NFL Week 1 Predictions: Rookies Who Will Stand Out in 1st NFL Game
The opening weekend of the 2012 NFL season will offer several rookies the chance to shine in their professional debut.
A few high-profile picks will be starting for their teams, while other lesser-known players worked their way up the depth chart in training camp.
Regardless of how they earned a spot in the starting lineup, they must now perform at their best on Sundays in order to keep their place on the field.
Here are the rookies who will have breakout performances in Week 1.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Luck is a special player who is miles ahead of all the other rookie quarterbacks at this point.
His comprehension of how to play quarterback in a pro-style offense was evident in the preseason, and his polish will show against an aging Chicago Bears defense.
The Colts still have far too many holes on this roster to compete at a high level this year, but Luck’s bright future will be clear from his first regular-season game in an Indy uniform.
Indianapolis fans had to painfully sit through a season of Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky to land Luck, and the rookie will show right from the start of his 2012 campaign that the suffering was was not in vain.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers were surprisingly inept on offense last season, and under new offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, the team will hope to improve.
There is no shortage of talent on the roster after wide receiver Vincent Jackson and All-Pro guard Carl Nicks were signed in free agency. If Nicks plays as well as he did with the New Orleans Saints, there will be large holes for Martin to run through on the left side.
Martin beat out LeGarrette Blount in the offseason, and the first-round pick out of Boise State will receive the bulk of the carries in the Bucs opener against the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina did not have a stout run defense last season, and Martin will have ample opportunity to rack up yards and touchdowns in his first game as a Buccaneer.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
Which rookie QB will have the best season?
Wilson started the preseason as an afterthought for the Seahawks with free-agent signing Matt Flynn as the presumed starter. But the third-round pick out of Wisconsin impressed the Seattle coaching staff, and he will be under center when the team opens up the season.
Arizona’s Patrick Peterson looks like he will be one of the best defensive backs in the league, but Wilson is savvy enough to work around him and can also beat the Cardinals with his legs.
After Seattle sunk $10 million in guaranteed money into Flynn, Pete Carroll would not have kept him on the bench unless Wilson was markedly better than the former Green Bay Packers backup.
This was clearly the case, and the determination Wilson showed in the preseason will lead to success with the Seahawks open their 2012 campaign.
Nick Perry, OLB, Green Bay Packers
The Packers took Perry with their first pick to finally put a pass-rushing threat opposite Clay Matthews.
With the amount of attention Matthews receives, Perry will likely find himself in many one-on-one matchups. The former USC standout has the talent to blow by linemen trying to block him without help.
Green Bay will be trying to prove that its defense will be better this season after adding several players through the draft. If Perry can put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, the unit will vastly improve.
A showdown against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1 will be a defensive battle in which Perry and the Packers show off a revamped front seven.
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