NFL: 10 Rookies Not Named Tebow Or Bradford Making Noise in Preseason
The scheduled slate of preseason games are now in full swing. With the exception of tonight's Monday night game, the second week is complete. Quarterbacks Sam Bradford, and Tim Tebow continue to receive headlines, while late draftees and free agents scramble for roster spots. It is still early, but here are 10 NFL rookies making some noise early in the preseason.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
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Perhaps a late-round steal, the Steelers selected Brown in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL draft. A versatile receiver and return threat, Brown left Central Michigan after his junior season. With the departure of Santonio Holmes, and the aging of Hines Ward their is a legitimate chance for the 5'10", 186 pound Florida native to immediately contribute. Against the Lions on August 14th, the rookie impressed with three receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown.
Pat Angerer, Indianapolis Colts
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A second round selection out of Iowa, Angerer was stellar against San Francisco on August 15th. The 6"0', 235-pound linebacker recorded a team-high eight tackles including two sacks in a loss to the 49ers. Currently, Angerer is listed behind veteran Gary Brackett on the depth chart. With continued strong play, look for the Colts to find ways to get him on the field.
T.J. Ward, Cleveland Browns
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Many shook their heads in confusion when Mike Holmgren selected Ward early in the second round of this years draft. A 5'10", 205-pound safety from Oregon, Ward has been solid in training camp and led the squad with 9 tackles against the Packers on August 14th. Along with fellow rookie Joe Haden, the Browns are slowly building a very young and respected secondary. Ward is currently listed behind free safety Mike Adams on the depth chart, but don't be surprised to see a lot of him on the field in 2010.
Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles
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A fifth-round selection in the 2010 NFL draft, the size of Cooper (6'3" 222 pounds) provides the Eagle offense a great compliment to the athleticism of DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin. The rookie from Florida caught three of four passes thrown his way for 61 yards against Jacksonville on August 13th. Cooper is fighting with Jason Avant and Hank Baskett to become Kevin Kolb's third target.
Greg Hardy, Carolina Panthers
A sixth-round selection out of Mississippi, the defensive end certainly made an impression during the Panthers first preseason game. The 6'4", 277 pound rookie disrupted the Ravens offensive line with two sacks on five tackles with four being behind the line of scrimmage. Hardy is looking to solidify a spot on the Panthers roster, and could prove valuable with the current defensive ends in Carolina.
Josh Hull, St. Louis Rams
The former Penn State Nittany Lion is looking to continue the recent trend of steady linebackers from the program to contribute in the NFL. Selected in the seventh round, the 6'3", 239-pound rookie paced the Rams with eight tackles and one for loss in defeat to the Vikings on August 14th. Currently, Hull is third on the Rams depth chart at middle linebacker behind James Laurinaitis, and Dominic Douglas.
Jordan Shipley, Cincinnati Bengals
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A favorite target for Colt McCoy in college, the former Texas standout is quickly showing his ability to run crisp routes and consistently catch the ball. Against Denver on August 15th, Shipley caught five of six passes intended for him for 50 yards. During the Hall of Fame game against Dallas, he hauled in two of three passes thrown his way for 17 yards. A third-round pick in this years draft, Shipley is in a great position to learn from Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, and Carson Palmer.
Brandon Spikes, New England Patriots
The talents of Brandon Spikes have never been in question. The Patriots may have picked up a steal when they selected the former Gator in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. The 6'2", 250-pound linebacker led the defense with eight tackles against New Orleans on August 12th. Spikes is currently listed behind middle linebacker Jerod Mayo on the depth chart. If the the rookie can continue his strong play it is difficult to imagine him on the sideline.
Anthony Dixon, San Francisco 49ers
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The 49ers certainly didn't hold back in giving the rookie plenty of opportunities against Indianapolis on August 15th. A sixth-round selection from Mississippi State, Dixon has great size at 6'1", 233 pounds to compliment the abilities of Glen Coffee and Frank Gore. The rookie carried the ball 21 times for 100 yards with one touchdown, as well as catching three passes for 22 yards against the Colts.
Daryl Washington, Arizona Cardinals
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An underrated linebacker in college, Washington didn't take his time in impressing his new team. A second-round selection, the rookie from Texas Christian was a tackling machine against Houston on August 14th. Washington recorded 13 total tackles and also recovered a Steve Slaton fumble. With continued strong play don't be surprised to find Washington starting for the Cardinals early in the regular season.