Rookies are more pro-ready these days than ever before. Athletes are getting pro-level coaching in college, have pro-style training in college and are athletically more gifted than ever before.
And it shows when they hit the big stage.
So, which players are ready to break out with big games in Week 1?
I admit that I had my reservations about Justin Blackmon coming out of college. I thought he was too short, too slow and didn't have the right attitude to succeed in the NFL.
I was wrong.
From what the young man has demonstrated thus far, he is exceptionally gifted at gaining yards after the catch. He is stronger than people realize, and so far his hands have proven to be reliable.
He will be Blaine Gabbert's No. 1 target on offense, and both of them will have good games against the Vikings' feeble secondary.
Blackmon will have seven catches for 100 yards and one touchdown.
And he's going to have a monster game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get his rookie campaign going strong.
Kuechly has a nose for the ball. It's been evident thus far in training camp and during the preseason that he's going to be one of the top linebackers in the entire NFL before too long.
He'll see plenty of opportunities to make plays against the Bucs.
Greg Schiano has made it clear that his plan for the Bucs offense is to run the ball. Kuechly will be there to greet fellow rookie Doug Martin in the hole a few times, and it'll be interesting to see which one of them wins those battles.
Kuechly will make at least eight tackles and break up at least one pass.
I don't expect the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win their opening game against the Carolina Panthers, but Doug Martin will have a big game.
Martin is going to get at least 20-25 carries, and if his offensive line gives him any room to rumble at all, he's going to wear down a subpar Carolina defensive front.
One of the things many people seem to discount when it comes to Martin is his excellent pass-catching skills out of the backfield. By the time the game is finished, he'll have touched the ball at least 25 times, and given his size, speed and power, he's going to gain a lot of yards after contact.
Martin will rush for over 100 yards with one touchdown and will catch five passes for 50-plus yards.
It's no secret that Mike and Kyle Shanahan kept things relatively vanilla for Robert Griffin III during the preseason games, and I can't wait to see what they've got dialed up for him in their opening game against the New Orleans Saints.
RG3 has all the tools to become an elite quarterback. He is faster than Cam Newton, makes excellent decisions in the pocket and can make all the throws with pinpoint accuracy.
I don't expect to see the Redskins best the Saints on Sunday, but I do expect RG3 to have a prolific day behind center against the Saints lackluster secondary.
RG3 will pass for 270 yards, throwing two touchdowns and one interception. He will also run for 50-plus yards and one touchdown.
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