Super Bowl 2013: Which Rookies Will Have Biggest Impact?

Jeremy FuchsCorrespondent IIIJanuary 23, 2013

Bernard Pierce will continue his fine playoffs in Super Bowl 2013.
Bernard Pierce will continue his fine playoffs in Super Bowl 2013.Al Bello/Getty Images

There are a number of rookies playing in Super Bowl 2013, but only a few will have a big impact on the game.

Most rookies only play on special teams, but the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers have a few who contribute greatly to the team.

Which rookies will have the biggest impact in 2013? Read on to find out. 


Bernard Pierce, RB, Ravens

As the backup to Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce has seen significant action in his rookie season.

The 6'0", 218-pound back from Temple carried the ball 108 times in the regular season for 532 yards and one touchdown.

In the playoffs, he's carried it 27 times for 169 yards. Against Atlanta, he ran it nine times for 52 yards.

Pierce is a bruising running back who excels between the tackles. On second downs and less than six to go, Pierce has rushed 12 times for 98 yards. On third downs and less than six to go, Pierce has rushed five times for 30 yards and a touchdown, as per ESPN.

Ray Rice was effusive in his praise of his backfield mate:

"He's the toughest man on earth," Rice said. "That's my man. We knew it would be tough sledding. They always do a great job against the run, but we just had to execute. Having a dual threat really helps out."

Pierce should see plenty of opportunities against the 49ers to try and move the chains, and his past results indicates that he'll have success.

Look for Pierce to continue his role as half of the dual threat for the Ravens in the Super Bowl.


Justin Tucker, K, Ravens

Kickers are of utmost importance in the playoffs, because the games are so close. 

Consider: Adam Vinatieri has two game-winning kicks in Super Bowls and the famous "Tuck Rule" game-winning kick in the 2001 AFC Divisional Championship Game. The Patriots would not have won their Super Bowls without him.

Tucker has a chance to have that kind of impact.

He already has a big kick in these playoffs, a game-winner against the Denver Broncos.

Despite being a rookie, Tucker has been solid. In the regular season, he was 30-of-33, with a long of 56. In the playoffs, he's 2-of-2.

Tucker will likely have another opportunity for a big kick in the Super Bowl. He's shown poise beyond his years as a rookie, but it's possible that he could determine whether the Ravens win or not.

So far, it looks like he's up to the challenge. 


LaMichael James, RB, 49ers

LaMichael James was used sparingly in the regular season, but he's started to come on of late.

The 5'9", 195-pound running back has blazing speed—he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine. 

The Niners have begun to take advantage of this speed. Against Atlanta, James ran five times for 34 yards and one touchdown.

The Ravens do not have a great run defense. They gave up 122.8 rushing yards per game, which was ranked 20th in the league.

James should see time as a change-of-pace back and could have a really nice game against the suspect Ravens run defense.