The NFL regular season has concluded, and as always, there’s much debate about rookies and how they performed in their inaugural season.
There have been a lot of surprises for many NFL teams that are more than satisfied with their selections. There is an Offensive Rookie of the Year award, as well as a Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
NFL Soup is here to rank the rookies from the 2010 NFL Draft.
1) Ndamukong Suh, DT, Detroit Lions
Season Stats: 66 tackles (49 solo), 10 sacks, 3 PD, 1 INT, 1 FR, 1 TD
What a rookie performance for the young defensive tackle out of Nebraska. Suh had a sack in nine of his 16 games and managed 10 sacks on the season.
It was clear the impact that Suh made. The Lions improved heavily in rushing the passer, as well as stuffing the run with the defensive line. He single-handedly made teams attempt to game plan against him.
2) Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Stats: 65 rec, 964 yds, 11 TD
What a season for the fourth-round pick from Syracuse. I said last season that he was the second most talented receiver in the draft behind Dez Bryant, and he was the most productive rookie wide receiver in 2011.
Williams scored a touchdown in 10 games, and while he only had one 100+ yard game, he produced well in most of his games as teams had to game plan against him. Williams made Josh Freeman a very happy man as the Buccaneers finished with a 10-6 record. Williams should win rookie of the year, but with the bias toward quarterbacks, he may lose in a close battle to Sam Bradford.
3) Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams
Season Stats: 354/590 3,512 yds, 18 TD, 15 INT
Sam Bradford was one of the more exciting rookies to watch. He had his fair share of mistakes, but with the talent that he’s surrounded with offensively, he made the most of it, as he led the Rams to a 7-9 record and nearly made the playoffs.
Bradford went on a four-game streak in the middle of the season without throwing an interception. He started to decline at the end of the season, throwing just one touchdown in his last five games. Bradford still managed to throw a touchdown in 11 of 16 football games and had a solid rookie season.
4) LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Stats: 201 rush, 1,007 yds, 6 TD, 5 rec, 14 yds 0 TD
I bet there are 31 other NFL teams who are wishing that they didn’t pass up on this guy in the NFL Draft. In fact, every team in the NFL passed on Blount; most teams did at least seven times.
For a guy who didn’t get more than 10 carries until Week 7, Blount sure produced. He rushed for 5.0 yards a carry, and four 100-yard games in just 10 weeks, quickly turning into a gem in most fantasy league’s waiver wires. Blount may not get rookie of the year strictly based on the fact that he didn’t start until Week 7, but you can’t discount that production.
5) Joe Haden, CB, Cleveland Browns
Season Stats: 64 tackles (57 solo), 1 sack, 18 PD, 6 INT, 1 FF
You have to love what Haden has done since starting in his last six games as a Cleveland Brown. He played a bit of nickel to start the season and even had three interceptions just as a nickel corner, and he’s been even more effective as a starter with three more interceptions since Week 12.
He had a fantastic four-game series in which he recorded an interception in each game. He made quite a few tackles in the open field, at times saving big plays. He shut down receivers like Anquan Boldin, Hines Ward, Steve Johnson and Brandon Marshall.
6) Devin McCourty, CB, New England Patriots
Season Stats: 82 tackles (69 solo) 17 PD, 7 INT, 2 FF
McCourty began his career early with the Patriots starting from Game 1, and he hasn’t slowed down. It took a few weeks for him to get adjusted, but he had seven interceptions since Week 7 and recorded a whopping 17 pass deflections in 2010.
McCourty has developed into a pretty solid shut down corner. Teams have been throwing his way less and less as he’s a big play threat and a ball hawk. He’s also fared quite well in stopping the run.
7) Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Season Stats: 42 rec 546 yds, 10 TD
Gronkowski came onto the scene early in 2010 catching his first touchdown in Week 1, on a one-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady. He played off and on, rotating with Aaron Herndandez at tight end, but still managed to get three to four catches a game.
Gronkowski was huge in Week 10 against Pittsburgh when he caught three touchdowns and had 72 yards. He caught four touchdowns in his last four games, and has emerged as one of the top red zone tight ends in the NFL already.
8) Earl Thomas, S, Seattle Seahawks
Season Stats: 76 tackles (64 solo), 7 PD, 5 INT, 1 FF
Thomas has emerged as the leader in the Seattle secondary for 2010. He’s the clear cut playmaker on that defense, and while the rest of the defense struggled against the pass, Thomas was rarely found out of position.
Thomas made plays against the run, but did the most of his damage against quarterbacks, intercepting five passes. Unfortunately, he won’t receive as much love as he deserves thanks in part to a Seattle defense that crumbled after losing Red Bryant.
9) Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs
Season Stats: 92 tackles (77 solo), 2 sacks, 9 PD, 4 INT, 1 FF
Berry has made significant progression over the course of 2010. He’s a big part of a Kansas City defense that went 10-6 and have home field advantage in their first playoff game.
Berry and the Chiefs defense have been stingy toward opposing quarterbacks. Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers were both shut down at some point this season. Berry made plays in the passing game and was a force against the run.
10) Chris Ivory, RB, New Orleans Saints
Season Stats: 137 rush, 716 yds, 5 TD, 1 rec, 17 yds 0 TD
Ivory is one of the biggest rookie surprises of 2010. Ivory is an undrafted rookie who played a bit with Washington State, before finishing his football career at Tiffin University in Ohio.
With the injuries to the Saints running backs, Ivory was called into action and has performed well in his debut with the Saints. He didn’t always rush for big yardage, but he was a home run threat who carried the ball for a 5.2 yard per carry average. Injuries have ended his season early despite the Saints making the playoffs, but his midseason production was special.
Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots- 45 rec, 563 yds, 6 TD, 3 rushes 47 yds
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys- 45 rec, 561 yds, 6 TD, 2 RTD
T.J. Ward, S, Cleveland Browns- 123 tackles (95 solo), 10 PD, 2 INT, 1 FF
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers- 158 rush, 678 yds, 7 TD, 22 rec, 148 yds
Tony Moeaki, TE, Kansas City Chiefs- 47 rec, 556 yds, 3 TD
Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit Lions- 171 rush, 555 yds, 4 TD, 58 rec 487yds, 2 TD
Jordan Shipley, WR, Cincinnati Bengals- 52 rec, 600 yds, 3 TD
Be sure to keep up with NFL Soup for all of your 2011 NFL Draft coverage!
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