NFL Predictions for 2010 Season: Top 10 Rookies
Each NFL season, the league is rejuvenated with the injection of new talent and hype. Some of these talents pan out; other times they bust and underachieve. It is interesting to watch each member of an NFL draft class grow and develop in their time in the NFL.
In the 2010 NFL draft class there are guys with so much hype and talent that they become "guys to watch."
Will they rise to the call and live up to the hype?
Will they falter and fail to meet their expectations?
When we look back on the 2010 NFL season, here are the top 10 rookies we'll remember.
Ndamukong Suh—Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions had another "year to forget" in 2009, finishing 2-14. The Lions are not necessarily far away from being a .500 team, but they're still not there yet. It is yet to be seen how their team will continue to grow and develop in 2010.
Drafting Nebraska defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh was another step in the right direction.
In 2009 Suh registered 82 tackles and 12 quarterback sacks, and had 26 quarterback hurries, 23 tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups, three blocked kicks and one interception.
Suh will provide the Lions with more run defense and will allow them to get after the quarterback more often—two things that will need to happen for Detroit to compete in a tough NFC North division. Suh will face the likes of Adrian Peterson, Ryan Grant, Matt Forte, Brett Favre (insert "?"), Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler.
Look for Suh to become a weapon for the Lions and for him to make a lot of noise in 2010. With such great talent, size and quickness, Suh is destined to be an impact player no matter which defensive line he's plugged into.
Sam Bradford—St. Louis Rams
Sam Bradford had an unfortunate setback in his career in a game against BYU last college football season. He suffered a shoulder injury that prevented him from seeing any time under center during Oklahoma's 2009 season.
Regardless, Bradford's 2008 season and potential were enough to convince the NFL and the St. Louis Rams that he was worth a No. 1 overall selection in the NFL Draft.
Bradford comes into a "down and out" franchise in St. Louis. Bradford has not yet been announced as the starter, and he will have to fight to earn his starting rights under center. Bradford appears to be the favorite though, and if all goes well with his shoulder and with his play, we should be watching Bradford start in 2010.
The Rams are far beyond their "greatest show on turf" days, but they hope that Bradford is the start to resurrecting any productive form of offense.
Bradford has all the intangibles needed to being a great quarterback: talent, football IQ, leadership and poise. Let's just hope he has patience, a trait Bradford will need as the starting quarterback of a rebuilding franchise.
Look for Sam Bradford to get the starting nod and help the Rams' offense and team compete on a higher level in 2010.
Ryan Mathews—San Diego Chargers
San Diego is going to be one sad offense now that L.T. is gone.
Not so fast.
The San Diego Chargers took immediate action after losing one of their all-time rushers (LaDanian Tomlinson) by drafting Ryan Mathews out of Fresno State.
Mathews, a first team all-WAC member in 2009, led the college football in rushing with 150.67 yards per game. Matthews totaled 1,808 yards on 276 carries and had 19 touchdowns last year.
Mathews will have the opportunity to step in and contribute immediately. With the departure of L.T., the carries will now be split between Mathews and Darren Sproles.
Ryan Mathews is not only a great rusher, but he is also known for his hands and for catching the ball out of the backfield. Mathews will play an active role on the Chargers' offense in 2010.
Not only is Matthews one to watch, but you may also want to take a look at him as a backup for your fantasy team.
Eric Berry—Kansas City Chiefs
Eric Berry will be introducing the city of Kansas City to "The Fifth Dimension."
The Chiefs drafted Tennessee safety Eric Berry with the fifth pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Berry, a two-time All-American in college, was the winner of the Jim Thorpe Award in 2009.
Berry has been regarded as the best safety prospect since the late Sean Taylor.
If Berry can produce even half of what Sean Taylor did in his NFL career, Kansas City will have a dominant safety. I'm sure Berry has his sights set on fully living up to his hype and possibly exceeding it.
Eric Berry will provide the Chiefs with great pass coverage, and he is also an aggressive player and tough hitter.
With how this guy hits, don't be surprised to see Eric Berry selected for an edition or two of "Jacked Up."
CJ Spiller—Buffalo Bills
Buffalo, get ready for excitement.
For a city and franchise that desperately needs a jolt of energy, Buffalo has just been injected. Clemson running back CJ Spiller is a fast, quick and exciting halfback who should see a lot of touches.
Spiller is used to sharing the load, and he makes due with his number of carries. In 2009 Spiller and Jacoby Ford became the leading all-purpose duo in NCAA history (a record previously held by Marshall Faulk and Darnay Scott of San Diego State).
