2011 NFL Predictions: 7 Rookies Who Could Make the Pro Bowl
With another NFL season on the horizon, it's time to start looking more at predictions for this year's rookie class.
Predicting which rookies will make the Pro Bowl each season is a difficult thing to do, considering how hard it can be to simulate how a first-year NFL player will perform once he gets into the league.
This year, there are many potential rookie Pro Bowlers that are out there.
Here are seven rookies that could make the Pro Bowl this year.
WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
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The former Alabama wideout is one of the most explosive receivers taken in the draft earlier this year.
Jones was known for his freakish athletic ability and has already drawn comparisons to Pro-Bowl receiver Andre Johnson.
He should come in and immediately start for the Falcons, and give them another talented playmaker opposite Roddy White.
He has the potential to be the best wide receiver in this class, and I expect him to have a big rookie year in Atlanta this season.
WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
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Other than new Falcons receiver Julio Jones, A.J. Green is arguably the most talented wide receiver in his draft class.
In college, he was known for his highlight-reel catches and big-play ability.
He will bring all of that to the Bengals, who have been starving for another play-making receiver for quite some time now.
I expect Green and rookie QB Andy Dalton to be one of the best new QB/WR duos in 2011.
OT Gabe Carimi, Chicago Bears
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Arguably the best OT prospect in this year's draft class, Gabe Carimi has all the makings of a future star offensive lineman in the NFL.
At 6'7 and 315 pounds, he should come in and immediately help the Bears offense at the left tackle position, and likely for many years to come.
He is also very athletic and was excellent at blocking second-level defenders in his college days at Wisconsin.
His versatility should make a him a great candidate for a Pro Bowl selection in his rookie season this year.
RB Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins
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Thomas was one of the most electrifying running backs in the nation over his past two years at Kansas State.
The former JUCO All-American had 1,585 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in his outstanding senior season with the Wildcats in 2010.
Like many on this list, this kid has a chance to be a special player in this league, sooner rather than later.
C Mike Pouncey, Miami Dolphins
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If this name sounds familiar, it should, because he is the twin brother of Steelers' Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey.
Many have speculated that Mike is not as good as his brother, but I don't buy that.
He was one of the top guard prospects in the '11 NFL draft class, and played at a very high level at the same college that his younger brother did.
Mike Pouncey is all about technique, and the fact that he was one of the most NFL-ready players drafted back in April should only make his transition to the NFL that much easier.
CB Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals
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Patrick Peterson might just be one of the surest bets to make the Pro Bowl out of the players on this list.
He was highly regarded as one of the best defensive players taken in April's draft, and he has all the skills to become a great player, even in his first year in the league.
He is a big-time play-making corner, and he will likely make his presence known pretty quickly against opposing offenses in 2011.
I look for him to be a front-runner for Defensive ROY as well this season.
RB Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
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The former Heisman trophy winner will finally get his chance to shine in an NFL uniform this season.
And with the recent departure of faded star Reggie Bush, Ingram will have every chance to succeed in his rookie season in the league.
At a stocky 5'9, and 215 pounds, Ingram has drawn comparisons to NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith due to his downhill running style and excellent vision.
If he can translate his college game to the pros, he might be making more than one trip to the Pro Bowl throughout his career.