some people this year and their defense may be the best in their division, if not the conference by the time this year is up, so look out.

2. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons: Whether he starts this year or not, it speaks volumes about the Falcons overall. They can finally put the Michael Vick possibly coming back situation in the rearview mirror and move on. He is the new face of the franchise and will, or is supposed to be, their signal caller for the next 10-12 years. Not to mention he is one heck of a quarterback and may start this year. Look at the quarterback depth chart for the Falcons: 1. Chris Redman 2. Joey Harrington 3. D.J. Shockley. Matt Ryan is more talented then all three of those quarterbacksís and might give the Falcons more of a chance to win. Ryan is, on and off the field, the most crucial piece of this Falcons organization and the thing is their cupboard isnít bare. They signed Michael Turner at running back as insurance to whichever quarterback starts, not to mention establish a run game. They have Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, and Laurent Robinson at wide receiver so it isnít a bad situation. Their offensive line is, though. They drafted Sam Baker #21 overall to protect Ryan and paid a steep price to get him. Their only other sure fire starter on the offensive line is Justin Blaylock. So if the Falcons offensive line situation settles out, they may surprise the NFL.

1. Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland: Isnít this a no-brainer? Darren McFadden is the flashiest player in the draft and has been described as a hybrid between Reggie Bush and Adrian Peterson. I donít necessarily see that, but I do see an elite talent in a great situation. He not only will be playing a lot this coming season, he will also be selling tickets like crazy. The Raiders may have the most talented backfield in the NFL as Darren McFadden pairs up with Jamarcus Russell. If both of those players live up to their potential, this might be the best backfield ever. Yes, that is the word EVER. Thatís for a later date though. McFadden is the big play threat the Raiders need to get their franchise back to what it was in the 70ís and 80ís. If McFadden can stay healthy, have a solid offensive line, and win the starting job; he might just open up a whole new dimension in the offense: the passing game. He commands eight men in the box when heís on his game and if he can open up Jamarcus Russellís talent and Russell plays to his potential because of McFadden, this will be the team nobody wants to play.


Overall, we have to wait and see how the players and their situations play out, but if they play out to anything like this, it will be an interesting decade of football to come.
I know this list seems pretty generic and I probably should've written more of a sleeper list than 9 top 10's and the 13th pick. Still hope you all like it.

vidae
07-05-2008, 04:35 PM
Decent list. Not who I would have picked, but it was a good read anyway.

Staubach12
07-06-2008, 04:17 PM
Nice effort, but other than that... an average list. McFadden is sharing a backfield with Fargas and Jordan, so I don't see an incredible impact early on. Not to mention, where in the hell is Matt Forte?

Bruce Banner
07-06-2008, 06:00 PM
This means overall impact, not directly positive or negative correct? Because #2 = Fail

eaglesfan_45
07-06-2008, 06:05 PM
Wheres Desean Jackson? Starting KR/PR and the #3 WR in the Eagles. He should at least be in your top-25.

I'd put him over Steve Slaton.
Jeff Otah is a RT BTW.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is a project who IMO isn't going to have an imeadiate impact.

Sniper
07-06-2008, 06:44 PM
Wheres Desean Jackson? Starting KR/PR and the #3 WR in the Eagles


Not yet. He needs to pack on some weight before he can even think of playing WR.

bearsfan_51
07-06-2008, 07:10 PM
Any list that doesn't have Forte in the top 10, let alone the top 25, is simply listing off 1st round guys (though Kevin Smith is oddly enough included). He's already been handed the freaking starting spot. If he can stay healthy and manage to not trip over his own feet he'll get 1,000 yards based on the number of carries alone.

BlindSite
07-06-2008, 07:14 PM
Any list that doesn't have Forte in the top 10, let alone the top 25, is simply listing off 1st round guys (though Kevin Smith is oddly enough included). He's already been handed the freaking starting spot. If he can stay healthy and manage to not trip over his own feet he'll get 1,000 yards based on the number of carries alone.

I tend to agree. Forte is going to be the centre piece of a defensive team. If that's not good news for a RB's stats then nothing is.

Bruce
07-06-2008, 07:15 PM
This means overall impact, not directly positive or negative correct? Because #2 = Failhaha that was great

DraftKidWonder
07-06-2008, 07:41 PM
this was made before Benson got axed.

DraftKidWonder
07-06-2008, 07:43 PM
This means overall impact, not directly positive or negative correct? Because #2 = Fail
Right, more on and off field impact. Some are negative, like Sam Baker.

Brent
07-06-2008, 08:36 PM
I hate lists like these because they're going to be wrong, and we all know it. Yet they are obligatory writing for NFL writers this time of year.