The 2009 ACC Player of the Year is going to provide the Bills with a legitimate runner, receiver and return man.
With the way Spiller will rack up yards and stats in 2010, he's definitely another guy to take a look at for fantasy football in 2010.
Bryan Bulaga—Green Bay Packers
Yeah, I know. There's not always much excitement about offensive lineman picks. But when one will have as big of an impact as Bulaga will, it's worth mention.
Bryan Bulaga was selected out of Iowa in the first round by the Green Bay Packers. Bulaga missed a few games early last season, but he started all the remaining games and was named 2009 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Not only does the big man have that "beer and brat Wisconsin look," but he'll also give the Packers exactly what they need: a big, tough, physical blocker. Bulaga will help out tremendously on an offensive line that struggled to keep star quarterback Aaron Rodgers upright last year.
Bulaga will face great competition going against the great defensive lines of Minnesota, Chicago and an improving Detroit. It will be interesting to watch his progression and to see how he handles the pressures he will face.
The Packers need him to be a guy who will step in right away and contribute.
Bulaga will deliver.
Golden Tate—Seattle Seahawks
Golden Tate is possibly one of the most exciting receivers in the 2010 NFL Draft class.
Notre Dame's Golden Tate was a second round pick by the Seattle Seahawks. Tate had a busy 2009 college football season, winning the Biletnikoff Award. In addition, Tate broke the single-season Notre Dame records for most receptions and receiving yards (previously held by Jeff Samardzija).
Golden Tate will step into the new-look Seattle Seahawks with Pete Carroll at the helm. Carroll was known for his electric offenses and winning at USC, two things Seattle would like to acquire themselves.
It's no secret that Seattle has had issues with wide receivers. The Seahawks have cycled through many different receivers, looking for that go-to guy for Hasselbeck. Look for that carousel to end with TJ Houshmandzadeh and Golden Tate playing wideout for Seattle.
Tim Tebow—Denver Broncos
We can't have a 2010 rookie discussion without talking about Timmy Tebow.
Tim Tebow is easily the most discussed rookie in the 2010 NFL Draft, despite being a late first round selection. Tim will always be remembered for his remarkable college football career, and Denver hopes he'll be remembered for his NFL career as well.
Many question just how great he will be. His playing style in college is not one that is believed to transfer over into the NFL well.
The Denver Broncos will find a way to let Tim Tebow be Tim Tebow. There will be packages and plays set aside just for when Tim Tebow heads out onto the field.
Head coach Josh McDaniels insists that Kyle Orton is and will remain the starting quarterback, but this is one to watch closely. With all the hype and rave following Tebow into the NFL, a bad start from the Broncos and/or Orton could cause an uproar in Denver in support of Tebow.
Regardless of whether or not Tebow starts in 2010, he will play and impact the Denver Broncos on offense.
Jahvid Best—Detroit Lions
Another speedy and electric running back out of the 2010 NFL Draft class.
On his way to what looked to be a promising and even "Heisman hopeful" season, Jahvid Best's luck ran out. During the second quarter of Cal's November 7 match-up against Oregon State, Best went down hard on his head and suffered a concussion that set him back. Despite his season being cut short, Best still rushed for 867 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Jahvid Best had showed enough in his college football career to merit the Detroit Lions selecting him late in the first round.
Jahvid will provide a speedy rush game for Detroit and will give fans something in Detroit to talk about. Best is just another great selection in the rebuilding of the abysmal Detroit Lions franchise.
Look for Jahvid to split carries with Kevin Smith, who was Detroit's clear-cut rusher last season. The jury is still out on Smith, so Jahvid will need to do some convincing in the preseason and regular season to earn more carries. Look for him to do so.
Dez Bryant—Dallas Cowboys
Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant was selected 24th overall by the Dallas Cowboys. Dez was passed on by some teams for his attitude and personal work ethic. Many, however, couldn't deny that he is a great talent at wideout.
Jerry Jones and the Cowboys decided they'd take that calculated gamble on Bryant and secured him by immediately taking him in the first round.
Bryant is a big, tall and athletic receiver who will compliment Tony Romo nicely. Dez Bryant may spend some time playing on the other side of Miles Austin, and he may even spend some time in the slot. No matter where he lines up though, Dez is going to make some big plays and catches for the Cowboys.
The only reason I have Seattle's Golden Tate ahead of Dez is because of Dez's injury. Dez may be back in time for the regular season opener, but I still feel Tate will touch the ball more.
There's no doubt that Dez Bryant will find his niche and make big contributions in Dallas. Jerry Jones can only hope that he makes enough plays to help the Cowboys play in a home field Super Bowl.