Super Bowl 2013: Rookies Who Will Impact Outcome of New Orleans Showdown

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2013

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12:  Justin Tucker #9 of the Baltimore Ravens kicks a successful 47-yard game-winning field goal in the second overtime to win 38-35 against the Denver Broncos during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 12, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Much of the talk leading up to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans has surrounded 17-year veteran Ray Lewis and rising star Colin Kaepernick—and with good reason.

When the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers take the field in the Superdome, fans will see a slew of seasoned veterans who boast years of NFL experience and unique skill sets.

However, they'll also see a few rookies who will have an opportunity to make an impact on sports' biggest stage.

These players all have important roles for their respective teams, and there will be a lot of pressure on them to perform those roles.

Here they are.


Justin Tucker

Tucker was one of the most consistent and reliable field-goal kickers this season, posting a 90.9 field-goal percentage, which ranked sixth in the NFL. With the 49ers owning one of the best defenses in the NFL, there's a good chance Tucker will be counted on against San Francisco.

The 23-year-old kicker is 2-of-2 this postseason, including the 47-yard game-winner against the Denver Broncos in the Divisional Round.

Tucker could be called on to hit another game-winner in the Superdome, meaning there's a great chance he'll have an impact on the outcome of the Super Bowl.


LaMichael James

The former Oregon Duck didn't make his NFL debut until Week 14, rushing for 30 yards on eight carries.

Although James hasn't gained more than 49 yards in any regular or postseason game this year, he has still been an effective piece of the Niners offense, especially against the Atlanta Falcons.

The speedy back is a nice change of pace from Frank Gore, and as he showed in each of San Francisco's last two playoff games, he's capable of gaining large chunks of yardage.

Whether it's on the ground or through the air in the passing game, James will see his share of action on Feb. 3.


Bernard Pierce

Pierce wasn't given much of a chance to shine in the early going of the 2012 season, as he never saw more than seven carries during the first nine weeks of the season.

He really came on toward the end of the season and showcased his NFL talent by trampling the New York Giants to the tune of 123 yards on a mere 14 carries.

Pierce also had solid days against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 and then again in the Wild Card Game against the Indianapolis Colts, when he rushed for 103 yards on 13 attempts.

Ray Rice is obviously the featured back in Baltimore's offense, but the Ravens seem to be trusting Pierce more and more each week—meaning he should see a decent amount of carries in Super Bowl XLVII to make a mark on the game.


Follow me on Twitter: