Instant Impacts: 25 NFL Rookies Who Will Make An Impact This Season

Bryan BrackneyAnalyst IJuly 12, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse of Massachusetts-Amherst runs during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
Vladimir Ducasse - Ducasse will become an instant contributor after the Jets released guard Alan Faneca. A physical player, Ducasse will do well in the Jets smash mouth offense. The big rookie will be brought along slowly.
Zoltan Mesko - Mesko shouldn't get on the field too much with the Patriots strong offense, which should help his transition to the NFL. New England's punting has not been a strength in years.
Maurkice Pouncey - The Steelers were forced to move Trai Essex to tackle when Willie Colon went down, which essentially guarantees Pouncey a starting spot at right guard. Pouncey's play could determine the Steelers fate in 2010.
Jermaine Gresham - Gresham has a chance to be the starting tight end for an offense that is not afraid to pass the ball to large targets in the redzone. Gresham will become the middle of the field target that Carson Palmer has been missing for years.
Joe Haden - Haden will compete with holdover Eric Wright to start at cornerback. Even if he does not start right away, the former Florida Gator should see plenty of action in nickel formations. Because of Cleveland's weak secondary, Haden should see a lot of passes going his way as a rookie.
T.J. Ward - Ward is on this list because of the impact he will make next season, not because of his ability. Ward is a big hitter, but he lacks great range and has major injury concerns.
Kareem Jackson - Jackson will replace Dunta Robinson, who was signed away by the Falcons in free agency. Jackson will be picked on as a rookie, and the guy opposite him, Glover Quinn, is no star.
Tyson Alualu - After releasing John Henderson, Alualu becomes the Jaguars top defensive tackle. Alualu is a harder worker than Henderson, and it will show when we start seeing his name on the stat sheet.
Ryan Matthews - Matthews lands in an offense that has all of the surroundings needed for a running back to thrive. Matthews adds a great combination of run and power that the Chargers have not gotten out of LaDainian Tomlinson over the last couple of years. Norv Turner knows how to use running backs to the best of their ability.
Eric Berry - Berry was picked in the top five for a reason. Not many safeties have his range and the ability to lay the hammer. Berry has a nose for the ball, and should get a lot of turnovers and tackles.
Rolando McClain - McClain is a great run-stopper, and should record Jerod Mayo-type stats as a rookie. McClain is one of the highest ranked middle linebackers since Ray Lewis.
Matt Dodge - Dodge replaces Jeff Feagles, who was the NFL's oldest player last season. Dodge has a strong leg and a similar work ethic. He won't be afraid to take a hit or make a tackle for the team.
Trent Williams - Williams joins a veteran offensive line that will feature a zone-blocking scheme which created stars like Matt Lepsis and Ryan Clady. Williams is atheletic enough for the zone-blocking style the Redskins employ.
Ndamukong Suh - Suh becomes the face of the Lions defense, which is head coach Jim Schwartz's pet project. Schwartz had success with Albert Haynesworth in Tennessee, and chances are he will have success with Suh in Detroit.
Jahvid Best - Best is expected to be the Lions playmaker in 2010, similar to what Chris Johnson was for the Titans as a rookie. As Gregg Rosenthal put it, "He's the player people thought Reggie Bush would be."
Brandon LaFell - It won't be hard for LaFell to overtake Dwayne Jarrett as the Panthers complement to Steve Smith. LaFell has great size, and was a productive receiver at LSU, where he caught passes in college.
Gerald McCoy - McCoy is a great player. The only problem is he is the Buccaneers only good defensive lineman. He should see a lot of double teams. Even if he is double teamed, he should allow for others to make plays.
Brian Price - Price will compete with Ryan Sims to start next to Gerald McCoy. Price has the ability to rush the quarterback with both power and speed. It will be intersting to see how the Buccaneers coaches use him.
Mike Williams - Williams has the ability to become a solid possession receiver. He has great body control, and he should become Josh Freeman's favorite target because of his great size.
Arrelious Benn - Although Benn was drafted ahead of rookie Mike Williams, don't expect him to be ahead of Williams on the depth chart as a rookie. Benn can create a run-after-the-catch threat the Buccaneers lacked.
Brett Bowden - The Buccaneers will be doing a lot of punting in 2010, and Bowden will get plenty of chances to show his worth. Bowden has great leg strength, and has never had a punt blocked.
Russell Okung - Okung is in a similar situation to Trent Williams' situation in Washington. Okung was not drafted as the highest tackle, but he will be the best. His great work ethic makes up for his lesser talent.
Earl Thomas - Thomas could be the best defensive playmaker in the draft. I Would not be surprised if he put up Jarius Byrd numbers as a rookie. Thomas will also be featured in some sub-packages.
Sam Bradford - Bradford will have an instant impact, but it won't be much. Surrounded by a dreadful offensive line and receiving core, his first season will be a hard one. But Bradford could add the spark to the Rams offense and make everything click.
Rodger Saffold - Saffold is expected to start at either left or right tackle after the Rams traded Alex Barron to Dallas. Saffold is solid in both run and pass protection. He also has the versatility to play guard.