10 Players Who Will Best Impact Their Teams in 2010
As the 2010 NFL regular season fast approaches, all teams have now had the opportunity to evaluate their rosters, and have started to solidify their starting lineups on both sides of the ball.
In many camps, quite a few players work hard throughout the preseason to sway coaches' opinions.
Training camp is not just a time for players to work into game-ready shape, but also a time to make their mark and state their case to their coaches as to why they would be able to best impact their team's success.
Based on the results of the first two preseason games, here is a look at 10 players who could positively impact their team's chances of success in the upcoming 2010 season.
No. 10: Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit Lions
Best, the 30th pick in the first round of the draft, clearly displayed his explosiveness in last night's exhibition game between the Lions and Denver Broncos, rushing eight times for 49 yards, a 6.1 avg. Best also caught two passes for 10 yards.
Best showed off his versatility, running between the tackles, lining up in the slot, and showing off great change of direction skills.
The Lions have Kevin Smith, however if Best continues to display these types of skills, they will be hard-pressed to keep him off the field.
No. 9: Terrence Cody, DT, Baltimore Ravens
Cody, the 25th pick in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft out of Alabama, has quickly shown the Ravens why he deserves a crack at significant playing time.
In last night's exhibition game against the Washington Redskins, Cody recorded two tackles and helped the Ravens in holding the Redskins to a mere 25 yards rushing.
At 6'4" and 349 pounds, Cody presents a huge obstacle for opposing centers and guards, and has also shown his versatility by lining up a couple of times at fullback in goal-line formations.
No. 8: C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills
When news came down in Buffalo Bills training camp that running backs Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson would both miss the majority of preseason, the Bills turned to first-round draft pick C.J. Spiller.
Spiller, making the most of his opportunity, did not disappoint. In Thursday's impressive win by the Bills over the Indianapolis Colts, Spiller rushed 10 times for 54 yards, including a sparkling 31-yard touchdown run.
On the play, Spiller broke two tackles on his way to paydirt, and faked veteran Colts' safety Antoine Bethea out of his jockstrap.
No. 7: Devin Aromashodu, WR, Chicago Bears
One cannot help but be impressed by what they've seen out of Devin Aromashodu thus far in preseason.
Coming off a year in which he finished strong (seven receptions for 150 yards and a TD in Week 16 vs. Minnesota), Aromashodu has continued to show the Bears during preseason that he can indeed be an impact player.
No. 6: Stephen Williams, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals WR Stephen Williams was an afterthought in the NFL Draft, going unclaimed and signed by the Cardinals as a free agent.
Williams, out of Toledo, had an impressive four-year career there, surpassing current New Orleans Saints receiver Lance Moore's career school records with 229 receptions and 3,102 yards receiving.
With injuries to standout WR Larry Fitzgerald and No. 3 WR Early Doucet, Williams is getting a long look this preseason, and could very well be the No. 4 receiver coming out of camp.
Considering the Cardinals' penchant for running multiple receiver formations, Williams, at 6'5", would certainly get his opportunities to contribute if he continues to impress the way he has thus far.
No. 5: T.J. Ward, SS, Cleveland Browns
Nothing but upside for this hard hitting strong safety out of the University of Oregon.
T.J. Ward, selected by the Browns with their second-round pick, has definitely made an immediate impact, and figures to be the starting strong safety coming out of camp.
Along with Cleveland's first round pick, cornerback Joe Haden, these two youngsters will clearly be looked upon to help build the Browns' defense of the future.
No. 4- Mike Thomas, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars' WR Mike Thomas had a nice rookie season in 2009, catching 48 passes for 453 yards and one TD. This season, Thomas figures to be a go-to receiver for QB David Garrard, and should flourish in that role.
Thomas has caught three passes for 43 yards and a touchdown thus far in preseason play, and Garrard had no problem looking for Thomas in the end zone in last night's preseason loss to the Dolphins.
At Arizona, Thomas became the Pac-10's all-time leader in receptions, and with the Jaguars, he'll get plenty of opportunities to continue his pass-catching prowess.
No. 3: Sebastian Vollmer, OT, New England Patriots
What's not to like about this guy?
After playing high school ball in his native Germany, Vollmer excelled at the University of Houston, quickly learning the English language and spearheading the Cougars' running attack.
Drafted by the Patriots last year in the second round, Vollmer made an immediate impact, filling in for injured left tackle Matt Light, and later moving to right tackle to replace the injured Nick Kaczur.
With Kaczur possibly out for the season, Vollmer will start at right tackle for the Patriots. Based on the offensive line's success in the first two preseason games in anchoring a solid running attack, Vollmer figures to indeed continue to be a positive addition to the Patriots.
No. 2: Rolando McClain, MLB, Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders MLB Rolando McClain is all that and a side of fries. The eighth pick overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, McClain has done absolutely nothing to disappoint, and is already drawing comparisons to former Raiders LB Matt Millen.
McClain prides himself on his ability to stop the run, and the Raiders are hoping he'll do just that, improving on the Raiders' 29th-worst run defense in the NFL.
"McClain is very well-schooled," head coach Tom Cable said. "The most impressive thing has been—since we drafted him, through minicamp and OTA—his retention, his ability from day one to get us lined up and adjusted. He has a great feel for that. He just naturally has control."
No. 1: Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions
The second pick overall in this year's NFL Draft, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh not only figures to boost the Detroit Lions' run defense (25th overall last season), he will give opposing centers and guards fits with his take-no-prisoners pass rush style.
Given the Lions' recent history of draft picks, both first-rounders' Suh and Jahvid Best give the Lions instant credibility, and Suh should prove to be the anchor on the Lions' defense for a long time to come.