2011 NFL Season: Von Miller and the Top 10 Rookies Making the Biggest Impacts

Unfamiliar LuminaryContributor IIJuly 25, 2011

2011 NFL Season: Von Miller and the Top 10 Rookies Making the Biggest Impacts

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    With the NFL Lockout finally ending after a panicky 132 day wait, it's time to look ahead to the next NFL season.

    Because of the lockout and teams not having the ability to hold scheduled workouts with coaches  personnel, it is believed by many that rookies entering the NFL this season will have a difficult time transitioning to the highest level of football.  

    From QB Cameron Newton of the Auburn Tigers to LB Von Miller of Texas A&M to A.J. Green of the Georgia Bulldogs, the 2011 NFL Draft class is going to have an immediate impact in this league, despite not having the proper preparation.

    Take a look at a power ranking of the top 10 incoming rookies this 2011 NFL Season, based on the impact they are expected to have on their respective teams.

10. CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska Cornhuskers (Selected by the New York Giants)

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    Height: 6'0''

    Weight: 206 pounds

    Collegiate Career Stats: 2008- Recorded 32 total tackles (19 solo and 13 assisted), 1.0 Sack, and 2 forced fumbles

    2009—Recorded 60 total tackles (38 solo and 22 assisted), Two Sacks, One forced fumble and five interceptions

    2010—Recorded 59 total tackles (36 solo and 23 assisted) and 1.0 Sack

    Prince Amukamara was a complete steal for the New York Giants with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.  He is a significant talent that will improve Big Blue's struggling secondary tremendously.  Amukamara is a feared cover corner that was rarely thrown toward in his senior season because of his outstanding coverage abilities.

9. DT Nick Fairley, Auburn Tigers (Selected by the Detroit Lions)

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    Height: 6'4''

    Weight: 291 pounds

    Collegiate Career Stats: 2009—28 Total Tackles (14 solo and 14 assisted), 3.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 Sacks and one fumble recovery

    2010—Recorded 60 total tackles (36 solo and 24 assisted), 24.0 tackles for a loss, 11.5 Sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception

    In early mock drafts Nick Fairley was projected to go in the top 3, no question.  But as questions surrounded his shoulder separation came up, Fairley quickly dropped  to 13th overall, selected by the Detroit Lions.  

    This forms an extraordinary and extremely young duo alongside the quickly rising defensive NFL star, Ndamukong Suh.


8. OT Tyron Smith, USC Trojans, (Selected by the Dallas Cowboys)

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    Height: 6'5''

    Weight: 307 pounds

    Drafted by the Dallas Cowboys with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Tyron Smith will be a great asset to this team in the upcoming years.  

    Quarterback Tony Romo has been in need of some real help from his offensive line, and with the pickup of Smith that's exactly what he'll receive.  Smith possesses a massive body that is surprisingly athletic for his size.  Has a very quick first step and will improve Dallas' QB protection immensely.

7. DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama Crimson Tide (Selected by the Buffalo Bills)

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    Height: 6'3''

    Weight: 319 pounds

    Collegiate Career Stats: 2009—33 total tackles (19 solo and 14 assisted), 9.0 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks and one interception

    2010—34 total tackles (20 solo and 14 assisted), 11.0 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks

    After another struggling season the Buffalo Bills are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999.  

    The selection of Marcell Dareus will be a great addition to this franchise, and will help their rushing-defense tremendously.  Dareus is the type of D-tackle that will take two offensive players out of the play because of his superior physicality and endless determination.

6. QB Jake Locker, Washington Huskies (Drafted by the Tennessee Titans)

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    Height: 6'3''

    Weight:  231 pounds

    Collegiate Career Stats: 2009—Completed 230 of 395 attempted passes for 2800 yards(58.2 CMP%), 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 129.7 QB Rating

    2010—Completed 184 of his 332 thrown passes for 2265 yards (55.4 CMP %), 17 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 124.2 QB Rating

    Once given the opportunity, which shouldn't take long, I believe Jake Locker will impress everybody, proving all of his doubters wrong.  

    Although there are some issues with Locker, in four or five years he will be one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the National Football League.