IlliniVikeFan23
07-06-2008, 10:26 PM
lol, Angelo are you trying to get your self noticed so someone will hire you for there site? Is that why you are over here posting?

Bruce Banner
07-06-2008, 10:29 PM
lol, Angelo are you trying to get your self noticed so someone will hire you for there site? Is that why you are over here posting?

cough***google his entire name and it links to Warnerfootball who he wrote this originally for***COUUUUGGHH!

keylime_5
07-06-2008, 10:33 PM
Honestly I don't think Harvey or Chris Long will have that big of an impact as rookies. It usually takes rookie DEs in the 4-3 system anyways a couple years before they start dominating. I really hate this list b/c he only put guys who were first rounders, and basically guys who were top 15 and top 20 picks, really creative. Kevin Smith, Matt Forte, Beau Bell, Steve Slaton, Mario Manningham, Antwuan Molden and guys like that will be bigger impact than half the guys on the list.

DraftKidWonder
07-06-2008, 11:14 PM
lol, Angelo are you trying to get your self noticed so someone will hire you for there site? Is that why you are over here posting?

Yeah. Defenitly. Plus I want to see if people like it. But yeah hopefully I can just build a reputation and hopefully it'll lead me somewhere, you know?

Bruce Banner
07-06-2008, 11:17 PM
Yeah. Defenitly. Plus I want to see if people like it. But yeah hopefully I can just build a reputation and hopefully it'll lead me somewhere, you know?

oh god. Nice setup vikeman.

DraftKidWonder
07-06-2008, 11:17 PM
cough***google his entire name and it links to Warnerfootball who he wrote this originally for***COUUUUGGHH!

Sure did. And it was Walterfootball.com. And I'm on google? Sweet. That should be everybody's wish, or at least a minor goal to achieve.

eaglesfan_45
07-06-2008, 11:58 PM
hey DKW, I wouldn't count on anything happening out of this, if anything this a place to practice journalism skills. if you want to get noticed, get published in a newspaper or maybe start a website. Thats what I would do if I were you, because I can say with 99.9% confidence that no one of that much importance goes surfing on internet forums. (except Scott Wright, but thats because he owns the place :D)

Bruce Banner
07-07-2008, 12:01 AM
hey DKW, I wouldn't count on anything happening out of this, if anything this a place to practice journalism skills. if you want to get noticed, get published in a newspaper or maybe start a website. Thats what I would do if I were you, because I can say with 99.9% confidence that no one of that much importance goes surfing on internet forums. (except Scott Wright, but thats because he owns the place :D)

some guy at the official buccaneers board got a job after posting practice observations so don't give up yet.

eaglesfan_45
07-07-2008, 12:03 AM
Yeah, but how often does that happen? Not very common.

DraftKidWonder
07-07-2008, 12:14 AM
hey DKW, I wouldn't count on anything happening out of this, if anything this a place to practice journalism skills. if you want to get noticed, get published in a newspaper or maybe start a website. Thats what I would do if I were you, because I can say with 99.9% confidence that no one of that much importance goes surfing on internet forums. (except Scott Wright, but thats because he owns the place :D)

Heck, I can use as much help as I can get on journalism. Not that I'm a horrible writer but that everyone can improve and I need to get the tricks of the trade before I can really get noticed. I might try running my own site.

Bruce Banner
07-07-2008, 12:17 AM
Yeah, but how often does that happen? Not very common.

For sure. He was the exception not the rule.

Caddy
07-07-2008, 07:47 AM
Heck, I can use as much help as I can get on journalism. Not that I'm a horrible writer but that everyone can improve and I need to get the tricks of the trade before I can really get noticed. I might try running my own site.

I know their are a few journalism students on this forum including myself, Blindsite and Addict so there is certainly people who you could look to for a bit of help. The only thing I can comment on is that what you are writing isn't actually a story as such which could be a problem if you are looking to gain a reputation. You are writing something closer to a feature article, but even then there are a lot of disparities.

You might want to look at writing feature articles which have a specific topic and allow you to interview relevant sources. I don't mind your write ups, but realistically, how many places can they be published?

Sniper
07-07-2008, 08:51 AM
Heck, I can use as much help as I can get on journalism. Not that I'm a horrible writer but that everyone can improve and I need to get the tricks of the trade before I can really get noticed. I might try running my own site.

didn't bother reading any further. he's played, by nfl.com (a quick google away), in 29 games already. this is such a glaring mistake it only makes me wonder how poorly written the rest of this was.

Rule #1 of journalism: Get the facts right.