The 2010 crop of NFL rookies is expected to be one of the best in decades. In fact this year's top five picks are expected to be solid blue chippers (or even Pro-Bowlers) for the next ten years.
But, this draft wasn't just top heavy, it was also very deep. A lot of guys (like Notre Dame quaterback Jimmy Clausen) slid into later rounds either because there was a greater need at another position,or because the player that fell into their lap was just too good to pass up.
For the most part rookies are a work in progress, and the guys that will be playing in the AFC South are no exception.
Some of them will make immediate impacts this year, but most of them won't become serious game changers for a couple of seasons.
A lot of analysts were stunned when the Colts drafted Angerer at the bottom of the second round, especially since they'd locked up starting MLB Gary Brackett a month before.
The Colts don't start rookie linebackers anyway (you'd have to go back to Mike Peterson in 1999 to find a rookie linebacker starter).
So why does Pat Angerer crack the top ten rookies in the AFC South?
Indy's special teams are absolutely terrible. With Angerer's nose for the ball he could really help keep opposing return men behind the 30 yard line.
Myron Rolle has received a lot of attention for his behavior off the field, but it's not because of his character--it's because he's a Rhodes Scholar.
Sure, he spent his "senior season" studying in Oxford, England (he'd already graduated from Florida State after two and a half years)- but that doesn't change the fact that he's a really talented player.
His junior season at Florida State he was third on the team with 62 tackles (40 solo), so he won't be afraid to hit some of the big receivers in the AFC South.
Because of his high academic standards a lot of people are questioning his commitment to football; that's OK, because when he gets on the field he's going to light it up every chance he gets.
Although Dallas Clark is coming off the best season of his career, the Colts run a lot of two tight end sets. So, the second tight end is practically a starter.
The Colts running game could use all the help it can get, and with Eldridge's rare blocking ability (he was the only BCS player to start at three different positions last year- tight end, center, and left guard) they may have gotten a boost.
Last year he had 66 knockdowns.
Look for him to fit into more of an H-back role for the Colts. He should see action immediately as a point of attack blocker.
D'Anthony Smith might be a key piece in the Jags vision of transitioning to a 3-4. He may not be the starter at nose tackle (now), but he'll definitely see some action in the rotation.
Last year he earned first team All-WAC honors and led his team in sacks (5). If he can put it together (and step up to NFL competition) the Jags could have their nose tackle for the next decade.
A lot of eyebrows were raised when the Jags picked Tyson Alualu with the tenth pick in the first round. Mel Kiper thought the Jags "overdrafted" by about a round and a half.
That being said Alualu will have his chance to make an impact- since he's definitely going to start. The big question is how they'll use him.
Last year the Jags came out in a 3-4 defense in the season opener against the Colts. They didn't really have the personnel to pull it off, but you can bet that Alualu will be a key cog in the Jags defense this year.
Look for him to penetrate the gap from one of the two end spots.
The Titans need playmakers (that aren't named Chris Johnson) on offense, and Williams fits that role.
Last year's first rounder, wide reciever Kenny Britt, started to show some signs of star power, but he can't catch the ball if he's always drawing double coverage.
With Damian Williams on the field, the Titans have a pair of young wideouts that can grow with Vince Young- and make opposing defenses respect the pass.
It's almost unfair that after sitting tight at #31, the Colts still managed to get the best pure pass rusher in the draft.
The Colts already have the best defensive end tandem in the league, so the real challenge for defensive coordinator, Larry Coyer, will be to figure out how to get all of his playmakers on the field.
This year, Hughes will probably see most of his action on passing downs.
That being said, anytime offensive lineman try to double up on Dwight Freeney, they'll be leaving Hughes or Mathis wide open to make the sack.
The past few years, the Texans draft philosophy has been to pick great defensive players so they can (try to) beat the Colts.
Kareem Jackson fits into this role perfectly. Last year the Crimson Tide were second in the nation in pass defense efficiency and Kareem Jackson was their best corner.
It may be a few years before he's able to go toe to toe with Reggie Wayne, but he'll practice opposite Andre Johnson--which will put him way ahead of the curve.
Last year the Titans pass rush was atrocious (Jacob Ford led the team with 5.5 sacks). That's not a good recipe when you play Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub twice.
Luckily, the Titans picked up (arguably) the best defensive end in the draft. Finally the Titans have a defensive end who is not only a legitimate threat off the edge, but is also good enough against the run to play every down.
With the losses of Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse, there's definitely a starting spot available for Morgan.
The Texans are primed and ready to make that jump to the playoffs and all they need to do is... beat the Colts.
Easier said then done, but the past few years they've gone out of their way to draft players to specifically neutralize the Colts strengths (like drafting Mario Williams in 2006).
With Tate, they go after the Colts weakness- run defense.
If Ben Tate can come back from a hamstring injury, he could easily unseat Arian Foster for the starting role in the Texans backfield. And with this offense it's not that unlikely that he could be Rookie of The Year.