5. WR Julio Jones, Alabama Crimson Tide (Selected by the Atlanta Falcons)

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    Height: 6'3''

    Weight: 220 pounds

    Collegiate Career Stats: 2008—Recorded 58 receptions for 924 yards and four touchdowns

    2009—Made 43 receptions for 596 yards and four touchdowns

    2010—Recorded 78 receptions for 1133 yards and seven touchdowns while also making eight rushing attempts for 135 yards and two touchdowns

    With an aggressive move to snatch Julio Jones with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons have given Matt Ryan even more help by giving him yet another incredibly athletic target to throw at.  

    Jones is a physical wide receiver who is also as quick as they come.  Although he may not possess DeSean Jackson-like speed, Jones is the complete package with his impressive strength, speed, solid route-running and good hands.

4. CB Patrick Peterson, LSU (Drafted by the Arizona Cardinals)

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    Height: 6'1''

    Weight: 219 pounds

    Collegiate Career Stats: 2008—Recorded 32 solo tackles, nine assisted tackles, two tackles for a loss, one interception and one fumble forced

    2009—Recorded 43 solo tackles, nine assisted tackles, two interceptions, one defensive touchdown and one fumble recovery 

    2010—Recorded 23 solo tackles, 10 assisted tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, four interceptions and two punt return touchdowns

    Expected to make an immediate impact with the Arizona Cardinals, Patrick Peterson will be much like a Darrelle Revis or Nnamdi Asomugha.  

    With outstanding coverage ability, Peterson not only can intercept the ball, but he is also aggressive wherever the ball may be.  Always looking to make a play or have an impact, Peterson is a guy you want on your team.  

3. QB Cameron Newton, Auburn Tigers (Selected by the Carolina Panthers)

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    Height: 6'5''

    Weight: 248 pounds

    Collegiate Career Stats: 2010—Completed 185 of 280 attempted passes for 2854 yards(66.1 CMP%), 30 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 182.0 QB Rating

    Everyone that follows either college football or the NFL knows who Cameron Newton is one of the most high-profile rookie's ever entering the league.  

    The big question when it comes to Cam Newton is whether he handle the next level and will he be a great NFL QB.  

    I believe he will be at least a solid quarterback in due time, but I do think he'll struggle early on.  If this happens, it will not be good because he hasn't dealt with losing very often as a player.  

    Of course that always happens to great college players who get drafted by poor teams, but Cam Newton has always been the big man on campus. Who knows if he could take what losing and failure would bring?

2. LB Von Miller, Texas A&M (Drafted by the Denver Broncos)

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    Height: 6'3''

    Weight: 246 pounds

    Collegiate Career Stats: 2008—Recorded 25 solo tackles, 19 assisted tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two fumbles forced

    2009—Recorded 31 solo tackles, 17 assisted tackles, 21.5 tackles for a loss, 16.5 sacks and four fumbles forced

    2010—Recorded 38 solo tackles, 30 assisted tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, one interception, and three fumbles forced

    Von Miller is one of the most impressive defensive prospects out of college in quite some time.  

    Every year, from his Freshman year to his Senior year, Miller improved his overall impact and contributions to the team.  He has shown fascinating work ethic and superb athletic abilities for a defensive player.  

    Von Miller has the potential to be a star linebacker among the likes of Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher.

1. A.J. Green, Georgia Bulldogs (Drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals)

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    Height: 6'4''

    Weight: 211 pounds

    Collegiate Career Stats: 2008—Recorded 56 receptions for 963 yards and eight touchdowns; also made four rushing attempts for 61 yards

    2009—Made 53 receptions for 808 yards and six touchdowns

    2010—Recorded 57 receptions for 848 yards and nine touchdowns; also rushed the ball three times for 44 yards

    As arguably the most athletic and and best Wide Receiver in the entire 2011 NFL Draft, A.J. Green shows the best potential by far.

    He will help the struggling Cincinnati offense to improve no matter who the quarterback is.  Green will not only quickly become one of the most entertaining and electrifying players in the NFL, but one of the most incredible athlete's in all of sports.